Monday, October 30, 2017

MONDAY RECIPE POST - EASY BAKED ZITI CASSEROLE, WITH THREE CHEESES


We tried this for the first time yesterday - Sunday, October 29th, 2017 - and I found it at The Spruce.  I had made a tomato meat sauce for another meal and wanted to use what I had left over.  We haven't had a pasta dish in a long time, and were looking forward to this Ziti casserole.



Easy Baked Ziti Casserole with Three Cheeses

1 (16 ounce) box of Ziti (or you can use Rigatoni, Penne Pasta, or any pasta that you have in the pantry)
1 (16 ounce) container of Ricotta Cheese
2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt Blend, or to taste (or not if you are watching your salt intake)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 cups of grated Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1 large Egg
3 cups of homemade Spaghetti Sauce (or you can use your favorite from the store)
1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese

Heat the oven to 350 F. (180 C/Gas 4).  

Get all your ingredients measured out and ready to go before you start your recipe.

Coat a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with cooking spray, or lightly grease with butter.  

Cook the Ziti or similar pasta in boiling salted water, following the package instructions.  When cooked drain well.

In a large bowl combine the Ricotta cheese, seasoned salt, garlic powder and half of the Mozzarella cheese.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Add the egg and blend well.

Stir the drained pasta into the cheese mixture and fold in until thoroughly combined.   Transfer to the prepared baking dish.  Pour the meat sauce over all.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.  

After the 45 minutes is up and using oven mitts, carefully take the dish out of the oven and place on a heat proof surface.  With a large spoon evenly sprinkle the remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the Ziti/meat sauce mixture. Put back in the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the Mozzarella cheese has melted.  If the cheese looks a little pale, pop under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown nicely.

Serve the Ziti Casserole with a fresh tossed salad and garlic bread.

Original note from the author.  "This is a great picnic or potluck dish.  It can be made in advance and freezes well".

Also:

"With Meat Sauce: in a skillet over medium heat, saute 1 pound of lean ground beef in a few teaspoons of olive oil, until beef is no longer pink.  Add the spaghetti sauce to the browned beef and pour over the Ziti before baking.  If desired, saute about 1/2 cup of chopped onion with the ground beef.

With onion and Peppers: in a large skillet over medium heat, saute 1 cup of chopped onion and 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper until the onion is translucent and the bell pepper is tender.  Add the mixture to the Ziti with the cheeses."

I made my spaghetti sauce by cooking a chopped onion with the beef on medium-high, until the onions were soft and the beef no longer pink.  I added two large cans of whole plum tomatoes with their juice, breaking up the tomatoes, and also added about three tablespoons of tomato paste.  Next a sprinkling of dried herbs; oregano, parsley and basil.  I also added a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar to take the acidity out of the tomatoes.



What did we think of this meal?  Very tasty!  We had leftovers, so will freeze the rest for another non-fuss-in-the-kitchen day.  



I didn't have salad greens as such, but I made a vegetable plate of crudites, slicing a yellow sweet pepper into julienne-style, cherry tomatoes halves, sliced radishes and a few  already pitted Kalamata Olives.  They complimented the meal nicely.

Gregg suggested, and I thought it was a very good idea, adding a couple of ounces of Blue Cheese to the cheese mixture.  We will try that next time as we both enjoy Blue Cheese.






"All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried."

~Donald Miller~


On the home front it is a very damp, drizzly day.  Looking out the back window it seemed very wintry and the temperatures are dropping.  In the 40s (F) tonight (4 deg. C), and certainly a good day for comfort food.  It rained hard last night and there is a layer of leaves on our deck.

Our son is coming over tomorrow for a few hours.  That always puts a big smile on our faces.

Had a lovely chat with brother-in-law in Germany on Facetime.  I have also been texting with my niece over there, and will be on Facetime with her soon.  I miss them being so far away but am very thankful that we have this super technology.

Nothing more really.  We have been very quiet since our vacation in North Carolina.  Sniffles, cough and sore throat are over and I am no longer a contagion.  I am looking forward to getting out more these next few days.

While I was a bit housebound I watched an old British series on Acorn TV called Tommy and Tuppence.  The time frame is just after World War I.  It was made in the early 80s but is a classic and the fashions are wonderful.

That's about it.  Thank you for coming in and leaving your lovely comments, and I wish you all a very happy, healthy week.



42 comments:

  1. That does sound good - and the blue cheese would really boost the flavour.
    I am glad to hear you are no longer on the sick list.

