Monday, March 7, 2011

Make and Take Italian Bake

For those of you who know me personally, you'll know what a passionate believer I am in building relationships through cooking and food.  Some of you heard me speak on it several weeks back.  I think that food is so comforting to so many of us - I don't mean comforting in the sense that it is fattening, not good for us and makes us feel good.  What I mean by comforting is this: we are able to strengthen current relationships and build new ones.  With our husbands, wives, children.  But it's not limited to just "The Family Meal" (which I'm also a staunch believer in) but also with our friends, neighbors and acquaintances.  I can't even tell you how many intimate conversations I've had with people over banana bread or brownies and coffee.  But - why not extend it to bringing a meal to friends, neighbors or acquaintances? 

Let me explain.  I think that as a society, we should aim to serve each other.  I certainly don't want to push any ideas or beliefs upon you, but this is a belief of mine that I am openly sharing.  Life is busy, life is messy at times.  In my life - it seems that way each day!  But, there are times when life is busier and messier.  What can we do to help our neighbors?  For me, I LOVE to bring meals to neighbors and friends.  It can be for any number of reasons i.e. a friend comes down with the flu.  This is the perfect excuse for me to whip up some chicken soup and drop it off!  Who wants to cook when they're sick?  A friend has a baby and parents are sleeping every chance to stay coherant.  The last thing they may want to do is try to cook!  Or, job loss.  Or, maybe I just made too much chili and need to share it with someone.  You get the picture.

BUT - a handful of times, the foundation of friendship can be built upon someone bringing me a meal or me reciprocating.  I heard a gal tell a personal story about how she did not have a great relationship with her neighbor, and it wasn't until she brought her chicken soup did the barrier slowly begin to crumble. 

There is something about food that is comforting.  It comforts, builds and sustains. 

I made this dish several weeks ago for a friend who just had twins.  She already has a 2 year old daughter.  I get overwhelmed every time I think about how often she has to get up for a feeding, or change a diaper.  This is a great "ready to whip up" kind of meal with most ingredients that could already be in your pantry.  Feed it to your family, or give it to another family.  You just never know how much they might need it or appreciate it!

I'd love to hear from you on how someone was the recipient of an act of kindness from you - was it you bringing them a meal?  Or, something else?

Make n Take Italian Bake
Recipe by Kitchen Groovy

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 small white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
2 jars favorite spaghetti sauce
1 pkg. (6oz) pepperoni slices - quartered (I use turkey)
1 (16oz) pkg penne rigate (I like to use Mini Penne)
1 pkg. Italian shredded cheese blend
1/4 C snipped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, brown ground beef, onion and garlic; drain.  Season with herbs and salt.  Stir in spaghetti sauce and pepperoni; simmer, covered, 10 minutes.  Prepare penne according to package directions; drain.  Arrange pasta in 9x13" glass baking dish.  Pour meat sauce evenly over pasta, stirring evenly to coat pasta. Top with cheese.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven - 20 to 30 minutes, until heated though.

You can skip the baking and run it to a friend and have them bake it!

Or bake it yourself, bring it to a friend or enjoy it with your family.  Either way - who ever eats it will appreciate it!  This is not a gourmet meal by any means.  But, imagine the possibilities by such a simple meal?!

Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy

Enjoy and live with gusto!


  1. Thanks for stopping by and entering my A World of Cake giveaway! If you want a second entry for already liking A World of Cake, just add an additional comment repeating that you're a fan. Thanks again and good luck!

  2. I love your post and completely agree! I think its those little ways of being neighborly that mean so much in good and bad times! This looks delicious too. I'm bookmarking this!!

  3. Thanks Danielle - I will do that! Ryan - I agree that it is those little ways that mean so much! Someone once dropped me off a meal, and I was beside myself in gratitude that someone thought of me so much to help me unexpectedly. It's such a wonderful thing to be surprised by graciousness!

  4. Hearty dishes like this are perfect for giving. They last long in the frig and leftovers can be frozen for later use.


  5. This looks so good and something my family would love, thanks for the recipe!