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

 


5 Easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays

pictured: low calorie soda with raspberry Torani syrup, vanilla Torani syrup, and Perrier sparkling water in a Waterford wine glass /

The holidays are here! Chances are, you are hosting at least one party or event this season at your home. When hosting an event or party, it’s always a good idea to have non-alcoholic drinks for guests who are underage, designated drivers, or who don’t drink. Of course, it’s easy to provide water, soda, coffee, and tea; but what hostess wants to be that boring?! N’est pas de moi!

Since I am all about “easy” recipes when I entertain, I wanted to share my five favorite, easy non-alcoholic drink recipes for the holidays with you. I hope you love them; and I hope your guests do too! Of course, you don’t have to be a hostess to make these drinks. They can be made on any evening and served with dinner; or randomly throughout the day as a snack! They are that yummy! So, without further ado, here are five easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays:

Easy non-alcoholic drinks for the holidays

  1. Egg Nog Hot Chocolate: One of my favorite holiday drinks is hot chocolate with egg nog! I like to mix hot cocoa with one ounce of Budd’s Egg Nog. Budd’s is really the best egg nog, but if you can’t find it in your area, Southern Comfort also makes a good one!
  2. Butterbeer: If you are a Harry Potter fan, or you like sweet drinks such as cream soda, then you will love Butterbeer! Click here to read my no-fail recipe so you can make it at home for yourself, or any event you are hosting.
  3. Low Calorie Italian Soda: My favorite way to enjoy soda, without actually drinking soda, is with this trick! One tablespoon Torani Syrup, flavor of choice, and then fill the glass with mineral water. I prefer San Pellegrino or Perrier. To sweeten a fruit Torani Syrup, add half a tablespoon of vanilla Torani syrup. Works like a charm! Makes a 20-40 calorie soda, unless you use sugarless Torani syrup, then it’s a zero calorie soda! Love!
  4. Shirley Temple: This is an old fashioned favorite! Chances are, you grew up drinking Shirley Temples when your family went out to dinner. It was definitely my go-to drink as a child! It’s really easy to make at home too; so you don’t have to wait to go to a restaurant to order one. You can make them for the kids at your holiday parties; and any adult who wants a fun drink that is alcohol free. Love! To make a Shirley Temple, you use a high ball glass (or red wine glass if you’re feeling fancy), fill it with 3-4 ice cubes, one shot of Grenadine, and then fill the rest of the glass with Sprite. It’s that easy! Pop in a cocktail straw and/or maraschino cherry, and you have a fun mocktail for your guests!
  5. Hot Apple Cider: Most hot apple cider recipes are crazy! They have ten steps, and want you to do fancy things with cloves. Ain’t no-one got time for that! I don’t have an original recipe for hot apple cider, what I do have, is a link to an easy version. Click here to check it out. I love any recipe which is easy, and includes whip cream! Love! This is an apple cider recipe both kids and adults will love. It’s perfect for the holidays; and any cold evening when you want to warm up! It’s the coziest, low calorie drink I can think of! Enjoy!

A few things you might need to make these holiday drinks:

There they are! Five easy non-alcoholic holiday drink recipes for kids or anyone who doesn’t want alcohol. What are some of your favorite non-alcoholic drink recipes you like to make for yourself, your family, or your guests? Please share in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy