Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

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I used to be a leftovers snob. If something wasn’t freshly made that day, I didn’t want it. I thought it was great to be able to make something fresh and new every day, because in my mind, food looked better and tasted better if you ate it right away.

Let’s just say since I became a mom, my thoughts on leftovers have changed drastically. Not only am I okay with leftovers…I love being able to make large quantities of something and freezing it to get a second meal out of it another day. I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at home with my daughter for 12 weeks after her birth. Now that it is time to go back to work I thought it would be a good idea to stock pile some meals in the freezer.

Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

I decided to do this with one of my FAVORITE recipes…Baked Ziti. This is a recipe that I have adapted a bit from my favorite chef in the world…my own mother! She gave me some of the basics of what she puts in a Baked Ziti recipe and I decided the quantities and kinds of cheeses I wanted. I like to make a party-sized portion and then split it into two pans so we can have one for now and then one for later. I also use disposable pans for less mess!

Baked Ziti

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: This recipe will feed up to 8 people. You can also split it in half and make one ziti dish for now and freeze the other for later.

Baked Ziti

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 (16oz) box Ziti Noodles
  • 1 large jar (45oz) of Pasta Sauce
  • 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions

  • Remove sausage from its casing (slide a sharp knife down the center of each sausage and then using your hands just push the meat out from the casing. Discard the casing)
  • Combine the sausage and ground beef in a pan. Cook over medium heat until browned, continually breaking up the meat and mixing it together.
  • Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box to make it al dente. (It is very important not to overcook as you will continue baking it in the oven later).
  • Pour your sauce into a large bowl or pot. Add the ricotta cheese and mix it in completely with the sauce.
  • Next, add 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese to the sauce. (Save the other 1 cup for later)
  • Add your meat and pasta into the sauce and cheese. Mix well.
  • Pour your pasta into a casserole dish. (Use a large pan if cooking the entire amount. OR split into two different smaller (1 and 1/2 quart) pans to cook one meal now and freeze the other one for later)
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on the top of the ziti. (if using two casserole dishes, sprinkle 1/2 on one dish and 1/2 on the other)
  • Cover your dish with foil.
  • Bake in 350° oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the entire dish is hot and the cheese has completely melted on top.
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xoxo, Food Marriage

Recipe: Pureed Potato Soup

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I’m a sucker for cookbooks. Even today, with the availability of online recipes, if I see a good looking cookbook in the store, I will buy it. I have so many cookbooks, my one bookshelf has literally collapsed from the weight of the books! I recently pulled out my “One Pot of the Day” Cookbook by Kate McMillan for Williams Sonoma. It is a great book that gives you 365 different recipes – one for every day of the year!

I recently flipped open to the section for the month of March to get some new ideas and I found a delicious looking Potato-Leek Soup that I decided to adapt a bit to give a slightly thicker consistency. Because it has leeks in it (a member of the onion family!), my husband didn’t go near it – so I got to enjoy all of the smooth, warm goodness for myself!

Potato Soup Recipe - Pureed and Smooth

 

Pureed Potato Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Pureed Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 2 Leeks
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Instructions

  • Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes.
  • Chop the white roots off the end of your leeks and then chop the dark green tops off the top of your leeks. This will leave you with about 2 to 3 inches of the light green portion.
  • Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and then thinly chop.
  • Combine the broth, potatoes, leeks, and salt in a large pot in the stove.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes (the leeks will cook down and the potatoes will become tender)
  • Puree the soup until it is smooth (you can use an immersion blender right in the pot, or transfer to a blender)
  • Stir in the cream.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

Recipe adapted from "One Pot of the Day" by Kate McMillan for Williams Sonoma.

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xoxo, Food Marriage

Perfect Fall Recipe: Butternut Squash Lasagna

Every time I cook dinner, I seem to make a HUGE mess in the kitchen.  I end up using way too many pots and pans and the cleanup takes longer than it actually takes to cook the meal!  So I thought I was doing myself a favor when I purchased Emeril Lagasse’s cookbook, “Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders.”  With the book separated into sections like Skillets and Sauté Pans, Casseroles and Baking Dishes, Big Pots, Woks, and Slow Cookers, I thought I found my solution!  If I make everything in ONE pot, I cut down the mess….right?

Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders

I can’t speak for all of the recipes in the book, but the most recent one I tried for Butternut Squash Lasagna simply ends up in ONE Casserole dish.  I didn’t take into account all of the prep work and cooking leading up to the assembling of this lasagna.  In making this recipe, in addition to the casserole dish, I also ended up using one baking sheet, two sauté pans, and three mixing bowls.

Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe @FoodMarriage

Don’t get me wrong…this was an incredible recipe – I just wasn’t ready for the amount of work involved.  It’s not something I would recommend for a busy work night (I started making everything at 7pm and we didn’t actually sit down to eat until about 10:45pm!)  Save it for a weekend when you have time to prepare everything and can really enjoy the meal.

You will LOVE this lasagna!  We had so much leftover, that I shared it with my parents and sister the next day.  My sister texted me as she was eating and said “Every bite was an adventure on my tastebuds!”  With roasted butternut squash, chopped toasted hazelnuts, a variety of fresh herbs and even some apples mixed in….she was right – it was quite a tasty adventure!

