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.