My friends, it’s about time I share with you my son’s very favorite meal. How do I know this is his favorite? Because my 33 lb, 25-month-old can (and does) eat a larger serving than I can…and that’s really sayin’ something cause I have been known to put away some pasta. 🙂
This recipe is fantastic for so many reasons:
1. It’s crazy delicious.
2. It’s insanely easy.
3. It takes very little time to throw together.
4. It freezes REALLY well!
5. It’s simple to make in very large batches to feed a crowd…as I did for Buddy’s 2nd birthday party about a month ago.
6. Did I mention it’s crazy good? Yes? Ok, just checking.
I’ve seen variations of this recipe under the names “Scooter’s Spaghetti,” “Million Dollar Spaghetti,” and more…the list goes on. They all have their own twist (some are topped with french fried onions, some have green peppers, cottage cheese, etc) My version (in my humble opinion…ha!), is simply the…
Best Baked Spaghetti
16 oz. spaghetti or thin spaghetti
1 lb lean ground beef
1-24 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce (remember how I like to keep things simple?)
1-8 oz bar of cream cheese
1/3 cup frozen chopped onions (feel free to use fresh but again, this is a big time–and mess–and tears–saver)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
splash or two of milk (I use skim)
Begin by browning meat, draining off the fat/grease, and adding your sauce to warm through. (Side note: when using jarred sauce, I have a tendency to throw in a little garlic, pepper, and Italian seasoning…if the spirit moves you, go for it!)
While this is happening, boil a big pot of water and add your pasta. Cook to al dente (so it has a little bite to it)…DO NOT OVER COOK!
When sauce is ready, spread a thin layer across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish (pay no attention to the fact that I’m using an 8×8 pan in the pictures…I cut back the recipe and made a small one this time around. Don’t ask me why I didn’t make 2…duh)
When pasta is al dente, drain and throw it on top of the sauce. See how easy this is?!
While this is all going on (or not if you’re not that into multitasking…up to you) put onions and butter in a microwave safe bowl, cover with a paper towel, and cook on high for 2 minutes. Throw the block of cream cheese on top of this, stick the paper towel back on top, and pop it back in the microwave for another minute or so. Just enough to soften the cream cheese.
Stir well. The mixture will be pretty thick.
Here’s where you’ll add a splash of milk, stir, add some more milk, stir (this isn’t rocket science folks). The goal is NOT to drown the cream cheese in milk. Just add enough to make it more spreadable, eh? See? Like this! Much creamier.
Now spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the pasta.
Then pour all of the remaining sauce on top of this and spread evenly. Try not to take a bite yet…it’s much more difficult to resist than one may think.
Top with parmesan cheese…I got a little cheese happy but we all know this is neither the first time that’s happened nor will it be the last.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Serve hot with some crusty bread and a nice, crisp salad. Perfect easy dinner!
This is seriously so good. When you scoop it out of the dish it’s still in its perfect layers…give it a little mix up on your plate to get that deliciously creamy middle layer into each and every bite. This one really puts the “comfort” in “comfort food.” I guarantee it will be a hit at your dinner table too!
Have you ever made a variation of this drool-inducing recipe? How does yours differ? Leave a comment to share!