Enjoy this guest post from Kathy. I think she’s right on about batch cooking. I make use of the same technique to keep my freezer full.
Batch Cooking and a Recipe for Ziti
Have you tried batch cooking? It’s where you cook in…well… batches. If you are planning to make a meatloaf for dinner, you double the recipe (or batch if you will) and make two (or three), allowing one (or two) to go in the freezer for another meal.
I love batch cooking! I never seem to find the time to do the full one day Once A Month Cooking (although Once a Month Mom does make it VERY easy), so I find myself batch cooking.
One of my favorite recipes to make in bulk is ziti, adapted out of the Dream Dinners cookbook. It’s so easy, and everybody loves it. I always have at least one ziti in the freezer to give away. That way when someone in the neighborhood gets ill or someone has a baby or I just forget to grocery shop, there is a meal available.
What you need for one batch of Ziti:
- 1 pound ziti
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ – ¾ cup sour cream (I use ¾ to make it creamier)
- ½ – ¾ cup cottage cheese (I use ¾ to make it creamier)
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 4 tsp minced garlic
- 5-6 slices provolone cheese
- 1 -2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I LOVE cheese)
Now, mind you, I never use the above as is. I usually triple it. So, I use a 16 oz sour cream and a 16 oz cottage cheese and don’t have to get any measuring cups dirty.
- Boil the pasta until just tender, drain and place it in a large bowl.
- Brown beef with onions and garlic and drain the fat. Add that to the bowl.
- Pile in the rosemary, Italian seasoning, sour cream, cottage cheese, and marinara sauce. Stir away until everything is incorporated. You will have a big bowl of yumminess!!
- Spoon the mixture into your pans (be sure to spray them with cooking spray). If you have a big family, put it into a 9×13. If you have a smaller family or are giving it away, put it into two 8×8 pans or these handy round ones I bought at our local warehouse store. (I bought 500 of them 2 years ago. I’m almost out.)
- Once your ziti yumminess is spread into your pans, it is time to add the cheesy yumminess. I believe there can never be too much cheese. Truly. Never. First, place provolone slices across the top of the noodle mixture. I usually tear them into smaller pieces so they can be placed more evenly, and they seem to melt better that way. After all the provolone is distributed, dump sprinkle the mozzarella evenly.
That’s it! You’re done. If you want to eat it tonight, set your oven to 350 and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your pan.
If you want to freeze it, cover the pan with plastic wrap and then foil. Be sure to label the pan with cooking instructions.
How do you fill your freezer?
Kathy Hill is a wife, mom, and editor who blogs in her “spare” time over at the House of Hills. She’s new to the blogging scene, but is having a blast and learning lots. You’re welcome in her “house” any time.
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