Saturday, September 20, 2014

Baked Ziti - Freezer Meal

Found this recipe on Pinterest while looking for meals that I could make quickly for us and for my brother and sister-in-law who had just had an adorable baby girl.

My Niece Addie Jo

This dish is seriously the BEST pasta dish I've ever had. It was FULL of flavor. This will be a freezer meal that I will be making every other month now.

Baked Ziti

1 pound dry ziti pasta (or really any kind of pasta would work - I used Penne pasta)
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef (season with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and minced garlic)
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
8 slices provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes; drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 8x8 inch pans with non-stick cooking spray. Layer as follows in each pan: 1/4 of the ziti, 1/4 of the sauce, 4 slices of Provolone cheese, 1/2 of sour cream,  1/4 of ziti, 1/4 mozzarella cheese and 1/4 of sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake covered for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

You can eat one for dinner now and freeze the other for dinner another day! Or you can freeze both. (I made one for us and one for my brother and sister-in-law who just had a baby)

To freeze this meal: Follow the instructions above, except for the last step of cooking it. Cover the assembled ziti with foil and stick in the freezer (I usually use 2-3 layers of foil just to keep out the freezer burn). It will last in the freezer for about 30 days. When you are ready to eat it, remove from the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw 24 hours in advance. By allowing it to thaw in the fridge, you can cook it at the regular time and temperature (350 degrees for about 30 minutes).

These fill the 8x8" pans to the top, so I cooked mine on a large cookie sheet just in case they bubbled over.

Layer 1
Layer 2
Layer 3
Layer 4
Layer 5 - Now Repeat
Finished Minus the Cheese Topping

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