Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vegetarian Ziti

About a month ago I volunteered to cook supper for about 20 people who are in town for the summer.  A friend of mine volunteers at an inner-city ministry and she had posted on Facebook that they needed help feeding the interns who have come to work there.   I really don't know anything about it at all.  Just that some people are in town doing something good for someone else and they need to eat.  I can cook, therefore, I can help.

Cooking for 20 people is a challenge when you are trying to prepare a meal that most people will like without breaking the bank.   I wanted to take something that tasted good, but was economical, too.  So, I decided to take Baked Ziti.  My version is very simple:  ground beef, pasta, cheese, and a mixture of homemade and purchased spaghetti sauces.

Yesterday was my day to feed the group and on Sunday I received a reminder email.  All of  the details in the email were what I already knew - have the food at the community center at 5:15, cook for 20 people, etc.  Then I saw this line:  "One of our interns is a vegetarian, if possible provide an option for her please."

I have never even thought about vegetarian cooking!   I have prepared vegetarian meals, but not with that specific thought in mind.  The baked ziti would still work for most of the interns and I had already planned to bring a salad, but that didn't seem to be enough of an "option" for the vegetarian.  I had to head out on some uncharted territory to find an additional dish to bring. 

After looking on AllRecipes.com for some ideas, I invented my own recipe and it was amazing delicious!

Baked Ziti Alfredo with Summer Squash

*  Melt one stick butter in large pan.
*  To the butter, add 1/2 large onion, chopped, and 2 summer squash, chopped
*  Saute until onion is clear and squash is softened, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic.
*  Add 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
*  Add 2 cups half-and-half, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
*  Add one jar Ragu Alfredo sauce and 12 ounces ready made spaghetti sauce.
*  Boil 1 box ziti noodles in salted water until just tender.
*  Stir together the sauce and noodles.  Pour into 9x13 pan.
*  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and barely beginning to brown.


  1. yay! another use for yellow squash! sounds delicious!

  2. tried it last night! also added zucchini and pureed all the veggies to try and "hide" them. very good! even david loved it ... he ate it as leftovers today! :) the kids were a different story. oh well, at least they haven't figured out that there are squash and carrots in their "fruit" smoothies. lol! :)

  3. First of all, I am so glad you are back! :) :) :) Second, I can't wait to try this recipe!