Monday, December 27, 2010

Baked Ziti

Here’s another easy weeknight meal that can be made partially in advance, if you like to prep some of the food over the weekend. I don’t typically plan that well, so it’s also easy to make with little to no planning at all! My kids were all over this…which makes it a WIN in my recipe book!!

Baked Ziti
1 pound dry ziti pasta (you can use any type of pasta)
1 onion, chopped (I only did half an onion)
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars of spaghetti sauce
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 ½ cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.

2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes. (I added a pat of butter to sauté the onion a little before adding the meat.)

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: ½ of the pasta, Provolone cheese, sour cream, ½ sauce mixture, remaining pasta, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake for 30 minutes in the over, or until cheeses are melted.

(Recipe/Image found here)

We normally make our own sauce, so if you do that, you could easily make the meat/sauce portion of this recipe over the weekend and put it away to use later during the week and cut the prep time for this dish by half.  When I cooked this recipe last week though, I cheated and used store-bought jarred sauce.  Get creative with the flavors that are offered to change the taste of the dish around...I used one jar of HEB brand Four Cheese and one jar of HEB brand Marinara sauce...the combination was tasty. 
Like I said before, this recipe is wonderful! It makes enough for a family of four to eat it twice, and the leftovers were maybe better than the first time we ate it! You know a recipe is good when it’s just as good or better the second time around…


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