The Country Cook: Easy Baked Ziti
                                                   

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Easy Baked Ziti

I'm a sucker for a good pasta dish. Especially one that is easy to make. The great thing about these types of meals is that they are tasty, filling, fairly inexpensive, can feed your whole family and they make great leftovers. And what's not to love about that? Now, y'all will surely notice that I'm not using the Ziti pasta with this. So maybe it should really be called Baked Penne. But I have always called it Baked Ziti no matter what kind of pasta I've used. So just forgive me for that little oversight, okay?  I like the Penne pasta because it has those little ridges in it. And those little ridges are really good at hanging onto the pasta sauce.  But if you prefer the Ziti pasta, then use that instead of the Penne. Or maybe you are able to find the Ziti with ridges in your local supermarket, then you could use that as well.  It's a texture thing for me. Serve this up with some garlic bread and a side salad and you have a really great meal that everyone in your family is sure to gobble up!
Ingredients:
1 pound of ground beef
2 cans or jars (26 oz.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce*
1 jar (16 oz.) alfredo sauce
1 box (1 lb.) penne pasta (or ziti or rigatoni)
½ yellow onion diced (optional)
1 bag (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

(onion not pictured)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Prepare pasta according to directions. In a medium sauce pan, brown ground beef with onion (if using).  After beef is brown and crumbled, drain excess grease.  Put back in pot and pour in one jar of spaghetti sauce. Keep mixture on low until pasta is done. When pasta is finished, drain excess water from pasta. You want the pasta as dry as possible.  Put pasta back in large pot (with heat off) and pour in jar of alfredo sauce. Combine until thoroughly coated.
 Pour pasta mixture into bottom of 9x13 dish. 
Cover pasta with spaghetti sauce mixture. Don’t put the pot that you used for the spaghetti sauce in with the dirty dishes yet. Keep that pot out and start heating up second jar of spaghetti sauce on low heat. Put a cover on it to keep warm until ziti is finished baking.
Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. I like to spray the inside of my foil with nonstick spray so the cheese doesn't stick to it. Or you could use that new nonstick aluminum foil.
 Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. 
Let rest for about 5 minutes after taking out of oven. Serve portions onto plates, and pour some of the heated spaghetti sauce on top.
Cook’s Notes: The second jar of spaghetti sauce is optional in this. We really enjoy the additional spaghetti sauce with ours but it is not absolutely necessary. When I make this, I usually purchase the cans of Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce because it is far cheaper than other spaghetti sauces and I can afford to splurge on the extra can.

Enjoy!

101 comments :

  1. This looks heavenly Bran! I love Baked ziti though I've never had it with alfredo sauce! Mmmm sounds delish!!

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  2. I love penne, too! And your baked ziti sounds fabulous...I'd go with extra sauce, too. YUM! Merry Christmas, Brandie! xo

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  3. I'm a sucka for all pastas, one fave is the penne and for the same reasons too! That looks awesome. I will have to try it in my large Dutch oven.

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  4. Yup, the extra sauce is a keeper. I just made a penne pasta dish as well, but it didn't have all the ooey gooey creaminess that this one does. Totally comfort food.

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  5. I have homemade marinara sauce cooking in my CrockPot and was going to use some of it for pizza tonight...but this is too good to pass up on this frigid day in NM!!!!

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  6. Baked Ziti is one of my favorites and especially with extra sauce. New here and it is nice to meet you Brandie. Looking forward to more of your posts. Happy Holidays to you.

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  7. I used your recipe for dinner tonight. Big hit. Very yummy!

    Thanks!
    Karen

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  8. Extra sauce is a must, this is a stick to your ribs meal. The fact that it is inexpensive is an extra bonus.

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  9. What a fabulous dish. It looks and sounds delicious. I love to visit your blog. I never leave empty handed and always have a recipe or tip to show for the time I spend here. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  10. Baked Ziti (or Penne) is a go-to dish here when we have a crowd. I love that you used Alfredo too. What a great idea!

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  11. I know without a doubt that we would gobble that up in a heartbeat!

