Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spaghetti Marinara or Baked Ziti

Spaghetti always looks weird in photos!
     Who says Italian food has to be unhealthy? This recipe is not only versatile, but very healthy as well. I love pasta, which is why I can never stick to a diet. If I can eat delicious, healthy pasta, I'm a happy girl. Anyhow, I feel like a "diet" is more about moderation and less about limitations...which is a post for another blog on another day.
     These recipes will both appear on one post because they both use the same base: marinara sauce....and because my picture of the baked ziti was not appetizing at all. I'm a cook; I'm not a photographer. I promise it tastes so good, though!

adapted from Biggest Loser Family Cookbook
The Marinara Sauce:
1 c minced yellow or white onion
2 Tbl minced garlic
28oz Italian diced tomatoes
1/4 c water
2 Tbl tomato paste (no salt)
2 tsp honey
1 Tbl dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp red pepper
salt, to taste
optional: ground turkey or turkey sausage (not pictured, but have done before with great success)
  • Spray a saucepan with oil and place over medium heat.
  • Add onion and garlic and cook until tender. 
  • Reduce heat to low and stir in tomatoes, water, paste, honey, oregano, basil, and pepper. 
  • Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least an hour. Season with salt if desired.
Option 1: Spaghetti Marinara serves 6-8

sauce (above)
zucchini, diced
whole wheat spaghetti
  • Prepare marinara sauce as stated above. Add zucchini during the last 5 minutes or so. If you add it too early, it will get soggy.
  • Cook spaghetti as directed on box.
  • Drain spaghetti and mix with sauce. Top with grated Parmesan if desired.
Option 2: Baked Ziti serves 8

1 box penne or ziti (whole wheat or garden delight)
15oz Fat Free Ricotta
1 egg
8oz Red-Fat Mozzarella
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
red pepper, to taset
Marinara (from above)
2 Tbl grated Parmesan
  • Preheat oven to 450*. Mist a 13x9 dish with olive oil.
  • Cook ziti two minutes less than package directs. Drain
  • Combine riccota, egg, and all but 1 cup of mozzarella.  Add garlic powder and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Stir in cooked pasta until well combined.
  • Spread 1 cup of marinara on bottom of prepared dish. Add half the pasta in an even layer over sauce. Top the pasta with another cup of sauce. Layer the remaining pasta over sauce. Spoon the rest of the sauce evenly over the top, then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and the parmesan on the top.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. 
  • Remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes.


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