I work for a nonprofit called YouthLink. We provide a wide range of resources to homeless youth ages 16-23, one of which is an on-site food shelf to help them stretch a pay check, or use as a commodity to help get them a safe place to sleep for the night.
Now, our food shelf is an amazing resource for our youth, but if you’ve never had a kitchen of your own, you may look at a can of diced tomatoes, a bag of beans, and some chicken stock and wonder what the heck you can make with it all.
To promote our food shelf and all the wonderful dishes you can create with the goodies inside, one member of our amazingly creative staff decided to have a staff food shelf cook-off. The rules? All the ingredients had to either come from the food shelf, or cost less than $5.
We had some amazingly delicious entries, which you can peruse here, but I went for a veggie-loaded, tummy-warming pasta bake!
As you read this recipe, just remember the difference a hot meal can make in the life of a youth experiencing homelessness, and be sure to give the loved ones in your life an extra hug and smooch because they are truly one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever get!
- 1 box uncooked pasta
- 1 can of low sodium diced tomatoes
- 2 cans of spaghetti sauce
- 1 can of reduced sodium green beans
- 1 can sliced carrots
- 1 package shredded, part skim mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat our oven to 350° F. Pour the uncooked pasta in a large mixing bowl with the green beans, carrots, and diced tomatoes.
2. Add in the two cans of spaghetti sauce. Reserve one can and fill it to the top with water.
3. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl together throughly and pour it into a 13 x 9 inch pan.
4. Pour the can of water over the pasta mixture, making sure all the pasta is submerged. Bake for 25 minutes, then top with cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown around the edges.