What’s for Dinner Besides Turkey Leftovers? Baked Ziti!

I know, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it’s all about leftovers. At our house we like to have leftovers on Friday but by Saturday kids are wanting some “new food.” Here are a couple of recipes that were a HUGE hit with the kids this summer when I taught cooking classes; Baked Ziti and Ceasar Salad (yes, with homemade dressing! Yes, with anchovies!). It’s a great way to get the family involved while you work on Holiday decorations!

Healthier Baked Ziti


Serves 6


10 oz ziti or other pasta

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

¾ cup small diced carrots

1 small zucchini, diced or shredded (optional)

5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water removed (optional)

10 oz. extra lean ground turkey or lean ground beef

1 (24 oz.) jar marinara pasta sauce

¾ cup low fat plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped or 1 Tbsp. dried basil

10 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente according to package directions (about 8 min.)

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 min. Add garlic and sauté an additional minute. Add zucchini and spinach, if using. Add ground beef or turkey and break apart using a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is browned. Drain excess fat from pan, if any. Add marinara sauce, oregano and basil; stir to combine. Add Greek yogurt and combine well until melted.

3.Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Return to pot and add to meat mixture.

4.Coat a 9×11 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Create layers of ingredients as follows: 1/2 pasta mixture, ½ mozzarella, remaining pasta mixture, remaining mozzarella and finally top with grated Parmesan.

5.Place under broiler for 10 minutes, uncovered (or until cheese has melted completely and is bubbling). Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Skinny Ceasar Salad



1 bag Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano + extra for salad

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove

1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 anchovy fillets (yes, anchovy fillets! Kids still loved it!)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

5 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt


In the bowl of a food processor add the cheese, the lemon juice, garlic clove, mustard and the anchovies. Turn the machine on and let it run for 15 to 20 seconds. Add the oil and yogurt and let the machine run for another 15 seconds. Toss with lettuce and sprinkle additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Makes 3/4 cup dressing

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One Response to “What’s for Dinner Besides Turkey Leftovers? Baked Ziti!”

  1. Jodi Mist

    I have made your baked ziti recipe several times and my daughter loves it. I freeze the leftovers for her lunches.

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