But we’re doubling down and diving back in, because fall is the very best food season: cosy soups and stews, all-day slow cooking, and lots of bubbling gooey dips. Comfort foods are my love language.
Let’s start slowly with a recipe that can barely even be called a recipe. This is for real-life weekdays when you just don’t have time to be in the kitchen for literally more than a couple minutes. We’re putting five (yes really f-i-v-e) store-bought ingredients in a baking dish, stirring, and baking. (Two of these ingredients are premade pasta sauce and frozen meatballs, which is basically the equivalent of tearing up my Italian card.)
But oh, does it feel so good and right and comforting to have cheesy meatball pasta you at least mostly made yourself instead of ordering pizza again, in the same amount of time? Yep.
This recent blog ‘meh’-ness has very little to do with cooking and a whole lot to do with doubting. Truth is, I just don’t love taking pictures because a) it’s frustrating to get just right and b) I’m usually hangry and just want to eat already. This isn’t a good look for me.
There are so very many gorgeous food blogs out there, blogs that have been posting for over a decade or run by professional photographers, and it is just so easy to look at these pictures and think – I just can’t make food look that good. In a little apartment without natural light, without a closet of thrifted vintage bowls and printed flour towels and a million other little food props, it’s easy to get stuck in my head.
Here’s the thing though: not being great at photography doesn’t make me less of a food-obsessed good cook. I’m slowly reminding myself of this. I’ve found a new wind and we’re going to keep going on this adventure. Get ready for some major comfort food coming your way, friends. ♡
And now, for the not-really-a-recipe – just trust and dump it all in the baking dish. No boiling pasta, all the gorgeous gooey cheese. We got weeknight dinners back.
One-Dish Last-Minute Pasta Bake
- 1 lb. uncooked pasta
- 24 oz. pasta sauce
- 16 oz. frozen meatballs
- 15 oz. ricotta
- 2 cups Italian-blend cheese shredded
- red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine uncooked pasta, sauce, frozen meatballs, and half the shredded cheese in a 9"x13" baking dish. Fill the sauce jar with water, pour in, and stir together well.
- Dollop the ricotta on top of the pasta and cover with remaining cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is bubbling. Devour immediately.