April 26, 2015,
Do you ever have those days where your brain just seems to be somewhere else? I had one of those recently while I was going to the grocery store. Just a day or two before, Sean and I had decided we were going to try making a big batch of healthy baked ziti for the week, but somehow I’d managed to leave off half the necessary ingredients for the ziti from the grocery list. A senior moment if ever I’ve had one. So the next day after work, I made a second trip to the grocery store for just three ingredients (few yes, but unfortunately very necessary), and I’m glad I did; our healthy baked ziti turned out great.
I’ve had senior moments before: walking into a room and forgetting what I came for, leaving stuff at home I’d meant to take with me, etc., but it seems like lately it happens more. Maybe it’s because I have too much stuff happening during the day that’s filling up my brain and making me forgetful – I don’t know. It’s super annoying though.
As I’ve told you in previous blogs, Sean and I are in the habit of trying to make big, one pot meals that we can get 2-3 servings out of at least, so that we have food to take to work for lunch and we don’t have to cook every night of the week. It would be one thing if one of us worked from home or didn’t work outside of the house, but since we’re both out all day, by the time we get home and decompress, cooking isn’t always at the top of the list of things we want to do.
Last week, Sean was really yearning for another pasta dish similar to one I’d made a few weeks before and when he suggested baked ziti, I said, “Ok,” and we set to devising our own recipe for it. Typical zit is made with ground beef or Italian sausage and loads of cheese. While that stuff is great, it’s not exactly healthy, so I tweaked a few things: leaner ground beef (or ground turkey if you prefer), non-fat Greek yogurt substituted for sour cream and just a little less cheese than normal. Even with these switches though, this healthy baked ziti tasted great.
We definitely think it’s a winner and I think you will too!
Healthy Baked Ziti
Serves: 8 – 10
- 1 lb. ziti pasta
- 1 yellow onion
- 3/4 lb. of lean ground beef (90/10)
- 3/4 lb. of extra lean ground beef (93/7)
- 2 (26 oz.) jars of red pasta sauce (I love DelGrosso Uncle Fred’s Fireworks Sauce)
- 6 oz. of sliced provolone cheese
- 2 (5.3 oz.) non-fat Greek yogurt cups (I like Chobani’s Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt)
- 6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrneheit.
- Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare the ziti according to package directions, however, remove the ziti when it is just done (it will be finished completely baking in the oven). Drain and set aside.
- Chop up the yellow onion.
- Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook it for 3 – 4 minutes until it’s translucent then add the ground beef, paprika, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until the beef is cooked through.
- Put the two cans of pasta sauce into the skillet with the beef and onion, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat after the skillet’s contents have simmered for 15 minutes and add the two containers of Greek yogurt. Stir to combine.
- In the baking dish, layer half the ziti pasta, all the provolone cheese, half of the sauce and meat mixture, the rest of the ziti, 3/4 of the mozzarella cheese, the rest of the meat mixture and sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.