Menu Planning may sound like a lot of work, but it's actually one of the laziest things I've ever done. Since I started planning our meals for the week (and eventually the month) I've noticed some improvements in the way we eat and in the way I shop. Knowing what's for dinner not only saves time, it saves money and helps us eat healthier as well.
By planning out the week's meals I can make a more effective list for the grocery store and purchase only those items that we will need for the week. I make fewer impulse and duplicate purchases, and have practically eliminated the mid-week run to the grocery store—not to mention those impromptu take-out nights.
And if you display your menu where the family will see it, you'll never hear the words, "Mom, what's for dinner?" again!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 45 min. + standing
1 lb uncooked ziti or small tube pasta
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large jar (45 ounces) spaghetti sauce
7.5 ounces (1/2 of a 15 oz container) ricotta cheese
2-1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in skillet cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce. In large bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
Add pasta to cheese mixture; toss to coat. Spoon a third of the meat sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; top with half of the pasta mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining meat sauce.
Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6-8 servings.