This Freezer Friendly Baked Ziti is a fantastic Italian casserole that’s filled with a meaty red sauce, tender ziti noodles and a creamy, cheesy filling!
There is nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that you have dinner prepared and ready to go. But when plans fall through, it’s always nice to have a back up. That’s what I love about this Freezer Friendly Baked Ziti!
Freezer Friendly Baked Ziti Recipe:
- Start by making a super simple meat sauce, that’s very similar to my Quick Italian Meat Sauce.
- Brown some Italian ground sausage and mushrooms along with onion and garlic in a large skillet.
- Add in some diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.
While the sauce is simmering away, you can boil your noodles and prepare your cheese filling.
What Pasta to Use for Baked Ziti:
- The traditional pasta used for baked ziti is Ziti, which is a long tube shaped noodle.
- You can substitute the ziti for penne, macaroni, or any other small to medium shaped noodle.
Freezer Meal Ideas:
- Not only is this delicious Baked Ziti ready for immediate baking, but it can also be packaged up and frozen for later use!
- When storing for later, make sure you cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil. Sometimes I’ll double up on the foil to prevent freezer burn.
- This easy casserole can last for up to 5 months in the freezer if it’s tightly packaged.
- Freezer prior to baking for best results.
Ricotta Cheese Filling for Baked Ziti
I couldn’t do baked ziti without having a layer of lasagna filling in between. It truly makes this dish pop.
Combine some ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, a couple eggs, a little salt and pepper and good dose of parsley.
How To Assemble Baked Ziti
- Start by combining your cooked noodles with the meat sauce and placing half the mixture in the bottom of a 9×13″ casserole dish.
- Spread a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture over the top.
- Top with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Repeat with another layer of noodles and sauce!
Follow that with another layer of cheese and you’re all set to either bake right away or pop it in the freezer for another day!
I love making freezer friendly casseroles for when I go out of town and the husband has to watch the kids.
It’s so easy for him to just pop a dish in the oven, and it gives me peace of mind that they’re not just eating pizza and chips every night.
Plus if I ever have a friend or neighbor in need of a good dinner, I can easily just grab one from the freezer and help them out!
You’ll be making friends with everyone when they try this baked ziti!
My husband and kids love this one so much.
There are usually no leftovers, but when there are, I can just pop that lid right back on and place it in the fridge for leftover night later in the week.
How To Bake Freezer Meals When Frozen:
A common question that I get is, “Can I put the frozen casserole directly into the oven from the freezer?”
- Yes, you can pop this casserole straight into the oven as long as it’s been prepared in an oven-safe casserole dish.
- When frozen, take casserole out of freezer and remove lid or any plastic wrap.
- Cover with foil. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 1 hour, remove foil and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until center is bubbly.
Now who else wants a big slice of this yumminess!?
HELPFUL PRODUCTS TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
Freezer Friendly Baked Ziti
For the Sauce:
- 1 lb. Italian ground sausage
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
- 24 oz. jar traditional spaghetti sauce
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 lb. ziti noodles, cooked al dente according to package instructions
For the Cheese Mixture:
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
For the Sauce:
- Brown and crumble the sausage in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat and add the onions and garlic, cooking until tender. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until softened.
- Add in the sauce, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If your pan is big enough add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. If needed, transfer sauce and pasta to a larger bowl to stir together.
For the Cheese mixture:
- Combine the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper in a small dish.
Assemble the Baked Ziti:
- Lightly coat a 9x13" casserole dish with non-stick spray. Layer half of the pasta mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with the cheese mixture and spread to an even layer. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Spread the remaining noodles and sauce over that, followed by the remaining mozzarella cheese.
If baking right away:
- Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until center is bubbly. Enjoy!
If freezing for later:
- Let cool to room temperature then cover with an airtight lid. If no lid is available, cover with plastic wrap and then a double layer of tin foil. Freeze.
To Bake From Frozen:
- Take casserole out of freezer and remove lid or any plastic wrap. Cover with foil and let it sit on the counter while the oven is preheating. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour, remove foil and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until center is bubbly. Enjoy!