We’ve been preparing a lot of meals for friends and community members recently. As I posted earlier, it’s a mitzvah I’m always eager to sign on for. But the truth is, sometimes I can barely manage to get a homemade meal on the table for my own family, much less for two families. (After all, I need time blog. And check the stats on my blog. Not to mention Facebook.)
Thank God for Trader Joes, which makes it possible to make healthy, delicious, inexpensive home-made (or at least home-style) meals in a matter of minutes. Cooking for others suddenly seems manageable.
Here’s my recipe for baked ziti (except they don’t sell ziti at Trader Joe’s, so it’s baked rotini.) You can buy everything you need at Trader Joe’s for about $10 if you don’t count the parmesan reggiano, which you should have on hand if you ever cook anything. All the ingredients are certified kosher except for the hard cheese.
This recipe is so fast and simple that you might assume it’s as bad as many of the other *easy* recipes found on parent blogs and message boards, posted by cooks who consider velveeta to be food. Trust me, this is no hash brown casserole.
Cook 1 pound of whole wheat rotini until al dente. Drain and return to pot. Dump in half a bag of frozen, chopped organic spinach and mix in with the hot noodles. Mix in 1 container of fresh ricotta cheese, half a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, and one can of Tuscano marinara sauce. Dump (I probably shouldn’t use that word even once in a recipe, much less twice) into a lasagna pan greased w/a little olive oil. Sprinkle some more mozzarella and freshly grated parmesan on top. (BTW, I tried it once with fresh mozzarella and it actually wasn’t as good.) Bake at 400 until bubbly – about 30 minutes.
I love about a million things about Trader Joe’s. (A million and one after they stopped selling Rubashkins.) Apparently, so does this guy.