My church has been booming with babies lately.
It feels like every week another little one enters the world. In response, we cheer, we give thanks…and we cook.
To me, one of the best things you can do for a growing family is bring them a meal. Because in the first weeks after bringing a baby home—in the midst of the crying, the sleepless nights, and the tears of both joy and pain—everybody still needs to eat, but nobody wants to cook.
This Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage has become my go-to meal for families with new babies. It’s mild enough that it suits most taste buds, it’s nutritious enough for those who are health-conscious (while still being hearty enough for a hungry, breastfeeding mama!), and I can easily take out the chicken sausage for vegetarian families.
Plus, if I bring along a bagged salad and maybe some garlic bread, I’ve given the family a complete meal—exactly what they need!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 4 tsp minced garlic
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 lb penne pasta (I use whole wheat)
- 1 (9 oz) bag baby spinach
- 12 oz precooked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used the sundried tomato flavor, but the spinach & feta flavor would be good too!)
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- First make the sauce. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper, cook for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute or so.
- Stir in tomatoes, oregano, and basil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add half and half; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile start the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400º, lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the spinach right at the end and cooking until wilted. Drain pasta/spinach and return to pot.
- Add the tomato sauce, sausage, and half the mozzarella cheese to the pasta. Toss to coat.
- Spoon the entire mixture into the prepared dish and top with the rest of the mozzarella and the grated Parmesan. Bake 25-30 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.
What’s your favorite meal to take to a family with a new baby?
If this recipe caught your eye, I’d be so grateful if you pinned it!
22 responses to “Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage”
Right now I have 60 meals in the freezer for when daughter 2 arrives in under a month. Almost all are meat meals for my hub, as my veg meals I keep very simple.
In the freezer is… Veal pasta sauce (just add noodles), chicken rise casserole and chicken noodle casserole (just add cheese), black bean soup, Great Northern bean soup, pulled pork, lamb stew, balsamic chicken, chicken tortilla soup, chicken stuffed peppers (add cheese and put in pepper), and more.
I also have a mass amount of meat (roasts, ground, steak, etc) and frozen vegs plus granola and GF muffins.
The weather here now means that the 60 mile round trip drive to the store is not always best. So when E arrives, we’ll feast and rest.
Wow, Wendy, you never cease to amaze me. 60 meals??? Incredible!
What a great meal for families with new babies! Definitely appreciated. This looks scrumptious and easy to prepare. Just what I love about a recipe.
I completely agree, Katie. I so appreciated the women who brought meals to me after we had our babies. My favorite meal to take to families with newborns is a hearty chili or chicken tortilla casserole. Both fairly simple to make, but hearty. This looks wonderful too!
I think this is one of the best things you can do for a family with a new baby (or a family going through a rocky time). My go-to is a recipe from SkinnyTaste for Spinach Lasagna Rolls: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/02/spinach-lasagna-rolls.html. You can also freeze the rolls individually, so the family could eat the rolls over a few lunches or something like that.
Ohhhh those lasagna rolls look awesome!
Oh nice call there! We do meal trains within our community. I usually take a chicken pot pie and caramel brownies, but I may mix it up with this!
I have to be honest. Cassidy does 100% of the cooking. I’ll forward it to him.
I dread bringing meals to neighbors because I never know what to make! Pinning this to make the next time an occasion arises, although I think I may try it for my family too. Thanks Katie!
Looks yummy! Would definitely be great to take or to keep and eat!
YES! I forgot to mention that I usually make two…one for us!
I love that way to serve families- whether it’s new babies or illness or even just trying times… what a lovely dish for that!!! I pinned!!
I totally make a version of this for my husband, but with pork sausage. He refuses chicken sausage (which I like, so more for me)!
That’s a great idea and the recipe has me drooling so I will definitely be pinning it and tweeting it!
We seem to be past the stage of babies, but I would make this for us! It sounds so good I want to try it!
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please tell how to make this a freezer meal!
Ohhhh good question! Let me think about it and I’ll let you know!
I want to bring this to my friends who just had their third baby. Do I fully cook it so they just need to warm it up? Will the pasta get soggy? Thanks!
I’ve always fully cooked it and the pasta has been fine! 🙂
The only thing I’d suggest would be to put it in a one-use pan that the family can just toss and maybe include some paper plates! Don’t know about any of you mommas, but I have a hard time post-C-section loading/unloading a dishwasher or doing dishes! And trying to remember what casserole dish goes back to which friend…Uhm, do you really think that my post-birth-caring-for-irish-twins brain can process that? (LOL)
That is a WONDERFUL idea!!! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the great recipe! I am going to make this for a friend who just had a baby. How is it best delivered? Should I bake it and let it cool and then have her heat it later that evening when they are ready for dinner? What is the best way to heat it? Thanks!