"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Baked Ziti (For Dinner or For the Freezer...)

This is one of those dinners that I love for multiple reasons.

It's quick and easy to put together.

You can make it ahead of time, stick it in the fridge, and pop it in the oven at dinnertime.

It is GOOD left over for lunches or future dinners.

It freezes VERY well.

It is ideal to take to someone if you are bringing them dinner.

.....have I convinced you to try it?

Here's what you need:
1 lb tube-shaped pasta (I used penne)
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
2- 26 oz jars pasta sauce
2 cups shredded cheese, mozzarella, monterey jack (what I used) or provolone
1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used light)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook up the pasta, drain. While it's cooking, brown the ground meat and onion in a large saucepan, drain, and add the pasta sauce. Simmer until the pasta is done, or about 10 minutes.

Grate the cheese. Or buy already grated cheese. (But just so you know, already grated cheese is a rip-off)

Oh, except this Parmesan cheese, it's the same price as the block of Parmesan,

Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam. I used a disposable pan, because I was taking this to someone else for dinner. If I was going to freeze the baked ziti, I would also use a disposable pan, just so I'm not putting one of my regular pans out of commission. 

Put half the pasta in the pan, then half the shredded jack cheese, spread all of the sour cream over that, then add half the sauce:

Then put the other half of the pasta, the other half of the jack cheese, and the rest of the sauce. The pan will be full. Mmmmmmmmm.

Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top:

Spray some foil with Pam, then cover the ziti with the foil, Pam side down.

Okay, now you have three options! If you want to freeze this for a later day, let it cool then freeze it! I usually put it in a large Ziploc bag or wrap it in saran wrap before freezing. When you bake this from the freezer, you can either thaw it and bake it for 30-40 minutes at 350, or I have put it directly in the oven from the freezer, and it takes about double the cooking time, same temperature.

Option two is to put the covered pan into the fridge for later that day, then bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes at dinnertime. This option also works for taking this to someone else for a meal! Just add a sticky note with the instructions!

Option three is to bake right after you assemble the pasta. If you do this, bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes. It takes less time because it's already hot. 

This kind of dish is perfect for our current crazy holiday time of year, when your people still want to eat, but you have less time to cook!

I got this recipe from allrecipes.com

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