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Baked Ziti with Beef

What do I live most about this meal? It's Freeze-Ahead Friendly!

A few weeks go I had a 'cooking day' where I prepared the following, all to go into the freezer for later consumption:

Baked Ziti with Beef
Baked Ziti with Squash
Meatball Lasagna
Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
Northern Bean Soup
Chicken Taco Soup
6 c Homemade Marinara Sauce
5 c chopped chicken meat
3 c chopped carrots
3 c chopped celery
3 c chopped onions

The first 4 items were frozen in 9x9 inch disposable pans (2/$.99 at walmart). Each recipe filled two pans. The last 7 items were all frozen in one cup increments for easy later use.

The purpose is still the same for all of the above: preparing for easy cooking at a later time.

Tonight, I can home from work, put the Baked Ziti with Beef in the toaster oven for 75 minutes, an popped it out for a nice, baked dinner without having to spend more than 3 minutes total in the kitchen.

Best part: It's also a Weight Watchers recipe!


2 t EVOO
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 lb. raw lean ground beef
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried rosemary
1/2 t black pepper
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 c shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

12 oz uncooked ziti pasta

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon as it cooks, about 3 to 5 minutes; drain off any fat and set pan back over medium heat.
  • Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; stir to coat beef. Cook until herbs become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Spoon a small amount of beef-tomato mixture into bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish (just enough to cover surface); top with half of cooked ziti. Next, layer with half of remaining beef-tomato sauce and half of mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining ziti and then top with remaining beef-tomato sauce; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.
  • Instead of placing it all in one dish, I divided it into two (see notes above) and yielded 4 pieces per pan (since it's just my husband and I).


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