Monday, March 9, 2009

Baked Ziti

8 ounces sliced pepperoni
1 pound lean ground beef
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4 1/2 ounces canned mushrooms
16 ounces uncooked ziti (or penne) pasta
1 jar spaghetti sauce (any preferred garlic flavored sauce - I used Bertolli Olive Oil & Garlic)

Brown ground beef; drain and set aside. Cook ziti; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Then layer the ingredients (ziti, pepperoni, ground beef, mushrooms, sliced mozzarella, spaghetti sauce . . .) like a lasagna, ending with 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese on top. 

To Bake: Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let the dish sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

To Freeze: Prepare ziti as indicated above. After spreading the shredded mozzarella on top, cover tightly with plastic wrap, carefully pressing out as much air as possible, then with heavy duty aluminum foil and freeze. If desired, you can split the recipe between 2 8X8 disposable aluminum baking pans. Then, once you cover with the aluminum foil, you can put each pan inside a gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag before freezing.

Frozen Preparation: Defrost in refrigerator. Unwrap pan of ziti completely and bake (on a baking sheet) in the middle of a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. *You may want to cover the ziti with aluminum foil if the top is getting too brown. 

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