Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baked Tortellini (with Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes)

This week is "Teacher Appreciation Week" at my daugher's Mother's Day Out program. I suppose paying them to get 5-10 hours as week to oneself is not appreciation enough. Did I mention that no one pays us stay-at-home-mothers? I realized I never got the memo because when I went to sign up to bring food, the only thing left was to provide an entree. I guess everyone learned from last year and didn't feel the need to share with the newbies--if you don't show up 20 minutes earlier than normal & clamor for sodas & store-bought cookies, you end up pulling the short straw and have to feed 20 people with the main meal.

Well, what does one do in this situation? One goes to Costco and then tries to find a middle ground between store-bought & homemade. Costco sells amazing tortellini in the refrigerated section. This is my favorite make-ahead dish to bring to a new mom or to bring to church potluck. I always make it lighter, but for today, my retribution was to bring the full-fat version.

This recipe has been adapted (when I say that, I mean that I've made the recipe my own) from Better Homes & Gardens--and was originally made with ravioli. Here is the original recipe.


Makes about 12 servings

2 (9 oz) containers refrigerated four cheese or spinach cheese ravioli or tortellini (or any other variety you wish to use instead)½ to one (8 oz) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (6 oz)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (4 oz)
8 eggs, beaten (I use 4-6 eggs and the rest Eggbeaters)2 ½ cups skim milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt & pepper, to taste
5 oz. frozen chopped spinach (half package), well drained (optional)
1-2 Tbsp. fresh basil & Italian flat-leaf parsley (use 1-2 tsp. instead for dried herbs)

Lightly spray a 3-quart rectangular or oval baking dish, with cooking spray (okay to use lasagna-style dish--a 9X13, for example). Place uncooked ravioli evenly in dish.

Sprinkle the ravioli evenly with sun-dried tomatoes. Top evenly with cheeses. Set aside. Whisk eggs and milk together until combined. Add garlic powder, salt & pepper, and gently fold in spinach, if using. If you are using dried herbs, this is when you'd add them in.

Pour this mixture over layers in dish. Cover and chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes or until top is golden and center of casserole is set.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If you are using fresh herbs, sprinkle the pasta with chopped basil or parsley just before serving.

Best served with a salad and another vegetable on the side.

Note: Recipe can be halved and baked in an 8X8 dish.

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