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes

Yield: 10 large pieces of lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup small-diced fennel
  • 1 cup cored and small-diced Pink Lady or Honeycrisp Apple
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 sticke) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped lightly toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles

Instructions

  • Preheat Oven to 350°
  • ROASTING THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH: Peel, cut, scoop out the seeds, and dice the butternut squash into cubes. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the squash, extra virgin olive oil, cinnamon, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Pour this mixture onto a large baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes in 350° oven. Remove from oven, set aside to cool, and throw away the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
  • MAKING THE MEAT MIXTURE: Remove the sausage from its casings and break apart. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil, fennel, apple, marjoram and broken up sausage. Cook for about 10 minutes until the sausage is browned and thoroughly cooked. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool (when doing this, use a slotted spoon to drain the grease).
  • COMBINE BUTTERNUT SQUASH & MEAT MIXTURE: Once both the butternut squash and meat mixture are cool, gently fold the squash into the meat mixture.
  • BUTTER, SAGE, & HAZELNUTS: Heat the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Once it begins to bubble, add in 1/4 cup chopped sage leaves and cook for a minute. Add the chopped hazelnuts and cook for another minute. Set aside to cool.
  • CHEESE MIXTURE: In a large mixing bowl (I found it easiest to use an electric mixer for this portion), combine together the ricotta, mascarpone, heavy cream, beaten eggs, half of the mozzarella cheese (2 cups), and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • COMBINE BUTTER/SAGE/HAZELNUT MIXTURE & CHEESE MIXTURE: Add the cooled butter/sage/hazelnut mixture to the cheese mixture and stir.
  • Increase oven temperature to 375°
  • ASSEMBLE LASAGNA: Spread half of the butternut squash/meat mixture on the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, drizzle 1/4 cup of chicken broth over the top, and then cover with 4 sheets of pasta. Next, spread 3 cups of the cheese mixture over the pasta and cover with 4 more sheets of pasta. Add the remaining butternut squash/meat mixture on top of the pasta, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan again, drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup of chicken broth, and add last 4 sheets of pasta. Spread the remaining cheese mixture evenly over the top of the pasta and top it off with the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and another 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
  • BAKE THE LASAGNA: Cover the lasagna pan with a piece of buttered foil. Bake in 375° oven, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sage on top.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Cookbook: "Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders."

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Recipe Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders.”  Some changes I made: I took out onions from the original recipe because my husband does not care for them; also could not find fennel sausage in the grocery store, so I used sweet Italian sausage.

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Gluten Free Friday: Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Crust Mix

So yes, Pat and I have cheated on our gluten free diets several times in the last few months.  It’s so hard not to!!  And what do we cheat on it the most with?  Pizza!

Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix

Pizza is is a hard thing to give up…with its delicious doughy crust and its hot melty cheese.  And of course the ease of ordering or picking up a pizza on a night you don’t feel like cooking.  We’ve tried a couple of frozen varieties of gluten free pizzas over last few months and the majority of them were not appetizing.

Tonight, I decided to try to make a gluten free pizza at home from a mix!  I picked up Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix and tried it out.  The directions were easy and the ingredients were limited.  All you need is the mix, which includes a packet of yeast so you don’t need to buy it separately, and then some water, 2 eggs, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. And then of course some pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and any other toppings you might like.  We kept it simple and just went with just the sauce and cheese this time around.

Bobs Red Hill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix 1

This mix actually made enough for two whole pizzas!  And it was really tasty!  I would definitely continue to purchase this mix so we never have to miss out on pizza again!

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Recipe: Garlic Primavera Risotto with Chicken & Vegetables

I felt so resourceful making this past Sunday night!  I felt like I had channeled several different people at the same time: Rachael Ray because my dinner was completed in under 30 minutes, Sandra Lee because my meal was semi-homemade, and my Mom because I made do with what I had in the house and didn’t have to go out shopping to the grocery store!!

Risotto with Chicken and Vegetables Food Marriage

I looked through my cabinets to see what we had and found some gluten-free Lundberg risotto, which I would recommend even if you are not trying to eat gluten-free.  It cooks in under 20 minutes, unlike traditional risotto and comes in a variety of flavors.  This time I tried the Garlic Primavera, which was delicious!  I de-thawed and cooked up some chicken breasts and also added in a mix of frozen vegetables.  It turned out pretty good!

Enjoy the recipe below!  It is my first recipe I am sharing with my new ZipList Recipe Feature!! Be sure to sign up for free on the ZipList website!  That way you can start saving your favorite Food Marriage recipes in your own personal online recipe box!

Garlic Primavera Risotto with Chicken & Vegetables

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: This will be a meal large enough to serve 4 people.

Garlic Primavera Risotto with Chicken & Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 (5.5 oz) box Lundberg Garlic Primavera Risotto
  • 1 (10 oz) bag frozen vegetables. I got one that had carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.
  • 6 small chicken breasts (or 3 large chicken breasts). I prefer the smaller ones because they cook faster.
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Pour some olive oil onto a baking sheet.
  • Season both sides of each chicken breast with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder and onion powder.
  • Cover your baking sheet with foil and bake in 375° oven for about 30 minutes (or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 170°).
  • While chicken is baking, follow the instructions on the Lundberg Risotto Box.
  • At the point in the risotto recipe, where you add in your 2 1/2 cups of water and seasoning pouch, also add in your bag of frozen vegetables at this point.
  • Continue the instructions according to the box.
  • Once your chicken is done baking, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • Add your chicken into your risotto and serve!
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xoxo, Food Marriage