Baked Ziti

**I made this last night and honestly think this is the best baked ziti recipe I have ever had! It is amazing and moist! My only thing is that you need to pay attention to the amount of pasta you make, the recipe calls for a whole pound and that is what you need to actually make. I did not pay attention and made less because the box I made was not a full pound.**

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef

2 cans or jars (26 ounces) of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 jar (16 ounces) garlic alfredo sauce

1 box (1 pound) of penne pasta

1/2 yellow onion diced (optional)

1 bag (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 baking dish with non stick spray.

Prepare pasta according to package directions

In a medium sauce pan, brown ground beef with onion (if using). After beef is brown and crumbled, drain excess grease. Put back in pot and pour in one (1) jar of spaghetti sauce. Keep mixture on low until the pasta is done.

When the pasta is done, drain excess water from pasta. You want the pasta as dry as possible. Put pasta back in large pot (with heat off) and pour jar of Alfredo sauce. Combine until pasta is coated thoroughly. 

Pour past mixture into bottom of 9×13 dish. Cover pasta with spaghetti sauce mixture.

** Don’t put that pot you used for the spaghetti sauce mixture in with the dirty dishes just yet. Keep that pot out and start heating up the second jar of sauce on low heat. Put a cover on it to keep warm until ziti is finished baking.

Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Let rest for about 5 minutes after taking out of oven. Serve portions onto plates and pour some of the heated spaghetti sauce on top.

** At first, I did not think I would need the second jar of sauce, but you really do! The pasta soaks all the sauce up and you need to add more. I did not use the onions because I am allergic. This came out really good.**

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

** I made this last night and it was a hit with us both. Although I think next time I will add some veggies to it, maybe green beans or those frozen Asian veggies you can get at the store. See my notes for the changes I made to this recipe. **

Ingredients:

3 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup plus 2 TBS. ketchup

1 TBS canola oil

1  TBS. sesame oil

1  TBS minced or grated fresh ginger root

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed

3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

4 tsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

Optional Garnishes:

thinly sliced scallions

Sesame seeds

6 cups hot cooked rice, for serving

Directions:

Very lightly season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them in the slow cooker.

Whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, canola, and sesame oils, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes in a mixing bowl and pour over chicken thighs. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a rimmed plate or bowl and cover lightly with foil, leaving the sauce in the slow cooker.

Stir the cornstarch into the water with a fork or a small whisk until dissolved. Whisk the mixture into the sauce in the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and turn the heat to high. Let it cook for 15 minutes, it will thicken as it cooks.

Carefully transfer the chicken back into the slow cooker and mix to coat the chicken with the thickened sauce.

Serve the pieces of chicken over hot cooked rice. Spoon sauce over the chicken and garnish with the scallions or sesame seeds.

***** Cooks Tips*****: I used regular thighs. I had the boneless skinless ones on my list, but hubby grabbed the wrong ones and actually it turned out better. Because the bones and skin protect the meat some, it did not dry out as it might have without them. If using regular bone in thighs, before you put the chicken back into the slow cooker, I removed the meat from the bones and the skin. Stir the meat into the sauce before serving. I also think this would be fabulous with Asian veggies added, you can usually find them in the freezer section, I would add them after you thicken the sauce and add the chicken back in. Let them cook on low for about 30 minutes or so to thaw and heat through.