Friday, September 21, 2012

Skinny Baked Ziti

I'm going to let the photos do most of the talking tonight.  This dish is delish!  It is a lower calorie version of a favorite comfort food, baked ziti.  It is prepared with a simple sauce, hot sausage, and it's loaded with vegetables.  You don't even need to make a salad!

Here we go!


1/2 lb. hot or sweet ring Italian sausage or turkey sausage
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. minced green bell pepper, seeded
1/4 cup sliced cubanelle pepper, seeded
6 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomato
1 spring fresh oregano, plus 1 tbs., chopped (extra sprig for garnish - optional)
3 whole basil leaves plus 3 for garnish
2 tbs. dry red wine (optional)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 packet Splenda ® or two tsp. sugar
1/2 pound cooked ziti pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
2/3 cup low fat or fat free cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheese
8 ounces part skim or low fat shredded mozzarella
Sprinkle garlic salt with parsley

Other:  Cooking Spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub sausage with one tbs. of the olive oil.  Bake for one hour, turning once, until crispy.  Let sausage cool for about five minutes.  Slice cooked sausage into rounds and halve each round.  Keep warms and set aside.

Add remaining olive oil to a small skillet.  Add the bell pepper, cubanelle, and mushrooms.  Cook for three minutes until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add crushed tomatoes to a sauce pan.  Add the cooked peppers, mushroom and garlic to the tomatoes along with the fresh oregano spring, three basil leaves, the red wine, salt, pepper and Splenda®.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Cook, covered, for about 25 minutes.

Stir occasionally.  Remove the oregano sprig once cooked.

Cook pasta in boiling water about two minutes under package directions (approximately 10 minutes).  Add broccoli during the last four minutes.  Drain well.

Spray baking dish with cooking spray.  Add pasta and broccoli to the baking dish.  Add the cottage cheese and the remaining chopped fresh oregano.  Stir to combine. Add the cooked sausage slices. Add the sauce with veggies and stir well to coat the pasta.  Top with grated cheese, mozzarella and the garlic salt. 

Bake for twenty minutes.  You can turn the broiler on for the last two or three minutes if the cheese is not bubbly and brown enough to your liking.

I don't even have to say this, but enjoy!

See you soon!

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