Fat-free cream cheese and reduced-fat cheddar make this creamy casserole lower in fat and calories. It's a good way to get our kids to eat spinach in 'disguise'. --Carol Lepak of Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Allrecipes Member

Recipe Summary test

15 mins
30 mins
45 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add milk; beat until smooth. stir in spinach and oregano; set aside. In a nonstick skillet, cook beef and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the picante sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain pasta; stir into meat mixture.

  • In a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, layer half of the meat mixture and all of the spinach mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with olives and onions. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Nutritional Analysis: One serving (1 cup) equals 333 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 996 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 26 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 3 vegetable, 1-1/2 starch.

Nutrition Facts

378 calories; protein 26g; carbohydrates 34.7g; fat 15.5g; cholesterol 48.6mg; sodium 1083.7mg. Full Nutrition

Reviews (36)

Rating: 4 stars
I would give this 4 1/2 stars. It was good. LIke the reviews said, good way to hide spinach. I would call it Mexican Lasagna. It was good. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
My husband was gushing with compliments when I made this for dinner last night. I made a few slight alterations, I used a 13 oz box of Rotini, added half an onion while my meat was browning, and used salsa instead of tomato paste (I forgot that ingredient when I went shopping). Overall, it was delicious. I baked two 8x8 pans and put one in the freezer for a quick fix meal. I've already given this recipe to a handful of people I loved it so much. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I really like this recipe and have made it several times; it's pretty much a Mexican ziti. I think that a full package of cream cheese is too much, it ends up taking over the dish. Perhaps that the amount of 'kick' other reviewers are complaining is lacking is due to the variety of picante sauces out there. If you uses a good salsa, this recipe turns out great. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Followed recipe and it was a little bland for a "Southwest" dish. Next time I think I will replace the spinach with green chili to give it more flavor. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This recipe was absolutely delicious! It even satisfied my finicky little brother. Of course I did add a few touches of my own. First of all, I didn't add the tomato sauce, or the entire can of tomato paste, I was afraid the pasta would turn out too sour. Also, I added some fresh basil leaves teh teh cream cheese and spinach mixture. Baking the olives turned out delicious as well. This is really a great recipe for an easy family dinner. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was pretty tasty! I'm not much of a recipe girl, so of course I fudged the ingredients a little. I used tomato paste, diced tomatoes and less salsa than called for because that's all I had. I also used fresh spinach and replaced a little cream cheese with some plain yogurt to cut a few calories. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Pretty darn good! Family didn't like it as much but I thought it was great! I think it was the spinach they didn't like much plus I used whole wheat penne. ;) I did add red, yellow and orange pepper to the meat mixture since I had them on hand. YUM! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Made as written, this is really blah. I ended up adding way more seasoning to the meat mixture - more garlic, cumin, some onion powder, and a heaped tbsp of Chipotle Pepper powder. This turned out ok, but nothing spectacular. Thanks anyway. Oh, and Merry Christmas everyone! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I really liked this, I put sour cream on top and ate it for lunch the next day. Read More