September 22, 2009

Baked Pasta Casserole (aka Dream Spaghetti) with Jen's Easy Homemade Meat Sauce

Here is a bonus recipe, since everyone was such a good sport about my absence!

This is the only other 'new" dish I tried during my Sabbatical. My MOPS group had a meal preparation expert come and speak with us, and this was the recipe she gave everyone to try. It turned out pretty good, and it will be one that I make again. The only issue I had was that I did not like the type of pasta that I used with this dish. I substituted in leftover whole wheat fettuccine, and it was not all that great. Next time I make this dish, I will probably use a whole wheat tube-shaped pasta, like penne or rigatoni. Also, you could probably add some veggies to make this more nutritionally balanced...zucchini would be nice. With that said, everyone at my table still really liked the recipe and it will be one I try again soon.

Baked Pasta Casserole (aka Dream Spaghetti)

8 oz. of spaghetti or favorite pasta
3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce OR homemade sauce **(see notes below)**
1 ½ lbs. cooked ground beef *(*see notes below)**
8 oz. cottage cheese
4 oz. sour cream
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
Combine sauce and ground beef **(see below for my Easy Homemade Meat Sauce recipe)**
Combine cottage cheese and sour cream.
In a 9 x 13 casserole pan, layer bottom with cooked pasta, spread on the cheese mixture, top with meat mixture, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired and serve.

Jen's Notes:
Instead of using jarred tomato sauce, I make a quick homemade version. See below for my recipe.

**Jen's Easy Homemade Meat Sauce**

1 lb. of ground beef
1 can of plain tomato sauce
2-3 Tablespoons of tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of paprika

In a large skillet over medium high heat, place ground beef and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, chili powder, and paprika. Brown the meat until it is cooked through and no longer pink. Add 1 can of plain tomato sauce and 2-3 Tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust all seasoning, if needed.

The Result:
Ummmm...cheesy, yummy, pasta-y, goodness!

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