Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Recipe 13: Baked Ziti Pasta Recipe (Weight Watchers)

First of all, if you have tried any of my recipes and have not already, it is time to go out and purchase a Basil plant and a Rosemary plant. They are very inexpensive, in fact the basil is on sale this week at Safeway for $1.99. This is a great deal considering that a bunch is $2.49.

With that said, this was the freshest recipe I think I have ever made and the aromas in my kitchen were amazing! My Baked Ziti recipe that I used previously from Rachel Ray's collection is a good one, saucy and rich as you would expect but it isn't so great nutritionally so I decided to try this one to see if my family would like the lighter version.

Baked Ziti Pasta Recipe
- 12 oz Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta (any whole grain penne will work)
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef (96/4)---see below variation...I used chicken
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add onions and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat.Add the oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and mushrooms and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface); top with half of cooked pasta. Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining pasta and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces.
Entire recipe makes 6 servings
Serving size is 1 piece

Recipe Variations:
I sprinkled each setting with Parmesan Cheese and also substituted boneless, skinless chicken for the ground beef which I definitely liked better.

My husband rated it a 4. He said it was very flavorful and good but he missed the sauce and the additional meat. My 4 year old ate all of his food and asked for seconds which is very rare.

Additional Notes:
It makes ALOT and says it is only 6 servings but there is no way we could have eaten 1/6th of it per person. This would be a good "Dinner Party" meal as your guests would not only be impressed with the aroma upon arrival, the freshness of the meal but also there would be plenty to go around. With the low WW point value, you even have points left over for a glass of wine/ dessert!


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