Friday, March 05, 2004

Baked Ziti (and mashed potatoes)

Today we made baked ziti. Here are the ingredients:

This is a recipe I from from someplace I forgot. We've been making ziti this way since around 1997.
First you boil some filtered water - about 4-6qt, enough to cover all the ziti that comes in one of those 16oz boxes. At the same time, you can heat up the sauce on medium to low - avoid burning it, just roil it enough to kill off any remaining bacteria if present. You can also get your baking pan oiled up with olive oil, bring out some butter to soften:

Once the water gets boiling good, turn the heat down from high to about 7, pour in the ziti and let cook about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking on the bottom. Once the ziti is cooked, pour it into a collander (an absolutely necessary cooking item, even if you are a non-cook bachelor - I've had mine since I was in college). Turn your oven to 350F and set to bake for 19minutes.

Now to make the ziti sauce, throw about 1 tablespoons of butter onto the pot you just used to heat the ziti - set the heat to about 4. Pour about 2 cups of milk into the pot, add about a teaspoon of salt, break out the mozzarella cheese, and add about 1/2 of an 8oz packet of this into this concoction, allow to simmer until numerous small bubbles show on the top and all the cheese and butter is melted. Add the SECRET INGREDIENT: 3 good squirts of French's golden yellow mustard. Turn off the heat and allow to simmer about a minute or so with constant stirring. Add about 1/2 cup of cornmeal mix (or self-rising flour works ok too). Now add the cooked and drained ziti into this concoction carefully and stir and mix up and pour onto your baking plate:

Stir-up some more in this baking plate (pre-oiled) and ladle on some of your tomato sauce on top, then add the rest of the mozzarella from your packet and you're ready to put the plate into the oven:

Go ahead and put it in. Now let's make

Mashed Potatoes

This is SO easy to make. I'm going to make 6 servings of it here. You boil 2 cups of filtered water with 3 tablespoons of butter in it. As soon as it starts boiling well, turn off the stove, and add 2 cups of "instant mashed potato flakes" and 1/4 cup of milk:

You stir but not too vigorously and within seconds like magic you see mashed potatoes forming. All children like this stuff. You can also add this sidedish to the vegetable plate we made a couple days ago.
Within a few minutes the timer for the baked ziti will beep and it's time to set the table. So here's the final product: