Tag Archives: pasta dishes

Z’s Baked Ziti {your recipes}


On our first night in the suburbs, our dear friends, Mark and Emi, invited us over for dinner.  Mark had spent the afternoon making Baked Ziti, one of my all-time favorite dishes.

Because I love Mark and Emi … and because I love me some Baked Ziti, I asked him if I could include his recipe as part of my Your Recipes series. He kindly obliged.
Now without further adieu, here is Z’s Ziti. { Did I forget to mention that we’re calling it Z’s Ziti? Because we are. So make sure for all future reference this ziti will be forever known as Z’s Ziti. Oh just go with it people. }


1 box ziti
1 jar Newman’s Own Sockarooni
1 jar 5 cheese (Alfredo) sauce
1, 8 0z pkg shredded mozarella
1, 8oz pkg ricotta
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1 lb ground sirloin, chuck, beef (whatever you can easily find at the store)
2 red peppers, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
ground pepper

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Defrost the spinach
Sautee the onion and red peppers in butter or olive oil and season to taste.
Brown the sirloin in a larger pan and also season to taste
Once the meat in browned, mix in the peppers and onions
Use 3/4 jar of each sauce and mix it in with the meat/peppers/onions and bring to boil. Mix often
Simmer that mixture for 20 minutes and still mix often

While that is simmering, boil 3/4 package of the ziti. When finished, drain

In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, some ground pepper, 3/4 package of the spinach, and 1/2 package of the mozzarella cheese

When the mixture is done simmering, use a very large bowl and mix the ziti with the meat sauce

In a baking pan, use 1/2 of the meat/pasta mixture and spread it across the bottom of the pan
Use all of the ricotta cheese mixture and spread it over the meat/pasta mixture
Use the remaining meat/pasta mixture and spread it over the ricotta cheese mixture
Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top

Bake at 350 for 1 hour

And as always, have a seat and enjoy.



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A food recap

It’s a good thing I’m not on a diet because this weekend would have brought me to my knees. Friends, it got ugly. Really, really ugly. Let’s recap, shall we?

Friday, as you may remember, I ate nachos.  But that wasn’t enough apparently, because I followed up the nachos by making these.  I’ll tell you all about those later though.  And the husband and I rounded out the day with dinner at a local deli and pub.

Saturday makes Friday look tame by comparison. Kids, this one’s a doozy. 

We started off the day at Chick-Fil-A
my saturday morning ritual 15/365

Then I lunched with some friends at a wedding shower. For dinner, Ash and I went back out to eat.  This time it was pizza. Oh and did I mention the cherry on top?  Yeah, the cherry on top of the Chick-Fil-A milkshake I had for dessert.

This morning, ugh, this morning we polished off cinnamon raisin biscuits and scrambled eggs.  Lunch was nothing but Friday night’s dinner reheated.  Dinner will be spaghetti and meatballs.

That’s right kids.  I’m a foodaholic. It’s nice to meet you.

So now, now I’m going to jog in place for the next 45 minutes.  Then I’m going to follow that up with 100 sit-ups.  Then 100 push-ups.I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thinking it’s time I started to eat some of these…
apples at farmer's mkt_edited-1

and these…
cherries edited2

and maybe even some of these…

Who’s up for me posting the occasional healthy recipe?

All in favor, say aye.


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A dinner challenge

It used to be that I was the queen of the weekly dinner menu. Every Sunday I’d cozy up to my cookbooks, put pen to paper, and plan out a week’s worth of meals.

That’s what I used to do.

Now I’ve become what I hate most… the procastinating cook.

So tonight, after getting home at 630p from work, walking the dogs, and settling in, I realized I still hadn’t planned dinner.

The dinner challenge had been set.

I opened the pantry, the freezer, and the fridge.
I had a can of cream of mushroom soup.
No Yoke noodles (ha! I just got that! Get it? No Joke? No Yoke? Okay, never mind.)
Chicken breasts
Shredded colby jack cheese.

