Oven Roasted Autumn Medley

Years ago I made Nature’s Candy, which was a deliciously sweet and savory oven roasted side dish that was so good I’d almost call it a dessert. Well, I decided to take that amazing flavor combination and turn it into a sheet pan dinner. I added some sweet Italian sausage, a red onion for a […]

The post Oven Roasted Autumn Medley appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Years ago I made Nature’s Candy, which was a deliciously sweet and savory oven roasted side dish that was so good I’d almost call it a dessert. Well, I decided to take that amazing flavor combination and turn it into a sheet pan dinner. I added some sweet Italian sausage, a red onion for a slightly more savory twist, and a few more fall-inspired herbs. This Oven Roasted Autumn Medley has all the best flavors of the season in one sheet pan!

Originally posted 9-26-2013, updated 10-5-2020.

Oven Roasted Autumn Medley on a plate with mashed potatoes and a black fork on the side

How to Serve Oven Roasted Autumn Medley

I served this sheet pan mix with a side of mashed potatoes, but you could also serve the roasted sausage and vegetables over a bed of greens for a fall-inspired salad. Or just serve it on its own with a nice piece of crusty bread and some butter on the side. :)

Can I Use a Different Sausage?

Yes, if you don’t like or can’t get sweet Italian sausage, you can use a maple or apple flavored turkey sausage in its place. Any type of sausage with those fall vibes will work great!

Other Vegetable Options

This dish is also pretty flexible when it comes to the vegetables. You can swap out the sweet potato or just add some butternut squash, acorn squash, or pumpkin. All of those hard, slightly sweet winter squashes work great. Carrots, with their subtle sweetness, are another great option!

Tips for Roasting Vegetables

One of the goals when roasting vegetables in the oven is to get that nice caramelization on the edges. The caramelized edges are sweeter and have a deep, intense flavor. To get this nice browning action, make sure your vegetables are not too crowded on the baking sheet. They should be in a single layer. If the vegetables are piled too high on top of each other the steam will get trapped and the vegetables will essentially steam in their juices instead of getting that nice caramelization. 

So, if you decide to double this recipe, make sure to use two sheet pans!

side view of a fork picking up some oven roasted autumn medley from the plate

 
Oven roasted autumn medley on a plate with mashed potatoes and a black fork

Oven Roasted Autumn Medley

This Oven Roasted Autumn Medley is an herb-infused, sweet and savory sheet pan dinner with sausage, apples, sweet potatoes and more.
Total Cost $4.38 recipe / $2.19 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 671.2kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion $0.44
  • 1 lb. sweet potato $1.07
  • 2 apples $0.76
  • 8 oz. sweet Italian sausage $1.40
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried sage $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) $0.11

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Core and dice the apples into 1-inch pieces. Peel and dice the sweet potato and red onion into 1-inch pieces.
  • Place the chopped apples, onions, sweet potatoes, and Italian sausage links on a large 9x13-inch baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top, then add the basil, sage, rosemary, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Toss until everything is well coated in oil and herbs.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the baking sheet and use tongs to transfer the sausage to a cutting board. Slice the sausage into medallions, then add them back to the baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven.
  • Roast the autumn medley for another 20 minutes, or until it reaches your desired level of browning. Top with chopped parsley for garnish after roasting, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 671.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 77.65g | Protein: 23.05g | Fat: 32.4g | Sodium: 1746.95mg | Fiber: 13g

A forkful of Oven Roasted Autumn Medley held close to the camera

 

How to Make Oven Roasted Autumn Medley – Step by Step Photos

Oven roasted autumn medley ingredients on the sheet pan, whole

For this recipe I used two sweet Italian sausage links, one sweet potato (about 1 lb.), two apples, one red onion, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried rosemary, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Diced apples, sweet potatoes, and sausage being seasoned with herbs

Core and dice the apples, peel and dice the sweet potato, and peel and dice the red onion (all 1-inch pieces). Place the apple, sweet potato, onion, and sausage links on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle the herbs and spices over top (basil, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper). 

autumn medley ready to roast on the sheet pan

Toss to coat everything really well in oil and herbs. Make sure everything is spread out on the sheet pan as evenly as possible.

Half-roasted autumn medley with sliced sausage.

Roast the autumn medley for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven. The sausage will be about half-cooked at this point, but firm enough to slice into medallions. Carefully remove the sausage with tongs to a cutting board, slice, then return the slices to the sheet pan. Return the sheet pan to the oven.

