Thursday, April 22, 2010

C.C.= Cooking for Company...

I am always looking for "make ahead" meals for when we are having company over. If you have read my post before you will know that this often equals something in the crockpot for me. But, this time... I decided to try a baked ziti instead as it is easy to make for a large group! After perusing the Food Network website I decided on "The Neely's Baked Ziti". This dish got great reviews and was a baked ziti with some "extra" stuff in it. It caught my eye as it uses ziti, cheese (lots of it), sausage, spinach, tomatoes and pesto!

The recipe makes a lot!!! I mean a real lot! It will one full 9x12 dish and another smaller one that I popped in the freezer for another date. This meal was a hit. It is surely not "low cal" but it is yummy!

Want to make it for yourself? Go to the Food Network site for all the details.

The recipe is as follows:

Neelys Baked Ziti

Recipe courtesy The Neelys

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
50 min
6 to 8 servings


  • Salt
  • 1 pound ziti
  • 1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 6 ounces pesto
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 (9-ounce) package washed spinach
  • Butter, for baking dish
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan, plus more for topping


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add ziti and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander.
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute turkey sausage. Add onion and garlic and saute until the sausage is cooked through. Use your spoon to break up the sausage while it cooks. Add the can of diced tomatoes and pesto and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the ricotta cheese, spinach, Parmesan and mozzarella to a large bowl, and stir to combine.
Butter a 4-quart baking dish, add the cooked pasta, then sausage mixture and cheese mixture. Top with a sprinkling of mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake until completely heated through and golden and crisp on top, about 20 minutes.

Bon Appetite! Until Next Time....xoxo

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