Cheesy Baked Spaghetti

So before we left CT, TAB had a sleepover with one of her little friends who came for dinner and then spent the night.  Of course when it comes to feeding tiny humans, you have to find food they will actually eat.  Because let’s face it, children are picky.  Well, mine are.  I tend to not make special meals for them, but I do know what they like.  And that’s spaghetti and cheese.  So I’ve seen some variations on this recipe using cream cheese, spaghetti noodles and sauce.  I happened to have cream cheese and ricotta cheese, so I mixed the two of those together and came up with my filling.  It turned out as you would expect…creamy, cheesy, and gone!  KB even declared I should make spaghetti like that more often.

So I started by making the sauce.  In a large pot, saute onions and bell peppers in olive oil over medium heat.  You could leave the bell peppers out if your children are picky, but I used red bell peppers which have a more mild flavor and since they are red in a tomato sauce, I can sometimes fool the children into eating them.

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Then add ground beef and chopped garlic.

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Brown meat.

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Then add crushed tomatoes with seasoning.  I found a can of crushed tomatoes at the store that had basil and garlic.  You could add plain crushed tomatoes and add a sprinkle of basil and oregano.

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Mix to combine and let simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat.

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Meanwhile boil noodles to al dente in salted water over medium heat.  Layer cooked noodles in a large greased casserole dish.

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In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and ricotta cheese.

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Spread cheese mixture over noodles.

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Spoon sauce over the top.

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Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

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And then some more shredded cheese.

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Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe:

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with seasoning (or add your own basil and oregano)
1 lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large pot, saute onions and bell peppers in olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and ground beef.  Brown the beef.  Add crushed tomatoes and seasonings.  Mix to combine.  Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile boil noodles in salted water until al dente (takes about 10-12 minutes over medium heat).  Layer cooked noodles in a large greased casserole dish.  In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese and ricotta cheese.  Spread over cooked noodles.  Spoon sauce on top.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!
Caroline