Twinks Gets Fit...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Baked Ziti

Prep Time: 20 Minutes (It takes me longer when I first try a recipe)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 55 Minutes
Servings: 8-10 (minimum. With this recipe, I had enough for dinner that night and 4 freezer meals.)


2 pounds of uncooked ziti, rigatoni or penne rigata
1 pound Italian sausage, chopped1 pound ground beef1 package mushrooms, diced1 tsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, diced
2-3 tbsp garlic, minced
One 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes in purée
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 egg whites
One 15-oz container part-skim Ricotta cheese
2/3 cup of part-skim Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese2 tsp Italian seasoning


1. Prepare pasta according to package directions to al dente. (Still slightly firm so it doesn't get mushy when you bake it) If eating now, preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. While pasta is cooking, warm the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, zucchini and garlic. (I used our food processor to chop everything.) Cover the pan and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes, making sure not to brown the garlic.
3. Add in the tomatoes, 2 tsp Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer an additional 5 minutes.
4. Add the pasta to the mixture and combine well.
5. Blend together the egg whites, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and Ricotta cheese until smooth.
6. Add the Ricotta cheese blend to the pasta/sauce mixture in dollops and mix in slightly. (You don't want the Ricotta to disappear, but you do want it to be blended in.)
7. Cook for 30 minutes. Top with the Parmesan and Mozzerella and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through.

FREEZER Instructions:

I use foil pans from Dollar Tree. (You can get 2 or 3 packs). Put each in gallon sized freezer bag. Freeze for up to two months.

Last Minute Preparation:

Thaw overnight and heat at 350 degrees until hot through. (About 30-45 minutes)

This was a really good recipe. I had modified the recipe from vegetables only to include ground beef and italian sausage, which I recommend. It added a lot to the dish. I liked the fact that we got a good helping of veggies without being overpowered by it. They're kind of hidden in the dish. The other thing I did differently was I used less tomatoes and added some tomato sauce to compensate. I think with the right amount of tomatoes (in puree), it would be even better!

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