Meal Inspiration | Easy Turkey and Spinach Baked Ziti

I've been contemplating switching from ground beef to ground turkey for a while now, but every time I went grocery shopping I would always end up bypassing the turkey for what I was familiar.  This summer I've been slowly trying to change my eating habits for the better.  I finally gave almond butter a try, and have to say it was one of the best decisions I've ever made!  So, I figured now was as good a time as any to give ground turkey the try it deserved.  

I was a little wary at first because I've heard it's very easy for the turkey to turn out dry or mealy, but luckily that wasn't the case with this dish. I couldn't tell the difference at all!  I was so happy with how it turned out (and with my amazing chef skills), I immediately started typing this post up.  Without further ado, here's the recipe for you to try at home!


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • 1/2 Box of Ziti
  • 4-5 Handfuls of Spinach, Washed
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 oz. of Mozzarella and any other cheese you like (I used an Italian Blend)
  • 1 lb. of Ground Turkey  
  • 1/2 an Onion, Diced
  • 1 Jar of Pre-Made Pasta Sauce (about 30 oz.)
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • A Dash or Two of Italian Seasoning

EASY TURKEY AND SPINACH BAKED ZITI 

The beauty of this recipe is that it's easily adaptable to whatever mood you're in.  You can substitute the turkey for whatever meat you're in the mood for, make it gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta, or add as many (or as little) spices and veggies that you're little heart desires!

1.  PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 375°F

2.  PREPARE THE SAUCE

I just used the same recipe I use for my usual pasta sauce.  I sauté the onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil for 5 minutes.  Then I throw in the turkey and let it cook until it's brown.  (When I use ground beef, I cook until it's mostly browned, because I'm less concerned about food poisoning in that regards).  After that, just throw in your favorite sauce and seasonings, and let it simmer on low for at least 20 minutes.  I personally like to add a little Italian seasoning for a little extra flavor, and red pepper flakes because I like the extra depth it adds to the dish.

3.  COOK THE PASTA

While the sauce is simmering, prepare your pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside for later.

4.  BAKING THE ZITI

This has to be the easiest step because you're basically just mixing everything together.  Put all your pasta in an oven safe dish, and mix it with the spinach, half of the cheese, and as much sauce as you want (I like my pasta to be pretty saucy, so I ended up using half of what I prepared).  Top off the mixture with the rest of the cheese and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes.

All that's left is to enjoy!  Hope you guys like it and let me know what you think of it!