Monday, April 4, 2011

Baked Ziti

Well, I am getting good use out of my new freezer.  I made baked ziti Saturday night and froze half of it for later.  Since this dish serves 12 then it is perfect for freezing.  Sometimes I will just keep a 1/3 out for us and freeze 2/3 for when I have company or just do it in half and Matthew will get to take leftovers once or twice.  This is another dish that takes some planning as the cooking time is long but your actual time in the kitchen isn't bad.  You can get other things done while it's going, but it's not a good meal to make if you've been gone all day.  It is absolutely worth it though if you have the time.  The sauce is best if it simmers for a few hours, or even all day in the crock pot, and it takes an hour in the oven.  Ok, I won't make you wait any longer here's the recipe.

The sauce!  Brown you meats with the onion and garlic.  Drain if needed.  Then you're gonna stir in your spaghetti sauce and tomatoes.  Then the simmering begins, let it simmer, stirring every once in a while for about 30 minutes.  I have learned with any tomato based sauce the longer it simmers the better, I sometimes make the sauce earlier in the day then put it in the crock pot to simmer til I'm ready for it.

While that's simmering, cook your pasta and then mix your cheese mixture.  Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, half the mozzarella, the egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

After that you just need to layer the ingredients in a 9x13 pan (or two 8x8's if you will be freezing half) and top with the remaining mozzarella.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour and you have plenty of time to clean up and even get something else done before dinner time. 

This is very good with Quick Bread Sticks, and a salad.

Printable Recipes:

Recipe without picture

Recipe with picture

Baked Ziti
Serves 12

1 lb ground meat (1/2 beef, 1/2 pork sausage)
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 26-28oz jar spaghetti sauce
15 oz ricotta cheese
16 oz tubular pasta, cooked and drained
16 oz Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1 can petite diced tomatoes (drain half the juice)
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook meat, onions, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomatoes, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, 8 oz mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper.

In a greased 9x13 baking dish, spread 1 cup meat sauce. layer 1/2 the pasta, 1 cup meat sauce, and one half the cheese mixture.  Repeat layers (pasta, sauce, and cheese).  Top with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

**sometimes I will put a grated zucchini and/or carrot in the sauce during the simmering to add a few more veggies to the dish, just depends on what I have on hand.  If you add vegetables though, drain both cans of diced tomatoes.

Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

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