Confession: I like mall food court food.
Ok…I used to like mall food court food anyways.
Back in the day it was no big thing to hammer back a Chalupa Extra (necessary?) Value Meal from Taco Bell, or a large Cheese Fry from A&W for lunch at the food court with my girlfriends.
Back then, between our studio and school’s team, we were dancing almost 6 days a week and burned off pretty much everything we ate almost as fast as we ate it.
Then I went to college, stopped dancing and, you know, saw first hand what deep fried, sodium-packed, mall food court foods like Orange Beef will do to girl.
These days, I know better. Simply put, I’d just rather not eat at the mall (with the exception of free fudge samples, obvi.) I’d rather stick to using it as a dreamy shopping haven and leave the meal devouring for home or a reputable restaurant.
If you put Sbarro’s Baked Ziti in front me watch your fingers because they might become lost in the swirling tornado that is me inhaling the chewy, gooey, cheesy bites of hot-hot pasta love. Ow-ow!
Ahem, sorry, but OMG I freaking love that stuff! Baked Ziti has got a serious hold on me, but instead of driving to the nearest mall tonight, I recreated the only remaining mall food court meal I’d buy, with a twist: Baked Bowties.
Baked Ziti is basically lazy-girl’s lasagna in that you just throw pasta, cheese, and sometimes meat, into a casserole dish, top it with more cheese and bake. I took the liberty of using bow ties instead of ziti, but hello?! Pasta, cheese & sometimes meat? Sounds good to me!
12oz (1 box) bowtie pasta
3/4lb 90/10 ground beef
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1 jar marinara sauce
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until just under al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven.) Drain and return to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, season ground beef with garlic salt & pepper and brown in a pan over medium-high heat. Drain and add to the pasta.
3. Add 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce to the pasta and beef. Mix to combine.
Pour into a non-stick sprayed 9×13″ pan and top with remaining cheeses.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
I’m pretty sure Sbarro’s baked ziti has 100 times more cheese in it but, for the sake of my no-longer-a-dancer waistline, I tried to keep the level in this recipe to a minimum fairly reasonable.
But it was still soooo good.
It’s got that simple, homey flavor that makes you want to keep going back for more and more. Know what I mean?
In other news…
Tomorrow I’m heading to San Diego for my first blogging conference ever – BlogHer 2011 – WHEEE!!
Despite the fact that I’ve been blogging for 2+ years, I have never gone to a conference specifically for bloggers. The fact that this one is specifically for women bloggers makes it even better. The fact that it’s in San Diego takes it over the top!
The last time I was in SD, nearly 4 years ago exactly, Ben got down on one knee and proposed. Holy buckets, this weekend has a lot to live up to!
Which is why he’s coming with me…muwahaha!
I shall be a responsible blogging conference attendee by day, and a San Diego-explorin’ wild woman still pretty responsible woman, with her husband at hand, by night. Seriously, I am so excited. Ben and I were this close to moving to SD after we got married, but this blog held me back – in a really good way. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Anyways, I need book suggestions for my Kindle for the trip! What are you reading & loving these days? Can’t wait to hear what you suggest.
And with that – I’m out. It’s packin’ time, people! Talk to you tomorrow from SoCal!