Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easy Baked Ziti

Tonight we had Easy Baked Ziti with Baked Meatballs. Remember, I go for the easy way, not so much how everyone else might make their baked ziti. I mix mostly everything in one bowl and then dump in the baking dish. I guess it could be called One Bowl Baked Ziti! Miss Picky likes it, and she doesn't eat cheese most of the time, so who am I to argue? It was her pick what to have for dinner tonight. I thought I'd be nice, vacation is over and we're getting back to routine. Six in the morning wake -up! Welcome to Monday! It's been a nice week while it lasted.

and my friend Kathleen, of Cuisine Kathleen, I know how much you love dogs, by the way, my dog Chip has very good table manners! He's just looking!

You can make your own sauce, or just buy a jar, we like Prego, Victoria brand or Rao's Marinara or you can even make your own jarred Rao's sauce, like from the Rao's Cookbook. All good.

A nice dessert to end the meal is Zabaglione with fresh fruit. I didn't make it, but it's still a nice dessert! We went out for Italian ices. Also a nice way to end a meal!

Easy Baked Ziti
adapted from the millions of recipes out there
Printable Recipe

Marinara sauce
Ricotta cheese (more or less depending on how cheesy you like it!)
Mozzarella cheese (I used shredded. Use whatever you like.)
One large egg (I like it with the egg, I know some who don't use it.)
Grated parmesan cheese or parmigiano-reggiano
1 pound box Ziti pasta, cooked al dente and drained

Take a big mixing bowl, add the egg with a small container of ricotta, use a larger container of ricotta if you like, but then add another egg if you like. Mix some grated cheese in to the ricotta and egg and then mix the ziti noodles in to the cheese mixture. Coat the bottom of a large baking dish (9×13 dish) with some marinara. Put some of the ziti cheese mix on top. Sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella, then a little more of the sauce to cover. Another layer of the noodles, some more sauce, then layer the top with the rest of the mozzarella.Cover with sauce lightly and some thin slices mozzarella. Pile the rest of the ziti mixture on top of that layer. Bake at 350 until cheese has melted, bubbly and lightly beginning to brown.

I never baked my meatballs before, but it sounded like a good idea. this one got great reviews over at the cooking forum. O f course I never follow exactly, and somewhere along the way I got distracted, so there is no onion in mine. No veal or pork. I forgot to add it to the list. and I decided to be nice to Larry and not send him out for the third time today! The guy at the grocery knows he'll see him at least two more times after the first list! If they had a cell phone signal in the front of the store it might save a couple trips. but I doubt it. I didn't read the whole recipe and used eggs, not just the yolks. I used white bread soaked in the milk, instead of bread crumbs. I guess same difference, it squishes very well! I didn't roll them in bread crumbs, I threw them in a pot of sauce to simmer for a while.
Baked Meatballs
recipe from Marilyn (DanaIN - Cooking Forum)
Printable Recipe

3/4 + 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup heavy cream (or milk)
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal or pork
1 onion; minced
2 cloves garlic: crushed or minced
1 teaspoon each; oregano, basil, parsley
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks

Combine 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs with milk; let set for five minutes. Stir together onion, garlic, oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, egg yolks and bread soaked in milk. Fold in meats and shape into 1/4-cup balls and roll in remaining bread crumbs. Place a rack inside a baking dish sprayed with Pam leaving a little space between each meatball. Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 425° until they reach an internal temperature of 160°. Do not over bake. Makes about 20 meatballs. These are very tender and juicy.
These are also good simmered in sauce after baking. If desired, omit bread crumbs on the outside.

by Tyler Florence

4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
8 long-stemmed strawberries
Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a metal or glass heat-resistant bowl and whisk until foamy. Set the bowl over the simmering water, without letting the bottom touch the water, and continue to whisk constantly. Gradually pour in the Marsala while continuing to beat - don't let it boil. Keep working-out that arm and whisk vigorously for a good 5 minutes, until the custard has doubled in volume and is very thick and yellow.
Spoon the zabaglione into dessert bowls and serve with fresh strawberries.

It was a nice day, we all sat down together, and we ate early. That doesn't always happen these days! I'm ready to face the week!


  1. I can just see Chip at Kathleen's table...that shot is so funny!

    Great looking meal, I have never had baked zita I bet it is a comfort food on cold days.

  2. All good things must come to an end, at least that's what I've heard but I don't believe it - not one bit! Great finale to your vacation, Carol :)

    That first shot is a hoot!

  3. Ha... Chip knows good food when he sees it! It does look delicious, Carol! Sorry vacation is over, back to routine.

  4. I think this would go over big at my house. I should try it some night. Looks great!! I love Chip peeking over. Good boy! I need to try the zabaglione. I've never had it but I have Marsala that I hope is still good that needs using up.

  5. OY! To Chip..
    Step AWAY from the food....doggie breath on the meatballs, not good..:)
    I don't mind other people's dogs, just not near the food..yuck

    I bake my meatballs when I am making lots of them, but I do use onion and bread crumbs..
    The meal looks delicious..I like Baked Ziti and I use egg too.

    Marsha, never ever had Baked Ziti??
    You are missing something good..
    Have a good week Carol..
    don't go barking up the wrong tree...

  6. Carol, I would love your entire menu! But Joe would skip the dessert. Nothing custardy or creamy for him :-) Chip is being so good, even though Kathleen doesn't think so.

  7. Carol, I'm sure Chip does have good manners.

    How cute he is peering over the edge of the table. I doubt that he would refuse a meatball if it were offered to him OR it happen to fall off the table.

    What a sweet mom to give MIss Picky her choice of dinner.

    Have you have a good week.

  8. Oh Kathleen - you have no idea how nice doggy breath really is :) Chip looks like a perfect gentlemen to me.

    Your dinner looks just great, Dishes! I often make Marilyn's meatballs and I love them right out of the oven, hot and really crispy. I have used panko on the outside to really crisp them up - I used to call Marilyn the crispy queen, for a while it seemed like everything she was making was crispy, we had some smiles over that. I make a lot of her recipes.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation!

  9. Annie, somehow Chips breath might curl Kathleen's toes sometimes, LOL! I was going to roll them in crumbs but wasn't sure if it'd be good in the sauce. Excellent straight from the oven, should've done some with the crumbs!

    Cynthia, Chip has nice manners, he's a good boy. If it was my other pup, those meatballs would have been history. Kathleen, Chip wouldn't bother you when you come for lunch. He's good.

    Marsha, you never had it? It's totally comfort food around here!

    It was a great finale, Susan! Now today I'm tired, no cooking :) Back to normal?

    Debbie, we skipped dessert too and ended up with water ice :)

    Jayne, it was actually nice to get back to the routine today. Even with the rain all day!

    Suzy, I still haven't made that zabaglione but I am craving it since you first mentioned that bottle of Marsala. I just wasn't able to get to it yesterday!

  10. I guess I'm another one who has never had Baked Ziti!! I will try it since everything I see I like about it! Especially the meatballs!!

    Chip's a cutie!! Love the photo...

  11. Cute pic of Chip!

    I stopped frying meatballs after baking 'em for the first time. So much easier ... and better for you!

    Add me to the "never baked ziti" bunch. Looks good!

    Love zabaglione with blueberries ... and of course in tiramisu!

    Annie, I make a lot of Marilyn's recipes too! Miss her sharing!

  12. Pasta baked with cheese and meatballs! You cannot go wrong with that! Nice meal!


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