Uncategorized, Weeknight Dinners

Crockpot Veggie Baked Ziti

Has the month of May been as crazy for you as it has been for me? With the school year winding down, summer gearing up, family vacations and a slu of summer events on the horizon, I feel like I’m constantly on the go. It’s hard to be in the Β moment and conscious of what we’re eating when we’re thinking about something else.

The mornings are hectic. Wake kids at 6:45. Dress kids. Brush their teeth. Comb hair. Open drapes. (multiply this times 3 because I’ve already repeated myself 3-5 times and I’m starting to sweat. Already 1,500 steps on fitbit). Throw some clothes. Messy bun and brush my teeth. Decide on contacts with oversized sunnies or glasses depending on the time. Grab some extra clothes for school because the other extras got dirty. Quickly. Don’t want to be late. Inhaler. Epi-pen, check. Nap bag. Lovey. Pillow. Shoes. Coats. Ohmigod we forgot to eat breakfast. “Who wants a nutrigrain bar? Cheerios?” OK, snack bags with breakfast to go + milk in sippy cups will do. “Everyone into the mini van.” Seat belts. Seat belts. Why must Carter always push back with the seat belt?! Did I bring the permission slip for Overture Center? Shoot. No. Forget it. not going back. Oh wait. My coffee. Must have morning coffee. “Mom, it’s show an tell. I need something.” Back in the house for coffee and show and tell. Coffee and show and tell. Wait. Why did I come back in? Yes. Coffee. And show and tell. Um. Stuffed animal on the couch will do. No, wait! She likes Star Wars now, lets take this new book for show and tell. OH, and the permission slip. Now I look like the organized Mom that I try to be. Back into the van. Start van. Music. Exhale. Drive. And slowly enjoy drinking this sweetened, lovely, energizing and warm liquid. COFFEE.

That’s the first two hours of my day. It’s a sprint. So when Carter and I get home from drop off, we make the most of our mornings. This week, we had a chance to make dinner in advance, which was great, and I’m lucky to be able to do. Β Here’s was we did and it felt SO GREAT to not worry about making anything at 5pm. Or having the question from the kids, “When are we going to eat?”

Adapted from Cara Clark Nutrition.

Crockpot Veggie Baked Ziti

  • 1 (15oz) container 2% cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2(25oz) jars clean marinara sauce
  • 1 pound uncooked whole grain penne pasta
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, diced
  • 2 cups fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup asiago cheese
  • red pepper flake

Directions

  1. Coat the inside of your crockpot with non-stick spray (coconut oil or avocado, I used evoo).
  2. Combine the cottage cheese, eggs and basil in a bowl and stir.
  3. Add 2 cups of the marinara sauce to the bottom of the crockpot.
  4. Add 1/3 of the penne pasta on top.
  5. Layer 1/2 the cottage cheese mix.
  6. Add the diced zucchini and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese
  7. Repeat layers.
  8. Cover and cook on high for 3.5 to 4 hours.
  9. During the last few minutes, add the extra cheese to the top.
  10. Divide into bowls and serve with fresh chopped basil and red pepper flakes

Yield is 8-10

This meal has rocked our week. We ate it Monday night (our busiest day of the week) and then for lunch Tuesday and Thursday. We still have two servings left that I might serve to the kids Saturday for lunch. The whole grain pasta is amazing. I never tried it before and I honestly can’t tell the difference in this dish. The flavors are great – it reminds me of a simple and creamy lasagna, only healthier.

Not a ton of extra time to write this week, but I’ll post some pics this weekend of what we’re packing for our Healthy Road Trip bag of treats. You’ll be surprised at how many of these things are at TARGET, and reasonably healthy πŸ™‚

Happy Mother’s Day, Moms!

 

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