Can I just make a blanket apology for the pictures for this week of posts? I was much more focused on getting lots of food cranked out in a timely manner so the pictures of food are lacking. We’ll call it an exercise in creativity. I’ll write about food and you can imagine it to look however you like. Sound like a plan? For this post, imagine baked pasta with gooey melted cheese. Perfect dinner for a chilly winter night.
Baked Ziti is a go to dish when I’m taking a meal to a family that just had a baby. I love it because most people like pasta so I know that I’m taking people a meal that they will actually eat. If I’m taking a pasta dish to a family, I typically include a loaf of garlic bread, a salad and some type of dessert. It’s an easy and hearty meal. This dish is also easy to freeze and the ingredients are inexpensive. This recipe makes 2 8×8 pans so you can take one for now and one for the family to freeze for later. I found that figuring out dinner after I returned to work was harder than when we first came home with Bennett. I was so thankful for freezer meals and restaurant gift cards as I transitioned back to work.
I love this baked ziti recipe because it’s versatile. You can use any tube shaped pasta you have on hand. This recipe calls for ground beef but you could easily substitute Italian sausage instead. If you like veggies, add extras to the pasta sauce. The original recipe called for sour cream but I opted to omit that. If you are making this for your family instead of taking it to someone else go ahead and make both pans. You’ll thank yourself when you have a freezer meal to fall back on during a busy week.
Adapted slightly from Six Sisters’ Stuff
- 1 pound dry ziti pasta (or really any kind of pasta would work- I actually used Penne pasta)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef (season with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and minced garlic)
- 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce (I added a zucchini to my sauce just for more veggies!)
- 8 slices provolone cheese
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes; drain.
- In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray 2 8×8 inch pans with non-stick cooking spray. Layer as follows in each pan: 1/4 of the ziti, 1/4 of the sauce, 4 slices of Provolone cheese, 1/2 of sour cream, 1/4 of ziti, 1/4 mozzarella cheese and 1/4 of sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.