My Mom’s Baked Ziti Thinned Down for My Weight Watchers Lifestyle

My Mom used to make a mean baked ziti; she’d make her own sauce, boil up the noodles, then stir together the full-fat mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan with a whole egg and some whole milk. She’d layer the sauce, cooked ziti noodles and cheese mix in a pyrex baking dish then pop it in the oven for 30-45 minutes. It was a hot, gooey, yummy meal that my sisters and I loved to eat.

Here's the "detailed" version of the recipe my Mom gave me! Reserve some of the shredded mozzarella to sprinkle on top of the layered dish.

Fast forward to today. I’m on Weight Watchers (WW) and have been staying pretty well on plan; last week, I lost 2-plus pounds even with our trip to Atlantic City. I want to continue to stay on plan, but I don’t want to miss eating baked ziti so I decided to try and thin Mom’s recipe down. I started by paring out as much fat as I could. These are the ingredients I used:

I plugged these ingredients into my WW recipe builder on-line program and realized that I can eat a nice portion (it serves 12 so 1/12th of the pyrex baking dish) for only 7 WW points!

The ingredients go together quickly once the ziti is cooked/drained and the cheese mixture is stirred together:

Spread the marinara in the baking pan, then layer the cooked ziti noodles on top.

Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over top of the cooked ziti noodles.

Then another layer of marinara. Keep layering until the dish is full.

Sprinkle some reserved mozzarella over top and pop into the oven to bake.


I make a fast and easy marinara sauce using a recipe from Lidia Bastianich. Her Italian-American Kitchen cookbook includes so many recipes that I’ve made again and again! My good friend Carole introduced me to Lidia many years ago; the pages of my Lidia cookbooks are splattered and stained, a sure sign of great recipes on almost every page!

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