Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti is a meat lover’s dream. Two kinds of meat and triple cheese make this the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.

pioneer woman's baked ziti

This post is a sponsored post, meaning I have collaborated with Pioneer Woman in return for financial compensation and free products for testing purposes. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Baked Ziti is one of our favorite dishes. It’s the ultimate in Italian-American comfort food. If you like the way lasagna is baked, you’ll love baked ziti. It’s similar, but without the tediousness of layering pasta. Served casserole style, it’s filled with zesty tomato sauce, Italian sausage and gooey cheesy goodness.

Today, I’m going to share Pioneer Woman’s recipe for baked ziti. This was the first time I’ve tried it and it was yummy!!! Ree girl, this was awesome!

The Pioneer Woman

If you’ve never heard of the Pioneer Woman, I pity you just a tad. Ree Drummond is a famous blogger who shares her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. On her blog, she cooks up some good ole’ eats that anyone can cook. These days she also has her own show on The Food Network. I love her down to earth writing style that makes you feel like her best friend. Be sure to follow her blog…after mine, of course!

Making Baked Ziti

Traditionally ziti uses ziti pasta which resembles small tubes, but I’ve also used penne pasta in a pinch and found it works just as well. In Italy it’s ziti al forno, which translates exactly to “baked ziti.”

I received a complimentary jar of the Rustic Bolognese sauce. It’s very tasty and reminds me of a homemade sauce, minus the hassle! I grew up on Prego. Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of sauces. I highly recommend trying Pioneer Woman’s new line of Italian pasta sauces which now come in the following varieties:

  • Marinara
  • Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • Rustic Bolognese
  • Four Cheese
  • Garden Vegetable

In the past, I’ve used a different recipe for baked ziti, but after today, I’m switching. This is a meat lovers dream! It calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage! I’ve written the recipe to use ground Italian sausage because it is readily available to me at my store. If you can’t find it, you can always use regular link Italian sausage. I recommend cutting the casing lengthwise with a knife and then peeling off for easy removal. Then brown, like normal.

baked ziti

Pioneer Woman Baked Ziti

A delicious Italian-American casserole filled with zesty tomato sauce, cheese, Italian sausage basked into bubbly goodness.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bacon casserole, cheesy casseroles, italian, italian sausage, pasta, tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs Ziti Pasta Uncooked
  • 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Lbs Italian Sausage Ground
  • 1 Jar PIONEER WOMAN Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 15oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Shredded
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
  • 1 Lbs Lean Ground Beef

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 375
  • Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently
  • Crumble sausage, then ground beef into skillet with cooked vegetables. Cook until ground meats are evenly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Mix egg, ricotta, and parmesan until blended
  • Drain pasta and spoon into a large bowl. Add pasta sauce mixture and ricotta mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray; top with mozzarella.
  • Bake 20 mins or until heated through
pioneer woman's baked ziti
pioneer woman rustic bolognese

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Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Tired of your boring roast? Try this recipe for Mexican pulled pork (pork roast) – slow cooker pork carnitas.

slow cooker pork carnitas

Yummy pork carnitas – it is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. I particularly love them too because there is always enough leftovers for another meal and any night I can get out of cooking is a happy accident! Carnitas literally translates to “little meats.” But if you’ve ever wondered what it is, it’s basically just Mexican pulled pork.

Ingredients

Making Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Here in Texas, because of the large Hispanic demographic, it’s super easy to find pork perfectly trimmed for carnitas. But don’t fret, all you need is pork shoulder or pork butt roast. Normally it weighs about 2-4 pounds. Some of that will cook down due to the high fat marbling. You will place it whole in the slow cooker, no water needed.

Juice your orange. You can substitute with store bought orange juice. About a half cup to a cup is fine. Pour over your meat. Add your spices and chopped onion.

Now to add your jalapeño If you want it more on the mild side, I recommend deveining the jalapeño. To do this, chop off the top of the pepper. Slice the pepper in half while on it’s side. Pull out all of the seeds and thinly slice the vein of the pepper off and discard both. Then chop your jalapeño as normal. Don’t be afraid to use a whole jalapeño. The pepper heat reduces a lot as it cooks.

