It looks like I need to adjust my schedule slightly… I usually write my Monday-morning post on Saturday evening, but I just got called to teach the 3-year-olds at church — there are 8 of them & only 1 of me — so guess what I was doing Saturday night? How did it go? Well, let’s just say that I need to prepare more than I did last week. MUCH more.
So here I am, writing my Monday-morning post on Monday night. But it’s worth the wait, I promise!
Have you visited skinnytaste.com? If you haven’t, you definitely need to head over there & browse Gina’s recipes. She’s great at replicating the tastes of favorite meals & decadent desserts, but making them lowfat & better for you! She even includes Weight Watchers points values, for those of you who have the willpower to do that (I applaude you). This is her vegetarian baked ziti recipe. It’s low in fat, delicious (a huge hit with my whole family!), & makes a TON. So as always, I make a small pan (8×8) for now — we still had leftovers! — & freeze the rest for later.
But I’ve been running into a problem lately with my beloved foil pans: as you probably know, tomato sauce reacts with the aluminum, causing the entire dish to taste like you’re eating a can. No good! For tomato-based dishes like my stuffed shells, I had been lining the foil pan in parchment paper & then adding another layer of parchment on top before covering it with foil, but I just discovered something new & SO much easier!
Paper baking pans! I honestly can’t remember who makes them — Hefty, maybe — but I just know when I saw them at the grocery store I NEEDED THEM. They seal up so nicely with their own little lids too, don’t they? The only negative is that they don’t fit into my gallon freezer bags like the smaller foil ones did, so we’ll see how leftovers fare for extended periods in the freezer, but at least there’s no more metallic taste or parchment paper lining! Hooray!
Okay, now for what you really came here for: the recipe.
- 1 package (usually they’re 14.5 oz.) high-fiber short pasta (we used Piccolini penne because they’re cheap at Costco)
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed & drained
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (I used 1 Tbsp. dried)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 8 oz. fat-free ricotta (I could only find part-skim, so I used that)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded part-skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking dishes with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain & return to pot.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Saute garlic until fragrant.
- Add spinach & tomatoes.
- Stir in oregano, basil, & salt & pepper.
- Pour sauce into the pot with the pasta & mix well. Add ricotta, Parmesan, & half of the mozzarella (1 cup). Mix well.
- Spread in bottom of prepared baking dishes. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Put extra dish in the freezer.
- Bake 27 minutes (for an 8×8 pan — 30 min. for a 9×13 if you’re not freezing leftovers) or until bubbly, cheese is melted, & edges are beginning to brown.