Posts Tagged ‘family recipes’

Easy Ziti

First of all, let me apologize to any Italians, or Italian Americans reading this. I have tried your version of baked ziti (at a restaurant) and, though delicious, there is no way I’m cooking five different kinds of meat and making three different sauces for dinner tonight…or ever. Moreover, my kids would never eat the truely delicious ziti. The blander, the better is my cziti.jpeghildren’s motto! (Now you’re really excited to bake this up for a yummy dinner treat, aren’t you?)

Sweet and simple and makes great leftovers, or alternatively, dinner gifts for your friends down the street who have one more child than you have.


Heat 1/2 C olive oil over medium heat. Add four minced garlic cloves and 1/2 tube anchovy paste (great salt alternative!). When anchovy paste is mostly dissolved, add Italian seasonings such as basil (fresh is best), oregano, marjoram, and let simmer for a minute. Next add two large cans (28 oz. each) of crushed tomatoes, pepper, and fresh parsely. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. (If you want meat in your suace, add cooked ground beef, chicken or turkey and let simmer in sauce for the 20 minutes.)

Cook 1 lb penne or ziti, drain and seet aside. (If the pasta has to sit for a long while befroe being mixed with the sauce, add a bit of olive oil to it to keep it from sticking.)

In a large bowl, combine: two cups shredded mozzarella cheese, two cups cottage or ricotta cheese, one cup Parmesan cheese, one beaten egg, and some finely chopped spinach. (This is the only way my kids will eat spinach, and it’s because they don’t know it’s in there. So chop finely if your kids aren’t spinach eaters. The red sauce covers it all up!)

Then mix it all together in the bowl! The pasta, the sauce and the cheeses and spinach. Pour it into a large, oiled baking dish, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes. If you want to save some to freeze, take that out before baking it, and then bake it when you have defrosted it. Otherwise, if it is baked twice, it gets tough.

Good luck and buen provecho.


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Warning: I plan on memorializing some recipes on this blog. Not that I’m any chef, mind you, but in my early years of parenting, I did obsess over healthy food a bit. Boo gets Sunshine’s dregs, and Baby is in for frozen foods all the way, I’m certain. At least one child got it good.

But really, some of the recipes are so good (and, yes, healthy) that you may even want to test them out on your little ones. So, since both my memory and curiosity about spending time in the kitchen is waning, I need to get these down now.. in case Baby inspires me to bust out the nuts and seeds down the road.

The thing about pancakes is this: you can do whatever you want to them and your children will eat them as long they are round, not a funny color (don’t try adding kale, no matter how tempting), and are served with plenty of maple syrup (do splurge on the real stuff, it’s just as sweet and actually has some good nutrients in it.) Here is one of my pancake recipes. Don’t laugh (or gag), my kids gobble them up.

3/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 C. Garbanzo Bean Flour
1/4 C. Unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 C. Cream of Wheat
1/4 C. Finely ground walnuts (the champion of nuts. Sometimes I use ground pumpkin seeds instead)
1/4 C Sugar (I don’t belong to the sugar is bad for you camp- as long as it isn’t too much. I’m more interested in the nutrients)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder (aluminum-free)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 C. Milk
1/4 C. Molasses (black strap has the most nutrients, including plenty of iron)
1 egg
1/4 C. applesauce (natural, unsweetened)
(optional) Fold blueberries or any other fruit your kiddies like into batter, or serve on top.

(You could make your own fancy berry, pineapple, or pumpkin syrup, but you will have to find that recipe somewhere else.)

Mix together all the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix together all the wet ingredients in another. Add the wet to the dry. The mix should be slightly runny; if it’s not, add a little more milk. And fry ’em up just like grandma used to. Let me know if you and your kiddies try them, and what ya’ll think. Don’t forget the syrup!

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