And I’m back in the game for a BIG win!
The baby is 6 weeks old now and I’ve finally been making some appearances in the kitchen these past 2 weeks. Mostly I’ve just been throwing simple things together for dinner in attempt to fill everyone’s bellies with something remotely healthy. The other day I was walking through Costco, quickly checking items off my shopping list when inspiration stopped me in my tracks. Ancient grain, gluten-free penne noodles. Why, I cannot say. I don’t even like noodles generally. I did however used to LOVE my baked ziti recipe, which involved Italian sausage, ricotta, Parmesan and a WHOLE lot of mozzarella. I haven’t eaten it in years. I used to often make it with penne noodles because I could rarely find ziti. So seeing the penne made me think of ziti, and that got me thinking about how I could come up with a yummy, healthier version.
That treasured flame I haven’t felt in almost a year was lit. I spent the next few days mentally manifesting my creation… and it paid off, big time. The whole family loved it, and that almost NEVER happens!
Now, I made pasta to feed an army. I used the entire Costco sized bag. I regret that I didn’t even look to see how much that was. I believe it was 6 cups, uncooked. In the end it made 3 casseroles. We ate 1 1/2 for dinner, my husband took the leftovers to work for lunch, and I put 1 in the freezer for a day in the future when we need a quick meal. I love that kind of back up. So, if you want to make less, reduce the recipe, but it does freeze well and is great to have on hand.
Gluten-Free Vegetarian Baked Ziti
1 Costco bag of Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Penne noodles
3 small or 2 large zucchini, sliced and quartered
About 2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced
A few tsp oil (olive or coconut)
2 jars marinara sauce (preferably organic)
4-6 oz soft goat cheese
1/2 (or more) tsp fennel seeds (to give it that Italian sausage flavor)
About 7 oz goat mozzarella, grated
Preheat oven to 375.
Cook noodles according to package directions, rinse well, drain and set aside. Place zucchini, mushrooms and garlic on a baking sheet and toss in oil. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender. To the pot of noodles add roasted veggies, sauce, soft goat cheese and fennel seeds. Mix well*. Divide into 3 casserole dishes. ~If you’re planning to freeze any, line the dish with plastic wrap, add the cooled pasta mixture, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. When it is fully frozen you can remove it from the dish, wrap it in foil or wax freezer paper and store it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it remove the wrap, put it back in the same dish you froze it in, let it thaw for several hours, top with grated mozzarella, and cook.~ To the one(s) you’re planning to cook now, top with grated goat mozzarella and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 12 minutes.
*The soft goat cheese should melt if the noodles are still warm. If you don’t want the cheese melted in you could also just crumble it on top once you get it into the casserole dishes.
Eggplant Garlic “Bread”
Olive or coconut oil
Peel eggplant and slice into 1/2″ rounds. Sprinkle with salt and let sit about 30 minutes. Rinse well and pat dry. Brush lightly with oil on both sides, sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt, and place on baking try in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. They are done when they are dry on the surface and beginning to turn golden brown.