Soulspiration: Nothing is more inspiring than being around someone who lives and loves their passion. Belles exemplifies just that when it comes to the craft of cooking.
They say the quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach. Well, that’s not quite the saying, but I’m sure we can all agree that food plays a huge part in our lives.
This week I had the pleasure of teaming up with my great friend, Isabelle Saman, who recently launched her food blog: Bites By Belles. Belles is a Syrian-American honing in on her culinary craft by sharing ethnic, classic recipes with a twist.
A Hearty Meal Made With Love
We combined our love for cooking by making a meatless baked ziti that was nothing short of finger-licking good. Plus, who doesn’t love a home cooked meal? Not only is this recipe easy and filling, it’s also fun to do with a friend or loved one.
Cooking isn’t just cooking, it’s both an act of self-care and love for others. There’s an awe in it that calls for creativity, concentration and patience.
Cooking is also therapeutic, awakening every sense: the smell of aromas, the visual contrast of colors, the touch and feel of ingredients, the sizzling of an almost finished masterpiece, all topped off with the taste of your own creation.
Meatless Baked Ziti Recipe
Serves 5-6 • Prep 20 min • Cook 30-35 min • Total 50-55 min
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 16 oz box of ziti
- 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups of ricotta
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (and a little extra for topping)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
But the main ingredient? Love. Having good, positive energy flow in the kitchen trickles into the food. It’s the secret sauce of any great meal.
For more mantras on love, download my free collection here.
To start, boil the pasta in water until it’s al dente, or however soft you’d like. Be sure to add salt. Drain and set aside.
Place cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl, add cheeses, marinara sauce, ricotta and mix altogether. Throw the mixture in a casserole dish, a pie baking dish works well too.
Put the dish in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Then let it sit for 10 minutes to cool down.
Make the baked ziti your own by adding a cheese of your choice on top and your favorite spices. After all cooking is art, and with it comes the freedom to express your masterpiece however you desire.
We all deserve to dabble in a cheat meal here and there. If you’re a foodie or pasta lover who enjoys a hearty dish, this baked ziti recipe will leave you completely satisfied. Toss in a salad, and you’ve got yourself a nourishing, fulfilling entree.
When you cook your own meals, the process alone gives you full control. It’s a great self-esteem boost once you see the finished creation. It also helps your mindfulness, just like any other artistic endeavor.
Do your stomach and mind a favor by checking out Bites by Belles for more tasty recipes. And while you’re cooking your next masterpiece, don’t forget to sprinkle in a bit of love.