I have a serious case of The Sundays. This weekend was so incredibly fun and more needed than I knew. Hubby and I NEEDED that 1:1 time to reconnect, talk about anything other than our kids, and just re-gel as a couple. The day-to-day grind can become so toxic and this weekend was the reboot we needed.
Well, the reboot I needed. And I think he feels the same.
We arrived in Chicago on Friday evening and had massages scheduled. They were fabulous. We got checked in to the beautiful and perfectly located Kinzie Hotel and made our way out for an appetizer and drink before ending up at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab. We had a seafood feast that included shrimp, lobster, king crab, stone crab…and peanut butter pie. HEAVEN. The service could not have been better – we felt like royalty.
Saturday morning started with a run to Millenium Park and around River North before showering and getting ready for the Cubs game. The Cubs played the Cardinals, the Cubs won, Baez hit a grand slam, our seats were great and in the shade for 7 ½ innings, and the weather couldn’t have been better. It was great – go Cubs!
We showered and headed out for appetizers and drinks before hitting up Nacional 27 / Tall Boy Tacos for margaritas, corn fundito, empinadas, and tacos. We then bar hopped around and tried to fit in with the young 20’s crowd (ha!).
This morning was another run to Millenium Park and we got to watch several races – a color run, a cancer survivor’s run, and the finish for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. There was lots of sweating going on in Chicago this morning and we loved joining in. We had to get our sweat on before finishing up our weekend at Beatrix for brunch. Yum!
The weekend had not one disappointment…until we got back to Michigan with a grocery list that needed tackling and laundry galore.
Hopefully this gem of a recipe will bring a little brightness to the start of your week. It’s simple yet well-rounded, feeds a lot of mouths (or allows for lots of leftovers), and packs in loads of vegetables (and cheese). And not just any vegetables, but summer vegetables that are bountiful.
- 1 lb uncooked ziti pasta
- 4 medium zucchini, sliced into ½-inch thick half-moons
- 4 medium yellow squash, sliced into ½-inch-thick half-moons
- 2 pints red grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp black pepper, divided
- 2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
- 2 oz Romano cheese, grated (about ½ cup)
- ⅓ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
- 6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for 8-9 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat broiler to 550 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On the baking sheet, toss together the zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Arrange vegetables in a single layer; broil until charred and tender, about 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Stir together ricotta, Romano, basil, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl.
- Combine pasta, cooked vegetables, and marinara sauce in a large bowl; stir to combine. Spoon half the pasta mixture into a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish. Dollop 1 cup of ricotta mixture evenly on pasta mixture. Repeat with remaining pasta mixture and ricotta mixture. Top evenly with mozzarella.
- Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with basil, if desired.
Weekly Menu: June 4th – 8th
- Sunday: leftovers
- Monday: Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Shrimp
- Tuesday: Summer Minestrone Soup
- Wednesday: grilled salmon and asparagus
- Thursday: Hummus Flatbread
I love your blog, great recipes and stories! This recipe looks delicious! I love pasta but try not to eat it too often as I don’t find it filling. This looks like it will be more so with all the yummy summer veggies! It’s just hubby and me but I like to make freezer meals sometimes. Would this freeze well and, if so, how do you suggest I prepare it to freeze?
Hi Rebecca! Thanks for reading 🙂 I think it would freeze well! Just be sure to cover well with foil and bring to room temp before baking – not sure how long it would take, but just to heat through!
Just one more question, I am not a fan of grape tomatoes cooked and I don’t care for balsamic vinegar. Can they be left out without ruining the dish? Would you suggest anything as a replacement for the grape tomatoes?
Hi Rebecca! The balsamic vinegar can easily be left out. You could either leave out the tomatoes all together or swap in additional zucchini or yellow squash. Even eggplant, onion, mushrooms…the sky is the limit! 🙂
That dish looks so yummy in those pictures!!! Love the fact that it so easy to make!!! Thanks for sharing.