This is a wonderful hearty meal that you can feel happy about feeding to your family and eating yourself. This is one of my favorite week night meals. I have found myself adding spinach to every meal I can lately. If I can add it without detection I do. Spinach is just so great for you, loaded with vitamins and minerals and if you use it in saucy recipes even your fussiest eater shouldn't complain.
The other nice thing about this recipe is you can adapt it to suit the needs and taste buds of your family. For example, I have made it and added sweet white corn also. You could add mushrooms, zucchini, peas etc. The more vegies the better!
Healthy AND Delicious Baked Ziti
1 lb lean ground turkey or extra lean ground beef
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded sweet carrots
2 cups fresh spinach chopped
1 small onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, passed through a press or grated
26 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low sodium fat free chicken or vegetable stock
8 oz brown rice or whole wheat penne pasta
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (or use dry if you don't have fresh)
1/2 to 1 cup of shredded low fat mozzarella cheese (optional)
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Once olive oil is heated, add ground meat. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Once meat has browned, add onion and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add stock, tomatoes and spinach.
3. Once all the vegies are in the pot and combined, add the uncooked pasta. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until the pasta is al dente.
4. Just before removing from the heat add the chopped basil.
5. Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare baking dish with a light coating of cooking spray. Place pasta mix into baking dish and sprinkle with cheese if using. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Serve with a wedge of crusty wholewheat bread. ENJOY!