This month's assignment for the Crazy Cooking Challenge was to find and make a dish that contained spaghetti and a red sauce. We prefer baked spaghetti, and I found Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti at Plain Chicken. She has another one called Baked Spasagna (love the name) that I considered also, but I had all the ingredients to make the first one so decided that it would be a good one to go with. Update: Just yesterday she posted a recipe for Easy Spasgna which is a simplified version of the Baked Spasagna. Since they all sound delicious, I will be making all three of them at some point.
Of course, I can never leave well enough alone so I did make some changes. I like to add additional vegetables to dishes like this so I added chopped onion, celery, carrots, red and yellow peppers. I am also a cheese head so had to add some additional cheese. I would love sliced black olives added to this, but hubby doesn’t like them, so I will have to save that for when I make this for a church potluck.
I broke the spaghetti in half before I cooked it, but had some trouble when mixing in the cream cheese. I may not have let the cream cheese soften enough. Next time I will break the spaghetti into thirds.
I used Ragu Sauce 4 Cheese flavor. I use 1/3 c. water to rinse out the sauce jar. This little bit of water, put in the empty sauce jar and shaken, gets all the sauce out of the jar and doesn't affect the flavor of the sauce. I have included that 1/3 c. water in the recipe.
I liked this dish a lot and will be making it again.
adapted from Plain Chicken
12 oz. spaghetti
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/3 c. chopped carrot
1/3 c. chopped yellow pepper
1/3 c. chopped red pepper
1 (28 oz.) jar prepared spaghetti sauce
1/3 c. water
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (low-fat is OK)
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 oz.) pkg. shredded Italian cheese or mozzarella, divided
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated (the refrigerated kind)
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. While water is heating and spaghetti is cooking, brown ground beef, onion, celery, carrots, red and yellow peppers until brown. Add spaghetti sauce. Rinse out sauce jar with measured out water and add to skillet. Drain cooked spaghetti. Put spaghetti back in pan and mix in cream cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic. Mix until spaghetti is thoroughly coated. Place a layer of sauce/ground beef mixture in bottom of a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Cover with spaghetti mixture. Sprinkle 1 c. of cheese over the spaghetti. Spread remaining sauce mixture over spaghetti. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese and parmesan cheese over the top. Return to oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Makes at least 8 servings.
Participating in this challenge is great fun. One can easily sit out any month if one is too busy or not interested in the subject. For information about participating in the challenge just click on over to Tina's blog.
Linking to Ingredient Spotlight