Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Baked Ziti... for the freezer!

This is one of the recipes that I put together for the freezer. Like most of my cooking, it started off as a recipe I found somewhere... but by the time I was finished with my adjustments, it was all my own... :oP

1 lb Ground Beef
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups spaghetti sauce (whatever you like)
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsely (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 cup mozzerella cheese, grated
8 oz ziti pasta (I used penne though)

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Prepare pasta according to package directions, to Al Dente... Do Not Overcook! The pasta will go into the oven after it's boiled, so you don't want it to turn to mush!

In a skillet, saute onion until translucent in a small amount of olive oil (about 3-4 minutes). Add garlic, and saute for a couple more minutes, being careful not to burn it! Add ground beef and italian seasoning and cook through. Once meat is no longer pink, add spaghetti sauce and spinach. Allow to heat up... about 3 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together cottage cheese, parmesan, egg, garlic powder, and parsely. Add cooked and drained pasta and mix.

In your prepared pan, put about 1/3 of your meat sauce mix down on the bottom. Next, layer in the pasta/cheese mixture. All of it. :oP Then the rest of the meat sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. I normally put my pan a cookie sheet so that it won't bubble over into my oven. After the 30 minutes is up, remove the foil, add the mozzerella, and bake uncovered for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese is all melted!

If would rather freeze this meal for later, just assemble, but don't bake! You can add the mozzerella now, but when you defrost and reheat, bake covered and then uncover for the cheese to brown a bit. :o)

Bon Appetit!

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