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  12. I too am very intrigued with using Alfredo sauce as well as regular spaghetti. Looks REALLY good & I bet the Alfredo sauce makes it a little creamier! Will be making soon!

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  13. WOW! That looks so good! I'm going to ask hubby if he wants that tonight! YUMO! ♥♥♥

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  14. I made a meatless version of this for supper tonight - can't wait to try it. I'm sure the whole kitchen will be warm and good-smelling!

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  15. Lovely! Baked pasta is just such a comfort dish :)

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  16. Your Baked Ziti (penne) is marvelous.
    I call it penne, too;) I've been craving a pasta dish, so I'll be making this one with the extra sauce, soon.

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  17. I came across this wonderful dish on pinterest. My family loved it...especially the kids!

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  18. Faith, thank you for taking the time to let me know how it turned out for you. I just love Pinterest. I've made some great new food friends because of it!! So happy to have you here! :)

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  19. I was wondering if you can taste the alfredo sauce, or if it just adds a little creaminess? I am not a huge fan of alfredo sauce but if it just adds more flavor without the taste that would be good for me.
    Pics of this meal look delicious

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  20. Hi Stephanie! Personally, I don't think the Alfredo Sauce has a strong flavor in this. It really just adds creaminess to the sauce. I love the additional garlic flavor that it adds when you use the garlic flavored alfredo sauce. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

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  21. I've used a no-boil recipe to make this and loved it, but I'm really liking the idea of the garlic Alfredo instead of ricotta - so much more affordable without much flavor variation. Will try this the next time I have all the ingredients.

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  22. thank you country cook i am definitely going to give the garlic alfredo a try.

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  23. I'm new to your blog and I'm looking at all you delicious-sounding recipes. I'm so excited to try this one and the Creamy Chicken Enchiladas. I've gotten so bored with the same old recipes that I make so it will be fun to try some new ones! Thank you!!!!

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  24. I made this for supper tonight. It is SO good. Creamy and tastes wonderful. This will be appearing on my table again.

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  25. Yay! Thank you so much!! I appreciate you letting me know how it turned out for you! :)

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  26. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    I made this last night and everyone Loved it.

    It was very easy and very good!!!

    Thanks again!!

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  27. Could you substitute ground pork instead of beef? This looks oh too good and I happen to have GP on hand.

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  28. I'm making this for dinner tonight--works out I already have everything needed. All your recipes look soo yummy, can't wait to take some time to look at others =)

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  29. Just took this out of the oven - and wow, does it look and smell great! I did add minced garlic to my red sauce and to the alfredo - also added some of the mozzarella to the alfredo noodle mix. Giving it a few minutes to cool and then feed the starving peeps here! Thank you so much for sharing great recipes!

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  30. This looks delicious! And how easy? Yum...thanks for the recipe!

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  31. My husband is allergic to eggs which is in many Alfredo sauces. Can I substitute something for it?

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  32. Hi Kim! I didn't think there were eggs in alfredo sauces. I know there are eggs in carbonara sauces but alfredo is usually butter and heavy cream. But I would definitely check the back of the label to make sure there aren't egg products in it. You could make your own alfredo from scratch if you like. There are some pretty simple recipes for it online. I hope that helps!

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  33. Hi, I was just wondering if this would freeze well? I have made it once before and it was a hit with my family!! Delicious!

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  34. Wow! I think this will become family favorite, it just came out of the oven and it took some willpower to let it cool. It is delicious and I think I may need seconds. Thank you.

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  35. I'm sure you know this but the dish freezes very well. I cook the hamburger and ziti and assemble it. Once it's cooled I freeze it. Then when I want to cook it I pull it from the freezer the day before. It works great and there is one batch going in the freezer today!

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  36. Can I use classic Alfredo sauce instead of garlic Parmesan? I accidentally bought the wrong one.

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  37. Yes, you can use the classic Alfredo :)

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  38. I made this over the break and picky husband who says he does not like pasta loved it. I exchanged sausage for the ground beef and mixed a beaten egg with the alfredo sauce only because I had read somewhere to do that when making baked pasta. This is the perfect funeral food dish, so the ingredients are on my shopping list to have on hand when necessary. Thanks so much.

