Baked Ziti: Two Ways

I find that when the weather gets gloomy, my body wants hearty food. And lots of it. During the summer, spring, and even the beginning of fall, my cravings err on the lighter side.

When the cold weather sets in, all bets are off! And in no time those light cravings go out the window, only to be replaced with cravings for warm comfort food!

When I came home last night, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. A pasta dish! Are you surprised?

The only stipulations (according to my craving, of course): incorporate beans, veggies, marinara, cheese, and whole wheat pasta.

My fresh veggie stash is running severely low, so I scoured the freezer for something suitable. I came up with frozen peppers (red, yellow, and orange) and frozen yellow squash. Perfect!

Veggie, Black Bean, and Feta Baked Ziti

  • 1/2 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 C. Frozen mixed peppers
  • 1 C. chopped frozen squash
  • 2 huge handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • feta
  • 2 C. cooked whole wheat rotini/penne pasta

Turkey, Black Bean, and Pepper Jack Baked Ziti (for Sam)

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey (cooked)
  • 1/2 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • Shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 C. cooked whole wheat rotini/penne pasta

For the sauce:

  • 1 jar marinara (whole foods roasted red pepper was my choice!)
  • Oregano
  • Italian seasoning
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Fill a pot of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add pasta.

Meanwhile, brown the turkey.

Drain and rinse the black beans.

Sautee the frozen veggies first, then add any fresh veggies second.

Warm your sauce, and add desired spices to jazz it up! I love my sauce spicy, so crushed red pepper is a must!

This sauce was surprisingly good on it’s own though, so it didn’t need much in the jazzing-up department!

At this point, your pasta should be cooked.

Taste a few for quality control purposes. I don’t know what it is, but plain old’ pasta is just so good!

Add your black beans to the veggies.

Now everything is cooked, so it’s time to mix and layer!

Mix it all up, and put half into your respective pans. Top with cheese.

Be generous here! Unless you don’t like cheese, in which case you can omit it altogether!

Add the other half of the mixture, and top with more cheese!

Top with tinfoil and bake for about 15 minutes. Then remove tinfoil and broil until cheese gets bubbly.

As dinner bakes away, tackle your mound of dishes that have piled up while preparing the food!

And finally, remove from the oven and devour!

If you’re like me, you might top your baked ziti with a little more cheese. Goat cheese, that is!

The first pasta dish of the season was a total success! Yay for having leftovers! Smile

It’s time to drop Georgie off at the vet to get snipped! I feel really bad, but it’s for his own good. We don’t need him knocking up any unsuspecting female kitties, now do we?

After that, it’s run time! According to my 3 weeks to a 5k training schedule, an easy 3 miles run is in the works!

Have a great day guys!