Well, it happened. School started this week and I officially have a kindergartener and a first grader. In order to fit dinnertime into our crazy nights, I try to stick to meals that I can prep during the day, or pull out of the freezer. One of my favorite dishes to pull out of the freezer for dinner is this delicious Turkey Mostaccioli.
Mostaccioli is a dish that was introduced to me after meeting my husband and is a total Chicago favorite. Typically it is made with beef and pork sausage, but in order to try to make it a little bit more healthy I decided to substitute turkey and I won’t ever be turning back!
Although it has a few ingredients and takes about an hour to prep, it makes a full three casserole pans! Typically I’ll make it in the morning and then stick two pans in the freezer and keep one to put in the oven for dinner. When you think about these ingredients stretching into three meals it really makes it economical!
When Matt’s step-mom first shared this recipe with me I felt like I was getting something sacred! Over the years of making it I learned that although she might have written “1 lb. mozzarella”, she really meant, “smother it with mozzarella”. I did you the courtesy of telling you to use at least 1.5 lbs of it!
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 3 pans 1x
- Category: Entree
- 2 boxes Mostaccioli
- 1 lb. ground Italian turkey, browned and drained
- 1 lb. Italian turkey sausage browned and drained and sliced
- 1 T. dried Oregano
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 3 28 oz. cans tomato sauce
- 1 28oz can stewed tomatoes
- 1 diced onion
- 1/2 c. coffee (for real! It takes away the tomato’s bitterness)
- 1.5 lbs shredded mozzarella cheese (or more! the cheesier the better)
- Combine meats and all ingredients except noodles and cheese, then simmer for 3 hours.
- Cook noodles via box directions Drain and rinse with cold water. Reserve 1 c. pasta water after cooking noodles.
- Combine noodles, sauce, and 1 c. cheese. Stir in 1/2 c. pasta water. Add more throughout cooking if needed. Put into casserole dish.
- Cover with foil and bake 45 min or until hot and bubbling. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheese and put in for 15 min or until browned.
When I pull a pan of mostaccioli out of the freezer I either thaw it in the fridge for a day and then cook it at 400 for an hour. Otherwise I put it into the oven frozen and cook it for two hours. This meal is also one of those meals that I swear tastes even better as leftovers!
Hopefully this recipe will help you survive those busy few hours after school! With easy meals like this you can enjoy the little bit of time you get to spend with your kids!