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  1. Tuesday, February 26

    Lasagna-Baked Ziti

    Growing up in New Jersey, I was surrounded by Italians. Literally surrounded. Three Catholic churches in our small town, 4 or 5 Italian restaurants in a 1/4-mile distance (keep in mind, there is just one traffic light downtown!) and last names like Pagnani and Martorana galore! Living around so many Italians meant lots of Italian food at community and school parties, specifically baked ziti. Baked ziti is to New Jersey as funeral potatoes are to Utah.

    easy and delicious lasagna-baked ziti from @janemaynard

    Needless to say, I ate some really delicious baked ziti growing up. Which makes it all the more disappointing that almost every time I’ve tried to make it, it just isn’t up to snuff. Well, I tried a recipe from my Real Simple | Best Recipes cookbook and I’ve finally found my winning ziti recipe! Woohoo! Move over, Italian mamas from New Jersey.

    In case you are wondering, the recipe is also really easy to make. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Lasagna-Baked Ziti
     
    From Real Simple | Best Recipes with my notes
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 12 ounces ziti, cooked to package directions (for some reason my grocery store did not have ziti, so I used penne)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • ⅓ onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pushed through garlic press
    • ½ pound lean ground beef or italian sausage
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 26-ounce jar marinara sauce (I had a bunch of No-Cook Pizza Sauce left over and that made up the bulk of my sauce, with some leftover jarred sauce to make up the difference. The sauce was delicious!)
    • 1 bunch or 1 small bag spinach, thick stems removed (about 4 cups)
    • ½ cup ricotta cheese
    • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I did more than 1 cup…probably about 1½ or so)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Drain cooked pasta and add it back to the pot.
    3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook onion until soft and clear (4-5 minutes), then add garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Add the beef, ¾ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up the meat, until the meat is cooked through.
    4. Pour meat mixture into large pot of drained pasta. Add sauce, spinach, ricotta and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake until ziti is hot all the way through and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

     


  2. Thursday, October 20

    Deeeeelicious Lasagna Recipe

    One of the meals that was brought to us recently was a lasagna made by my friend Michele. I think lasagna is a great meal to take to people who have just had a baby. You can cook it in a disposable container, it can easily be made with or without meat depending on the family, and it makes a ton of food. We received a lasagna when we had Cate years ago and ended up wrapping individual servings for the freezer, leaving us with several meals that we could spread out over time. Of course, that’s what I did this time around as well. It’s so helpful!

    And when the lasagna is AWESOME it’s even better. Michele used a recipe from Ina Garten, who we all know will never let you down! If you’re looking for a good lasagna recipe, this is it.

    Deeeeelicious Lasagna Recipe
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pasta
    Ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1½ pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
    • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
    • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
    • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ½ pound lasagna noodles
    • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
    • 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
    • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus ¼ cup for sprinkling
    • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
    Instructions
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1½ teaspoons of the salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
    3. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
    5. Ladle ⅓ of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one ⅓ of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

     


  3. Wednesday, January 31

    Real Simple Lasagna

    Real Simple Lasagna
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    The original recipe is from Real Simple magazine, but it really is ‘real simple’!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pasta
    Ingredients
    • 1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
    • 1 18-ounce bag frozen large cheese ravioli, unthawed
    • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry OR 1 small package fresh spinach, chopped and sauteed until wilted
    • Optional: Pancetta and/or roasted veggies
    • 1 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella
    • ½ cup (about 2 ounces) grated Parmesan
    Instructions
    1. Heat oven to 350° F.
    2. Spread ⅓ of the sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer 12 ravioli on top of the sauce.
    3. Lay the spinach (and pancetta and/or roasted veggies if using) and half the mozzarella on top of the ravioli.
    4. Add another layer of ravioli then top with the remaining sauce, the rest of the mozzarella, and the Parmesan cheese.
    5. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover 5-10 more minutes, until bubbly.