Thursday, February 14, 2013

Healthy Baked Ziti

When I came across this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, I could not resist all of the cheesy, lasagna-y goodness coming out of my computer screen.  I had to make it.  The only problem was most of the recipe: Matt really doesn't eat sausage or ground beef anymore ("It's not healthy!"), I don't eat much cheese anymore, and I needed a sneaky way to get some leafy greens into the mix.  So, I used this recipe as a sort of jumping-off point, and made wanton changes willy-nilly.  That's how I roll.

The very very first thing to do is start boiling your pasta.  Only cook it for about half the amount of time it tells you to, because it will continue cooking when you bake it.

Then, sautee a couple handfuls of collard greens in olive oil until softened, then chopped it up in the food processor along with a couple cloves of garlic, until it is almost a paste.  Set that aside.  

I used ground chicken, instead of pork and ground beef.  Sautee that, along with some diced onion, until it's really browned.

Add one can of stewed whole tomatoes, the collard greens...

...and one jar of some kind of pasta sauce.  Season as you'd like with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, etc. Let that simmer over low heat while you do the rest of the prep work.  

Combine the pasta noodles with 1 small container of ricotta cheese and 1 egg.  Try to leave come sizable chunks of ricotta among the pasta, as this becomes the delightful little pockets of goodness in the baked ziti. 

Spread an 11 x 13 inch pan with the tomato and meat mixture, then the pasta, and then some mozzarella cheese (for the record, I used "Veggie Shreds", which is a dairy-free cheese substitute).  Repeat until you are out of layers.

Mmm, looks delish!

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and browned.

Yum!  Wow!!  Matt loved it, and I got to have it for leftovers for the next three days!  And I didn't even get tired of it!


  1. You should write a cookbook. So clever of you to make all those "adjustments" to baked ziti to fit the appetites of you two healthy kids!! But no ground beef for Matt, no cheese for you? You've got to break down and have a cheeseburger every once in a while! XXXXX - G'ma
    P.S. -- Happy Valentine's Day to the sweetest sweethearts ever!

  2. This looks sooo wonderful! Love the addition of collard greens!