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Slow Cooker Baked Ziti, lightened.

As I sit here typing, relishing in my yummy leftovers from last night's dinner, I'm reminded of how much I love this recipe! And I love that it cooked all day yesterday.

A few years back, my friend Liz compiled a crockpot cookbook - an informal collection of slow cooker recipes that are tried and true. Today's recipe for Baked Ziti is one of my favorites! It comes from Liz's friend Amber (whom I don't know, but to whom I'm grateful for this recipe!).

I lightened up the recipe a bit - used a lighter ricotta, ground turkey (rather than beef - although the beef version is great, too) and added some veggies into the cheese mixture. It does make a large amount - but it freezes really well.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti

1 container (15 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups (8 oz.) mozzarella cheese, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash, all chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 box (16 oz.) ziti noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 jars (approx. 25 oz. each) of tomato sauce (Newman's Own Sockarooni works well)

1. Cook ground turkey and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink. Stir in seasonings to evenly coat meat; stir in pasta sauce. Set aside.

2. Mix chopped bell pepper, zucchini and squash with 1 cup mozzarella, the ricotta and parmesan in a medium bowl.

3. Spoon 2 cups of meat sauce into the lined cooker; top with 2 cups ziti. Drop half of the cheese/vegetable mixture, by rounded tablespoons, over ziti; carefully spread over ziti using back of spoon. Layer with 2 cups meat sauce, the remaining ziti and remaining cheese. Add remaining meat sauce, completely covering all the ziti and cheese.

4. Place lid on slow cooker. Cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours or until noodles are tender.

5. Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle food with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella; let stand 10 minutes until melted.

Enjoy! Then, enjoy again...and again.


  1. Courtney - I can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks for blogging it

  2. Hope you enjoy it, Michelle! It's a good family favorite around here.