Saturday, July 11, 2009

Baked Ziti and Easy Cheese bread

I guess you can't technically call it Baked Ziti since I used Rigatoni, but close enough. Head on over to the Crepes of Wrath for the recipe and great pics of the Baked Ziti. This dish reminded me a lot of lasgana. While no bake lasagna noodles make lasagna easy to make, this Baked Ziti was even more of a breeze.

Holy cow did it make a lot though. We will be eating leftovers of this for days. Good thing everyone liked it so much. Blockette plowed through her bowl. We didn't have to remind her to eat once.

Next time, unless I'm making this for company, (which I definitely will), I'm going to half the recipe, with the following changes: use a pound of meat and a heaping half cup of sour cream. I like my red sauce dishes to be meaty and the original 1 lb of meat to 2 jars of sauce spread it a little thin for my tastes. I also thought there was a bit too much sour cream. I didn't like scooping into the dish to find that white layer. The sour cream was a bit too thick to melt into the provolone. Stirring the serving eliminated the white layer, but for presentation sake I'd rather not have to do that if I was serving it for company. I'm guessing the thinner layer of sour cream would melt better into the cheese. I guess you could use ricotta. Ricotta would melt nice, but I'm not a fan of ricotta.

The Cheese bread from My Kitchen Cafe was really an after thought. I realized that I had forgotten to buy garlic bread and all we had was regular old sandwich bread. I wanted something that could sop up the red sauce a little better than that. (Or maybe we could blame Mrsthunder who was talking about how she was making garlic basil bread in her bread machine the other day.) I had debated on making the no knead bread but I didn't have enough time. I also didn't want to have the oven on for that long either.
I rummaged through my recipe folder and came across a few different ideas. Most of them you either needed a stand mixer or you had to knead by hand. I have bad luck kneading by hand so those were out as well. This particular bread recipe is technically a quick bread. There is no yeast and no kneading involved. Right up my alley!

Naturally, I didn't have the exact ingredients for this bread. I wasn't about to go to the store because, hey, if I was going to go to the store I could have just bought a loaf of garlic bread. I didn't have the sharp cheddar cheese to chop up. I did have twisted cheddar and mozzarella string cheese. I used that instead. I also didn't have whole milk. The recipe specifically says not to use skim milk but that was all I had. Would it have tasted better with the intended ingredients? You bet, but the end result of this loaf was still mighty tasty.

I think next time I might omit the Parmesan cheese. I couldn't get it to shred nicely. It all sort of crumbled into a coarse grit. That was more of a visual thing though. I don't think the way the cheese shredded had an effect on the taste of the bread. If you go to My Kitchen Cafe and look at her pic, the large grate of the cheese on top looks much better than the crumbled stuff on my loaf. The Parmesan made the bread rather salty as well. I think a different cheese could make just as pretty of a crunchy crust without the saltiness.

Baked Ziti from Crepes of Wrath
1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce, dealer’s choice
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups low-fat sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, 8 min; drain and set aside. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground turkey over med heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 min. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and/or line a 9×13" dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mix, remaining ziti, mozzarella and remaining sauce mix. Top with grated Parmesan. Bake 30 min til cheeses melted. Let sit for a few min before serving.

Simple and Delicious Cheese Bread from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
**If the toothpick comes out with what looks like uncooked batter after testing the bread for doneness, try again in a different spot since the toothpick may have hit a pocket of cheese the first time. You definitely don’t want to overbake the bread or it will be dry. According to the original recipe, the texture of the bread improves as it cools, so if you can, resist the urge to slice the bread while it is still very hot. I can attest that this leftover cheese bread makes excellent toast. Use a toaster oven or baking sheet in a 425-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes (a conventional toaster can be messy because the pockets of cheese will melt and burn).**

3 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded on large holes of box grater (about 1 cup)
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 ounces sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups whole milk (2% milk may be substituted but don’t use skim milk)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg lightly beaten
3/4 cup sour cream

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position in the oven and preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 5x9"loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then sprinkle 1/2 c of the Parmesan evenly in bottom of pan.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper to combine. Using a rubber spatula, mix in cheddar cheese cubes, breaking up clumps, until cheese is coated with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, egg, and sour cream. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (the batter will be heavy and thick). Do not overmix. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; spread to sides of pan and level surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 c Parmesan evenly over surface.

Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45-50 min. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 min; invert loaf from pan and continue to cool until warm, about 45 min. Cut into slices and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Love your variations on this - clever! And it sounds like it still turned out great.


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