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Cheese Ziti

Cheese Ziti is very simple with only two cheeses: cheddar and grated parmesan. It is best described as penne macaroni and cheese.

Cheese Ziti is a simple noodle and cheese dish. It is really a simple mac and cheese with longer noodles than elbow noodles. This recipe is great as a main or served on the side. 

I like to make bread crumbs with homemade bread or store bread I keep stored in my freezer. I like the taste and crunch  of homemade bread crumbs versus store bought that sometimes has a grit texture.  

Cost per serving $3.49 as of May 2022

If you have ZERO ingredients then this recipe will cost about $13.95.

If you have a stocked pantry this recipe will cost about $8.81.

  • Cost per serving reduces to $2.20.

I am assuming you have salt and pepper and do not add it into the recipe total cost.

Stove & Oven

Recipe serves: 4

Serving size: 1 cup

Equipment needed: 1 large pot for past, 1 sauce pan, 1.5 quart casserole dish with lid

Total time: 1 hour


Let's grocery shop!

I am assuming you have salt and pepper. It is not included in pantry and spices. If you have a stocked pantry you will save about 5.14.

You can easily change up the cheese in this dish. Sometimes I buy a cheddar and gruyere block or monterey jack cheese. Recipes are just suggestions and a starting point.

Pantry & Spices

Total: $5.14 as of May 2022

  • butter $3.58
  • flour $1.56


Total: $8.81 as of May 2022

  • ziti pasta 16 oz $0.92
  • 1/2 gallon milk $2.38
  • 1 cheddar cheese 8 oz $2.22
  • 1 loaf bread $0.93
  • 1 grated parmesan cheese $2.36

You can add fresh herbs of your choice to the top to add a freshness to the dish. My personal favorite is flat leaf parsley.

Jazz up the cheese sauce by adding a spice such as: nutmeg, caraway seeds, ground coriander, chipotle chili, spice blends, etc. get creative! 

Let's prep!

Let's cook!

  1. Complete prep from prep tab above.
  2. Bring water to a boil and cook ziti to package directions.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°
  4. In a sauce pan melt 1 tablespoon butter then stir in 2 tablespoons of flour until smooth. 
  5. Once the mixture is smooth and you no longer see white flour slowly add milk while stirring constantly. Continue to stir until mixture is thick and creamy. 
  6. Turn off the heat and add cheese until melted. 
  7. Drain cooked pasta and add to the casserole dish. Add the sauce evenly over the pasta. I like to mix it in a little making sure all the noodles have a little sauce. 
  8. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Once the 20 minutes is complete, melt 2 tablespoons of butter
  10. Stir the butter into the bread crumbs then add the mixture to the top of the pasta evenly.
  11. Broil uncovered for 5-10 minutes or the topping is brown. Enjoy! 

This recipe can also be found in Weekly Dinners for 2 under $70 – Menu 2

Side Options

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