Quick Weeknight Dinner: Baked Ziti With Turkey Meatballs

Anyone who has visited our recipes section of the site and blog knows that I am not much of a convenience food cook. I prefer to make as much as I can from scratch, but still love to showcase quick and simple dinners that can be pulled together for busy weeknight suppers. That being said, isn’t it great to have a few shortcuts when it comes to the evening dinner that can make the process a little easier for your family?

One thing I love to make for a busy week or as a simple supper for family entertaining is my Baked Ziti. Instead of doing my traditional ground turkey sausage in the sauce, I opted to buy a package of meatballs from the frozen section of the store. Using these made the dish come together just a tiny bit easier and it was a fun new addition to our traditional ziti that the whole family loved. This small switch saved me a little bit of time and it created a heartier stick-to-your-ribs deliciousness that our entire family loved.

A package of frozen meatballs can be a wonderful addition to your freezer to be able to whip together a quick meal for those nights where you just don’t feel like cooking. I love to make my homemade spaghetti sauce for a special Sunday dinner, but whose to say those meatballs have to be made from scratch? Bread machine hamburger buns can be shaped into hoagie rolls and filled with meatballs that have simmered in jarred sauce for a semi-homemade dinner treat, sprinkled with a little grated mozzarella cheese. These meatballs can be incorporated beautifully into this or any other pasta dish of your choice for a night of entertaining. The truth is, sometimes it is just nice to know that half of the work is done for you.

I hope you can add a little of this to your weekly planner, to share with a friend in need, or as a simple solution to weeknight entertaining!

Classic Baked Ziti With Turkey Meatballs

1 package frozen turkey meatballs, thawed (I bought the Fit & Active brand at Aldi and they were delicious)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32 ounce) jar meatless sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta, cooked & drained
2 (8 ounce) cups shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook garlic in olive oil over medium heat for one minute. Stir in spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, & oregano. Add thawed meatballs to the sauce.  Reduce heat & simmer for ten minutes. Stir one cup of the sauce into the cooked ziti noodles. Spoon half of the ziti mixture into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with 1.5 cups mozzarella or Italian cheese blend cheese & a 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Top with two cups sauce, then remaining ziti mixture & remaining sauce. Cover & bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella & Parmesan cheese. Return to oven & bake uncovered for ten minutes or until heated through.

What is one item you like to keep on hand in your pantry or freezer for a quick meal? Feel free to share your links and recipe ideas!

Published October 18, 2010 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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