Monday, February 7, 2011

Baked Beef Penne

Indulging in your favorite “fattening” foods and losing weight is not impossible.  As a matter of fact, if this journey that Judy and I have been on for over a year has taught us anything, it’s that you can eat whatever you want, as long as you stay aware of what you are consuming.  We do that by “Tracking”.

All foods have point values, which are determined by the Fat, Fiber, Carbohydrate, and Protein content in that food.  Weight Watchers has a formula to determine the number of “Points” one may consume per day to either maintain or to lose weight.  As long as we "Track" what we eat and stay within our limits, we may eat anything we desire.  This is what differentiates a diet, which no one enjoys, from a Lifestyle change.

Today’s featured recipe is a favorite of anyone who likes Italian food. Of course we put our own little twist on the original recipe. We think it’s delicious. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we have.

From our kitchen to yours. Enjoy the adventure.


12 oz uncooked, Penne Pasta, whole wheat.  Ziti or Rigatoni may be substituted.

Baked Beef Penne
2 tsp Olive Oil

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/3 pound Ground Beef, raw, extra lean

1 tsp dried Oregano

1 tsp dried Thyme

1 tsp dried Rosemary

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground

28 oz canned crushed Tomatoes

1 cup part skim-milk Mozzarella cheese, shredded

¼ tsp crushed Red Pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 350°F

Cook Pasta according to package directions, about 10 minutes for al dente

Meanwhile, heat Oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; Add Garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add Beef and Red Pepper flakes and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 
3 – 5 minutes; drain off excess fat and set pan back over medium heat.

Add Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Salt and pepper; stir to coat Beef.  Cook until the herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Using a 2 quart Casserole dish, spoon just enough of the Beef/Tomato mixture to cover the bottom.
Next, top the mixture with ½ of the cooked Penne Pasta. Next, layer ½ of the remaining Beef/Tomato mixture over the Penne and cover with ½ of the Mozzarella cheese.  Cover that layer with the remaining Penne. Top that with the remaining Beef/Tomato mixture and top it all with the remaining Mozzarella cheese.

Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve.  Yields 8 servings.  PointsPlus value per serving is 7. Prep time is 20 minutes. Cooking time is 50 minutes, total. Level of difficulty is Moderate.

Weight Watchers and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Recipes shown may not be exactly the same as those found on any website. Judy and I tend to "tweak" each recipe we feature, to some degree, incorporating our own unique tastes and ideas. PointsPlus values, however, are accurate. 

Photo by Barry Baruh

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