Pro tip: Use gloves to stop the pepper oils from getting in your hand, Remember, never touch your face or sensitive areas while handling peppers.

Juice of One orange
Slow cooker pork carnitas

Serving and Storing

Your pork roast will cook on low for about 8 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when you can pull apart the meat with a fork. That’s right. Pork carnitas should be melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender when they are done.

Personally, my favorite way to serve pork carnitas is in soft tacos. There is nothing quite like warm, homemade flour tortilla tacos. I love topping them with cilantro and onion. I prefer to serve them with traditional spanish rice (yup, I have a recipe for that too) and charro beans. During the summer, I’ll often switch it up for a side of Mexican street corn. So yummy!

Store slowcooker pork carnitas in the fridge for 3 days in an air tight container.

Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Mexican pulled pork with fresh onion, jalapeño, and orange flavors.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carnitas, crockpot, crockpot recipes, mexican main dish, mexican recipes, pork, pork roast, pork tacos, pulled pork, slow cooker, tacos
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Pounds Pork butt or Pork Shoulder
  • 1 Large Orange Juiced
  • 1 Large Fresh Jalapeno Deveined, deseeded, and chopped
  • 1 Small White Onion Chopped
  • Salt. Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Instructions

  • Place pork butt or pork shoulder whole in crock pot.
  • Juice one large and orange and pour over pork. May substitute ½ cup to 1 cup of store bought orange juice.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Scatter chopped onions.
  • Prepare jalapeño by cutting the top off and slicing lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut out the pepper vein and discard. Chop remaining pepper and scatter in crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

This yummy, cheesy, bacon cheeseburger casserole is easy for weeknight dinners, potlucks and makes a great left over meal.

Okay folks, today I’m sharing one of my favorite weeknight recipes. It combines three of my favorite ingredients: cheese, beef, and bacon. It also calls for a can of cream of chicken soup. Let’s be honest, all great casseroles contain this creamy can of meaty goodness.

I found a similar recipe a few years back in a magazine and I’ve tweaked it over the years and it’s turned into this yummy recipe.

Jump to Recipe

Ingredients

So I find that ground beef with a higher fat content does better with this recipe. Normally, I’m an extra lean kind of girl. But since the meat will be cooked twice, the added fat helps keep the meat juicy. Otherwise, I find the meat tougher and dryer. Therefore, I recommend using 93% lean 7% fat. You’ll be draining off the excess fat, but that fat in the meat will keep it soft and tender.

Now let’s talk bacon. The recipe calls for a couple of strips of bacon. In a pinch you can buy bacon bits found in the salad section. But don’t use those God-awful fake orange ones. Use 100% real bacon. Hormel makes a decent one. Otherwise, I recommend using a couple of strips of actual bacon. No need to dirty another pan. Cut it up and add it to the meat. It also makes your meat extra flavorful. Drain off the excess fat.

bacon cheeseburger casserole

The recipe also calls for a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. You may wonder why were adding that to a cheeseburger casserole. Well something has to hold the casserole together. Condensed soup works well, even when diluted. If you prefer to use cream of mushroom, that would work too. I’ve used it when that’s all I had in the pantry! The condensed soup combined with a small amount of cheese really helps hold everything together.

Serving & Storing Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I have a habit of serving this recipe with baked bread, particularly biscuits, but this is already a heavy meal so there is no need to do that.

Like most casseroles, this stores very well in an airtight container for about 2-3 days. That’s another reason to use the fattier beef. If you plan on warming it up again in the microwave as leftovers, the fattier meat will continue to stay juicy. I’ll be honest though, we rarely have leftovers. My entire family scarfs it down. Even my one year old!

There have been times I’ve doubled the recipe just for the purpose of leftovers if we have a busy week.

