Mmmmmm…..just say that with me. Mmmmmm….
Now that we’ve established our favorite noise for the day, let’s get on with the good stuff.
Food. Be still my beating heart.
I will never be able to give up my passion for food. I may be on a journey to healthy, but that doesn’t stop me from creating good real food that both my stomach and heart purely enjoy.
They say weight loss is approximately 75% diet, 25% exercise. They also say that the 90/10 rule is a pretty good guide for eating healthy. Eating healthy and on point 90% of the time seems pretty decent, if you ask me. I believe in a cheat meal a week mentality. I don’t think anyone can be perfect 100% of the time, because let’s be real- who wants to live that life? I don’t.
That being said, I am all about changing what is meant to be a cheat comfort meal, into a healthy meal I can eat whenever I want!
For example, in walks pasta, dives head first into a steamy jacuzzi of sauce, then welcomes a cozy blanket of cheese. That is my love language.
I can’t have pasta though. So instead we use our trusty zucchini and spiralizer to make dreams come true. It’s amazing and my life is forever changed.
Zucchini & Sausage “Baked Ziti”
- 2 large zucchinis, spiralized
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 lb italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 tbsp italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on level of heat you like)
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese + more for topping
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese + more for topping
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large oven safe sauté pan, brown and crumble sausage.
When cooked, add diced onion and pepper to pan. Saute 5-7 minutes until vegetables start to become tender. Add minced garlic and saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Then add diced tomatoes and marinara sauce.
Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to sauce. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes and for sauce to thicken. (When zucchini is added and cooked, it will give off water).
When sauce has thickened, add 1/2 cup ricotta cheese and mix into sauce.
Pour in zucchini noodles and mix into sauce.
Top with dollops of ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted. Set oven to broil on high for 3-5 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbling.
This dish is full of so much flavor! The zucchini noodles are cooked just right with a little bit of bite, leaving your palate feeling like you are eating al dente pasta!
The cheese, oh the cheese. No description ever needed. I heart cheese, hard.
Please make this. The husband told me he’d eat it once a week from here on out. That’s a big ole’ compliment in my book!
Happy eating my friends!