Last night I tried a spin on baked ziti that I completely made up on the spot based on the ingredients we already had at home. It was pretty yummy and marginally healthier than regular baked ziti, and it was really easy. So… For all those who like to make a casserole or baked pasta dish and walk away from the kitchen (which for the record, I don’t love doing. I prefer to be standing over the stove for some reason.) this recipe is for you. It’s a cinch!
- 3/4 package of whole wheat penne pasta (or any small noodle of your choosing)
- 2 cups of spaghetti sauce (Any ol’ kind will do.)
- 1 lb package of chicken sausage (We used the 3-cheese kind from Kroger. Yum!)
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese (You can use any kind you like. I think ours was a blend.)
- A handful of shredded cheddar to top (Something about cheddar…. I just love to sprinkle it on top of anything.)
- “Brown” the chicken sausage in a frying pan. (Note: Chicken doesn’t really brown, but you get what I’m saying here.) Also, the sausage always comes in links. The icky part is that you have to squeeze the meat out of the casing. Let me apologize in advance for this. It’s disgusting…. But it’s worth it.
- While your chicken is browning, get your water boiling and cook per package instructions. Once the pasta and chicken are good to go, combine them in a large pot/bowl until blended thoroughly.
- Add in the spaghetti sauce and Italian cheese and stir together until it’s all a gooey, thick mess. Place into casserole dish, top with shredded cheddar, and then finally bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
It was actually quite yummy and had a little more pop than your average baked ziti because of the flavors in the sausage. We gobbled it up, but I did feel a little guilty for “carbing out.” So, while it is not the healthiest of meals, it will most definitely work in a pinch and it’s certainly filling!