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I love to think of this recipe of a modern day, American shepherds pie. A yummy ground beef casserole, topped with golden brown potatoes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon, bacon casserole, bacon cheeseburger, beef casseroles, casserole, casserole recipes, cheddar cheese, cheesy casseroles, easy recipe, family favorite, leftovers, pot luck, potato recipes, shepherds pie, weeknight dinner
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Cutting board
  • Casserole dish

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs Ground Beef 93/7%
  • 3 Strips Bacon Chopped
  • Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese divided into 1/3s
  • 1 Can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • ½ Cup Milk
  • 60 Frozen Tater Tots approx
  • ½ Small White Onion Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Minced
  • 1 Salt & Pepper To taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Cut bacon into small pieces and place in medium hot skillet with the ground beef.
  • Add garlic, salt & pepper, and chopped white onion
  • Continue frying until meat is browned and onion is translucent. Remove from heat.
  • Pour meat mixture into a casserole dish and spread evenly.
  • Take ⅓ cup of cheese (half of the cheese) and sprinkle it on top of meat mixture.
  • Place frozen tater tots in single file rows until all meat is covered.
  • Bake in oven for 35 minutes.
  • In the last five minutes of baking, sprinkle the remaining half of cheese on top tater tots and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes.
bacon cheeseburger casserole

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Cajun Bean Soup

This easy slow cooker Cajun Bean Soup is delicious on cold days. A blend of 15 different beans it has diced country ham and andouille sausage.

Cajun Bean Soup

There is just something about cold wintery days that make me want a hot, steaming bowl of soup! Come on, I know I’m not the only one. So today, I’m sharing my recipe for Cajun Bean Soup. Admittedly, it’s my own take on Cajun Bean Soup.

My husband is a professed “bean hater.” For someone like me who is Hispanic, the thought is incomprehensible! Haha. But this soup wins my husband over every time. It’s full of juicy ham and sausage which adds a lot of flavor to every bite!

How to Make Cajun Bean Soup

I add ham and andouille to the mix. If you’ve never had andouille, it’s delicious Cajun double smoked sausage. It is originally from France and was brought over to the New World by French immigrants. Today, it is a staple in Creole cooking.

Jump to Recipe

Hurst’s HamBeens 15 Bean Soup includes the following beans:

  • Northern
  • Pinto
  • Lima
  • Blackeye
  • Garbanzo
  • Baby Lima
  • Green Split
  • Kidney
  • Cranberry
  • Small white
  • Pink
  • Small Red
  • Yellow Split
  • Lentil
  • Navy
  • White Kidney
  • Black
  • Yellow Eye
Cajun Bean Soup

If you aren’t accustomed to cooking with dry beans, they can take a very long time to cook. Typically, if you are stove-top cooking them, you either soak them overnight or slowly cook them for many hours on low heat. I highly recommend using a slow cooker. It makes life a lot easier. Additionally, you could probably use an Insta-pot or Pressure Cooker, though cooking times vary.

Serving & Storing

Once cooked, bean soup is hardy, especially if you add meat. I love to serve Cajun Bean Soup with either sweet cornbread or buttermilk biscuits. Hey, I’m from the South! We love our scratch breads.

I have found that bean soup stores well in an air tight container for 2 days in the fridge. After that, I would discard any left overs.

Cajun Bean Soup

This easy slow cooker Cajun Bean Soup is delicious on cold days. A blend of 15 different beans it has diced country ham and andouille sausage.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: andouille, beans, crockpot, ham, jimmy dean sausage, kidney beans, pinto beans, slowcooker, soup, split pea, white beans
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 32 oz Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups water warm
  • 16 oz Cubed Ham
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 14 oz Andouille Sausage Sliced
  • 16 oz Hurst’s HamBeens 15 Bean Soup

Instructions

  • On a low setting, add 2 cups of warm water and the chicken broth
  • Slice sausage and ham, add to slow cooker 
  • Add 1 package of Hurst’s HamBeens 15-Bean Soup. No need to soak if you’re using a crockpot.
  • Add garlic, lemon juice and cajun seasoning. Give a quick stir and let it cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Learn how to make this refreshing tomato and cucumber salad with a homemade red wine vinaigrette.

tomato and cucumber salad

Making Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Can I be real for a second? I hate eating healthy. There…my secret is out. You can keep your cauliflower fried rice – it ain’t for me! Sorry, not sorry. That’s why when I find a delicious way to incorporate veggies in my meal plan, I snag it! So today, I’m sharing how to make my tomato and cucumber salad.

