Healthier Baked Ziti



I love Italian food. I grew up eating a lot of it when I was younger. My mom is an amazing cook and would make homemade spaghetti, gnocci, ravioli, fresh breads, her own sauces, her own noodles. Just yum! Pasta might not be super friendly on the waste line though. That is very sad. I have tried taking a few of my favorite recipes and healthying them up the best that I could.

Chris asked for baked ziti last weekend, and it sounded so good! I used wheat noodles instead of white noodles, cottage cheese instead of ricotta and didn’t have a “heavy hand” while adding the cheese on top. I think it turned out wonderful, and it allowed us to enjoy one of our favorites without completely killing our diet.

The picture above was the next day reheats, so I spread it out on a plate to help it reheat quicker, I promise it looks prettier than that! I ended up cooking the whole box of noodles so we would have left overs, you could only use half the box and cut the recipe in half. I would have made my own sauce, but I wanted something quick and easy. I have shared my sauce recipe before, you can find it here.

What you need:

1 box whole wheat noodles

1 lb extra lean ground beef (or turkey)

2 jars of your favorite tomato based sauce (or 1 large one if you choose something that comes in a value pack. You want the amount of sauce to serve the same amount as the box of noodles. 1 jar isnt enough for an entire box of noodles)

2 1/2 cups reduced fat cottage cheese (I used the entire container that I got. It is between 2 and 3 cups)

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg

Italian seasoning



Garlic Salt

1/2 cup Italian cheese blend or mozzarella cheese

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 350.

1.Cook your noodles according to box instructions.

2. Brown your ground beef/turkey.

3. Mix together cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, the egg and sprinkle in some parsley for good measure

3. Spray a baking dish with olive oil spray or Pam  (at least a 9 x 13 if cooking full recipe)

4. Mix the jar sauces with some garlic salt, Italian seasoning, oregano and any other seasonings that you like to use with your sauce. The jar sauces never have enough flavor! Then add your ground beef/turkey to the sauce mix.

5. Layer your baking dish with sauce first, then 1/2 the noodles, then 1/2 cheese mixture, then more sauce, the rest of the noodles, the rest of the cheese, the rest of the sauce then sprinkle the Italian/mozzarella cheese on top.

6. Cover your baking dish with tin foil, and cook in oven for 30 minutes.

So easy. So delicious!

On another note, I have switched up my creamers for coffee lately. My go to all year is Coffe-mate Peppermint Mocha but I have been feeling all the different ones that have come out for Christmas, and the new ones that International Delight makes. Eggnog Latte is always a must around Christmas time, duh! But seriously, have you tried Hot for Cookie?! My goodness. It is heaven in a cup for sure. Go out and find some right now! Your welcome.


Linking up with Ashley and Jessica for Taste of Tuesday!

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  • Reply Allison December 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I am so hungry for pasta now! Great idea to make it healthier!
    Those creamers… oh my goodness. I used to be so addicted, haha. Whenever I drink coffee now, I drink it black. But those sound good enough to sway me… 🙂

  • Reply Kerry December 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Baked Ziti is so yummy and I am glad you made it healthier.

  • Reply Ashley December 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I love baked ziti! This one looks so good!

  • Reply Lauren December 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I want all the food and all the coffee. I am most interested in the vanilla caramel creme – that is totally my kind of thing!

  • Reply kathy @ vodka and soda December 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    so. i LOVE my creamer. it’s the ID chocolate mint truffle and it turns my regular coffee into peppermint mocha so starbucks can suck a fat one for charging a ridic amount of money for theirs.

    Vodka and Soda

  • Reply SMD @ Life According to Steph December 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I always make my lasagna and ziti with either cottage cheese or sour cream because I hate ricotta.

    I love french vanilla creamers.

  • Reply Helene December 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    this looks so good- and it’s healthy- win win!

  • Reply Mary December 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    That pasta looks amazing! I love pasta and finding a healthier recipe for any pasta dish!! Thanks for the creamer suggestion also I might have to try that hot for cookie one 🙂

  • Reply Amanda December 4, 2013 at 12:46 am

    I would’ve never thought of putting cottage cheese in there! What a good idea!!!!! I loooove me some pasta. I literally eat some form of it 3-4 times a week so I could use all the help I can get with making it healthier, haha!

  • Reply Rachelle December 4, 2013 at 2:43 am

    This looks delish! I love pasta, it’s kinda my go-to meal!

  • Reply Aileen December 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I’m usually not up for Italian just because it’s heavy but this sounds good! Also, those creamers sound amazing. I might need to try the hot for cookie. YUM!

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