easy baked ziti

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

Who is ready for a non-Thanksgiving recipe? It was a wonderful evening, but I’m ready to get into the Christmas spirit! This doesn’t mean that I’ve got the decorations up, or even plan on getting a tree but I love giving gifts, lighting candles every night, and of course, the comfort food that cooler weather brings.

And baked ziti is the perfect comfort food.

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

It’s comforting, it’s satisfying and it’s easy to make. Isn’t that what every dinner should be?

Bonus: it’s five ingredients and takes only 10 minutes of active prep time. It will be on the table in 35 minutes and everyone will be happy.

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

Baked Ziti isn’t necessarily the prettiest food around, but it is tasty. No matter if your taste buds lean gourmet or picky – it’s a meal that the whole family will love. I used a spicy red pepper marinara (jarred) sauce but use your favorite jarred or homemade sauce.

Serve with a green salad – it’s all this dinner needs!

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

Easy Baked Ziti
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 1½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 25-oz jar of marinara sauce
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta as directed until al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. Mix together ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the bottom of an 8x8 inch pan with half of the marinara sauce.
  5. Top with pasta, ricotta mixture and remaining sauce.
  6. (Sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese if desired.)
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbly.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 538 Fat: 19 grams Carbohydrates: 62 grams Sugar: 13 grams Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 28 grams Cholesterol: 145 miligrams

 

broccoli pesto pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

I’ve received some wonderful cookbooks lately but there’s one problem: I’m drawn to – and therefore bookmarking – all of the cozy and rich, fall and winter meals. And the only problem is that we just came off of another scorching few days (90’s and I’m so over it) and I can’t quite bring myself to make the hearty meals quite yet. (The soup was an anomaly!)

I managed to find something a little more forgiving in the heat: broccoli pesto pasta! We absolutely LOVED this meal.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

FRESH and LIGHT by Donna Hay* is the kind of cookbook I would love to write. It’s filled with beautiful pictures (simple ones, not heavily styled, which I’ve come to realize is what I’m drawn to) and recipes, ideas and inspirations for real food, kept both fresh and light. I have about 15 recipes bookmarked, but it’s the kind of cookbook that can be pulled out for inspiration on a regular basis. She has a number of sections in the book with a whole spread of simple variations on meals like pizza, pasta, dips and muffins. It’s my kind of cooking. Simple, no crazy-long ingredient lists or equipment required, just real food that’s full of flavor and perfectly healthy.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

(So yes, I HIGHLY recommend the book!)

Let’s talk about this pesto! I’m a pesto fan and so I was drawn to this variation right away. I’ve had kale, arugula and edamame pestos, but never broccoli pesto. It comes together really quickly (about 20 minutes!), requires only a few ingredients and I love that your entire meal is served in one bowl for a simple dinner.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

After taking a bite, my first thought was, wow, it tastes so fresh and light. (Yes, the title of the book!) But it really does taste so fresh and it’s while it’s a very satisfying meal, it’s light at the same time. Richie also loved this meal, and not just because it included pasta. :)

I think it would be great for kids who aren’t thrilled by the idea of broccoli on it’s own – it’s hard to resist when it’s combined with cheese, fresh herbs and pasta!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

Broccoli Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups of blanched broccoli
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups hot spaghetti
  • parmesan
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine broccoli, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and olive oil in food processor and process until finely chopped. (You want to keep some texture to it!)
  2. Toss with hot spaghetti and sprinkle with parmesan and an extra drizzle of olive oil if desired.
  3. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 575 Fat: 22 grams Carbohydrates: 77 grams Fiber: 10 grams Protein: 20 grams

*affiliate link

8 ways to use pesto

10 Ways to Use Pesto | A Nutritionist Eats

Is there anything better than a batch of fresh pesto?

The possibilities are endless. Even the beginnings are endless!

10 Ways to Use Pesto | A Nutritionist Eats

I’m kind of a purist when it comes to pesto – meaning I tend to stick with the standard basil + pine nuts + garlic + parmesan + olive oil, but it’s not to say that I never branch out. It’s just rare. And for the record, I don’t always make my pesto from scratch. It’s preferred, but I also love the Kirkland brand of prepared pesto from Costco.

8 ways to use pesto: 

Pesto Pizza | A Nutritionist Eats

This has been dinner far too many times to count. It couldn’t be easier, yet hits the spot every single time I have it. Try Pesto Pizza for lunch or dinner soon. Please!!!!!

Thin pesto with olive oil and drizzle on fresh vegetables. Outstanding!

Salmon Sandwich with Pesto Avocado Spread | A Nutritionist Eats

I absolutely love combining pesto with avocado. Clarification: I love combining anything with avocado, and pesto is no exception. Salmon Sandwich with Pesto Avocado Spread is a delicious, rich and healthy sandwich.

Toss with cooked grains (like quinoa) and sprinkle with goat cheese.

Summer Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

Summer Crostini is a great make-ahead appetizer and guaranteed crowd-pleaser. (And it’s been having a moment on pinterest this summer!)

Blend into white bean dip. Serve with toasted crostini, crackers and fresh vegetables.

Pesto Chicken Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

If you’re a chicken salad fan, you’ll love this pesto version! Pesto Chicken Salad is insanely easy and perfect on sandwiches or spread on crackers.

10 Ways to Use Pesto | A Nutritionist Eats

And, last but certainly not least is probably my absolute favorite way to eat pesto: simply tossed with pasta.

What’s your favorite way to use pesto? (AND! Make or buy?)

4th of july inspiration

Um, can someone please explain what has happened to June?! I do NOT understand how the 4th of July is next week.

It’s quite disturbing, especially because we haven’t done anything on our summer to-do list. (And I mean that we haven’t even made the list yet.) I do know that we want to spend some time at the beach, see a few outdoor shows but beyond the food + drink below, I have no idea!

At least this is a good place to start…

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Sip: Berry Kombucha Sangria. I haven’t made sangria yet this summer, but this version is at the top of my list. Recipe and image via Edible Perspective.

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Spread: You can tell me that there is a food better than grilled bread, but I won’t believe you. This Bruschetta Bar idea is genius and totally my type of meal: wine + bread + cheese. Oh, and it’s beautiful. Recipe via What’s Gaby Cooking, photo via Matt Armendariz.

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Simple: Grilled Watermelon and Feta Stacked Salad is the perfect example of a simple – yet delicious – salad that combines sweet and salty over bitter greens. Recipe via Cooking for Keeps.

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Splurge: Adding bacon to hot dogs is a splurge in my book. These BLT Hot Dogs are topped with bacon, tomatoes and lettuce dressed with a caraway-pickle mayo. (Please tell me hot dogs are on your menu next week!) Recipe and image via Food & Wine.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

Side: 4th of July = Summer and Summer = Pasta Salad. This Blue Cheese & Olive version is a staple in my family and great because you can make it a day ahead of time. And that = more time for fun and sun!

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Sweet: All these Red Velvet Cupcakes need is a few blue sprinkles and they’ll be red, white, blue and delicious! Recipe and image via Satisfy My Sweet Tooth.

What are you making? (Link below!)