Who has the time to cook anymore? Between soccer practices, board meetings and a never ending supply of laundry our lives have become incredibly hectic. Personally, I refuse to succumb to a life of TV dinners and drive through. Hopefully, I can help you avoid it as well. In this article I will write a how-to on creating an easy Italian meal in less than 30 minutes.
For our main dish today we will make a baked ziti. Ingredients needed for this dish include: one one pound box of ziti, one eight ounce container of ricotta cheese, eight ounces of mozzarella cheese, and a jar of red sauce. For our side dish we will make a simple Caesar salad. For you Caesar salad you will need: one head of romaine lettuce (or bagged romaine is fine too), your favorite Caesar dressing, croutons, and about a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese.
We will begin by boiling a pot of water for the ziti. While the pot of water is boiling for the ziti, we can wash and dry our lettuce for the Caesar salad. Making sure the lettuce is dry is the key in creating a delicious salad. Back to the ziti! Once the water comes to a boil, pour in the box of ziti and cook until al dente.
Once the ziti is cooked, drain the water and put in a large casserole dish set.
Pour in about half a jar of sauce, the whole 8 oz container of ricotta, and half of the mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces). Mix all together and smooth out. Feel free to adjust the amount of sauce to your personal taste. Sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella over the top of the ziti. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and eat!
Now while the ziti’s baking we can finish our Caesar salad. Once you have washed and dried you lettuce, place in a bowl. Add croutons, Parmesan cheese and dressing to your taste. Sometimes I like to add a little black pepper. Also if you are trying to cut calories, you can add a little lemon juice, which will allow you to use less dressing.
Now this is a very easy dinner, which is almost impossible to mess up. It is very simple to tailor to your personal tastes. It always makes for awesome leftovers!
Good luck and enjoy!
Get more great Italian recipes like this from the Best Italian Cookbooks!
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!