And before I knew it, dinner was served.

dinner is served

To make you’ll need:
two chicken breasts, cooked
1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup no yoke noodles

Boil noodles until cooked through. Meanwhile, mix cheese and soup together.
Place cooked noodles in a small casserole dish, top with chicken. Pour soup/cheese mix on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Have a seat and enjoy.


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More Meatballs?

I made meatballs last night.
Remember how I am obsessed with pasta? Well, I’m obsessed with meatballs too.
And although I’ve already posted one recipe here for meatballs, I found another one last night by Martha Stewart.

First thing you should know is that I don’t have the ingredients Martha keeps on hand. I’m more of a Sandra Lee type cook, not a Martha Stewart type cook. I like to keep things nice and simple. And let’s be honest, Martha Stewart doesn’t fall into the “simple” category.

Here’s what you’ll need:
3/4 cups breadcrumbs (make it easy on yourself and just get Italian breadcrumbs)
6 tbsp milk
3/4 cup olive oil
minced garlic (I’m lazy and use the kind in the jar)
diced onion (your call here…depending on how much you like or dislike onions)
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3 large eggs (2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk)
Italian Herbs
ground pepper, coarse salt
1 cup grated parmesan

To make:
Preheat oven to 350. Place breadcrumbs in a bowl and drizzle with the milk. Set aside, let stand.
Heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and garlic. Saute 3 minutes. Set aside
Place meat in mixing bowl. Add crumb mix, onions, garlic, eggs, seasoning, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix together well. Make into balls. Keep your hands wet to help keep the meatballs moist. Yes, I said it. Set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, add meatballs, browning on all sides, about 5 minutes.
To finish, you can either let them cook in the sauce or you can transfer to a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

And yes, this is the simplified version.
Scary, huh?




Oh and if you’re wondering, these make for incredible meatball subs. Not that I would know anything about that (says the girl with pasta sauce on her white shirt).


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what am i thinking?

Tonight, I’m going to attempt to make stuffed pasta shells
I’m not going to lie, I’m scared.

This could go horribly
terribly wrong.

Now if you’ll all say a quick prayer….


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chicken divan

Alright kids, this one’s an easy one. And because I’m really only doing cooking for two, this recipe can be increased.

You’ll need:
2 chicken breasts
1 package frozen broccoli
1 can cream of broccoli cheese soup
1/3 cup milk
1/2 package cheese blend (or you can go with cheddar)
1/2 package egg noodles *optional*

To make:
Boil egg noodles until al dente. Boil broccoli for about 5 minutes. Cook chicken over medium high heat until browned on both sides. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

After you’ve finished cooking the broccoli, chicken, and noodles, mix the can of soup with 1/3 cup of milk.

Layer a shallow baking dish with noodles, then broccoli, then chicken. Pour the soup over the chicken. Top with cheese.
If you want to go a step further, grab some bread crumbs and mix together with melted butter. Sprinkle on top of the dish.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.


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sunday night meal

As it’s Sunday, most people actually enjoy a nice dinner…or supper if you’re from Alabama. So here’s yet ANOTHER lasagna recipe to add to your collection.

This comes courtesy of my new favorite magazine, Food Network Magazine. Please note I’ve actually made a few minor changes as I don’t want zucchini or carrot in my lasagna…and I’m too lazy to make my own sauce.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
1-8oz package mozarella
1-8oz package provolone
6 sheets no-bake lasagna noodles
1 jar marinara
1lb ground beef

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a very large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic, cook until golden, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and brown, then drain. Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, and parmesan in one mixing bowl while combining the mozarella, provolone, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs in another. Layer sauce and meat with just enough of the mixture to cover the bottom of the skillet. Lay 2-3 noodles across the sauce mix. Then cover with more sauce- then ricotta mix – then mozarella/provolone mix. Repeat the layers. Finish it off with a lyer of noodles and remaining sauce. Cover and simmer until the lasagna is cooked through, the noodles are soft, and the cheese has melted, 20-25 minutes.

Let rest for a few minutes before slicing. Garnish with remaining parmesan and fresh herbs.


Have plenty left over for tomorrow’s lunch. Trust me, I think it’s actually better the second time around.


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