5/18/12

Freezer Meal:Baked Ziti For a Crowd

meals that feed a crowd

Baked Ziti is always a great "go to" recipe when you need to feed a crowd. This summer you may find yourself helping out at a family reunion,graduation dinners, a wedding, or fundraiser dinner. This recipe is PERFECT because: 1) Pasta is inexpensive and fills bellies on the cheap! 2) Can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer! Just pull out to thaw the day before you need it! Spend your day before the big event worrying about other things, not the main dish! 3) Because the pasta is precooked on the big day you are really only heating it through and making it melty and warm, great for working with tempermental rental ovens at churches or venues. Sometimes they don't really work as well with large quantities of food being cooked, so no worries that your main dish is not cooked properly! People can even bring it pre-baked and put in the oven on warm to hold till serving!  Just add a tossed salad and some rolls, for an easy,yummy dinner!

This recipe makes 2  (1/2 sized) steamer pans (those are the ones sold in bulk at party stores and warehouse clubs and come in 2 inch or 4 inch depths. I prefer the 4 inch depth so you feel like it's not spilling out cheese over the top. ( I think they are like 12x20x4 inches) And each steamer pan should serve 15-20 main dish or more if it's a side dish. So the total recipe should serve 30-40 people for a dinner.

Baked Ziti For a Crowd
Feeds 30-40 people

Ingredients:
12 cups spaghetti sauce (or one #10 sized can : you know the giganto ones at the warehouse clubs!)
3 lbs. ziti or penne pasta
2 (24 oz) containers cottage or ricotta cheese (cottage is cheaper)
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
3 eggs slightly beaten
1 1 /2 lbs. shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Cook pasta as package directs, drain and set aside. 
  In very large mixing bowl, stir together, cottage (or ricotta) cheese, parmesan cheese, and beaten eggs.
  Stir in half the spaghetti sauce until well mixed. 
 Stir in 1/2 the cheese and then all of the pasta, tossing gently to coat.  

Divide  mixture evenly between the two 1/2 steamer pans.
Pour remaining 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce evenly over the ziti mixture. 
 Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top.  

To Make ahead and freeze: Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze. (The plastic wrap will keep the foil from sticking to the pasta while it freezes.)

To Bake: pull the pasta from freezer the night before and let thaw.  Remove foil and plastic wrap.  Bake at 375 degrees for  20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for this recipe, I have a gathering coming up, and this sounds yummy!

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    1. I've done it several times for a youth camp fund raising dinner at Church, and it is always a sellout, people even asking to buy the extra pans that are leftover to take home! I hope it works for you just as well!
      Thank you Margo for stopping by!
      Jan

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  2. Excellent go to recipe! Thanks for sharing for the summer parties to come. I am stopping by from The Homestead Barn Hop and I am a new follower. Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Becky! I love The Homestead Barn Hop and am thrilled you found me!
      Welcome!
      Jan

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  3. YUM this would go over very well with my family! Thanks for sharing and I am a new follower!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Michelle
    www.delicateconstruction.com

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    1. Welcome to Tip Garden, Michelle! I am thrilled to have you as a follower! Thanks for stopping by!
      Jan

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  4. Perfect for a larger family--serve half one night, freeze half for later! Pinning. :-)

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    1. That sounds perfect Judy!
      Jan

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  5. What an excellent recipe. I think my readers would love to see this. Would you consider guest posting this on my Weekend Edition? Here is my site and a direct link to the explanation of this feature - http://hammocktracks.com/hammock-track-tales/2012/05/calling-all-bloggers-coming-soon-hammock-tracks-weekend-edition/ -Savannah

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  6. Oh this looks so good! Rebecca @ Natural Mother's “Seasonal Celebration Sunday.”

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  7. This would be a good recipe for me to use for my husband's Police Retirement Association monthly meetings this Fall and Winter. I need to feed 100 or so people. I could increase this recipe. It would be a good change from the usual mostaccioli. I have just volunteered to cook for their meetings, and I am gathering recipes.

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  8. I made this for my college-aged Bible study, and everyone LOVED it!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  9. Anonymous6/04/2016

    How long do you think this can be frozen and still taste fresh when baked?

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    1. I would use it before 3 months for sure! But my comfort range would be the 2 month mark at most myself for freshness. It'll be safe in the freezer though for sure.

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  10. Hello quick question when you are making this to freeze you do not bake first? you put in freezer then bake it when you want to cook it? I am going to try this for tonight in the 4 9x13 pans and freeze 3 and bake one. If all turns out well I will do for my sons birthday party next month

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    1. Correct, don't bake the 3 before freezing. wait to bake them for the party! Good luck and come back and let me know how it goes, good or bad! I'd love your feed back!
      Jan

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  11. Anonymous3/21/2017

    Hello, thank you for the recipe. Sounds yummy. I am guessing I can do everything the night before, let it sit in the fridge overnight and then bake it the next day? thanks again.

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    1. OH, yes.. that works perfecT!

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  12. Anonymous3/21/2017

    Also, have you ever added any kind of meat to this recipe?

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    1. sorry it took me so long to comment back to you! I do add meat to this if I am cooking big batches for my own freezer, but if I am cooking it for like a big church supper I usually don't as we would mutiply this recipe even a few times more.. so meat would be too expensive. Our family loves crumbled cooked sausage and or cooked sliced brat's over plain hamburger. For a full batch of this recipe? I'd say 8 lbs??? I'm an empty nester now so I don't make a full batch of this much anymore. I make it in half batches or even 1/4 batches now! I hope this helps some !

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