Sunday, January 30, 2011

Baked Ziti

I would like to share a little pearl of wisdom with you today. I don't have many of these but this is one I feel strongly about. 

Ground turkey. I usually find it to be healthier than ground beef and changes very little with recipes. Ground turkey does tend to be less flavorful than ground beef and slightly drier. However, I use it for tacos, spaghetti, taco soup etc. and I have never noticed a difference. 

Anywhere where I can substitute I do. Especially because when I go out for those same aforementioned meals it is usually ground beef (especially burgers).

So just a little suggestion from me to you: use ground turkey in place of ground beef when you can!

We buy ours at Costco and freeze it so we always have it for tacos and what not when we want it, but you can also buy it at your local grocery store (Jenni-O, Butterball, Honeysuckle)

Anyways. I feel like this is pretty self explanatory even though I took pictures for each step. 

 Brown ground turkey with some Italian seasoning and minced garlic.

 Cook pasta for around 10 minutes or according to package.
 Spray 9 by 13 pan with cooking spray.
 Layer 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan.
 Layer some turkey on top of sauce.
 Run pasta under cold water and rinse.
 Mix together ricotta cheese, red pepper, 3 tablespoons Parmesan and 1/3 cup marinara sauce.

 Layer half the pasta.

 Layer the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta.
 Cover with half of remaining sauce and remaining turkey.
 Cover with other half of pasta.
 Cover with remaining sauce. Don't be stingy! If you think it needs more, do it! 
I felt like my batch was slightly dry and slightly underseasoned so add a little more than you think you will need!
 Cover with mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese.
 Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until browned.

 Serve with a nice green salad. Enjoy!

Baked Ziti
adapted from Weight Watchers Online

Ingredients


3 spray(s) cooking spray   
1 pound(s) uncooked pasta, rigatoni or penne   
3/4 pound(s) part-skim ricotta cheese   
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste   
1/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, divided   
4 cup(s) marinara sauce, store-bought, divided**   
1/2 pound(s) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheeses   
1/4 cup(s) basil, cut into ribbons or Italian seasoning   

      1 pound ground beef or turkey (optional)                  


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat bottom and sides of a lasagna pan with cooking spray.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse with cool water and drain.
  • While pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, red pepper flakes, 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup marinara sauce.
  • To assemble ziti, spoon 1/2 cup sauce on bottom of prepared pan; top with half of pasta in an even layer. Evenly spread pasta with ricotta mixture; cover with half of remaining sauce. Top with remaining pasta and spoon remaining sauce over top; sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining tablespoon Parmesan. Bake until cheese melts and is browned, about 20 to 30 minutes. Allow ziti to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces. Yields 1 piece per serving. 
  • 7 points per serving without meat. 9 points with ground turkey. 


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