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  39. Thank you so much!!! I love how you take a picture of the ingredients and step by step of the process!! I'm such a visual person and this rocks! I am 28 and LOVE your receipes...finally I feel like I can cook! :P

    Please keep the receipes coming!!!

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  40. I can't wait to try this!! I have a question about the extra can of sauce? If you set it to the side & warm it while the dish is cooking, do you just use it as a topper after the dish is done cooking?.... as you can tell I don't cook much! Lol! Thanks for your help, I will definitely be trying this out this week!

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  41. I can't wait to try this! It sounds delish! I have a quick question about the extra can of sauce? Since you set it to the side & warm it while the dish is cooking, do you just use it as a topper when the dish is done?... as you can tell I don't cook a Whole lot! Lol! Thanks for your help! Definitely trying this, this week! Nom!

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  42. It warms my heart reading these comments!! Thank you so much! I'm so happy y'all have had success with this one!! Brandy- yep, I just heat up that second can of sauce and either spoon it right on top of the individual servings. Or if you like, put some on the bottom of the plates & then serve pasta on top :)

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  43. This was the best Baked Ziti I ever had! My family absolutely loved it and we had the leftovers a few days later and to me, it was even better, lol. I will definitely be making this for now on, Thank you for a great recipe!

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  44. This was a big hit at our house tonite!

    Another hit, Brandy....

    LeighAnne

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  45. I am thinking of substituting the ground beef with sweet Italian pork or chicken sausage for more of a spicy taste. Maybe adding sweet onions. This dish sounds delicious. I plan to baked and bring to a potluck dinner happening in a few weeks. Thanks!

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  46. I made this last night and was delicious! I love all pasta. I used 1 can of the Hunts sauce (which happens to be my favorite) and a container of homemade sauce my friend made. Her sauce had hot sausage and zucchini in it. Awesome easy dinner to make. I did make it ahead night before. I commute so it was nice to come home and just pop it in the oven. I did keep it in the oven a bit longer as it was in the fridge. Thanks!:)

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  47. Looks delicious! Yum. I love how everyone makes this recipe their own. Thanks for sharing.

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  48. My granddaughter and I made this for dinner tonight. My Dad actually complimented it (he never, ever says anything nice about food), and my granddaughter put this on the top of her favorite recipes. It uses a lot of pans, but well worth it!

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  49. Dear Lord woman! This is my Favorite recipe now. I pretty much always have noodles , meat and sauces so this meal is perfect. Quick for whipping out dinner when i'm tired and don't know what to cook. It is SO good and always gets me compliments, which of course i tell them it was you. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Awww Shelby - thank you so much for that!! You made my day! I know all about being too exhausted to cook. I am glad to hear this is now a "go-to" recipe for you. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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  50. Brandie,
    My husband BEGS for this Baked Ziti! He absolutely loves it. I've tried many of your recipes and they've all been hits! Thanks so much!
    Ruth

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  51. I made this recipe last night after searching for pina colada cakes!! This is really good!! The only substitution was the mozzarella cheese for a 5 cheese Italian blend from Kraft that I just found. Yummy!

    and the cake? I made it for the potluck here at work today.

    Thanks so much - glad I found this site!!! :)

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  52. This was delicious, quick, and easy to make. The flavors go well together. This will be a regular in my house. I made the roast chicken today and the butterfinger cake. Can't wait to try it. I try at least one of your recipes a week and have not been dissappointed. I love your website and tell everyone about it. Thanks for the many wonderful recipes!

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  53. Made this tonight for my family and they LOVeD it and let's just say they are a tough crowd to please!!! Thank you

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  54. Cooking in my oven right now. Can't wait to taste it!

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  55. Going to be making this for dinner tonight and I know it is going to be a hit with my hubby, son and I! Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes!

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  56. Great recipe! I made a meatless version, and it turned out great! Next time, I will use the non-garlic alfredo sauce because the garlic taste was a bit strong for my preferences. I will also use a bit more mozz cheese because I am a huge cheese fan. I loved how simple this recipe is to make, and it only took a few ingredients! Thanks for posting!

