New-Mama Meals: Three Cheese Ziti

A big welcome to Sara from the blog Finding Joy in My Kitchen. I met Sara at this Cub Foods Apple Event last fall and have since been hooked on her blog full of good eats. We’ve tried so many of her simple, budget-friendly meals…and several of her crockpot recipes have made their way into our regular rotation.Thanks, Sara, for contributing this post to our series…..


  Thanks so much for inviting me to share a recipe with your readers, Liz, while you enjoy bonding with your new little one!  I am thrilled to be here today, sharing a meal for new moms.  While we’ve done everything from cinnamon raisin bread & granola to a brown rice bake, this three cheese ziti, Olive Garden bread sticks, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies is truly a favorite to bring to a new mom. Our go-to meal for new mom’s includes a large, hearty veggie-filled pasta bake, bread, and delicious dessert.  One new mom told me that a batch of frozen cookie dough was the best dessert someone gave them when they had a little one, and I’ve taken her advice to heart.  This way the family can make the cookies up as they have people over – and, let’s face it – there’s nothing like a warm, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. You can make this pasta dish with many in-season ingredients: spinach, parsley, garden tomatoes, carrots, and bell peppers!

We love adding a batch of Olive Garden Breadsticks.  Bake them all up and leave the new mom a note:“Breadsticks: If not consumed within the day, freeze.  To prepare, thaw for 10 minutes at room temperature.  Then, reheat in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 10ish minutes until warmed throughout.” And, finally, whip up your favorite batch of cookie dough.  We love these oaty-chocolatey ones. Scoop out the dough onto a cookie sheet and flash freeze the dough balls – 30-45 minutes in the freezer is sufficient.  Then, put all the dough balls into a freezer-safe container or bag.  Top the top of the container, or on the bag, write the instructions that include the temperature to bake at, and the duration. Note: most cookie recipes can be baked from frozen dough, you just need to allow additional minutes for cooking. Congratulations, Liz!  And, thanks for letting me share our favorite meal for new moms.

New-Mama Meals: Three Cheese Ziti

New-Mama Meals: Three Cheese Ziti

(recipe from Finding Joy in My Kitchen )

(yields one 13x9" pan)

A cheesy, vegetable-licious pasta dish that is perfect for bringing over to a new mom or freezing on the weekend for a busy week coming up.

Ingredients

16 oz. ricotta cheese

a few sprigs, fresh Parsley

1 tsp. salt

1 egg

4 c. fresh spinach, steamed (other veggie options: tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots)

1/3 c. grated Parmesean

4 c. homemade spaghetti sauce

16 oz. wheat ziti, cooked

4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Begin by combining the ricotta cheese, egg, salt and parsley in a medium bowl.

Then, add in the steamed spinach (or other vegetable) and grated Parmesan cheese.

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Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

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Lightly grease a 9x13 glass baking dish*, and then ladle 1 c. of the spaghetti sauce over the bottom of the pan. Top with 1/2 of the cooked pasta. Then, place 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture over the top of pasta. Top with another 1 1/2 c. sauce. Then, layer over the remaining pasta, and the remaining ricotta cheese mixture. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of the dish.

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Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

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At this point, cover the dish with plastic wrap and tinfoil. On the tinfoil, write:

“Three Cheese Ziti. Keeps refrigerated for 1-2 days, then freeze. If baking from fridge, remove plastic wrap and replace foil. Place in the oven, then preheat to 350*. Bake covered for 20 minutes, remove the cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes until hot throughout. If baking from freezer, place dish in a cold oven, then preheat to 350*. Bake covered for 45 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until dish is hot throughout and cheese is melted.”

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*For a new mom – use a tinfoil pan; they can recycle it when they finish the meal and don’t have to worry about washing a dish to return to you.

**Remember: if freezing this dish in a glass pan, do not take it straight from fridge or freezer into the oven. It will shatter! Let it have plenty of time on your counter top to come to room temperature before placing in oven.

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4 thoughts on “New-Mama Meals: Three Cheese Ziti

  1. Wow, thanks. My pastor’s wife will be delivering a baby very soon and I was wondering what kind of meal I could make her family, well now I know! This is perfect……

  2. Since I don’t know anyone who’s having baby, I’ll make it for my family. It would be perfect for a night that I don’t want to cook.

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