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Baked Ziti

Happy fall everyone! Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here blogging but I have had a pretty good excuse… I’m 15 weeks PREGNANT! Which then means, for my first trimester I was having a significant problem with keeping food down and even wanting foods other than bagels, pizza, and snacky foods. Now that I am cruising into the second trimester, I am slowly getting back into cooking and experimenting with a variety of different foods, and have always wanted to create a simple but delicious version of Baked Ziti.

This recipe features two of my favorite products from Organic Valley, a company that I hold dear to my heart. I love their values and mission to ensure all of their coops are pasture raised and do not cut corners, which is clear when you drink their milk or use their eggs. For this particular baked ziti, I opted for regular pasta, marinara, some dried seasonings (oregano and parsley) and ricotta and eggs from Organic Valley.

To start, I boiled a pot of water and cooked the pasta to al dente, about a minute less than what the box suggested. I strained the pasta and added it to a 9×13 pyrex baking dish, pre-lined with some marinara. I mixed in the ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and more sauce. I repeated this step until it was fully coated with sauce and ricotta. One thing I’ve learned from experimenting with baked ziti in the past is ensuring that there is plenty of sauce and ricotta so that it does not dry out.

Preheated the oven to 375 degrees. I dolloped some ricotta on top, sprinkled my Organic Valley cheese on top. Once the oven preheated, I baked the ziti for 15 minutes, then turned the oven to broil and broiled the ziti for 7 minutes just into most of the cheese turned brown. My husband, who is a pasta aficionado, even commended me for this one. Looks like I’ll be making this again soon. NOMaste 🙂

Baked Ziti

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword baked food, baked ziti, pasta, traditional
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 2 containers Organic Valley ricotta cheese
  • 1 box Pasta (I used mezzi rigatoni)
  • 1 24oz jar Rao's marinara
  • 2 cups Organic Valley shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to water and pour in pasta. Cook to desired doneness or box directions. Once done, drain pasta.

  2. Line a 9×13 pyrex baking dish with marinara sauce.

  3. Pour drained pasta into dish. Pour more marinara sauce, scoops of ricotta, and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese into the pasta and mix well.

  4. Continue to add marinara and ricotta until the pasta is fully coated and wet. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parsley.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  5. Spread mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

  6. Turn oven to broil and broil for 7 minutes until cheese is melted and browned. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Use gluten free pasta if you desire!  Banza works very well!

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Onions and Peppers

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve shared a recipe with you, can you forgive my absence? It’s been quite a busy summer with unpacking, several trips upstate, and getting acclimated to my new job. So. Much. New! All I can say is I am happy and content and am even more excited to share more recipes on a weekly basis.

This recipe came to me this weekend at my sister in law’s Bachelorette party. I made breakfast for the girls and we opted to make eggs, french toast, and potatoes. My sister gave me the idea to sauté some peppers and onions and then add them to the potatoes as they baked. MIND BLOWN. Obviously I needed to do this again at home.

I opted to use baby yukon/yellow potatoes and tossed them in avocado oil, and amped up the flavor with dried rosemary and pink sea salt. These baked for 20 minutes at 375*. Halfway through I flipped and tossed the potatoes around.

Once the 20 minutes passed, I cranked the heat up to 425* for 15 minutes, and added in the sautéed peppers and onions. I cannot begin to tell you the flavor profile that was added when the peppers and onions roasted with the potatoes. I mean, I could eat these over and over again, in fact I’ll most likely play with a variety of seasonings next week with baby red bliss potatoes. Stay tuned 🙂

Paleo Chicken Francaise

We’re rounding out week two at the new casa and I am really digging my new appliances, countertops, and all the natural lighting. Grateful is an understatement, I am so thankful for this home and the memories we’re making here, and the delicious meals I am starting to create. My husband loves chicken francaise, and I happen to be a fan of it as well. I thought about making this a little lighter with cassava flour instead of regular flour, and be mindful of the quality of ingredients I use for the butter/garlic sauce. I’ve been chatting with a girlfriend about the quality of ingredients versus restricting foods altogether. At the end of the day, we make choices with our mouths and forks at least three times a day, so it is vital to know what we consume and where the food comes from.

I started with buying organic chicken breasts, slicing them very thin, and seasoning with a generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper and pink sea salt. Then, using my cassava flour (with a blend of dried parsley, basil, and oregano) I coated each piece and set aside. I love using cassava for cooking because it does not have a taste, and is a 1:1 for all-purpose (or AP) flour. I set the chicken aside and heated up a large skillet.

