Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

I've had a very busy start to the school year and I am soooooo looking forward to the 3 day weekend we have coming - for several reasons.  1.  We get a day off of school!  2.  My son comes home from college! (miss you Kenny)  3.  I get to see my sweetie pie niece (and her parents,too! hehe) 4.  We're having a family cookout at my dad's.  Is that enough to get excited about????? :) 

In the meantime though, I have another recipe to share.  The original recipe was called Scooter's Spaghetti.  I just called it Baked Spaghetti.  Let's look at the original recipe:

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1 pound ground beef
1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped green peppers (I usually omit or substitute red peppers)
1/3 cup chopped onions
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
French Fried Onions (small can)

1.Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.
2.Brown ground beef. Drain excess grease. Add spaghetti sauce to skillet and heat.
3.Combine onions, peppers and butter in small glass bowl. Cover and microwave 4 minutes on HIGH until soft.
4.Add cream cheese and milk to vegetables and stir well. (If cream cheese is not soft, nuke it for 20-30 seconds to make it easy to spread.)
5.Using a 10 x 6 dish, assemble in the following order:
6.Thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
8.Cream cheese/vegetable mixture
9.Spaghetti sauce
10.Parmesan Cheese (amount subject to your own taste)
11.French Fried Onions (added during last 5 minutes of cooking)
12.Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with French Fried onion and continue baking 5 more minutes. (This is the secret ingredient–don’t let them burn.)

Make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze without the French Fried onions. Don’t forget to add them 5 minutes before casserole is finished cooking.
So, how did it turn out?  Delicious!  I used larger quantities, but really didn't keep track of how much more, and cooked it in a 9x13 dish.  I basically just cooked my usual spaghetti sauce with meat, sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes and green peppers.  Then I layered a little sauce, the cooked spaghetti, the cream cheese (vegetables were already in my sauce), remaining sauce and cheese.  I did add the french fried onions at the end of baking. 
Looks good, huh?   It tasted delicious!  The cream cheese layer gave it a little different taste and smoother texture.  The onions added a nice crunch and a little more flavor than usual.  

While I do think it was great, I'm not sure it's different enough from regular spaghetti to warrent the extra work and time.  It's not a ton of work, but we could've been eating a half an hour sooner if we had just eaten it as regular spaghetti.  I would say that I'll make it once in a great while, but it's not going to be a new favorite.  It's worth a try though.  Maybe you'll decide that it's the best spaghetti ever! :)
Happy eating!

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