What’s for dinner? It’s the dreaded words I hate to hear when I haven’t planned out dinner for the week. With so many unknowns lately, one thing I can know is what’s for dinner! When I started messaging friends last month, I asked them what kind of recipes they are looking for. Every single friend said easy dinner recipes. So, that’s what I’m sharing with the Nonahood this month. For those of us with school-aged children, this is a much different school year than we ever could have imagined. Needing quick meals these days (even for someone who cooks for a living) is the name of the game.
If you know me or follow my blog, you know that I love a good one-pot meal. Lots of flavors with few dishes to clean! Most of this recipe will cook on the stovetop, then the ziti will finish in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes until it’s golden brown. It’s important you cook this recipe in an ovenproof large pot or skillet that can be used on both stovetop and in the oven.
While dinner cooks, it gives you time to unload the dishwasher, make a salad, and toast some garlic bread to go along with your dinner! This classic meal can also feed an army. I will either give the other four servings to a friend for an easy weeknight dinner or freeze half of the cooked portion for a future dinner.
Whenever I freeze pasta, I use a metal takeout container, label the cardboard lid with the contents inside, and freeze for up to three months. I’ve invested in a 50 count of the freezer (and refrigerator) containers via Amazon. To cook after freezing: The night before I want to serve the frozen meal, I place the frozen pasta dish in my refrigerator to thaw. Then, I bake it the next day (with foil tented over the dish) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until warm and bubbly.
Whatever you choose to do with the leftovers (if you have them) is up to you. I hope that you find this one-pot classic a new go-to on those extra busy (and sometimes stressful) days!
One-Pot Baked Meat Ziti
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup white onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, minced
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 pound ziti pasta
- 2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh herbs
- Heat a deep skillet on medium-high. Place the olive oil and butter in the skillet and let melt for one minute, then add minced onion, garlic, and carrot.
- Sauté for 5 minutes until soft, then add in the lean ground beef and ground pork. Sauté and cook for an additional 5 minutes, making sure to break the meat up with a wooden spoon and mixing the vegetable mixture in with the meat.
- Once the meat is fully cooked (no pink is showing), season the meat with the salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and granulated sugar.
- Mix well and then pour the ziti noodles in the skillet. Pour 1 can of crushed tomatoes in the skillet. Mix the ziti, meat, and sauce together. Then, add in the second can of crushed tomatoes. Mix well and add the water on top of the noodles. Mix well again, making sure the noodles are fully covered.
- Place a lid on the skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes until noodles are soft.
- Preheat broiler on low.
- Remove the lid and mix the pasta. Use a cookie scoop and begin adding dollops of ricotta to the pot (lift up portions of the pasta and place dollops lower in the pot, too). Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top. Place the oven-safe pot in the oven and bake until cheese is melted and golden brown (about 2-3 minutes depending on broiler).
- Serve meat ziti immediately and top with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs if desired.