Finished oven roasted autumn medley on the sheet pan

Roast the autumn medley for another 20 minutes, or until it achieves the level of browning that you like. Top with a tablespoon of chopped parsley, if desired (just for garnish). 

Oven roasted autumn medley on a plate with mashed potatoes and a black fork

Serve immediately and enjoy! This mix also works great for meal prep!

The post Oven Roasted Autumn Medley appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Classic Baked Ziti

As soon as the weather turns cool, I grab the cozy sweaters and start cooking the comfort food, like this Classic Baked Ziti. It’s rich and gooey with its layers of pasta, homemade red sauce with Italian sausage, and three types of melty cheese. Total comfort in a bowl. And the best part is that […]

The post Classic Baked Ziti appeared first on Budget Bytes.

As soon as the weather turns cool, I grab the cozy sweaters and start cooking the comfort food, like this Classic Baked Ziti. It’s rich and gooey with its layers of pasta, homemade red sauce with Italian sausage, and three types of melty cheese. Total comfort in a bowl. And the best part is that Baked Ziti is not fussy. You don’t have to worry about delicate sheet pasta or getting your layers perfect. It’s freeform, messy goodness at its best!

Classic Baked Ziti with Sausage

Overhead view of a wooden spoon scooping baked ziti out of the corner of a white casserole dish

Can I Use a Different Pasta Shape?

If you can’t find ziti (a smooth, tubular shaped pasta), you can substitute penne or rigatoni in this recipe. Rigatoni is the most similar to ziti, the only difference being that it has a ridges and is slightly shorter and wider. 

Can I Add Vegetables to Baked Ziti?

Yes! I almost always add extra vegetables to whatever I’m cooking, but today I decided to go with the classic form of Baked Ziti. If I were to add vegetables, I would probably add some fresh spinach into the sauce and stir until it is wilted. Or, roast some broccoli, zucchini, or eggplant, and then toss that into the sauce. 

Can I Substitute the Sausage?

The Italian sausage adds a lot of flavor to this dish, but there are still a few options for substituting the sausage. You can use ground beef, turkey, or chicken, but you’ll probably want to double the Italian seasoning blend to make up for the herbs that are found in Italian sausage. You can also use a vegetarian Italian sausage alternative, or substitute with a pound of chopped mushrooms.

Front view of a wooden spoon lifting a scoopful of Baked Ziti from the casserole dish

What Should I Serve with Baked Ziti?

Homemade Garlic Bread is awesome with baked ziti, but if you want some vegetables on the side I would go with something like Oven Roasted Frozen Broccoli, or do a simple side salad of mixed greens with Italian dressing, and whatever vegetables you have in your fridge (tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, etc.). 

How Long Does This Last?

This Baked Ziti will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. I highly suggest dividing the leftovers into single servings so they cool quickly in the refrigerator. This recipe makes 8 large servings, so once the servings are cooled completely in the refrigerator, you can transfer a few to the freezer for longer storage. Then each serving is just a quick microwave away from being a filling last-minute dinner!

 

Classic Baked Ziti

Like a freeform lasagna, this Baked Ziti has layers of pasta, homemade red sauce with Italian sausage, and three types of melty cheese!

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (sweet, mild, or hot) ($3.49)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.27)
  • 3 oz. tomato paste ($0.27)
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes ($1.00)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend ($0.30)
  • 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 lb. ziti ($1.67)
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt (for pasta water) ($0.05)
  • 15 oz. ricotta ($1.69)
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend* ($1.15)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella ($2.29)
  • 1 handful chopped parsley (optional, for garnish) ($0.20)
  1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet or pot over medium heat, until it's brown and crispy on the edges (pork sausage contains a lot of fat, so I didn't add any extra to the skillet).

  2. While the sausage is browning, finely dice the onion. Add the onion to the skillet once the sausage has browned, and continue to sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.

  3. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1/2 cup water to the skillet with the sausage and stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down and allow it to continue to simmer while you cook the ziti. Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers.

  4. After getting the sauce started, begin the ziti. Bring a large pot of water with 1/2 Tbsp salt to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the ziti, and let it continue to boil until the ziti is tender (about 7-8 minutes). Drain the ziti in a colander. Shake the colander a bit to shake excess water out of the pasta.

  5. While the pasta and sauce are cooking, prepare the cheese filling. Add the ricotta, Italian cheese blend, and some freshly cracked black pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill) to a bowl and stir to combine. Begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF.

