Baked Ziti

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You know, sometimes Mommy just needs a break and has to get her hair done. On nights like these it usually means that the hubby and kiddos are either making a run through McDonald's or they are ordering in pizza. Well, not this time. Since I already had the meal planned and the food bought, I was determined to go ahead and make the meal ahead of time and then just have Scott pop it in the oven when they started getting hungry.

I was excited to try this recipe because I thought that it sounded like something that my children would eat. It is a lot like a mostaccioli recipe that I make which is a very popular dish around here. I planned this meal earlier in the week:

Here is what I started with:

Baked Ziti Recipe:
1 box dry ziti noodles
1 chopped onion
1lb lean ground beef
2 (26 oz) jars of spaghetti sauce
6 oz provolone sliced cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


-There are a lot of things that you could do differently with this meal. I couldn't find ziti noodles that were on sale so I used Penne Rigate. You could use any type of tubular noodles. I also did not use an entire onion but about 3/4 of one. You could also probably make this with spaghetti squash if you wanted to get really healthy and carb-conscious.

-I think you could substitute the sour cream with either buttermilk or cottage cheese for a healthier version.

-I didn't use a full 2 jars of spaghetti sauce. I had about 1/2 jar left from a previous meal so I just used that and then another full jar.

-You could also substitute the 93/7 ground beef with either ground turkey or ground chicken.

-You could use fat-free or low-fat cheese.

How I did it:

#1 Chop 1 onion (I only used 3/4 of an onion)

#2 Brown the ground beef

#3 Drain the ground beef, even if it is 93/7

#4 I added the onions to the meat.

#5 I added the 2 jars of spaghetti sauce.

#6 I let the meat, onions and spaghetti sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes.

#7 I put the entire box of noodles in boiling, salted water.

#8 I drained the noodles after about 8-9 minutes, when the noodles were cooked al dente.

#9 I put half of the pasta down in a greased 9x13 baking dish.

#10 I then covered the pasta with 6 slices of the Provolone cheese.

#11 Next, I added 1 1/2 cups of sour cream on top of the cheese.

#12 and I spread it around.

#13 On top of the sour cream, I then covered the dish with the meat mixture.

#14 More noodles

#15 I added the rest of the meat and sauce mixture.

#16 I covered it all with about 1/2 of the bag of shredded mozarella cheese.

#16 I topped everything with Parmesan cheese.

#17 Finally, I covered it with tin foil and left the hubby with instructions to bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

These are Scott's pics:


When I called on my way home from the hair salon I asked Scott how the "ziti" had turned out and his exact words were, "It was some of the best, if not the best, baked ziti I have ever had". Wow! I wish that I could get that kind of reaction after every meal. You can believe that I drove a little bit faster to get home and try it.
The only thing that he said he would have done differently is serve it with the garlic bread from last night.
I mentioned earlier that this recipe was a lot like a mostiaccoli recipe that I make. I think what made this so good was the sour cream and the use of the sliced Provolone. That cheese just melted down in between the noodles, along with the mozzarella, and the result was yummy.
While I different serve anything except leftover salad from last night with this meal, you could easily add some steamed broccoli or asparagus.

I will definitely be making this dish over and over.


MEKilbane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MEKilbane said...

Love your blog April! The pictures are great and the recipes look delicious!

yvonne said...

AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!! This turned out so good!! And it was easy to make with enough left over to throw in the freezer!! This is definetly a new favorite in this house!!! Thanks for a great meal!!=)

April Westerhold said...

So glad you liked it! Scott and Kanin are already asking for it again!

SnoWhite said...

I like provolone but don't have too many recipes to use it in -- thanks for this one!

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