Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baked Spaghetti

Our simple kitchen is in business even on the go!  The kids and I tagged along on a Sr. High youth group trip Sunday night-Tuesday.  I told Chris I'd go and be the "food person".  You know, the one who gets the goods together, makes the meals, etc.  I love being able to minister with my husband in this way. 
Lunches were easy.  We were on the go and sandwiches were easy.  PB&J or ham and cheese.  Chips and trail mix bars or granola bars.  Fruit or applesauce cups.  Bottled water.

After a hard day's work we thought the kids would enjoy a big breakfast.  As I've mentioned before Chris is the breakfast chef so he fixed lots of pancakes, eggs and bacon.  There were bananas and oranges, apple juice, a few packets of oatmeal and toast with jelly.

Supper was an incredible casserole that the ladies on the trip threw together Monday night.  I'm happy to share it with you.  It's very budget friendly.  We made three 9x12 casserole dishes.  Adjust the recipe to feed fewer folks. 

Baked Spaghetti 
Recipe by oursimplekitchen and a few special helpers 

2-3 boxes of pasta (I used one box of elbow noodles and 1 1/2 boxes of thin spaghetti noodles)
3 jars/cans of your favorite pasta sauce
2 lbs ground beef
1 bunch of fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
a few shakes of Italian Seasoning (or any combination of oregano and basil...fresh would be great too)
15oz ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg
pepperoni slices
1-2 cups shredded Parmesan or Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Brown ground beef and drain.
In a bowl, combine cooked ground beef, spaghetti sauce, parsley and Italian seasonings.  Stir in noodles.

In a separate bowl mix ricotta and mozzarella cheeses with one beaten egg.  (Use your fingers.  It's kind of therapeutic.)

Now you're ready to assemble!
Spoon some of the noodle/sauce/beef mixture into each baking dish.  Top with a thin spreading of the cheese and egg mixture.  Add another layer of noodle/sauce/beef mixture then one last spreading of cheese and egg mixture.
Sprinkle with Parmesan or Italian blend cheese, top with pepperonis.

Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.  It won't take long.

Serving suggestions:
You can't go wrong with serving a salad and hot garlic bread!  Your family will be pleased and your house will smell delicious.

I'm certain this would freeze well.  So, instead of changing the amounts above to make enough for just one night, go ahead and make the whole thing.  Stick the two extra in the freezer and enjoy later or share with a friend.

This can also be easily altered to include other things your family loves or exclude those they don't.  Some ideas:  Add in mushrooms, roasted garlic, spinach.   Use Italian sausage in place of the ground beef or use half of each.  Leave out the pepperoni.  Switch up the shape of pasta.

Hope you enjoy!

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