According to Pennsylvania Dutch superstition, if a groundhog emerges from its den on Feb. 2 and sees his shadow he will go back inside and there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, spring will be early. The days in February seem the same, very monotonous. As winter drags on, we all get tired of the cold and dark days. Groundhog Day Syndrome is the feeling that you’re reliving the same day repeatedly. Nothing has changed, and it seems as though you’re doing an identical routine every single day and week. This feeling of sameness is called Groundhog Day based on the 1993 movie with Bill Murray. His character Phil has fallen into a rut. This rut includes covering Groundhog Day for the past four years. Within the first few minutes the movie premise is set up. Phil is a jerk doomed to repeat the day until he learns compassion, empathy, and love. Food shows up all through this movie. Day to day the meals are on repeat. But as the movie progresses Phil changes things up and makes eating interesting. He gets to eat with no consequences. The way he handles this always makes me laugh.
I find that in the winter I tend to make recipes on repeat. Usually because it’s a good recipe and it’s very easy to make. A go-to repeat recipe is great for hurried nights or a need for a potluck dish. Make ahead meals to freeze or a meal for someone in need. This week’s recipe is one I make often. This is a very basic recipe. But it can be changed and added to as needed. You can use sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, cooked chicken, or no meat at all in this recipe. I have added pepperoni, tiny meatballs, or browned ground beef. Vegetables such as spinach, bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion added are good too. I change the cheese out with whatever I have on hand. I have used a four cheese Mexican blend many times. Do NOT cook the pasta. Add the pasta uncooked to the casserole mixture. It will cook along with the rest of the ingredients. This recipe can be made in advance. You can assemble the casserole and refrigerate overnight, then bake. This recipe freezes well after baking and reheating when ready to serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat leftovers in the microwave.
Life can seem to be on repeat, but we can change it up and make it better. Life is meant to be lived. Make a repeat recipe and enjoy Groundhog Day.
Baked penne (basic recipe)
1(16 ounce) box pasta (Rigatoni, Penne, Rotini or Ziti) DO NOT PRECOOK
1(24 ounce) jar tomato sauce
1full jar water (24 ounces)
2cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling the top
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 9x13x2-inch casserole dish; set aside.
Combine uncooked pasta, 1 jar of Sauce and 1 jar of water in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. If adding other ingredients, add to pasta, sauce, and water now. BAKE 50 minutes. Uncover and stir well. TOP with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese to help with browning and add more cheese flavor. Bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts and pasta is tender.