Baked Pasta


Baked Pasta tastes like Sbarro’s Baked Ziti and is made easily at home.


Confession: I like mall food court food.

Ok…I used to like mall food court food anyway.

Back in the day it was no big thing to hammer back a Chalupa Extra 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.

That said…

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!

Baked Pasta

Serves 8


Baked Pasta tastes like Sbarro's Baked Ziti and is made easily at home.


  • 12oz dry bowtie pasta
  • 3/4lb 90/10 ground beef
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • 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.
  4. Pour into a non-stick sprayed 9x13" pan and top with remaining cheeses.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


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?


Sayonara Sbarro!



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  1. kelly 08.03.2011

    Have a great time! Cutting for Stone was excellent and Maine was a quick summer read.

  2. Dinner looks great and ENJOY the conference! I’m jelly- I would love to meet ya someday! ;) I just finished Murderer’s Daughters and Room… both great!

  3. Katie 08.03.2011

    You have to read The Help! It was amazing. Have a fun trip!

  4. My brother-in-law lives in San Diego – such a great place. Safe travels and have fun! :)

  5. darien 08.03.2011

    pioneer womans novel and Jaycee dugards books are both impossible to put down.

  6. Allyson Jo 08.03.2011

    That’s awesome! Have fun in San Diego, I’m actually leaving for Oceanside on Friday, my sister lives out there-and it’s like an hour away! :) I just bought Chelsea Handler’s new book-Lie’s Chelsea Handler told me, for my Kindle.. so far so good. :) Have fun!

  7. debbie 08.03.2011

    that looks delicious! Have fun in San Diego! I’m so jealous – I’ve never been but I hear it’s beautiful! And I second whoever recommended Jaycee Dugard’s book…it’s not an easy read though.

  8. I love anything by Suzanne Brockmann. She’s my fave. :) It’s not Oprah-worthy (I just can’t get on board with all the “trendy” books), but it’s highly entertaining!

  9. Kelly 08.03.2011

    I will be in SD too! I live out here in So. Cal but my hubs and I are heading down to SD for the weekend. It would be too funny if we ran into you in the Gas Lamp district! I just downloaded The Help on my Kubo. Hoping its everything says it is. Safe travels.

  10. Eleni A. 08.03.2011

    I just finished Devil in the White City and it was great. It’s about the Colombian Exhibition in Chicago, so it taught me a lot of cool things about the Midwest’s history.

  11. bethany 08.03.2011

    so jealous! love san diego! i recommend “this glittering world” by t. greenwood. haunting and sad, yet so beautifully written. actually, everything i’ve read by t. greenwood is beautiful

  12. Jenny 08.03.2011

    I’m from San Diego! Tell me what part you’ll be in and tell you where to eat! :)

  13. Lauren 08.03.2011

    I agree! I used to LOVE to go to the mall more for the food than for the shopping LoL. My favorite was Broadwalk Fries dipped in cheese sauce.

  14. Rachel S 08.03.2011

    I recently read ‘Sarah’s Key’ and loved it….I had a hard time putting it down!

  15. Nancy 08.03.2011

    I’m going too! Maybe if I’m not shy I’ll say hello if I see you!

  16. Stephanie M 08.03.2011

    Definitely read “The Help” if you haven’t already. While in SD you have to visit the Top Gun bar where they filmed part of the movie…

  17. Rachel 08.03.2011

    Pioneer Woman’s Book is awesome and so is These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf! Enjoy SD!!

  18. Ohhh, have fun in SD! It’s on my places-in-the-US-to-visit bucket list! I’ve heard great things about BlogHer… I’m sure it’ll only be better on the beaches of SoCal!

  19. Shannon 08.03.2011

    I just finished “Water for Elephants” and I highly recommend it!

  20. Kathryn 08.03.2011

    I loved Night Road by Kristin Hannah-I highly recommend it!

  21. This looks delicious. I also love baked pasta! Have fun in SD! I love that city.

    As for books, my fav is Pride and Prejudice. So romantic!

  22. Steph F 08.03.2011

    I love SD! Have a great time.

    Seems like we’ve had similar reading patterns, but I just finished The Hunger Games Trilogy and loved it, even though it’s YA, a lot of others recommended it and I finished it in no time!

  23. If you have not read “The Help” yet, it’s great for a trip. I read it on the way to Cali myself!

  24. Kelly 08.03.2011

    I love love love san diego, have fun!

    and if you haven’t read it, and are an animal lover “the art of racing in the rain” is amazing. be prepared to cry. multiple times.

  25. Stefanie 08.03.2011

    I have to agree with everyone who has recommended “The Help”, I only about 1/3rd of the way in and I’m hooked, can’t wait for the movie. I actually was just at Hy-Vee and bought the ingredients for baked ziti even before reading your blog post, spooky! Have a great trip!

  26. Stacey Erickson 08.03.2011

    You have to read Sarah’s Key! An awesome book! I really enjoy your blog! Thank you!

