Meal Prep Sunday: Italian Week Recipes (Baked Ziti, Ricotta Cookies, Roast Zucchini)

What I'm about to show you are complementary recipes. That means that between all of the recipes, you can use up fresh ingredients that might go bad otherwise- like ricotta cheese.

Let's face it: if you made the Ziti alone, what are the chances that ricotta cheese would go bad in your fridge before you got around to using it in another recipe?

The Ziti also completely uses up the Mozzarella, Vodka Sauce, and Onion, so you aren't left with half-empty jars or packages sitting around in your fridge.

The lemon is used up, half by the zucchini, and half by the glaze for the cookies.

The only things you might have left over are pantry items that don't go bad, and staples like eggs or milk, which most people will use up anyway. Making recipes which use up ingredients is a frugal thing to do because it eliminates food waste!

Are you ready for Italian Week?

For the Vegetarian Baked Ziti:

  • 1 lb Mozzarella
  • 1 25oz Jar of your Favorite Pasta Sauce (I used Emeril's Vodka Sauce)
  • 1/2 Tub (7.5 oz) Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1.5 lb dry Ziti pasta - Penne and other large pasta tubes work fine too.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  
Cook the pasta for 10 minutes, then drain. 
Cut up the onion and sautee it in the olive oil while the pasta is cooking. 
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked pasta, the whole jar of pasta sauce, the onion and olive oil. Stir this together. 
Spread about a third of the pasta mix in a large casserole dish. Spread some dabs of ricotta in there, and layer with mozzarella. Repeat this layering until you are out of pasta, and then spread the rest of the mozzarella on top. 
Cook for 30-40 minutes until the cheese starts to get nicely golden brown.

For the Roast Zucchini

  • 4 or 4 Zucchinis / "Summer Squash", washed
  • Olive Oil
  • Half a Lemon

This recipe is so simple. Just cut up the zucchini into even slices, then spread evenly on a pan. 
Coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can use garlic salt if you like. 
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, then spoon as a side dish into your meal prep containers alongside the ziti.

For the Cookies:

  • 1/2 Tub Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Cookie Glaze:

  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • The other half of your lemon
  • 2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the vanilla extract and ricotta cheese and mix it together until it's creamy.
Sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.
Drop the batter by the spoonful onto a baking sheet, making sure they're at least two inches apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, 
To create a glaze, mix a couple tablespoons of milk (or water if you don't have any) with the powdered sugar and a hearty squeeze of your remaining lemon half. Dip the cookies in the glaze after they have cooled.

When everything is cooked:

Dish the Ziti and the Zucchini into meal-size tubs, and separate the cookies into freezer bags. You can pair them up in the freezer so they are ready to go, or leave the cookies in a bag in the fridge (they'll be fine for a week!)

Total Costs:

This meal cost me about $25 for all of the ingredients I used and made a week's worth of dinners with dessert: about $3.50 per meal (these are NYC grocery store prices, so if you live in a lower cost of living location it will be much less). I keep things like flour, sugar, baking powder on hand, so buying those in larger amounts definitely kept costs down.

It's good to note that the price of eggs is really low right now. Not so good for me as someone who is long $CALM, but good for me as someone who loves to bake. *wink*

disclaimer: This is cooking advice, but not investment advice. For entertainment purposes only. Links may be affiliate links. 

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