Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti

Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish.

Baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up.

Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish. Baked Ziti made in a single skillet for a quick weeknight meal.

Click HERE to save this recipe for Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti to Pinterest!

Today I needed something super easy for dinner that could also be made ahead of time and would reheat well – easily, and still taste good.

Some things just don’t taste very good reheated, you know?

This Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti checks all the boxes.

  • It is super easy.
  • It doesn’t have a lot of clean up.
  • It can be made ahead.
  • It actually tastes good reheated.
  • It tastes good and all the kids will like it.

As soon as 3:15 hits today, our day is going to be borderline insane.

I don’t know when I’d even be able to make dinner since we have to eat in shifts tonight.

I pick Logan and Madeline up from school at 3:15, then drive Logan to the field the middle school soccer team practices at for Monday practice that starts at 3:30.

I pick Kayden up from robotics team at 4:30.

Then I pick Logan up from the park at 5:00 from practice, swing by the high school and get Kendall from volleyball practice immediately after.

Then we head home, but it doesn’t stop there.

I have to feed Kayden and Kendall because Kayden then goes to football practice at 6:00.

Kendall goes back to the high school by 7:00 because she has open gym for basketball (basketball team tryouts for high school are in about a month).

Kayden gets picked up at about 7:15 from football.

Kendall gets picked up at 8:00 from open gym.

Somewhere in there I’ll feed myself, Kevin, Logan and Madeline.

I’ll have a kid on dinner dishes duty because I’ll be too busy driving to clean up, and cross my fingers that the kids will manage to get their homework done.

Because my day is actually not that crazy at all until I start the pick up/drop off cycle, I decided I might as well snap a few pics of the recipe since I was making dinner during the day anyway.

Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish - and baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Click HERE to save this recipe for Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti to Pinterest!

Before I quickly hit publish on the recipe and dash out the door to begin the crazy, let me tell you a few things about this Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti, like how to make it and why it is so awesome

Hint: it is SUPER adaptable and I’m including variation ideas for you below, so keep reading!

How to Make Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti

*This time I sautéed 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced, before adding the ground meat. I used 1/2 lb. each of ground turkey and ground Italian sausage*

Brown your ground meat of choice.

Originally this recipe called for 1 lb. of ground beef, but I love the flavor that is added by using half ground beef or turkey and half ground Italian sausage.

You could use chicken breast chunks or sliced Italian Sausage, too.

I think recipes like this are really forgiving and can be tweaked based on what you have on hand. I love recipes like that!

Then, you’ll stir in garlic, water, spaghetti sauce, and some seasonings.

To take this Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti recipe to next-level goodness, use my Best Ever Homemade Classic Marinara Sauce instead of using store-bought spaghetti sauce.

It will give the recipe tons of extra flavor!

Add the uncooked pasta, cover with a lid, and cook until the pasta is cooked through.

The added water is absorbed into the pasta as it cooks so the dish doesn’t come out watery at all.

*This time I stirred in 1 3/4 cup of chopped zucchini at this point (since we had some hanging around in the fridge. I also used a penne pasta because that is what we had and it was similar enough in shape to ziti.*

After the pasta is cooked through, sprinkle some cheese on top and bake until melted!

Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish - and baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Click HERE to save this recipe for Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti to Pinterest!

Variations of Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti

You can keep this recipe as simple as you’d like or you can play around with it based on what you have on hand. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Make it a One Dish Dinner by Adding Vegetables

Adding in some sautéed mushrooms, onion, zucchini, and red bell peppers would be great in this dish.

Those vegetables go really well with Italian flavors, and then you have a full one dish meal in this Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti.

I recommend sautéing the vegetables first, then setting them aside in a bowl while you brown the meat, and then add everything back in.

That way you are only dirtying one pan because you’re reusing the same one for multiple steps in the recipe.

Perfect for nights when you don’t want a lot of kitchen clean up!

Make it Mexican!

If you’re really feeling creative, you can swap out all of the Italian spices and use your favorite Tex-Mex Flavors, substituting enchilada sauce for the Italian pasta sauce and suddenly you have a completely new meal.

