I am a carb lover. PERIOD. My love affair with carbs began … as soon as I started eating solid food? 😀 It’s delicious and addictive. And it was my chosen birthday meal this year in large part because pasta will become an occasional meal as part of my get healthy plan. It won’t be eliminated but more of a special occasion treat – like my b-day!
Just want the recipe? Cool. Here you go: Jump to Recipe.
As I mentioned in my birthday prompt post, I make a special birthday meal for myself every year. Because I’m me and food is constantly on my mind, I think about what I’ll make all year round. Sometimes I change my mind after every visit to Pinterest and other times – like this year – the meal of choice never wavers.
One reason I was drawn to this Five Cheese Ziti was its simplicity. Listen, I’m fine pulling out all my pans and dishes to whip up something incredible but I also really appreciate convenience too. I am a foodie but not a food snob. Using canned items doesn’t offend me.
Of course, you can absolutely make your own marinara sauce and alfredo sauce if you have the time and inclination. But I didn’t. And I loved that this dish took an hour to make with tons of downtime while the pasta boiled and the dish baked. It was so easy and yummy and reheated beautifully, making it a winner winner, birthday dinner in my book.
Five Cheese Ziti al Forno
Lightly adapted from Dinner then Dessert
I’m a huge garlic fan but uncooked garlic can have quite a bitter taste, which is why I very quickly and lightly sauted the garlic. This is optional. You can use raw garlic or replace with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
This is apparently an Olive Garden copycat recipe. I have never tasted their version, so I can’t compare the two, but it hit my sweet spot perfectly and I truly savored every bite. For my birthday, I enjoyed it with a parmesan crusted chicken breast, but it could easily be paired with your favorite protein or as a stand-alone entree too. It easy enough for a weeknight meal and fancy enough for a get together and always delicious.
Rebecca Jo says
Are we sure we aren’t twins seperated at birth? Just saying….
I may have looked longingly at that plate of carb happiness! good for you enjoying your favorite for your big day! Hope your birthday was full of deliciousness all around!
I think we might possibly be, Rebecca Jo! And I can’t think of a better person to be twinsies with either! 😀
Oh em gee- YUM! I have never been a huge fan of super heavy or cheesy pasta but…. this dang baby is! Haha! That looks and sounds incredible! What a delicious and perfect bday meal!
I’d like to lie and say I don’t like heavy pasta dishes either but … I do. I like them too much. LOL!
I love doing something for myself for my birthday. It just makes it seem extra special, regardless of other people, ya know?! My bday tradition is taking off from work and doing whatever I want- and if it falls on a weekend, I’m taking off either Friday or Monday 🙂 I’m a huge lover of carbs AND cheese, so definitely saving this to make soon!
I used to do the same too when I worked in Corporate America. And it was nice because with my birthday in July, I normally didn’t have any issue getting the day off either. I loved having the day to myself to do whatever I pleased. It felt like such an indulgence! I hope you do make this and love it as much as I did!
Nancy @ NY Foodie Family says
Happy Birthday and what a delicious looking meal! I’m all about the pasta too and it’s one of the reasons that I can’t give up carbs! Glad you enjoyed such a great birthday meal!
I can’t give up carbs either. I don’t know why I keep trying to quit them because it just doesn’t work. Moderation would be the more sensible choice, except during my birthday month! 😉
Oh wow, that looks ah-mazing!!!!!!! 🙂
chelsea jacobs says
Fellow carb lover over here! This looks AMAZING!
Thanks Chelsea! It tasted pretty darn amazing to this carb lover too!