Baked Cheesy Turkey Ziti

by zesty on September 16, 2010 · 6 comments

Help The Students Event: Day 12

Happy Friday Eve Cooking Readers!  This is Danica from Danica’s Daily.  I LOVE that Cooking is helping out all of the students and am honored that he asked me to share with you all one of my FAVORITE recipes.

When I was in college the BIGGEST time saver for me was to take one day to prepare meals and snacks for the week.  I’d bake up casseroles like this Baked Cheesy Turkey Ziti, portion it out into single serving containers, freeze a couple and eat the rest for lunch/dinner all week.  It’s the perfect solution when you need something that is healthy that you can just grab and go.

This recipe is so easy to make and something that is perfect for to have during the week when you are short on time.  It has so much flavor that your “beef” LOVERs will not be able to that you “healthified” it by using Turkey and low-fat cheese.


  • 1.5 lbs Lean Ground Turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce ( LOVE TJ’s Low-Fat Marinara) or make your own
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
  • Garlic Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
  • 6 oz uncooked Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (I used Barilla Plus)
  • 3 oz low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 3 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.  While it is cooking, prepare your sauce and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Brown your ground turkey through mushrooms until the turkey is cooked through and no longer pink.  Drain if there is excess water and return to pan.  Sprinkle with garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Add your diced tomatoes and marinara.  Heat through ~ about 5 –10 minutes.
  3. Drain your pasta and add it to your turkey sauce.
  4. Stir pasta and sauce together and pour into a prepared 9×13 dish.

  5. Top with cheeses and bake for about 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  6. Makes 6 BIG servings or 8 regular sized servings.
  7. ENJOY!

Freestyle Variation: You can make this vegetarian by using Veggie Crumbles or your favorite beans.  Follow the same process just eliminate the ground turkey.  Of course you can make it beefy for the beef lovers and add ground beef as well.

The BEST part of this recipe is having leftovers made up for the week so you only had to cook ONCE, but, eat all week.  There is just something about red sauce dishes that tastes so much better the next day.  Thanks again for letting me guest post Z!  If you all would like to see more recipes like this along with other ramblings by me, be sure to stop by Danica’s Daily!

Thanks Danica for a great simple recipe for everyone to enjoy.  I know myself – I would eat at least 3 servings of this one.  Have a super Thursday and talk to you tomorrow.

Take care


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren at KeepItSweet September 16, 2010 at 9:55 am

i’m not a student but this is one of my favorite kinds of dishes!


2 Jenny Flake September 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

Beyond delicious looking! Wow!


3 Marisa @ Loser for Life September 16, 2010 at 11:49 am

Danica ROCKS!!! :)


4 Danica September 17, 2010 at 2:00 am

Thanks again Cooking for letting me guest post and to all the commenters for all your great comments. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the recipe when you try it.


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