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One of our favorite weeknight meals is Baked Ziti.  My husband spent two years in Italy. He claims to know Italian food and has given it his stamp of approval. I'll take that.

Baked Ziti is a grand departure from the pasta meals of my childhood.  I recall a few different pasta dishes: Lasagna (good and basic, but no real spice), Spaghetti with a meat sauce (spices from a store bought mix), Mac and Cheese (of course) and my personal favorite "Spiddle Diddles."  One of my older brothers claims that this last dish was invented when my mother was on food stamps. I haven't verified this claim, but it does kind of make sense.  Spiddle Diddles has three ingredients: Tomato juice, cooked elbow macaroni and a little pepper.  D refuses to eat it.  I craved it during at least one of my pregnancies and required it almost every day.  It's a little weird, I guess, but what's wrong with a little simplicity?

Anyway, Baked Ziti is fairly simple, uses good straightforward ingredients and still manages to be leaps and bounds above my childhood fare.

Keep reading for the recipe @www.ahappysong.com

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