I used Lucini Italia extra virgin olive oil and it is so delicious and actually Whole30 approved (I don’t follow Whole30 but it’s a good brand of EVOO so I decided to try and will certainly buy again). I added in chicken in batches (I made six cutlets in total) and let them cook until both sides were lightly browned.

Once all the chicken finished cooking, I placed them on a plate and began simmering my sauce. Traditionally, this sauce involves four ingredients: butter, garlic, white cooking wine, and lemon. I added my stick of unsalted butter (leave out to get to room temp!). Once melted, I added sliced lemon to let the citrus blend with the butter. I used 1/4 cup of cooking white wine and a scant amount of chicken stock to add more liquid, Last, I chopped three cloves of garlic and threw into the pan and turned the flame to low. Layer in the cooked chicken cutlets and let sit for a while (maybe 20m) so that the chicken starts to absorb the sauce.

Pair this dish with some pasta (I prefer Banza because I can’t really stomach regular pasta anymore…sad, I know) and fresh veggies; you’ve got yourself a yummy, HEALTHY, and satisfying meal!

Pizzadillas

This recipe literally came to me while I was watching HGTV the other night. I saw an ad for Domino’s pizza – which let’s be honest – is kind of OG college pizza (cheesy bread? don’t even get me started), and I got the idea to make quesadillas with the filling being that of what goes onto a pizza. I wish there was a better story behind them, but nope, just my belly saying “DO IT!”

I’m also really glad that I had leftover sauce from the meatballs I made last week, which if you missed, the link is here. I used most of the leftover marinara sauce for the filling of the ‘dilla and layered in some mozzarella cheese, sprinkled oregano, and quaintly placed some slices of pepperoni.

I’m still learning how to use my stove and oven, so one of the bottoms of the pizzadillas did burn, but I’m cool with that. Here’s the deets on the ‘dillas:

  • Start with a package of tortillas (we used Mission just for testing recipe purposes – I’ll make these again with Siete)
  • Get all ingredients out and ready prior to beginning.
  • You’ll need:
    • 1 package sliced pepperoni
    • Dried oregano
    • Mozzarella cheese (grated)
    • Tortillas
    • Really good marinara (I recommend making your own or Rao’s – less sugar and good ingredients)
  • Heat a pan and add the tortilla to the pan, letting it crisp and warm up
  • Spoon some marinara onto the tortilla and spread around
  • Sprinkle oregano, mozzarella, and layer in pepperoni
  • Cover the top with a second tortilla and flip.
  • Repeat for as many pizzadillas as you’d like (my ingredients yielded 4 pizzadillas and we were definitely full!)

I love quesadillas and am looking forward to making more varieties and sharing them with you soon! NOMaste 🙂

Homemade Meatballs

It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks. We have packed up seven years of our Brooklyn one-bedroom and moved to our beautiful cape on Long Island last week, and we are starting to settle in and unpack our boxes. Moving into our first home is nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. Of course, I could not wait to buy food for our fridge and freezer, and whip up dinners immediately. I had wanted to try making meatballs for some time and figured that it would be a very easy and hearty meal to break in the stove and oven on our first night cooking in the kitchen.

There are so many different ways people make meatballs, and I used to think that adding a medley of seasonings was the trick. In fact, I think the reason this recipe tastes so great is because of the simplicity of the ingredients. I kept it pretty traditional, but ensured that I used a generous amount of each flavor so that it was well balanced. I used grass-fed beef found at the store, and made a quick red sauce on the stove using tomato sauce and one can of crushed tomatoes (which simmered for a good 45 minutes to an hour; I added salt and pepper, basil leaves, and one packet of stevia for sweetener). I have a recipe of simmered Sunday red sauce that I’ll make in the fall, but for now, this one worked impressively well.

I started by taking the meat out of the fridge and letting it get to room temperature, Then, I aded the beef to a bowl, along with two eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion salt, and oregano. Literally, THAT IS IT. I loosely formed the meatballs, eyeballing each size and pulled a little here and there to make sure I had an even 24 balls.

I preheated my oven to 325 degrees. After lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil, I sprayed it down with avocado oil and added the meatballs one by one, leaving some space between. The meatballs baked for 25 minutes, which is fine because they became a perfect brown and soft enough to put into the sauce as it simmered. I transferred the meatballs to the red sauce and let them finish cooking for a good 30 minutes more.

I served this with roasted cauliflower and broccoli and did not even miss the starchy pasta that usually accompanies meatballs. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did, and we’ll never forget our first dinner together in our new home — NOMaste!

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