  27. Jackie 08.03.2011

    Sounds like a super fun trip! You should read One Day, the movie is coming out this fall and I’m almost done the book. So far its a great love story!

  28. Tracie Marshall 08.03.2011

    Water for Elephants

  29. Sarah 08.03.2011

    Something Borrowed and Something Blue (in that order) They are both really quick reads, Something Borrowed is better though, in my opinion. I just started Bossypants by Tina Fey yesterday.

  30. Linda 08.03.2011

    The Help and One Day are both great reads that are coming out as movies shortly. Read them both cover-to-cover very easily. Good stories!

  31. Yums mcgee! I made stuffed shells last night and they were so good. I’ll have to bookmark this to make sometime soon! It looks so tasty!

  32. Amanda 08.03.2011

    Recently, I’ve enjoyed The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (story of her first love) and Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork (coming of age type story).

    If you’re looking for a little more action, try Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (still has a love story on the side, though ;) ).

    Enjoy your trip!

  33. Have SOOOO much fun!!!!

    I haven’t read it yet, but my next book I am reading is this:

    It was recommended by Running off the Reeses!

    • Jillian 08.04.2011

      I just finished Midwives. It was very good!

  34. Nicole 08.03.2011

    I love making the dish you shared. But, I also like to add cottage cheese to it. It’s delicious!

    I read plenty, but never write down what I read. One I can remember, since I bought them while on a trip….’Something Borrowed’ and ‘Something Blue’, by Emily Griffin. I wanted to read them before I see the movie. I also have ‘Heart of the Matter’ sitting on my floor, but went with a different book instead. :)

  35. Have so much fun! I can’t wait to hear about it:)

  36. I used to llloooovvvveee the mall food court. I could barely walk in the mall without making a beeline to the food court for free samples. However, now I try to limit it as much as possible. If I have to eat there, I find that most have some healthy options such as Subway.

  37. Kim 08.03.2011

    Have a blast at BlogHer, I can’t wait to read your updates…you’re so inspiring!
    I’m reading The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search For The Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner and A Moveable Feast by Hemingway…both travel-y.

  38. Jenna 08.03.2011

    The hunger games trilogy was unbelievable. Plus, the movie is in production now!

  39. sharon weaver 08.03.2011

    I live in San Diego, but am visiting in DSM for the summer. I know, everone at home thinks i’m crazy to give up the beautiful weather, but what can i say, family is here. Go downtown and go to the beach and you will absolutly love the weather after what has been going on here.

  40. BethS 08.03.2011

    I have to agree with everyone recommending The Help – wonderfully written book. I also have to endorse The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Yes, I know it’s a considered YA but all three books are truly phenomenal and I couldn’t put them down. Actually – you may not want to read them this weekend because you may not leave your hotel room to have fun in San Diego because you will want to be reading the whole time!

  41. Amanda 08.03.2011

    I read a few blogs (food & mommy) and I swear everyone is up and heading to BlogHer! Have a great time!
    I would second a lot of the books people were suggesting: Sarah’s Key, The Help, One Day, Water for Elephants BUT I would highly HIGHLY recommend the Hunger Games trilogy….with a few conditions.
    -Hunger Games is a quick and light read since it is YA, however do not be fooled it is the kind of book that you literally CANNOT.PUT.DOWN. Like, I’m-not-moving-from-this-couch-except-maybe-to-use-the-bathroom-until-I-am-done-what-baby-crying? (j/k) kind of book. You may want to save HG and the rest of the series for a cozy fall (or that “other” season) weekend where you can hunker down and read them. And by read, I mean inhale! Happy reading!

  42. Shannon 08.03.2011

    I recommend march of violets.fantastic love story

  43. have fun in San diego! fun city!!

  44. I love baked ziti!! Have a blast in San Diego!!

  45. Sarah 08.03.2011

    “The Slave Tag”- Iowa author & a pretty quick read. Very good!

  46. I just read Heaven is For Real in about a day…great read. And just also finished Friendship Bread – a cute novel.

  47. Meghan 08.03.2011

    So I also recommend The Help! And usually try not to be so redundant but it was my best read of the summer. I also can’t wait to hear about your decision not to move to SD. I am kind of in flux about where to move to next… is it time to go back to where we grew up (where the boyfriend and I want to end up) or do we want to move somewhere else… Let’s just say it dominates pretty much every convo lately :)

  48. Jen 08.03.2011

    Hunger Games – trilogy and you won’t be able to stop reading!

  49. christa 08.03.2011

    ok, if you havent already, and i think everyone should, read Janet Evonovich’s Stephanie Plum series! they are HILARIOUS!!!!! I recommend them to every one I meet. My whole family (of women) reads them and has a battle of which man’s side they are on. (similar to team edward and team jacob)
    check them out! they are so good. easy quick reads, too

  50. Kira 08.03.2011

    I just finished all 3 books in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Could not put then down!

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