The Best Baked Ziti Recipe {Ever!}


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Baked Ziti Recipe

So throughout my entire pregnancy I have been craving meat.

Any meat {except chicken – yuck!} will do! It has been a crazy 9.5 months because before becoming pregnant, I really didn’t eat much meat. But baby wants it & my iron levels have never been better for it!

In these cold, winter months I have been on the hunt for easy to make meals that will not only taste amazing, but include some meat and will also make a ton of servings. I’ve been trying to make a few things here and there to freeze that will be nice to have once baby is here & I don’t feel like cooking.

Planning ahead = awesome!

I have made Baked Ziti before on the blog & shared a very tasty {& spicy} recipe – but this new recipe takes the cake! Even the husband was seriously in love with it, he couldn’t get enough! I was inspired by this recipe online & went from there to make it my own. I seriously want to make 10 of these to stick in my freezer – if I cold eat this ziti everyday for a month, I probably would.

Aside from this ziti being tasty, delicious & full of beef & spicy sausage {yum!} it makes a TON! We had it for dinner one night and had enough leftovers to have it for dinner every night for the rest of the week. Luckily, we were able to show some restraint and put some in the freezer for a rainy day, but it was seriously SO GOOD. It’s a classic recipe with a little bit of a kick! Check out the recipe below & enjoy!

Baked ZitiHow To Make:

1- Heat  2T olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add 1 large, diced onion and 4 cloves garlic to the pot and sauté until soft. Add 3 sliced Hot Italian sausages  {about 1/2 a pound} and 1 lb.  ground beef and cook until browned. Drain fat.
2- While meat is cooking, cook 16 oz. ziti until al dente. When it is finished drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking.
3- To the meat pot – add 2 {15 oz.} cans of petite diced tomatoes, 1 {28 oz} can of tomato sauce {I used Wegman’s Grandpa’s Sauce}, salt & pepper to taste, 2 tsp. Emeril’s Original Essence seasoning {or Italian seasoning} and 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove 3-4 cups of the sauce & set aside to cool.
4-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, mix together 15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese, 2 cups of grated mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1 egg, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir together (do not mix completely). Pour pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine. Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
5- Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the cooled sauce over the top, then top with half the 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
6- Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Do you have an awesome Ziti recipe you love?! 
Please share!
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  • Reply Juliet January 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    You used to reference going back to school for nutrition. What happened with that?

    • Reply Leslie January 17, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Hey Juliet,
      I took most of the pre-reqs for going back to school but then had an unexpected job opportunity fall into my lap that I didn’t want to miss out on, so I did that for a few years. Now I am going to be taking some time off to stay at home with our little guy and go from there. I would still love to go back to school for nutrition, but not sure it makes sense for our life right now – it’s still a possibility for the future as its still a passion of mine for sure. Let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂

  • Reply Patty O January 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Wow – that is a really easy recipe and looks delish!

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