It’s easy to make your own red wine-balsamic vinaigrette for it which you can create in a salad dressing shaker or mix directly in the salad. Personally, I think it tastes best when you let it chill in the fridge for an hour after making. It gives a chance for the flavors to marinade together.

I love this tomato and cucumber salad because it fits all diets. Whether you’re doing Keto, Atkins, Whole30, Weight Watchers, or Paleo, it’s full of clean ingredients.

No Boring Lettuce – Yes, Please

I love Greek salads! And this recipe is bursting with Mediterranean flavors. with the tomato, cucumber, fresh basil, red onion, fresh parsley…be still my heart. I love serving a cold bowl of this yummy goodness.

This salad is a great alternative to the same old, boring lettuce style salad. I often have it as a lunch. If you need something heavier as a meal, try adding avocado, olives, shrimp and/or feta cheese (if you aren’t doing paleo). I’ve even added it to Quinoa!

tomato and cucumber salad

I recommend eating this fairly quickly. The cucumbers break down a little faster than the rest of the salad. You can store in a air tight container for a few days.

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Crisp cucumber and juicy tomato make this delicious summer salad. Similar to a Greek Salad, this recipes calls for all natural ingredients 
If you aren’t following a paleo diet and would like it to be more filling, you may add a half cup of feta cheese
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: atkins, basil, cucumber, gluten free, greek, keto, paleo, red onion, red wine vineger, tomato, whole30
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 2 Lrg Cucumber Chopped
  • 1 Cup Tomatoes Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Red Onion Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil Chopped
  • Salt To taste

Instructions

  • Chop all veggies and herbs and transfer to a mixing bowl
  • In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, combine all your wet ingredients to make your dressing
  • Mix well and pour on your salad
  • Toss gently to blend
Tomato and cucumber salad

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do. You can thank me later!

The post, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Looking for more recipes? Try Roasted Root Medley

Roasted Root Medley

Try this easy, sweet and savory roasted root medley, perfect for weeknight dinners

Roasted root medley

This is by far one of my favorite vegetable recipes. First, this roasted root medley is very easy to make. In fact it is so simple, you may wonder why I’m sharing it. That’s because it is one of my favorite side dishes ever!

It’s so easy you almost don’t need a recipe. It’s just chopped vegetables with olive oil. However, the pairing of sweet potato, carrots, and sweet onion make a sweet & salty combination.

In the past, I’ve also made this with sheet pan dinners. I know I’m not the only person who loves one pan dinners!

I discovered this recipe about five years ago during a cleanse diet. That’s the other great thing about this dish. It’s Keto, Paleo, Auto-Immune Paleo, Whole30, Atkins and Weight Watcher friendly. As a variation, you can add other root veggies like beets or parsnips.

Personally, I line the baking pan with parchment paper. It makes clean up a breeze. I also recommend turning the vegetables about half way through baking for perfect tenderness.

Carrots
Jump to Recipe
Roasted root medley

Roasted Root Medley

You’ll love this sweet and savory side dish. Easy to make for weeknight dinners. It’s Keto, Whole30, Paleo and Weight Watcher friendly. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot, olive oil, onion, sweet potato
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/8 Cup Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 5 Large Carrots Peeled, Chopped
  • 2 Small Sweet Potatoes Peeled, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Onion Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper To taste

Instructions

  • Wash and peel potatoes and carrots. 
  • Chop vegetables and place in a mixing bowl
  • Add olive oil to the mixture and toss until vegetables are fully coated
  • Spoon vegetables onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until tender. Turn vegetables over with a spatula about half way through cooking. 
Roasted root medley

Looking for other weeknight recipes? Try Perfect Spanish Rice

The post Roasted Root Medley first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.