You can never go wrong with a baked pasta in my humble opinion. It feeds a crowd and typically pleases even the pickiest of eaters. Polly makes a phenomenal Hearty Baked Penne Pasta, but I wanted something a little cheaper, a tad lighter, and something I could throw together in minutes. 4 Cheese Baked Penne Pasta was just that.
With some ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and feta cheeses in the fridge, I came up with this simple and tasty 4 Cheese Baked Penne Pasta. It’s made with whole wheat pasta, your favorite all-natural marinara sauce (mine is Newman’s Own Organic Marinara), and a simple cheese filling. Serve alongside some steamed broccoli and your favorite fruit for a well-rounded and fast weeknight dinner.
Be sure to use your time wisely by doubling the recipe, making two 8×8 casseroles, and freezing one for another dinner later. That’s my kind of freezer cooking! To find 70+ more healthy freezer meal recipes, be sure to check out our index here.
If you plan to freeze one 8×8 dish of this pasta, don’t forget to label it so you know what to do with it later. You can download and print our freezer meal labels right now and then use them again and again!Print
4 Cheese Baked Penne Pasta made with whole wheat penne is lighter, cheaper, and easier than most baked pastas. This vegetarian version pleases the heartiest and the pickiest of eaters.
- 16 ounces (1 pound) whole wheat penne pasta
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (or substitute more Parmesan)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 jar (28 ounces) marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two 8×8 casserole dishes or one 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta to al dente, according to directions on the box.
- While pasta cooks, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, feta cheese (or substitute more Parmesan), eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, and dried parsley.
- In the casserole dish(es), spread a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce to coat the bottom. Add half of the cooked pasta. Top with half of the sauce, spread half of the cheese mixture over the sauce, and sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers one more time. (Freezer instructions begin here.)
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and warm in the middle.
Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze: Complete recipe through Step 4, but do not bake. Wrap casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap and a layer of foil (or use an air-tight lid). Freeze.
To Prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Bake as directed. Or, to bake from frozen, cover with foil. Place in cold oven and preheat to 375°. Bake for about 1 hour. Remove foil and bake another 25-30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and heated through.
– You can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning in place of all the dried herbs.
What kind of containers do you store freezer meals in?
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We recommend using a BPA-free container or dish. While it may be easier to buy the disposable Glad ovenware containers, it really makes sense to stock up on some quality, safe dishes that you can bake AND store in. After searching long and hard, we highly recommend and use these containers below. We both have collected a huge stash of them over the years!
Here is a picture of them in use.
A few reasons I like these:
- Glass is a natural, non-porous material.
- Glass cookware doubles as food storageware.
- Glass is easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- The clear lid allows easy visibility to your food.
- Because they are oven and microwave proof, you can cook, heat, and store your food all in one dish.
- Flat top allows for easy stacking.
- They are VERY affordable.