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This weekend is all about Thanksgiving prep. I’ve got my menu planned, I picked up the turkey and other ingredients from the farmer’s market and ordered the rest from Fresh Direct. This year I’ll be adding a couple new sides to go with our traditional sides and a chocolate caramel cream pie from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts cookbook. You can find last year’s recipes here.

To give myself more time for Thanksgiving prep this week, I made a big pot of my mom’s sauce this weekend so I would have something quick and easy to make for dinner and to stock my freezer. My mom made her sauce all the time when we were growing up and we never, and I mean never, had tomato sauce out of a jar. I remember when she would let me and my sister add the spices to the pot. One thing that was and still is a treat is baked ziti. While is was delish, mom’s is still better!

Baked Ziti

1 lb penne  pasta or other similar tube pasta
1 lb mozzarella cheese thinly sliced
10-12 oz. ricotta cheese
3 cups tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese grated

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook pasta until al dente.

To assemble, spoon some sauce into the bottom of an oven safe casserole dish. Add a layer of pasta, cover with sauce, then spoon on some ricotta, sprinkle on parmesan and top it with a layer of mozzarella. Repeat this 2 more times.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until it starts to bubble and the cheese is browned. Let cool for 10 minutes before digging in.