Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Some seasons are busier than others, and those are often the seasons I crave the warm, gooey and hearty flavor of comfort foods! Now if you are anything like me, once you are in the midst of those busy times, you will also lack the time to prep a healthy home cooked meal. Luckily I have a few tried and true recipes just for those times, and this week's Baked Ziti is one of them! Fresh Italian flavor, warm and oozing with just enough cheese to soothe the comfort food craving (but not to sabotage the healthy lifestyle goals!) and the leftovers it generates are even better served up the next day! Pair with a salad, grilled or steamed veggie side and you've got dinnertime covered in about 30 minutes!
6 oz. penne pasta (I prefer gluten free)
1 jar tomato basil sauce, low sodium
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/4 C sweet yellow onion, diced
1 C low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (or non-dairy sub)
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place large pot of water on stove with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Set burner on high and once water is at a rolling boil add penne pasta and reduce heat to medium high. Boil noodles for approximately 10 minutes (or until tender and easily pierced with a fork), drain water and set aside.
While noodles are boiling, sauté the ground turkey with diced sweet yellow onion in a large pan on stove at medium heat. Once turkey is nearly cooked (2-3 minutes remaining), add oregano and stir well to coat, then cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to low for the last few minutes (be sure not to over cook the meat, watch for browning edges and stir as/if needed!)
Place cooked ground turkey in a medium size mixing bowl and add 1/2 the jar of tomato basil sauce, stir to combine well.
Using a 9x13 baking dish, add a layer of penne noodles, then top with meat and tomato sauce mixture, sprinkle cheese along the top, then add another layer of noodles followed by another layer of meat and sauce and sprinkling of cheese, then a final layer of noodles, meat and sauce and top with remaining cheese.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes (until cheese on top begins to lightly brown).
Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before slicing to serve.
Eat and Enjoy!