Saturday, April 25, 2015

Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce

Oh my goodness this is so delicious. This week was all about using up leftover ingredients. I had a big hunk of whole milk mozzarella, and a container of ricotta. I used some of the ricotta to make rolled eggplant, but had almost an entire container left. I didn't have lasagna noodles on hand, but I always have a few boxes of penne.


Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce
      9-12 servings (I would say 12, my husband would say 9 haha)

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 24 oz Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mixed peppers and onions (I always have this in the freezer)
  • about 11 ounces part skim Ricotta Cheese, or you could use the whole 15 oz tub
  • one Egg or one Egg Yolk
  • 12 ounces Penne, Ziti, or Mostaccioli Pasta
  • 1/2 cup shredded whole milk Mozzarella Cheese, divided
  • tons of fresh Basil cut into ribbons, but you can also used freeze dried or frozen
  • salt and peper to taste
Get a large pot of salted water boiling and preheat oven to 375 F while you make the meat sauce. In a large skillet with high sides, over medium high heat add the frozen peppers and onions and the ground beef. Cook until the meat is cooked through being sure to break it up and stir often. Add in lots of fresh basil, salt and pepper, then add in the marinara and turn the heat down to low. Let this bubble away. Add the penne to the boiling water and cook until al dente, depends on the type you use but I use the Barilla Plus and it takes about 11 minutes. You do not want mushy pasta since this will continue to cook in the oven. Combine the ricotta, egg, half of the mozzarella cheese, more basil, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. 

Drain the cooked pasta and return to the large pot. I didn't temper my ricotta mixture because it actually just had half of an egg, so I dumped it into the pasta and stirred thoroughly right away. Stir in half of the meat sauce. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray and fill with the pasta mixture. Spread it out evenly, top with the remaining meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. I like to sprinkle basil on before it bakes and then after, but that's up to you. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Serve with a big fresh salad and enjoy!

Per serving: 300 calories, 22 grams net carbs, 17 grams of protein, and 15 grams of fat.

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