September 30, 2015

Family Classic: Cheesy Beef Baked Ziti

Cheesy Beef Baked Ziti

Today I am stopping in with a classic, and super easy, casserole recipe for dinner tonight. This has become a staple in our house recently. Both my children eat it readily and it is a nice break from their favorite spaghetti and meatballs. I also find it a snap to pull together in the morning when both (!) my children are at school. I mix it all up and stick it in the fridge to bake that evening.

To elevate this meal from kid food to family fare serve a big green salad alongside, and throw in a loaf of garlic bread, too. There is no adult I don’t know who doesn’t like a cheesy, meaty pasta casserole on occasion. It is comfort food 101, and there is double the comfort watching your kids gobble it up!

Family Classic: Cheesy Beef Baked Ziti

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

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Ingredients

  • ¾ box ziti
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot a salted water to a boil and cook until al dente. Drain well and transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
  3. In a large skillet cook the beef until no longer beef, drain the fat, and set aside.
  4. While the beef is cooking, combine the ricotta, marinara, basil, salt, and half of the mozzarella. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add this to the pasta and gently stir the pasta to coat. Then, stir in the beef until combined.
  5. Lightly oil a 9x9 or 7x11 baking dish. Transfer the pasta mixture to it, using a spatula to spread the ziti evenly into it. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top. Bake the ziti for 30 minutes, or until hot all the way through. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Notes

To prepare this in advance: Do not preheat the oven. Instead, prepare the casserole until it is arranged in the baking dish. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day. Allow the casserole to come to room temperature before baking it.

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