Healthier Baked Ziti with Turkey

Happy Thursday!

Can I just say that I’ve been absolutely loving the weather these past few days? I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but Virginia seems to have finally (FINALLY!) turned a corner and welcomed spring. And I for one am not even waving goodbye to winter. Good riddance to you!

It’s been especially nice to have decent weather, since this week has been a bit of a doozy. Chris has had a huge project going at work, which means that he’s been working a ton of late hours (I was a little worried he was going to start sleeping at the office until this was done), and I’ve been taking care of the dogs and everything else at home.

If the weather had been gross, rainy, or (heaven forbid) snowy, I’m not sure if I could have managed without being a total grump!

Since everything has been so crazy, I’ve been relying on a lot of quick and easy meals that make a ton of leftovers. Not only is it nice because I can throw a recipe in the oven while I’m showering (yay multitasking), but it also means that Chris can grab food whenever he does get home, and take leftover to work for lunch instead of worrying about making his usual sandwich.

Thirty Minute Thursday

Today’s meal is not QUITE 30 minutes – it’s probably more like 40 when you count some of the veggie prep. So I hope you’ll forgive me. Unless you’re one of those awesome people who preps your veggies in advance (good on you!), then you can definitely get this done in the allotted 30!

Healthier Baked Ziti with Turkey

Healthier Baked Ziti with Turkey

Serves approximately 6-8

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta (I only had rotini on hand)
  • olive oil
  • Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.

    2. Preheat oven to 350°F.

    3. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in minced garlic and let cook for approximately 30 seconds. Add in ground turkey and cook until brown.

    4. Add in chopped onions, and cook until they are translucent. Add in jar of pasta sauce, frozen spinach and italian seasoning, and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat. Mix in pasta.

    5. In small bowl, mix together container of ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese (saving a little bit of parmesan to sprinkle on top).

    6. In a large baking dish, layer in half the pasta. Add the ricotta mixture and spread evenly across. Add other half of pasta mixture. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

    7. Place in the over for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbling.

    8. Serve and enjoy!

    Healthier Baked Ziti with Turkey

    What I love about this meal is that it really doesn’t take much thought or measuring. A box of this, a jar of that, a container of this… it’s really kind of fool proof. You can also totally amp this up by trading regular ground turkey for hot turkey or Italian sausage, and add in whatever veggies you like. Seriously so simple! Plus it makes a TON, and it’s an easy grab and reheat kind of meal.

    Perfect for those insanely busy weeks where you just cant manage to throw together healthy dinners all week long!

    (Also, side note, yes I realize that I used rotini instead of ziti noodles. I couldn’t for the life of me find whole wheat ziti noodles. But “Baked rotini” just doesn’t have the same ring! So just pretend the noodles aren’t curly, k? k!)

    Healthier Baked Ziti with Turkey

    This, along with a few other large meals with a ton of leftovers, is what is helping us get through this week. I’m counting down the minutes until Friday afternoon when I can finally take some time to relax!

    So tell me: What are your favorite large meals that make a ton of leftovers? Anyone else happy to see spring?

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Comments: 6

  1. Nicole @ FruitnFitnrss April 3, 2014 at 9:35 am Reply

    This sounds like a great meal to make and keep on hand for the week. I love spicy turkey sausage but regular turkey is healthier and can always be spiced up with some added flavor. I hope the project finishes up soon, I’m sure you want your guy back home!
    Nicole @ FruitnFitnrss recently posted…WIAW- current eatsMy Profile

    • MyFreckledLife April 7, 2014 at 6:45 am Reply

      So true! You could definitely easily spice this up!

  2. Erin @ Erin's Inside Job April 3, 2014 at 9:48 am Reply

    That looks delicious! It’s not even 10 yet and I am already hungry again. Maybe I have a tapeworm.

    I love making big dishes like that so I have a lot of leftovers. My quick go to when I am too lazy to make something like that is to just make a bunch of quinoa and divide it up into containers for the week. That way I can throw different things into each container each day so it doesn’t get too monotonous.

    I also welcome Spring but am just hoping it doesn’t come with lots of rain!
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…WIAW: Home Alone EditionMy Profile

    • MyFreckledLife April 7, 2014 at 6:46 am Reply

      Haha, I hope you don’t have a tapeworm! But I agree with you on the leftover meals! I never think to make giant batches of quinoa though – I need to try that!

  3. KIm April 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm Reply

    Sooo happy to finally see Spring!! My husband would love this meal!! I am a vegetarian so I will have to pass, but I will have to try making it for him :)
    KIm recently posted…Grocery HaulMy Profile

    • MyFreckledLife April 7, 2014 at 6:46 am Reply

      You could definitely do this same meal without the meat and just make it a baked pasta dish. Or sub in a bunch of veggies (zucchini, squash, etc) instead!

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