Baked ziti is carb loaded pasta dish with hearty meat sauce and ziti noodles coated in 3 different kinds of cheese. Who knew this dish could be points friendly for Weight Watchers?
I just love watching Ree Drummond’s show and trying out her recipes on Food Network and then I wonder how many points that recipe is. I’ll figure out ways to make the recipe lower in points with just the help of replacing some of the cheese products with part skim or use a leaner protein. Some of my other favorite Food Network stars are Alton Brown, Ina Garten, and I’m just loving Molly Yeh’s show as well because she lives up in Grand Forks ND.
More Food Network Chef Recipes
Ina Gartens Roasted Shrimp Salad
How to make this Baked Ziti Recipe more points friendly.
Ree’s recipe calls for 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of sausage. I’ve made the original recipe with sausage and ground beef and I decided to use a lean ground beef such as 93%. The sausage was so good mixed together with the ground beef and I can never find 95% lean ground beef in my stores but if you can find that then use that too.
I replaced all the cheese this recipe calls for with part skim mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan and used light butter instead of olive oil. Find Ree’s original here. Below is the recipe that I made more Weight Watcher friendly.
Would you like to see more chef recipes like Ree’s made lower in points? Let me know in the comments below and I can tackle some more! Food Network is one of my favorite channels to watch.
What to serve with Baked Ziti
How to make Baked Ziti Video
2 tablespoons light butter
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 medium onion diced
1 pound Ground Beef 93% lean
1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice (or Petite Diced Tomatoes)
2 cups Marinara Sauce
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt And Pepper, to taste
16 ounces, weight Ziti Noodles
1 tub (15 Ounce) Part Skim Milk Ricotta Cheese
8 oz part skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 whole Egg
Fresh Minced Parsley
- Heat butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
- Add tomatoes, marinara sauce, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
- Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.) Add the cooled meat sauce and toss to combine.
- Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top. Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and top it off with remaining mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
myWW points: Blue Points: 8; Green Points: 14; Purple Points: 8
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 384
- Sugar: 7.2g
- Sodium: 500mg
- Fat: 13.5g
- Saturated Fat: 6.6g
- Carbohydrates: 39.5g
- Fiber: 3.5g
- Protein: 25.9g