Friday, February 20, 2015

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti

All right, before we get started talking about my favorite casserole ever... let's talk about other stuff. For one, I'm getting out of the house today. Finally! Ok, so it's only because I have a doctor's appointment for my back, but it's a start.
While I may not have left the house all week, I have ventured as far as up to the main road. It's covered in snow, and has exactly 4 ruts where cars have been driving. 2 ruts on one side of the road, and 2 on the other. It doesn't look friendly. And our private lane? Please. It's buried.

I was working on a couple of projects yesterday (Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins- y'all better appreciate this recipe when I'm done, I'm moving on to Batch 3!) when I heard a knock at the door. The boys went nuts and I had to assume it was the UPS man. I went to the door and looked out the peephole to see, sure enough, the UPS man. I was shocked to see no truck with him, however. I went to the front window in time to see this poor guy trudging up our private lane to the main road, which is about a quarter of a mile. This awesome dude parked his truck up there, and walked our packages to our house. When it was out. I was so impressed!

After our whole ordeal with Nissan (still ongoing, thank you very much), it was uplifting to see great customer service. Extraordinary customer service in my opinion, I honestly didn't think anyone would do that. So, I shot off an email to the company explaining the situation and asking that they commend the young man. Not 5 minutes later I got a reply from a rep asking for the tracking number and my phone number. Then, about 30 minutes later, I got a call from the local office saying they had received my compliment and would pass it along to the driver. 

While I was happy the driver would probably get kudos that day, I couldn't help but think about the whole situation with my car. As you can probably guess from my lack of talking about it, the car is still not ready. And we have no clue when it will be. UPS responded to my positive email in record time, while we emailed Nissan more than a week ago. If only customer service for problems could be quite as quick as paying a compliment. In my opinion, companies should provide just as much service for problems as for kudos. While I'll probably always remember that poor UPS guy, it may not be at the forefront of my mind all the time. This experience with Nissan on the other hand? I'm done with the company. We were contemplating keeping this car at the end of our lease, but we won't be now. We'll be turning the car in, and buying from another company. A practically lifelong relationship (save for 5 awesome years with my Toyota Celica) severed just like that. 

Talking about Nissan makes me want to grind my teeth, so let's talk casseroles!

I've mentioned several times that this is one of my favorite-est (new word!) casseroles of all time. There's tons of flavor, tons of spinach, and it's oh-so-cheesy. I think this is the first casserole recipe I ever tried making on my own many, many moons ago. I made it for a dinner party and it was a huge hit. What's funny is that this has been near the top of that pesky list I keep talking to you about since the inception of the list.

That's right folks. 3 recipes this week, all of them were on the list. I'm kicking butt, and taking names :)

Now, if only I could figure out these pesky Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins...

Have a great weekend friends! Stay warm, and stay safe in this winter weather!

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

8 oz dried ziti
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 (13 oz) jar of Arribiata Sauce
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
8 oz ricotta
3 cups spinach
1/2 cup mozzarella
1 tbsp parsley, chopped


1. Cook pasta according to directions. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400º. Lightly coat an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a large, wide sided pan. When warm, add onion. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic, sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add ground beef, stir to crumble. Cook until browned. Add salt and pepper. Add sauce, parmesan cheese, ricotta,  and spinach. Stir to combine. 
4. Transfer pasta mixture to prepared pan. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until mozzarella has melted. Remove from heat, sprinkle with parsley, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.
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  1. I've been in an Italian food mood all week :) very good timing on this post :)

    1. Yes, perfect timing! Perfect for a socked-in snow day :)

  2. That looks good too! Recipe printed immediately. I'm making your Caprese Soup tonight :)

    That was really nice of you to let them know about that nice UPS driver. He really did go above and beyond.

    Good luck on the muffins!

    1. Oooh, I hop you enjoyed the Caprese Soup. I've made it for a crowd, and always a hit :) I finally figured the muffins out so recipe to follow soon! Hope you're having a great weekend Rue!

  3. Yum! Totally adding this to my Dinner Ideas board! Hoping to try this cozy meal soon!

    1. Thanks Renee! I hope you enjoy the recipe, have a great weekend!


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