Thursday, August 2

baked ziti

mmm.... cold leftover pasta

some foods are real winners.  this is one of them because....
1.  it's quick and easy
2.  inexpensive ingredients
3.  i almost always have the ingredients on hand
4.  healthy
     and most importantly...
5.  every single family member, including the picky ones, eat every bite on their plate.  woo-hoo!

the picture makes it look gross, i know!  but trust me it's good, or trust my kids who love it.   now THAT'S saying something.

baked ziti (or penne, or rotini, or elbows)

2 T olive oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15 (oz) crushed tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1/4 tsp salt
a couple of twists of fresh cracked pepper
1/2 c fresh basil (don't go trying to sub in dried for this, it's just not the same)
16 ox box of ziti, cooked-or whatever shaped pasta you have on hand.  i prefer to use the wheat pasta and even though the boxes are smaller in weight i just use the one box anyways.
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1/4 c parmesan

saute onion in oil over medium to soften.  add garlic and cook for one minute.  stir in next 5 ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.  add basil.

combine ziti and sauce and pour in a 11x7 casserole dish.  sprinkle with cheeses.  bake 20-25 minutes at 375.    sometimes i add in some spicy italian sausage if i'm feeling crazy, you'd need to upsize your baking dish to a 13x9 if you do.

it freezes well and tastes great as leftovers.  when i'm making the sauce it's super easy to throw in some steamed, blended vegetables to boost the nutritional value too.  i try to keep some on hand in the freezer.  i cook the vegetables and freeze them in ice cube trays so i can easily sneak them in.


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