Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Clean Eating Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage

Makes 10 servings, about 1 cup each
I have made this once a week for the past 4 weeks. It is a new family favorite :) We have been in Japan for almost 6 months now. The time has just flown by and we are loving this wonderful experience. The kids and I have gotten really involved with modeling since we have been here which means that we spend a few days a week in Tokyo for jobs or auditions. I have had to rely a LOT on my freezer stash and quick-but-healthy throw together meals like this one for the nights that we are getting home from the train station right at dinner time. 

I whipped this up one night when Matt was gone, we had been in the city all day, and I just wanted a nice, home-cooked meal. Whenever my sister, Anthea (hi, Anthea!!), comes to visit me she always makes me baked ziti. She just throws it together but if you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I am incapable of cooking ANYTHING without a recipe. I was googling baked ziti recipes and came across a few that were started on the stove and finished in the oven and I loved how much faster it was so I pieced this together from a few different sources. It is also a super great way to use up wilted spinach that you don't want to eat in a salad :)

Technically this is rotini, not ziti, but the commissary doesn't carry whole wheat ziti
so this was the best I could do ;)
  • 4 big handfuls spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
  • 12 oz all natural, nitrate free sausage, sliced into medallions (I use Saag's Naturals Chicken Apple)
  • 28 oz can no salt added crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 1/3 cup neufchatel (or reduced fat cream cheese) OR 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella
ONE: In a large oven proof skillet, cook the spinach and garlic over medium heat until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

TWO: Pour in the crushed tomatoes with juices, salt, basil, oregano, and water. Bring to a simmer.

THREE: Preheat oven to 475. Stir the uncooked pasta into the tomato sausage mixture in the skillet, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook covered until pasta is al dente, about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

FOUR: Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese/ricotta cheese and parmesan. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top and put the skillet into the preheated oven. Bake 10 minutes until cheese on top is melted and lightly browned.

NOTE: If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you could certainly do the stove top part in a sauce pan or regular skillet and then dump it all into a casserole dish before sprinkling on the mozzarella. I just like using the oven proof skillet because then I only have one pan to wash.

Freeze leftovers in 1 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1 cup serving made with Neufchatel- 243 Calories (48 Calories from Fat), 5g Fat, 2.5g Saturated Fat, 35mg Cholesterol, 384mg Sodium, 32g Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 16g Protein, 34% DV VitA, 20% DV VitC, 15% DV Calcium, 13% DV Iron

Per 1 cup serving made with Ricotta Cheese- 232 Calories (41 Calories from Fat), 5g Fat, 2g Saturated Fat, 32mg Cholesterol, 330mg Sodium, 32.5g Total Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 15g Protein, 34% DV VitA, 20% DV VitC, 9% DV Calcium, 14% DV Iron

Cook spinach and garlic until spinach wilts
Add in sliced sausage and cook until lightly browned
Stir in crushed tomatoes, seasonings, and water. 
Add in pasta, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12-15 mins until al dente 
Stir in ricotta/cream cheese and parmesan and sprinkle top with mozzarella.
Bake at 475 until cheese on top is melted and lightly browned.