Well, I've been wanting to start a blog for awhile now, and I finally got around to doing it. I admit, I'm a little intimidated. I had a terrible time deciding on a name for my blog. This blog is intended to be, as I've described it below, "musings from a creative journey." What that means is that I hope to blog about the things in my life that I'm creatively passionate about -- scrapbooking, photography, creative writing, sewing, and cooking. I know, that's a lot to fit into one little blog title. So, instead of a descriptive title, I ended up with more of an inspirational one.
So maybe I'll start out with something simple -- a favorite recipe. Since we often have somewhere to be in the evenings, I'm frequently in a time crunch when I cook dinner during the week. Because of that, I like making things that are a little more time-consuming (but not too much so) on the weekends. A favorite dinner around our house, and the one I made tonight, is Baked Ziti with garlic toast.
16 oz. box uncooked ziti (or penne) pasta
1 medium onion, diced
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 jar (28 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 carton (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until beef is no longer pink; drain grease. Stir in spaghetti sauce. In a bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, 12 oz. of the mozzarella cheese, and the Parmesan cheese.
2. Drain pasta; add to cheese mixture and toss to coat. Spoon a third of the meat sauce into a greased 9x13 baking dish; top with half of the pasta mixture. Repeat layers; top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top of casserole.
3. Cover and bake at 375 for 45 minutes, until heated through. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Here is one little hint about this recipe. I like to buy fresh mozzarella, the kind that comes in a big chunk packed in liquid, and dice it up to use in this recipe. The little chunks end up as yummy, gooey pockets of goodness. Oh, and just use your favorite jarred spaghetti or marinara sauce in this recipe. You really can't go wrong. And, since there are only four in my family, instead of making this in a 9x13 dish, I usually make it in two smaller casserole dishes. We have one for dinner, and one goes into the freezer for a meal later in the month.