Comforting pasta dish that will have your whole family running to the dinner table. Baked ziti made with juicy, homemade chicken meatballs, creamy tomato sauce and lots of cheese.
Variations for a baked ziti or meatballs might be endless but the love, the love stays the same. It’s hard to find someone who could turn away from a delicious pasta dish, especially one that’s loaded with cheese, sauce and had juicy meatballs baked directly in it.
This fabulous family dinner is made with quick and easy chicken meatballs. I love making meatballs from ground chicken because they compliment just about any dish and the meat stays so juicy, while holding onto all the flavors inside and out.
This pasta dish is full of flavor too. You would be surprised how far some fresh herbs, variety of cheeses and a dash or spice can take you. You can also adjust that spicy taste to your family’s taste pallet.
I decided to try a new Ragu sauce for this dish. I usually get the classic or one with extra veggies and didn’t even realize they had lots of varieties available. Ragu is hosting a fun cooking contest this November and I wanted to join in on the fun. So I chose my sauce, which was Creamy Tomato Sauce, and built my dish around it incorporating challenge required ingredients.
Ready. Set. Cook is a 4 week contest that challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring a Ragu sauce, plus a set list of other contest ingredients. Make sure to check out the details of the contest here and don’t forget to note the prizes!
Chicken Meatball Baked Ziti
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil for cooking
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp minced cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup minced Vidalia onion
- Salt fresh cracked black pepper
- Baked Ziti:
- 1/2 lb dry ziti
- 16 oz marinara sauce
- 8 oz shredded Italian cheese mix
- 2 Tbsp minced cilantro
- 1 Tbsp minced parsley
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredient for the meatballs and mix until all evenly combined.
- Preheat a large cooking pan over medium heat and add vegetable oil. Form small meatballs (no bigger than an inch) and add them to the pan. Cook meatballs over medium heat until just about done.
- While meatballs are cooking, cook pasta, drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 3-quart casserole dish.
- In a large mixing bowl. Combine pasta, meatballs, sauce, most of cheese, herbs, salt and red pepper flakes. (Leave some cheese to top off the dish.) Mix well and transfer into prepared casserole dish.
- Top off with remaining cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes.
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