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  2. You have a large and beautiful deck!!! And your food looks so yummy and beautiful.

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    1. Thanks Ginny, wish I could give you some.

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  3. Your ziti casserole looks mouth watering good! We love baked pasta dishes--thye are so filling and satisfying. I like British series. One of our favorites was "Doc Martin" and we also like "Midsommer Murders." I hope you are feeling back to 100%!

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    1. Thanks Pat, and I enjoy those British shows too.

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  4. The good looks amazing... wish I had someone to cook for. When I see the pictures of your food I go into a 'shall I, shan't I' mood.

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    1. Hi Valerie, this is a good recipe to freeze in single portions. Glad you like the look of this dish.

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  5. Hello Denise, your baked Ziti look delicious. I am sure you enjoy having your son visit. I am glad you are feeling better. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

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    1. Thank you Francisco, a hug and a good week to you too.

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  7. oh yum oh yum on the ziti. I do love pasta of any kind. we have that many leaves on our pool deck, not usually but the screwed up weather has more leaves than we can handle this year...

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    1. The weather is playing havoc this year. Hope things calm down for everyone.

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  8. Sounds good to me. Glad that you are both feeling better now. Enjoy having your son there. Take care Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane and you take care too.

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  9. The Ziti casserole looks delicious. Just right for a cold day. We had temps in the 30's here in north Florida last night. I love it!

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    1. Thank you :) I never think of Florida getting that cold Lois. Is that unusual for this time of year?

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  10. It would be nice if I could come over to share your meal! Looks so yummy!

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    1. Thank you Nancy, and you would be very welcome :)

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  11. Beautiful leaf strewn deck! We have been having comfort food too. Glad you feel better. Jackie

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    1. Hi Jacqueline, so good to hear from you. Thank you and yes we love our comfort food. Hope all is going well with you and enjoy the rest of your week.

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  12. looks delicious, can't go wrong with cheese!

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  13. Wonderful recipe -- perfect for Fall weather here in Oregon and for potluck suppers (we have a lot of them) when we're in Florida.

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    1. Thanks Sallie, a potluck sounds good :)

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  14. Hi Denise, real glad you're feeling much better.
    Thanks for the recipe - it sounds so yummy. A good one for visitors in that it freezes well, appreciate the extra tips.
    Love the photo of your deck and the quote.
    Always lovely to get together with family... precious times :D)
    I too love British shows. I haven't seen (yet) the one you mentioned, however my alltime favourite is Jam and Jerusalum - a drama/comedy series written by Jennifer Saunders... it has me teary from all emotions!
    Cheers to you and lovely to catch up again xx

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    1. Hi Sue, lovely to see you here and thank you, we had a lovely time with our son today. We gave him some of this dish. It was even better the day after and he gave it a big thumbs up :) I haven’t heard of the show you mentioned but I will definitely look out for it now. Cheers and a hug from me xx

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  15. I really likes your blog! You have shared the whole concept really well and very beautifully soulful read!
    Thanks for sharing
    ผลบอลเมื่อคืน

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    1. Thank you Piseth San and you are very welcome.

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  16. HI Denise,
    I must admit to not liking this time of the year, the thoughts of whats coming ???. You do appear to have had a summer, we had a few weeks early on but has been very disappointing.
    All the best, John

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    1. I can understand John. We usually have a very hot and humid summer, so that when the cooler weather arrives it is a relief. I have always loved the Fall here and that is one of the reasons I do. Hope your summer is better next year. All the best to you too :)

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  17. I have t made baked ziti in a long time. Your ziti looks delicious.

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    1. Hi Linda, it had been a while for us too and we enjoyed it very much.

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  18. It’s also been awhile since we’ve enjiyed baked ziti, Denise. It’s a great comfort meal and works well with inviting folks for dinner and leftovers are even better! I have been enjiying Acirn TV for several years, but haven’t see the shiw you mentioned here. I am quite fond of the British, Canadian, Australian detective and mystery programs.

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    1. Hi Dorothy, it is a dish I will enjoy again. Everyone seems to like this kind of dish. Great for company. I think maybe Tommy and Tuppence is new to Acorn.

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  19. Love the look of your vegetable plate, lovely colours!
    So pleased to read that you are feeling much better, I'm sure you had a great visit with your son, it's always nice to spend time with family.

    All the best Jan

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    1. I loved the colors too. And thank you Jan and yes it was a lovely visit.

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