Recipes, tips, and experiences of cooking...inspired by Grandma!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
My Favorite Baked Ziti
I’ve decided to start working out at least 5 days a week so I can squeeze into my clothes from last spring. I tried to start a month ago, but I was only managing to work out 2 days a week. I’ve also decided to work myself back up to a 5k and eventually a 10k to give me something to really work toward. So, I’m doing a “Couch-to-5k” program to get me ready! My husband asked me the question, “When are you going to have time for this?” He’s right. I’m already limited on time. But, it doesn’t hurt to set a goal and at least TRY, right. So far, I've already worked out 3 days this week!
Eating healthier has also been something I've been trying to do. It works for a while and then I start craving something like this delicious Baked Ziti. But, it’s ok as long as I don’t eat 3 platefuls, right? I did substitute ground turkey in this recipe last week, which cuts down on some of the fat, and it was still delicious!
This is my absolute favorite Baked Ziti recipe, and I sometimes use various cheeses, depending on what I have on hand! This recipe has been adapted from Allrecipes.com.
My Favorite Baked Ziti
1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped OR 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
1 (45 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 (6 ounce) package provolone cheese, sliced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 (6 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded (I usually buy a larger bag and use more than it actually calls for, but if you don’t want any leftover mozzarella cheese, the 6 ounce bag will be fine)
1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until tender. Add garlic or garlic powder. Transfer to a small bowl. (In order to shorten this recipe up a bit, I sometimes skip this step and put garlic powder directly into the meat mixture. It’s great with onions and fresh garlic, but our family really doesn’t miss them).
3. In skillet, cook ground beef (or ground turkey) on medium-high heat until evenly brown. Stir in the onion mixture and spaghetti sauce. Add salt, if desired.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In prepared dish, layer ½ of the cooked pasta, provolone cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, and ½ of the meat mixture. Then add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella cheese (reserving ½ cup for top), and remaining meat mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese are melted.
Important: I have tried layering this various ways, and it just wasn’t as good! This way, the cheeses melt onto the bottom layer of pasta nicely, while the meat, mozzarella, and pasta blend on top.
Also, you may not think everything is going to fit into the dish, and it definitely is a tight fit, but it will fit! You may want to put a pan on the bottom oven rack to catch spillovers, just in case!