Saturday, October 18, 2008

Baked Ziti Casserole

This is a recipe for baked ziti that I have adapted from one I found in Cooking Light Magazine. It was delicious! Recipe makes 4 1-cup servings.

6 oz. uncooked ziti (short tube shaped pasta)
2 cups basic marinara sauce
1 cup shredded part-skim mozarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Asagio cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 1/3 cups Morningstar Farms griller crumbles (or 6 oz. ground turkey breast for you carnivores)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat, drain. I make my own basic marinara sauce by mixing together 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce and 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, adding whatever seasonings I like (such as basil, oregano, minced garlic, crushed red pepper) and simmering in a saucepan over medium/low heat for about 30 minutes. This results in a sauce with fewer calories than any canned marinara I have been able to find (about 35 calories per 1/2 cup).
  • Combine pasta, marinara sauce, 1/2 cup mozarella, 2 tbs Asagio, salt, pepper sauce and griller crumbles (or turkey) in a large bowl. Spoon into an 8 inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 tbs Asagio. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
  • This is a very forgiving recipe and easy to adapt for your needs. For example, if you don't like meat substitutes you could used chopped mushrooms. Portabellos would add a nice meaty texture and reduce the calories even more. I forgot to buy Asagio cheese, so I used the same amount of mozzarella to replace it. Its also not necessary to thaw the griller crumbles, or brown the turkey before mixing it with the other ingredients. Both will cook thoroughly as it bakes. You can also easily double it to feed a larger crowd, just bake in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish for 35 minutes. As I prepared the recipe (with griller crumbles and my own sauce) it is about 345 calories per 1 cup serving.

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