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  57. I'm making this tonight, I'm using garlic spag sauce instead of garlic alfredo sauce...we'll see if it makes a different taste. I'll come back and let you know..looks yummy.

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  58. Do you think you could use a different kind of pasta for this recipe? Or does it work best with penne? I wanna make this tonight so bad lol. But the only pasta I have is Radiatori?

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  59. Ever since I've found this receipe it has become a favorite to make. I make it meatless. Just made it for dinner last night.

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  60. Just wanna say I <3, <3, <3 ALL your recipes and am constantly sharing them. Thank you for this wonderful blog.

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  61. Think this would be good if I added turkey kielbasa? Would I mix it with the red sauce?

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  62. Hubby isn't a big fan of pasta but he gave this a thumbs up. I used meatballs instead since that's what I had on hand and I also added a little garlic salt to the sauce. Delicious!

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  63. Replies
    1. I love the idea of mixing both flavors of sauces - delicious! This is the only Alfredo sauce I will use… 1 stick of butter, 1 cream cheese 8 oz, 1 pint of half and half, onion powder, lots of garlic powder, Parmesan cheese ( about one quarter to half a container - Kraft) and Parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer (but not boiling) and wisk until creamy. Will thicken as it cools - 100% better the next day.

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  64. Oh, I am making this for supper tonight! It's cold and snowy out and this will be perfect to warm us all up! Love your recipes!

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  65. I make something very similar to this and it is one of our favorites! I put the uncooked penne pasta in the bottom of my baking dish then sprinkle it with Italian sausage that I've already cooked. Then I pour a jar of pasta sauce over that plus a jar of water. Mix it all together, cover it up and bake it for 1/2 hour. Then I uncover it and put Italian-style shredded cheese on top, then bake it uncovered until the cheese melts. YUM!

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  66. I have tried this recipe twice! It is already my fast favorite. I love how easy it is, and how gooey it gets with the jar of Alfredo sauce. This is my favorite recipe. It's even better than homemade lasagna.

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  67. Made this the other night and we loved it! We will definitely be making this again. So easy to make and delicious! Thank you!!

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  68. This was super! Adding the alfredo sauce to the pasta and then adding the extra sauce on top really made a difference. Definitely a keeper!

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  69. It looks great Brandie. I always use Delmonte Garlic & Onion in the can as it is the best I have ever eaten.

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  70. This works for me! Add a glass of red wine and I am a happy camper. The Mr loves lots of pasta sauce so that extra jar of sauce is a must have.

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  71. Came across this recipe yesterday and tried it! OMG it is so good! I think the Alfredo sauce adds a different flavor to it. My son loves it! Thanks

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  72. I made this last weekend. It was a big hit in my house. The alfredo just gives the Zita a good flavor and blends with the sauce and cheese.
    Delicious!

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  73. Made this tonight & it was delish! I made my own Alfredo sauce instead of bought & will def be making this dish again!

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  74. I made this yesterday. It's wonderful! As you recommended, I used penne pasta. I didn't use the additional/2nd jar of spaghetti sauce. I bought plain (Classico) alfredo sauce, then (as someone here suggested) I added garlic powder to my own taste. I used Francisco Rinaldi with mushrooms spaghetti sauce, and I did add onion. My dear husband panicked when he saw the jar of alfredo sauce. I assured him that he wouldn't really taste this ingredient, once it was mixed in. He took 2nd helping and maybe a 3rd. He said "I didn't expect to like this, but I really do." Thanks, Brandie - It's a keeper!

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  75. We like spicy in our house. So, changed the beef to hot Italian sausage, put it in the food processor (because the hubs and kiddos don't like chunky sauce) and added some additional spices to the sauce...keeper in our house! Made a quick green salad and some garlic bread...there is dinner on a busy Wednesday night!

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  76. This is one of the few Pinterest recipes that I make over and over. It's delicious!! Thanks for the great recipe.

