Dinner for Cookie Baking Week: Easy Baked Ravioli
It's cookie baking time! The counters are covered with cookie baking equipment and ingredients! Cookie sheets, bowls, sugar, butter, flour, nuts, chocolate chips, molasses, sprinkles! Not meat, vegetables, and bread. Hmm...do people want something other than cookies for dinner? How dare they? But they do...inevitably. That's where Easy Baked Ravioli comes in. It's simple enough to make when you're busy with other projects and don't have time to make a complete "from scratch" dinner. Or when you just aren't going to make homemade ravioli (like never...). I do use homemade sauce in the dish, but if you'd prefer, you can use jarred sauce. It's fine in a pinch or when you're not in the mood to cook. The ravioli is good, and it's one of those dishes that people really like--familiar, but different enough to be special. Plus, when you have enough tomato sauce and cheese in a dish, I've found that people will eat it and be happy. Usually extremely happy. Serve the ravioli with a salad and/or vegetable and some garlic bread, and you've got a dinner fit for company, not just something simple for your cookie baking week. Oh, and there'll be plenty of leftovers. After all, it is cookie baking week...
Easy Baked Ravioli -- Serves 8-12
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1/2 cup of chopped onion (a small or half a medium onion)
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of carrot shreds
16 ounces of lean ground turkey or beef
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper
2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce (or about that) of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of red wine
1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
In a large skillet or chef's pan heat the oil until shimmering over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute it a few minutes. Add the celery and carrot shreds and saute them with the onion for a few minutes. Crumble in the ground turkey and add the salt, garlic powder, ground pepper, Italian seasoning, and ground basil and saute everything together for 8-10 minutes, turning down the heat a little if the veggies start to brown too much. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and red wine. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down the heat, partially cover the sauce and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and the sugar if you want a sweeter sauce. Add more salt to taste.
Assembly of the Ravioli
2 quarts of the sauce or 2 quart-size (or close to it) jars of pasta sauce
1 extra large bag (48 ounce) or two smaller (24-26 ounce bags) of frozen cheese ravioli
2 cups of mozzarella, divided
2 cups of Italian blend cheese, divided
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spritz a large baking dish or two (I use two--one for dinner and one for later) with non-stick cooking spray. Spread about a cup of sauce in the bottom of each baking dish (or two cups if you're using one large dish). Layer in half of the ravioli and half of each of the cheeses. Spread half of the remaining sauce on top of the ravioli/cheese layers. Spread the remaining ravioli out on top of the sauce, then spread the remaining sauce on top of the ravioli. Cover the dish (or dishes) with aluminum foil and bake the ravioli for 45-50 minutes, or until the ravioli is hot and steaming. Remove the dish(es) from the oven, remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cheeses evenly over the ravioli and sauce, and return the dish(es) to he oven. Continue cooking the ravioli for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling up through it. Let the ravioli stand for about 10 minutes for easier serving.