Too Easy Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti via elisebakesOkay, all I had was penne pasta but it’s basically the same thing, right?  Easy and delicious; this dish can be whipped up in no time with very little work.  I would usually use homemade tomato sauce, but a jar suffices after a long day!  You can add some sauteed vegetables and garlic to give it a little kick.

Baked Ziti

  • 1 jar tomato sauceBaked Ziti via elisebakes
  • 1 14 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 box of pasta, I prefer penne but really any kind works
  • 1-1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  1. Cook pasta according to instructions on box.
  2. In a bowl combine pasta, ricotta, and tomato sauce.  You can also just combine the pasta and ricotta and spread the sauce over the top – up to you!
  3. Pour in a baking dish and sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 until cheese begins to brown, 30-45 minutes.Baked Ziti via elisebakes

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna via elisebakesI looove lasagna.  My mom’s lasagna was always my favorite, so I took her recipe and put a little spin on it to give it a little more substance.  It was delicious!  This is the first time I used oven ready lasagna noodles, and I was pleasantly surprised at how normal they turned out!  Like the package said, they did expand and fill the pan appropriately, and yes, they tasted like regular noodles.  It was an especially big bonus that it cut out the step of boiling the noodles first because I always end up ripping half of them

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagnalasagna4

  • 1/4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 8 0z containers of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 5 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oven ready lasagna noodleslasagna
  1. In a large saucepan, cook garlic in olive oil  until it just begins to brown.  Then add the mushrooms and cook for several minutes.  When the mushrooms are just about tender, add the spinach and salt and pepper to taste.  Add 3 cups of tomato sauce and cook everything until the vegetables and tender.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 cup parmesan, basil, oregano, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  3. To begin assembly, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan (3/4 – 1 cup).  Place three lasagna noodles crosswise in the pan; they will expand as it cooks so spread them out evenly across the length of the pan.  Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, top with 1/3 of the vegetable mixture, and 1 cup mozzarella.  Repeat the layering two more times, starting with another layer of noodles and ending with a layer of noodles on top for a total of three layers.
  4. On top of the last layer of noodles, spread the remaining cup or so of tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes until cheese is completely melted and begins to brown.lasagna5

Note: You can also freeze this for up to two months, just cover with saran wrap and then a layer of foil (without baking) and pop it in the freezer.  Be sure to thaw completely before you do bake it.

Easy Creamy Italian Pasta

pasta2This was such an easy dish to prepare and tasted awesome – great for a rushed lunch or dinner!  My nieces and husband loved it, and I was definitely impressed with how good it tasted.  You could even make the Italian dressing mix yourself with a copycat recipe (there’s one here).  I found the recipe on pinterest, but the link had been removed; fortunately the caption had all of the instructions.  I didn’t have heavy cream on hand, so I upped the butter and used milk instead (the recipe called for 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup cream).

Creamy Italian Pastapasta

  • 1 box of farfalle pasta
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 packet Italian Dressing mix
  1. Cook pasta following the directions on the package and drain.
  2. Add the butter to the pot and let it melt, then return the pasta to the pot.
  3. Add the milk, parmesan, and seasoning packet and mix well.
  4. Serve as soon as you can while it is still warm and creamy – if its going to sit on the stove for a while, you might want to add a few extra tablespoons of milk.