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  77. I made this last night, only I made it with ground turkey instead of ground beef! It was delicious! I'll definitely make this again soon! It was so easy, and no complaints from the husband or kids! Thanks!

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  78. Thank You so much for this recipe! Just made it tonight and it was sooooo yummy! Nephew had 3 servings! The only thing I did was to add some spices and seasonings to the meat sauce. MMMMMMMM.....

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  79. The addition of the garlic alfredo sauce was GENIUS! I'll be emailing you soon to request permission to use this on my Shrinking On a Budget Meal Plan. I'll need to tweak it a little for my subscribers, but love the concept!

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  80. I learned from the first time I made this. Make two at a time; one to eat know and one to freeze for another meal. I used turkey and pork sausage for a flavor twice - yum!

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  81. I just made the baked ziti tonite for a celebratory supper and it was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved it including me because it was super easy. I have never used the alfredo sauce in this dish before and it made all the difference. Thanks for a great new dish that is very budget friendly and quick.

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  82. I've made this several times now, but have used Italian sausage instead of ground beef. This last time, I added a layer of fresh Bella mushrooms between the noodles and the spaghetti sauce and it was to die for! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

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  83. I saw this on Pinterest today and baked it. I used ground beef and hot italian sausage and it was a winner. Made some garlic bread and now everyone is resting. Will definitely be doing this again. Very easy to make and didn't take much time. Thanks for sharing.

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  84. I wasn't sure about this recipe when I first read it but saw all the great comments and decided to give it a go and was not disappointed!!! This was easy and was loved by my hubby and myself! I will be taking it with me for lunch tomorrow and sharing with my boss. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes and keeping me from doing the same old recipes every week!

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  85. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I've never been a fan of mixing white and red sauces but it looked yummy enough to give it a try. I did modify slightly by only using half the pasta at the bottom with half a jar of alfredo and mixed the rest of the pasta with a can and a half of red with the hamburger.... LOVED IT as did my 18 year old who will be cooking it for her boyfriends family as the first dish she cooks for them.

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  86. Made this for Christmas dinner today! It was wonderful! Thanks for the great recipe!

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  87. Looks like you added some spice on the top....what is it?
    Thanks,
    Cheryl

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  88. Dinner success! I made this tonight. The recipe was simple and it tasted great. My boys absolutely loved it! The garlic Alfredo sauce was an excellent touch. This dish will definitely be in my dinner rotation. Thanks for sharing!

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  89. My family loved your recipe. Thanks for all the helpful hints along the way, you made me look good. :)

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  90. This was amazing!! I did make a few changes... I used half ground sausage and half ground beef, made my own Alfredo sauce which turned out amazing btw, and instead of using all mozzarella cheese I used some provel as well!!! My husband raved and said he didn't want to quit eating it! And yes the extra sauce is a must! Thanks for a great recipe!!!

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  91. Does this freeze well? I am 8 mos pregnant & I am looking for some options for freezer meals so that I don't have to cook after the baby arrives.

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  92. Yay! Congratulations on your pregnancy! Yes! It freezes really well! This is one I love to make for new Mommas!

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  93. So, I asked hubby what does he want me to take out of the freezer for dinner = he said the ziti!

    I need to get a photo so I can do a post on my blog and add your link so lots of people can enjoy this delicious meal.

    Thanks

    Linda

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  94. I've made this recipe before and it is AMAZING!!
    I will be making for my work holiday party to knock everyones socks off! Just going to double the recipe and put it in the crock pot, cook on low for 8 hours, then YUM!! CAN"T WAIT!!
    Thanks you so much for the amazing recipe!

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  95. Hi! Curious if anyone has made this with 1 lb beef and 1 lb sausage? If so, did you make any adjustments to the recipe to accommodate the extra meat? My husband likes pasta dishes meaty but the rest of us like it saucy. Was curious if I add an extra lb of meat if I should add an extra jar of Alfredo and pasta sauce

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  96. I love your recipe, but the pop up for another recipe was super annoying. I couldn't get it to go away, and it covered half the ingredients making it hard to shop.

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  97. I make this all the time. My kids love it

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