Recipe | "Baked Ziti" by Karen

"My picky daughter loves pasta, and would always order Baked Ziti when we ate out at Italian places. I thought it would be a great way to sneak some spinach into her diet. After many trials and errors, this is the recipe that stuck. Everyone loves it and it's super easy to make ahead." - Karen

Ingredient List
  • 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage 
  • 1/2 lb ground beef 
  • 12 oz bag of Ziti or Penne pasta 
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce 
  • 6 oz shredded Italian blend cheese 
  • 15 oz tub of Ricotta cheese 
  • Small bag of frozen spinach 
  • 6 oz shredded Parmesan cheese (NOT the Kraft sprinkle stuff)

Directions

Brown the meat and drain well. Cook the pasta al dente and drain well (water likes to hide in those little things!) You only need half of the spinach: de-freeze it and use towels to drain as much of the water out of it as humanly possible. Save the rest to eat later. Unless you're a spinach fanatic, then go wild and use the whole thing. Set aside a little less than 1/4 of the Italian blend and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Mix everything together in a huge bowl. Then transfer it into a casserole dish.

I like to put this all together the night or weekend before, then it's easy to put in the oven when I get home (or have the kids do it when they get home). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 mins. Put all the rest of the cheese on the top on bake for about 15 more minutes.

This makes a TON of food, so it's easy for a large family, a get together, or you can put into 2 smaller casseroles and cook 1/2 now and freeze 1/2 for later.

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