May: Meatless Challenge – Baked Ziti with Sharp Cheddar & Baby Bellas + Core Bamboo Large Color Board Product Review


I make a pretty decent baked mac and cheese, but I've been feeling like something is missing. For our Meatless May Blogger Recipe Challenge, I decided to see what I could come up with. Hubs had brought home an extra container of mushrooms despite his mushroom reservations. (Love it when he brings extra food home that I love cooking with.) I had plenty of noodles, and cheese is regularly stocked up in the house. The few things I really needed were dried marjoram (I still really don't know what this is), and a couple of leeks. I have to say, I'm never going back to regular ol' baked mac and cheese again. This recipe was phenominal. Everyone in my house loved it (except my picky eater of a daughter). The best part, is that it's prepared like you would prepare a baked mac dish. Super simple and that's just the way I like it to be!

For this recipe I'm also reviewing a Core Bamboo cutting board. They were SUPER generous and sponsored our entire group this month by sending along their Large Color Board in magenta and a few extra goodies including their matching Madrid Utensil Set, and a matching Easy Grip Rolling Pin.

  • 1lb - Ziti
  • 8oz - Baby Bella Mushrooms (Chopped)
  • 2 - Leeks (White Parts Only. Quartered Lengthwise then Sliced)
  • 3 TBSP - Salted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup - Flour
  • 2 Cups - Sharp Cheddar (Divided into 1.5 and .5 cups)
  • 3 Cups - Milk
  • 1 TBSP - Dried Marjoram
  • 3/4 to 1 TBSP - Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tsp - Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp - Nutmeg
  • 1 Cup - Regular Panko
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. At the same time bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add in mushrooms, leeks, and marjoram. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until mushrooms become soft.
  3. Add into the mushrooms and leeks the flour and combine.
  4. Quickly whisk in warmed milk.
  5. Allow mixture to simmer for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add in salt, pepper, mustard, and nutmeg.
  6. At the same time the mixture is simmering, cook your ziti according to package instructions. Remove from hot water when noodles are just barely done. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  7. Combine sauce, 1.5 cups sharp cheddar, and noodles. Pour into an 8"x13" baking dish.
  8. Top with remaining sharp cheddar and panko.
  9. Bake 30 minutes or until top becomes a golden brown and cheese sauce is bubbling around the edges.

I absolutely love my Large Color Core Bamboo cutting board. I've owned several Core Bamboo boards in the past, and currently have a massive one that I use almost every time that I cook. My husband actually bought several of the large ones for Christmas gifts when they were on sale on some deal site a few months back. However, there's just something about the magenta coloring along the outside of this board, and the unique contoured shape it has that makes this rank up to at least the #2 spot out of all of the cutting boards I have owned and still do own.

"This large bamboo cutting board is ideal for all food prep, presentation and serving. Made of durable, long-lasting renewable bamboo that is harder than most traditional hardwoods, this magenta accented board won't dull knives and are maintenance free. Prepare everything from weekday meals to Thanksgiving dinner with these durable cutting boards or present your newest culinary creation at your table with pride." ~ Core Bamboo

One thing that I love about bamboo boards is the fact that they're less absorbent than wood ones and is a natural anti-microbial, which means less bacteria remains on the board. Personally I wouldn't suggest using this board for cutting meat (but I've definitely done it myself and the description says all food prep is fine). Because bamboo is a grass, bamboo cutting boards are considered more eco-friendly than boards made from other materials. Bamboo grows quickly and regenerates itself as long as the roots remain intact. Bamboo is stronger than maple, extremely lightweight, and best of all it won't dull your knives. Core Bamboo goes a step further and makes all of their products from 100% organically grown bamboo. They make sure their adhesives are food safe and water based, in addition to using top grade oils, and and a lacquer from natural cashew trees. I love that their cco-consciousness doesn't just stop with their products. Whenever possible Core Bamboo also tries to use recycled and eco-friendly packaging materials. Awesome!

Like I said, I love this board. It's the perfect size for large quantities of vegetable cutting, and it fits nicely on my over-crowded counter. It's extremely easy clean and always comes out looking beautiful and like it's brand new. I will be honest and say I've put my into the dishwasher the few nights that I was feeling lazy. This is not recommended (but it's easy to clean by hand). It is recommended that to extend the life of your board that you use a food-safe mineral oil every now and again when your board starts getting that "tired" look. From my experience in the past with bamboo boards this is when it starts to dull a little and there are some knife marks in it.
Make sure you take the time to find Core Bamboo online and browse around. You will LOVE their awesome selection of products, the unique designs, and how beautiful everything is. You can also find Core Bamboo on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Definitely a brand worth checking out. (I could honestly say I'd die happy if my entire kitchen was stocked up with their products.)

*I received the above mentioned products free of charge from Core Bamboo in order to facilitate this recipe and review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

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