Monday, April 26, 2010
Better late than never, here's my one and only entry this month for the My Girl, Paula! cooking group: Baked Spaghetti. (This recipe made its appearance in the June 2009 recipe line-up--a few months before I joined the group.) I can't give this one an honest review because I made more than a few changes to the recipe, but I can say that I will definitely be making this one again. Below you'll find my modified version of the recipe.
Baked Spaghetti (Serves 8)
Adapted from Paula Deen
15 oz. can tomato sauce
29 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup diced green bell pepper
½ cup diced onion
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. black pepper
1½ tsp. seasoned salt
1½ tsp. Italian seasoning
2 small bay leaves
2 tsp. sugar
6.5 oz. can mushroom pieces (4 oz. net drained wt)
¾ lb. lean ground beef (93%)
8 oz. angel hair pasta
8 oz. shredded Cheddar Jack cheese blend
Combine all sauce ingredients in large pot; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Crumble the ground beef in a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked, with no pink color remaining. Drain the fat from the meat, and then add the ground beef to the sauce. Simmer for 20 more minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13" casserole dish.
Cover the bottom of casserole dish with one-third of the sauce. Layer half of the cooked pasta over the sauce. Sprinkle with one-third of the cheese. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining sauce (save the last third of the cheese for later). Cover casserole with foil and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Uncover casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 more minutes. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
So...how far did I stray from the original recipe?
- Tomatoes. "2 cups canned diced tomatoes." Is that drained or undrained? The recipe didn't specify, and it calls for water as well--adding to the confusion. I wasn't sure what to do so I used a 29 oz. can of undrained petite diced tomatoes and omitted the water.
- Sugar. I increased the amount slightly to compensate for the extra acidity from the larger quantity of tomatoes that I left undrained.
- Seasonings. Instead of listing Paula's House Seasoning, I went ahead and listed the individual components, along with some onion powder I added.
- Meat. By switching to a 93% lean ground beef, I was able to slim down the recipe somewhat. Leaner cut = More $$$. Solution? Use half the amount called for and add some vegetables (in this case, mushrooms) to fill out some of the bulk.
- Cheese. I thought it would be easier to buy an 8 oz. bag of pre-shredded Cheddar Jack cheese than to use 1 cup of each of shredded cheddar and monterey jack. Was the Cheddar Jack a 50:50 blend? Probably not, but no one was complaining!