EASY BAKED SPAGHETTI
“Spaghetti packed with seasoned ground beef, pork, sauteed
onions & peppers, and topped with Mozzarella cheese”
When Baked Spaghetti comes to mind I think of a poor man’s version of Lasagna, maybe because it’s made with a lot of the same ingredients but not as popular…. I mean, what prestige fancy restaurant makes baked spaghetti? Similarly, baked spaghetti is made with pasta and packed with meat, tomato sauce, and cheese. You can call it a all-in-one-dish because you get your meat, vegetables, and starch all in one casserole.
Most baked spaghetti recipes call for just ground beef but I like to use a combination of Ground Beef and Sweet Italian Sausage meat. The Sweet Italian Sausage is the secret ingredient that makes this dish pop!!! Like, it’s the most important ingredient in my opinion because of all the awesome flavors it gives the dish. You can also switch things up and use ground turkey, or ground chicken in place of the ground beef. Ground chicken and turkey are good alternatives for people who don’t eat pork or healthy eaters who have eliminated red meat from their diet.
Also, feel free to use any kind of cheese you like. Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese are my favorites so that’s why I used them in this recipe… but Parmesan cheese goes well with dishes like this. I have a friend who cooks as well and they like to add a little sour cream to theirs. This is why I love Baked Spaghetti because of how versatile it is and because it reminds me of Lasagna, which is my favorite dish ever!!!! 😀
As you can see in the ingredients list, I like to use mushroom spaghetti aka tomato sauce. If you want to go the fresh route you can just use traditional sauce and add some chopped fresh mushrooms. That’s the better option anyway for mushroom lovers like myself because the mushrooms in the jar of mushroom sauce are simply way too small, you can barely taste them lol.
But everybody doesn’t like mushrooms, so I just decided to list mushroom sauce as an ingredient to accommodates those who don’t care for a lot of them. The brand of sauce I use is Prego. If I can’t find any Prego sauce, i’ll usually settle for Ragu sauce which is good but not as good as Prego sauce in my opinion. Using name brand sauce is the key in recipes where sauce is one of the main ingredients.
The combination of sauce and cheese is why we love dishes like baked spaghetti and Lasagna. The sauce is also the ingredient you will taste the most in dishes like this, so it’s important that you use a high quality sauce which is why I recommend using Prego or Ragu sauce.
- Speaking of sauce, when I combine the sauce and paste, I add a hint of sugar. The sugar doesn’t make the sauce sweet it just balances out the flavors. The last thing you want is bitter sauce and without a little sugar to balance out the acidity level, the sauce maybe too strong and overwhelming. I use the tomato paste to thicken the sauce and give it color.
Now, making your own sauce from scratch is an option as well for those of you who want to get all fancy lol. Making the sauce from scratch is the healthiest option and the way to go for healthy eaters because of the absence of preservatives. My grandmother would say that making the sauce from scratch is the only way to go, because FRESH IS ALWAYS THE BEST!!!!
In the photo above the baked spaghetti is in pie like form, that’s only after it cools off and stiffens up a bit. It can be very soupy straight out of the oven just like Lasagna and I love it like that but for a more shapely firm baked spaghetti, let it sit for a while before digging in which I know can be tempting especially if you’re HUNGRAAAAAY!!!!.
It will definitely stiffen the next day after sitting it in the refrigerator overnight. It may even taste better since leftover food always taste the best. I only use Parsley flakes for decoration purposes so don’t worry if you don’t have any. The recipe with all the detailed instruction are below, so give it a shot you’ll like it! Enjoy!!!
- 12oz Packaged Spaghetti
- 1 Lb Ground Beef
- 16oz Sweet Italian Sausage
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 1/2 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
- 2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- (2) 24oz Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce
- 4 Tbs Diced Tomatoes
- 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 1 Tbs Minced Garlic
- 1 Tbs Sugar
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tsp Black Pepper
- Parsley Flakes
- The first thing you’re going to do is brown your meat. Get a skillet and place the skillet over medium-high heat. If you’re using sausage meat that is wrapped in skin, remove the skin first. Then add your ground beef and sweet Italian sausage meat to the skillet and with a spoon, break the meat up into fine pieces. You want the meat to be as fine as possible… so you may need to use a big spoon and spatula to break the meat up as it browns in the skillet.
- While the meat is browning, use this time to chop the onions and peppers into small pieces.
- Once the meat browns, drain the fat. Afterwards, add the minced garlic, chopped vegetables, and all the seasonings (except the sugar and parsley) to the browned meat. Stir everything in well then cut the fire off.
- Add the sauce, diced tomatoes, paste, and sugar to a big pot, then stir in well.
- Add the meat to the sauce to create a meat sauce, then stir it in well.
- Once you stir the meat in, add the shredded cheddar cheese.
- Now that the meat sauce is complete, get another pot, fill it up with water and place it over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, add the spaghetti and boil for 10 minutes, then drain the water.
- Add the spaghetti to the meat sauce, then stir it in really well. What you’re going to do now is preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get a baking dish.
- Add the spaghetti to the baking dish. Smooth out the top and garnish with shredded mozzarella cheese and parsley flakes.
- Bake the spaghetti for about 45 minutes and that is it!