Tag Archives: pasta

Zero Effort Tortellini Bake

That’s the good stuff.

This recipe is the epitome of lazy food. I love it.

I mean, you could try and get fancy with it and make your own tortellini, alfredo sauce, or marinara sauce. Which, could be a fun project…

ANYWAY. You probably won’t do that. And really, no one in their right mind could blame you. It takes about as much effort as making some ramen and tastes, according to my calculations, a billion times better. And after the potato soup debacle last week, I was more than down for something like this.

This is another recipe I found on Pinterest, although the real page in on busycooks.about.com by Linda Larson. She has some suggestions for adding in meatballs or veggies. I would also maybe try some ground beef, but as she points out that is so much more effort than the recipe calls for.

Downside: it’s not that healthy for you. Although, I do rationalize that you get protein and calcium from the alfredo and cheese in the tortellini. Also, marinara sauce is made with veggies, so there is that. And the noodles? Well, we all need some carbs now don’t we? In any case, disregard my promise for healthy recipes this week. And just enjoy yourself in the pasta and saucyness of it all.

Fun fact though, related to the healthiness of the recipe. I was going to get the “light” alfredo sauce since no one I know can taste the difference, but I noticed the Ragu alfredo was on sale. So, I decided to compare the nutrition facts. The Ragu had the same amount of fat as the “light” stuff! I get pumped about this kind of stuff, so just deal with it. Grocery shopping is cool. So, saved some money with the Ragu and didn’t have to feel like I was getting something worse for me. Score.

So here is your cost breakdown (this is all approximate, so it may vary by a dollar or two depending on sales and where you buy):

  • $6.50 (about) 20 oz. bag of tortellini
  • $1.20 per jar of alfredo and marinara sauce

Total: $9.90 for 4 servings

So, onto these intricate and time-consuming instructions:

The tortellini bag is empty because I was in such a state of hunger that I just started making this. Then remembered I needed to take pictures.


  • 20 oz. bag of tortellini (I’ve only used cheese, but some type of meat would be delicious as well)
  • 28 oz. jar marinara/spaghetti sause (I tend to use a smaller size jar, not quite 12 oz, but buying less than 28 oz. still gives you plenty of sauce.)
  • 12 oz. jar alfredo sauce
  • 1 C. water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Put tortellini into either a 9 x 12 baking pan or a 3 quart casserole dish. Either works just fine.
  3. Pour in the marinara and water and coat the tortellini evenly with it, then top with the alfredo. Don’t mix the alfredo in.

    It looks kind of gross here. Ignore this stage.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and put in the oven for 50 minutes if using refrigerated tortellini, 1 hour and 15 minutes if using frozen.

    After you take it out of the oven. Mmmmm.
  5. Let it cool. For about a minute, then you can give up and burn your mouth.

Hope you all enjoy, comments and questions always welcome!


Adaptation of Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp

So this is one of my Pinterest recipes, originally on Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice This sounds super fancy and shenanigans like that, but I assure you the name sounds like that just so other people will be impressed with you when you told them what you made for dinner last night. Your mom may also become slightly less disappointed in you. No promises on that one though. The basic idea here is very simple. Put some stuff in a pan for some time.

The finished procuct.

So why is this cheap?

The shrimp is somewhat more expensive than other meat/protein sources, but the rest of the ingredients are very inexpensive or are just a small portion of what you have on hand. Plus waiting to make this until you can grab some shrimp when it is on sale is a fan-freaking-tastic idea.
A super basic breakdown:

  • Lemon: They cost about 70 cents. You can also just use lemon juice if you are so inclined.
  • Garlic: A whole bulb is about 50 cents, and you can save some of it for later cooking.
  • Herbs: Freeze-dried or dried are about $2-$3  per bottle, but these keep for a long time and you don’t use a lot in a given recipe. Or, having your own plant means it is free.
  • Noodles/Rice: Seriously, if you pay a lot for noodles or rice you are doing it wrong.
  • Olive oil: Not the cheapest of oils, but you will actually only use about $1.50 worth in this recipe.
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons are like 25 cents or something like that. Margarine also works fine in this recipe.

Feel better about being fancy? Good. Let’s move on to some modifications you can make to this.

This recipe originally called for thyme as the herb, but I happen to have a lovely basil plant. His name is Barry. So, I went with some fresh basil. You could easily substitute any herb you would like (oregano, parsley, marjoram, or sage are some that could work) or even mix them up. If all you have is dried just use about half of what the recipe calls for since the flavor is stronger. Just know what kind of flavor you want before going willy-nilly.

You also have a great option for what you will serve with the shrimp. I made this with a mix of quinoa* and rice. The Trust Sidekick is not a fan of quinoa. I would actually recommend doing just rice, or maybe some orzo pasta or angel hair. Once again, use what you’ve got! Spaghetti noodles or rotini work just as fine as anything else. The oil and herbs it’s roasted in are delicious, and no sense in wasting them so make sure you use this as a sauce for whatever you serve with the shrimp. We didn’t use enough and The Trusty Sidekick and I both agreed that using more would have added a lot of flavor.

Anyway, here is the recipe I used:

Yield: about 3 servings

Total cooking time: 40 minutes

Tools you need:

  • 9×12 baking pan
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Cheese grater (optional)
  • Collander/strainer (if using frozen shrimp)


  • 1 lemon (or 2 1/2 T. lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 1 T. fresh/freeze-dried herbs (about) or 1/2 T. dried
  • 2 T. butter/margarine
  • 1 lb. shrimp (no tails, deveined)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • rice/pasta


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Zest lemon with cheese grater and set aside. Cut lemon into thin slices and mince garlic.

    I also did some lemon wedges to squeeze onto the omnoms.
  2. Pour olive oil into 9×12 pan until it coats the entire bottom. Add in lemon zest and herbs. Bake for 10-12 minutes until it is browned. Make sure you check every few minutes so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Cook rice/pasta according to package directions.
  4. If shrimp is frozen, place in collander and run under warm water for a few minutes until it is unfrozen.
  5. Take pan out of oven and add the butter, shrimp, garlic, and lemon slices (or lemon juice). Toss everything to coat it evenly.

    In the oven.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until shrimp are pink. Check on it every few minutes.
  7. Serve shrimp over rice/pasta and liberally pour on the sauce.
  8. Have a happy tummy.

Hope you all enjoy. Comments are always welcome!

*Quinoa is a somewhat rice-like grain that has a bit more protein and amino acids in it. It is more expensive than rice, but my dear mother gave me some so I used it.