cathys original recipes


Homemade Baked Ziti recipe

If you have been reading here for awhile, you know I have three kids, and a very busy schedule. Types of casseroles are an important dinner option for me since they can be made ahead. Casseroles only need to bake in the oven when it’s time to cook dinner, so they are super convenient. This makes prep convenient with my schedule, and it makes feeding my family a home-cooked meal even easier.

My kids love pasta; don’t most kids? Since pasta is a huge hit at my house, and quite possibly yours, a casserole version is key on busy days. My homemade baked ziti recipe is both easy to make, and well loved by pasta-loving children. That’s win-win!

Homemade baked ziti is an easy and delicious casserole you can make on the spot, or ahead of time when your schedule gets the best of you. So without further ado, here is my homemade baked ziti recipe with instructions. I hope you love it as much as my kids do!

Homemade baked ziti ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Ziti pasta (you can substitute penne if your market doesn’t carry ziti)
  • 1 jar Rao’s Marinara (you can make your own, or use another brand, but this is the most authentic on the market, in my opinion-my ancestors are from Italy, so my family is used to authentic Italian food)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup mozzarella
  • 2 pounds bulk Italian sausage, cook before mixing into casserole. (can substitute 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground pork if you don’t like sausage)

Homemade baked ziti cooking instructions:

Step 1: Cook pasta

Step 2: Mix pasta together with sauce and meat in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Pour half of the mozzarella into the bowl and mix together.

Step 4: Pour half of the pasta mixture into the casserole dish.

Step 5: Cover the pasta mixture with the remainder of mozzarella cheese.

Step 6: Pour the last half of the pasta mixture on top.

Step 7: Smooth out the top of the casserole with a wooden spoon.

Step 8: Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of the casserole.

Step 9: Layer provolone cheese slices on top of Parmesan cheese.

Step 10: Top the casserole with green onions.

Bake 35 minutes at 350. Remove from the oven, serve, and enjoy!

There you have it! A really easy casserole the whole family can enjoy. It makes about twelve servings, so there is a good chance you will have plenty of leftovers to eat on another busy day, or bring to work for lunch. I hope you and your family, friends, etc love this homemade baked ziti recipe too!

Thanks for stopping by, and manjia tutti!

XOXO
Cathy


Lemon shrimp angel hair pasta recipe

lemon shrimp angel hair pasta recipe

*So, I am not very good at indoor photography. My apologies for the poor quality photo, the food does look better in real life and it is quite delicious! This is a plate full of my own lemon shrimp with angel hair pasta recipe. I’m excited to share it with you!

Now that summer is fast approaching, I like to switch up my cooking so that I can offer my family lighter fare. There is something perfect about citrus based dishes on warm days. A month ago, my cousin gifted me a bag full of beautiful lemons from her backyard tree. With so many lemons on hand, I decided to get creative! My family loves pasta, and my middle child is a huge shrimp fan, so I decided to try and combine the two. Thankfully it worked, and the spontaneous recipe turned out to be quite yummy. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Summer Recipes: Lemon Shrimp Pasta Sauce

(Makes 9 Servings)

  • 2 Fresh Lemons
  • 1 Pound Pasta (I prefer Barilla Angel Hair Pasta)
  • 1 pound rock shrimp (or any shrimp you prefer)
  • Half stick of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or diced
  • Season to taste: oregano, basil
  • Top with Parmesan

Step 1: Cook shrimp in frying pan. I use olive oil to grease the pan. Cook thoroughly.

Step 2: While shrimp is cooking, cut the lemons in half and juice them using a citrus juicer.

Step 3: Melt butter in sauce pan.

Step 4: Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, basil and cooked shrimp in sauce pan with melted butter. Stir to combine ingredients, and simmer over low heat while pasta is cooking.

Step 5: Cook pasta.

Step 6: Drain pasta.

Step 7: Place pasta on dish and top with lemon shrimp sauce.

Step 8: Top with 1-2 teaspoons of Parmesan.

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

That’s it! This is a really easy pasta dish which is perfect for warm, summer days. It’s a light pasta sauce which is delicious and fresh. Enjoy!

Tools you might need to cook my lemon shrimp pasta sauce:

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy

 


Homemade Potatoes Au Gratin recipe

potatoes au gratin recipe homemade

One of my favorite types of potato dishes is Potatoes Au Gratin. I cook potatoes often at home since my husband loves them, but I never tried to cook Potatoes Au Gratin at home in fifteen years of marriage! So, over the weekend, I decided to try cooking it, but couldn’t find a recipe I liked. What do I do when I don’t like the recipes I find online and in cookbooks? I make up my own!

I tested out this recipe with my whole family, and served it with seared scallops, and fresh carrots. I have to say, carrots don’t really go well with scallops; so lesson learned! Haha That being said, they all loved the way I cooked the scallops and the Potatoes Au Gratin! Yay!

Potatoes Au Gratin is a tasty side dish, especially during the colder months. There is something comforting about them; so I will place this dish in the comfort food category!

This is a great side dish to serve at home, or to cook and bring to a family or friend gathering that is pot-luck style! It goes great paired with steak, meatloaf, pork, or a vegetable stew if you are vegetarian. It was a little overwhelming with seafood; oooops! Still tasty though! haha

Without further ado, here is my new Potatoes Au Gratin recipe! I hope you enjoy it with your family!

Tools you’ll need:

13 x 11 casserole dish

Mixing bowl.

Wooden spoon

Cutting board

Mezzaluna or cutting knife.

Aluminum foil

Ingredients:

4 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.

½ pint heavy whipping cream (I prefer Clover)

½ stick of butter (I use unsalted and prefer Clover or Land O’ Lakes)

1 8 oz. package of Sargento Italian Blend shredded cheese. If Sargento isn’t sold near you, this is a mix of mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, provolone cheese, Romano cheese, Fontina cheese, and Asiago cheese.

Season to taste: salt, paprika, and finely ground basil

how to make potatoes au gratin at home

Prep:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and make sure there is a shelf in the middle of the oven.

Melt butter, and ensure it covers the bottom of the casserole dish.

Slice potatoes as thinly as possible.

In a mixing bowl: pour whipping cream and add salt, paprika, and basil to taste. Whisk or stir to blend.

Line the bottom of the casserole with potatoes, overlapping each other. The first layer should be about two potatoes.

homemade potatoes au gratin recipe

Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.

Use 1/3 of the cheese mixture, spreading it out evenly over the top of the creamy potatoes.

Layer the rest of the potato slices over the cheese. There should be about two potatoes left.

Pour the remainder of the creme mixture, about 2/3, over the potatoes, ensuring they are all covered.

Cover the top with the rest of the cheese.

Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.

yummy potatoes au gratin recipe

Cooking instructions:

Bake for 60 minutes at 400 on center rack.

After 60 minutes, remove, serve, and enjoy! Makes about twelve servings.

Calories per serving: about 259

potatoes au gratin recipe

There you have it! A yummy Potatoes Au Gratin recipe to enjoy with your friends and family! I hope you love it for the holiday season and anytime you want a yummy, comforting side dish.

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy

*My apologies for the so-so photos. I took them in my poorly lit kitchen at night. 

comfort food side dishes