Depending on what you prefer, try red enchilada sauce or green enchilada sauce.

For red sauce, I like this Homemade Chile Gravy Enchilada Sauce.

My favorite thing to use for green enchilada sauce is this recipe for Easy Roasted Salsa Verde.

For a Tex-Mex version of this Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti, I recommending using all ground beef,  ground turkey, or bite sized cubed chicken breast.

You can also use my favorite Crock Pot Mexican Chicken.

I like to keep containers of that in the freezer to help me out on busy days.

If you’re up for adding extra ingredients, try adding things like green chiles, corn, black beans, onions, or red bell peppers.

Then, swap the cheese for pepper jack or Monterrey jack.

And add chopped fresh cilantro in place of parsley for the garnish.

Make it Easy One Skillet Baked Chicken Parmesan Ziti

Prepare the recipe according to the original instructions, swapping chicken tenderloins or cubed bite sized pieces of chicken breast that you’ve seasoned with Italian seasoning blend and some garlic powder.

Brown the chicken and cook through first, then proceed with the recipe.

Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti becomes a quick cheater version of a chicken parmesan casserole.

Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish - and baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Click HERE to save this recipe for Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti to Pinterest!

Original post and photos written on September 14 2015 follows:

We spent most of our summer dinnertime meal prep at the grill.

The kids were really any kind of grilled meat (brats, chicken, burgers were the top of their favorites list this summer) along with grilled potatoes, salad, and other seasonal veggies.

I often enjoy the simplicity that comes with summer cooking and the way we eat during those months.

By the time fall starts kicking around I am craving a little bit more comfort food and things that more closely resemble a recipe and a meal plan.

Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti Recipe

Click HERE to save this recipe for Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti to Pinterest!

Now that school is back in and we have a little more structure to our days I am getting back into a cooking routine.

This Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is really versatile and easy as you ease back into those routines that come with fall.

More Easy Main Dish Meals to Try

Looking for a few more easy dinner recipe ideas to get you through those busy weeknights?

Check out some of these favorite recipes, or browse the recipe index archives for even more great recipe ideas:

We’ve combined two of our recent dinner time favorites – Chicken Enchiladas and Chili – into this new recipe for Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chili. Tender chunks of chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn simmer in a creamy, cheesy, enchilada flavored chili base for a creative take on a bowl of chili.

Dinner just got super quick and easy thanks to this Fall Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin meal featuring roasted pork, carrots, golden beets, red onion, Brussels Sprouts, and parsnips.

In this Creamy Orange Almond Chicken and Rice, golden brown chicken breasts are smothered in a creamy orange almond sauce and served alongside an almond rice pilaf for a simple and comforting recipe

Italian Chicken, Mushroom, and Zucchini Skillet is a super easy dinner recipe for busy school nights. It features pan seared chicken tenderloins, zucchini and sliced mushrooms in garlicky herbed tomato sauce.

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken is the perfect shredded chicken recipe for your next Mexican recipe. Packed with flavor and super tender thanks to hours in the crock pot, this recipe is sure to please!

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Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti

Yield: serves 4 - 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish - and baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground Beef or Turkey
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian Sausage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced Garlic
  • 24 ounces Best Ever Homemade Classic Marinara Sauce
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper, Crushed
  • 3 cups uncooked Ziti Pasta
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh Parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the ground beef or turkey and Italian sausage to a large skillet. Make sure that the skillet has a good fitting lid and plenty of room to accommodate the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Brown the meat, breaking up into smaller bits, over medium heat.
  4. Drain any excess fat after the meat is cooked through. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Best Ever Homemade Classic Marinara Sauce water, basil, oregano, and red pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then add the uncooked pasta. Stir well.
  6. Cover the skillet with a lid, and reduce the heat to low. Cook the mixture at a slow simmer for about 15-20 minutes (stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn't stick), or until the pasta is tender.
  7. Remove the skillet from the stove, set aside the lid, and stir in 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and all of the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella over the top of the pasta.
  8. Place in the preheated 350 degrees F oven and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  9. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

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Click HERE to save this recipe for Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti to Pinterest!

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