Monday, October 11, 2010

Baked Ziti - The Easy/Lazy Way

Happy Monday everybody!

I understand that most people do not get overly excited about Mondays. Back to work, back to school, back to another long week of coming up with meals that will please your whole family.

I may not be able to help you out of work or school, but here is a suggestion for a easy and delicious meal that will easily feed your family for two or more nights. These leftovers are even better on day two, or three.

The centerpiece of the recipe is cheese. Need I say more?

Here's my take on baked ziti:

Easy Threesy Cheesy Ziti

1 box of Hill Country Fare penne noodles
2 jars of prepared Hill Country Fare meat spaghetti sauce
2 large eggs
6 cups of Hill Country Fare shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 small package of ricotta cheese
1 lb. of ground beef
1 tbsp. McCormick Italian seasoning
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Heat a large pot of water adding 1/4 cup of salt. Add the noodles when the water begins to boil. Cook 6 minutes or until the noodles are cooked but still slightly firm. (They will continue cooking in the oven.)

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large saucepan, adding a dash of salt and pepper to the meat.

After the noodles and meat are cooked and cooled slightly, mix together these ingredients in a large bowl: Cooked noodles, browned ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 jar of sauce, 4 cups of mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, all of the ricotta cheese, a generous amount of salt, a few shakes of pepper, and the Italian seasoning. (Make sure the noodles and beef are cool or you will scramble the eggs while mixing.)

In a 9 x 13 pan**, pour one half of the other jar of Hill Country Fair spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then pour in the ziti mixture and smooth level. If you have too much for one pan, you can put some into another cooking pan, like an 8x8 pan, just make sure to take the smaller pan out sooner.

Pour the rest of the sauce evenly over the top of the ziti mixture and then sprinkle the other 2 cups of mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 375∘ oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes, watching to make sure the cheese doesn't burn (depends on the oven).

Cool for a few minutes, unfasten your pants, and then dig in!!!

*This recipe can be frozen and reheated on a busy weekday night.

**To make things even easier, while buying ingrediants at H.E.B., pick up a large disposable foil roasting pan. The entire amount of ziti will fit and when you're done, just throw it away!