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!