There are days when even *I* don’t feel much like cooking. *GASP!!! Are you sick??? Are you crazy???* I know, right?! It’s not that I don’t feel like it, it’s just that time as of late has been I swear slipping away. I need a pause or slow-motion button at times in life just to catch my breath. These past few days were like that. Even though I took a few vacation days I did anything but relax. After having a severe reaction to a medication and ending up in the ER the last thing I wanted to do when I came home was eat. Not because I wasn’t hungry but because I couldn’t eat thanks to the reaction I had. Even ice cream burned my lips and mouth. That’s just beyond cruel! I mean ice cream makes EVERYTHING better (kind of like bacon). Mmmm… bacon. I ♥ bacon.
Anyway even though I really couldn’t eat I had to feed Mr. Fantabulous. While I’m certain he could have fended for himself (I mean he does make a mean bowl of cereal and has little difficulty opening a yogurt container) he’s really not allowed to be in the kitchen let alone touch my kitchen stuff. LOL Since I had a few of those amazing Protein Packed Chicken Parmesan Florentine Meatballs left I wanted to make something simple and easy to accompany them. Now I could have gone for my old stand by – big ol plate of pasta but I wanted to do more (plus this by coming up with something else it’s opportunity for me to share it on here). As I rummaged through the fridge I spied a ginormous vat (like 64 ounce size) of Ricotta cheese. Thing is, I don’t remember buying it but after checking the date I apparently bought it recently as it had a while to go before it expired. I literally whipped this up on the fly sort of a cross between my Stuffed Shells and pasta with meatballs.
Now even though the very thought of putting tomato-anything in my mouth right now makes me cringe I did taste this. My GOD was this good! So cheesy and just luscious! The addition of the meatballs were perfect. I made some with meatballs cut up and mixed in and others with just the meatballs on top. Mr. Fantabulous has issues with meat in stuff like this. To him lasagna must never, ever, ever, EVER, like you will go to hell and die if you put meat in his lasagna. He’s he’s that against meat in lasagna. *shrugs*.
When this came out of the oven, the cheese was so ooey gooey, the sauce was bubbling and the meatballs were steaming.
He ate in silence.
This is a good thing.
No, this is a great thing!
Why? If you are wasting time talking instead of eating, then the dish is lacking. LOL All he cared about was getting that next bite in.
- 8 ounces ziti, uncooked
- 2–3 cups Marinara Sauce, warmed
- 1 1/2 cups low fat Ricotta
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg
- 8–10 cooked Protein Packed Chicken Parmesan Florentine Meatballs, rough cut (if you want a piece in every bite), else leave whole
- Preheat oven to 350F
- In a large pot, boil the ziti until al dente, ~8 minutes. *note: when the water starts to boil add a pinch of salt.
- In a separate bowl mix together the ricotta, egg, parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella, oregano, black pepper and meatball chunks.
- Set aside.
- Drain the noodles.
- In an 8×8 glass pan or 4 8 ounce ramekins, cover the bottom with a layer of sauce. It doesn’t have to be thick but you should not be able to see the bottom of the container.
- Add the drained noodles to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.
- If making in an 8×8 pan, add half of the cheesy noodle mixture then a 1/2 -1 cup of sauce. If making in ramekins, divide the cheesy noodle mixture into 8 portions.
- Add the remaining noodle mixture and sauce. *Note: if leaving the meatball whole, add them on top of each ramekin or space on top of the 8×8 pan and then add the sauce.
- Take a piece of aluminum foil and light spray one side. *8 pieces of foil for the ramekins
- Place the sprayed side down on top of the sauce.
- Bake for 25 minutes for an 8×8 pan. Bake 15 minutes for 8 ramekins.
- Remove the foil and cover with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes just until the cheese has set.
To Freeze: If you want you can prep these and assemble them but NOT bake them! Simply put them together and then double wrap in plastic wrap, then foil. They freeze PERFECTLY for up to 3 months. To cook, simply put in a cold oven THEN put the temp to 350F. To bake add an additional 10-13 minutes longer in cooking time (as they are frozen).