  6. After draining the ziti, return it to the pot and add 1 cup of the red sauce. Stir to coat the cooked pasta in sauce.

  7. Pour half of the ziti to a 9×13" baking dish. Add half of the ricotta mixture on top of the ziti in small dollops. Finally, spoon half of the red sauce and sausage over the pasta and ricotta. It's okay if the ingredients don't cover in a solid layer. Repeat these layers with the second half of the pasta, ricotta mixture, and sauce. Finally, top with 2 cups shredded mozzarella.

  8. Cover the baking dish with foil, making sure it's slightly tented so that it doesn't touch or stick to the melted cheese. Transfer the covered casserole to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

  9. After baking for 20 minutes, remove the foil, and turn the oven on to broil (keep the casserole on the middle rack, about 10-12 inches from the broiler). Broil for 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is slightly browned. Keep a close eye on the baked ziti as it broils, because broilers can vary in intensity. Top with chopped parsley, if desired, then serve.

*In place of Italian cheese blend you can use a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A white plate with baked ziti, garlic bread, and a black fork.

 

How to Make Baked Ziti – Step by Step Photos

Browned Italian sausage in a skillet

Begin by browning 1 pound Italian sausage in a skillet until it is brown and crispy on the edges. Pork sausage has quite a bit of fat in it on its own, so I didn’t add any extra to the skillet.

Diced onion added to the skillet with the sausage

While the sausage is browning, finely dice a yellow onion. Add it to the skillet with the browned sausage and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or until the onion is soft and translucent.

Crushed tomatoes being poured into the skillet, with sausage, onions, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning

Add 3 oz. tomato paste (half of a 6 oz. can – don’t forget to freeze the rest of the can!), 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend, one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, place a lid on the skillet, and let it come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, while you begin cooking the ziti.

Boiled ziti in a pot of water with a wooden spoon

Once the sauce is simmering away, begin cooking the ziti. Bring a large pot of water with 1/2 Tbsp salt to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add 1 lb. ziti. Continue to boil the ziti until tender, then drain in a colander. Shake the colander a bit to shake out the excess water.

Ricotta, Italian cheese, and black pepper in a bowl

While the ziti is boiling and the sauce is simmering, make the ricotta cheese blend. Add 15 oz. ricotta, 1 cup Italian cheese blend, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a bowl. Stir to combine. Also begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF at the time.

Sauce being added to cooked ziti in the pot.

After draining the ziti, return it to the pot and add 1 cup of the red sauce. Stir to coat the ziti in the sauce.

First layers of pasta, cheese, and sauce in the casserole dish

Pour half of the sauce coated ziti into a 9×13″ casserole dish. Add half of the ricotta mixture on top of the ziti in small dollops, then add half of the red sauce on top. Don’t worry if the layers don’t cover each other in a solid layer. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

Second layers of pasta, ricotta, and sauce, and final layer of mozzarella

Repeat with a second layer of pasta, ricotta mixture, and sauce, then top with 2 cups shredded mozzarella.

Baked ziti with melted cheese and foil peeled back

Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Make sure the foil is slightly tented so it doesn’t touch the cheese and stick when it melts.

Broiled baked ziti with browned cheese on top

After baking for 20 minutes, remove the foil, turn the oven to broil, and return the casserole to the oven (keep it on the middle rack, about 10-12 inches from the broiler). Broil for about 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is browned on top. Keep a close eye as it broils because broilers can vary in intensity.

Finished baked ziti casserole topped with chopped parsley and a wooden spoon on the side

Garnish with a little chopped parsley, if desired, then serve!

Overhead view of a spoon just beginning to dig into the baked ziti casserole

The post Classic Baked Ziti appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is such a comfort food classic! The meatballs are made from ground beef and Italian sausage, served with a sauce with mushrooms, onions, basil, and Parmesan. Dig in! Continue reading “Spaghetti and Meatballs” »

Spaghetti and meatballs is such a comfort food classic! The meatballs are made from ground beef and Italian sausage, served with a sauce with mushrooms, onions, basil, and Parmesan. Dig in!

Continue reading "Spaghetti and Meatballs" »

Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

Such a satisfying combo! Italian sausages cooked with bell peppers, sweet onions, crushed tomatoes, and garlic. Served on a hoagie roll or over pasta or polenta. Continue reading “Sausage, Peppers, and Onions” »

Such a satisfying combo! Italian sausages cooked with bell peppers, sweet onions, crushed tomatoes, and garlic. Served on a hoagie roll or over pasta or polenta.

Continue reading "Sausage, Peppers, and Onions" »