Tonight my plan for dinner was to make spaghetti. We had spaghetti last week, and I froze the leftover meat sauce, and wanted to use it up. But… on my way home today I decided that didn’t sound good, so I thought I’d get creative… and this is what happened!
An oh so delicious carb fest… tomato-y, creamy, cheesy, noodle-ly… filled with veggies and meat… which makes myself and my husband both happy! This recipe isn’t overly tomato heavy – though the tomato still makes its presence known – which is a bit of a refreshing change from many Italian dishes! This is a recipe I’m excited to experiment with, as it there’s a lot of potential to mix up the veggies, sauce, meat, and more. It is definitely a work in progress [and a delectable one at that!] and I will be sure to keep you updated!
Creamy Baked Spaghetti
- 2 2/3 cups meat sauce [I had previous made up one batch of meat sauce using 1 pound browned ground beef + 1 jar marinara sauce, then froze about 1/2-2/3 of the batch… which was about 2 2/3 cups.]
- 7 ounces angel hair pasta
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup green pepper, diced
- 1 cup yellow squash, diced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
- 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- ground black pepper
- cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using cooking spray, grease an 8 cup baking dish [or 3 – 2 cup baking dishes and 1 – 1 1/2 cup baking dish if you want to be like me and make everything possible in individual containers!! :)]. This dish is super quick to make if you get all three pots and pans going at once. After the initial prep work of dicing and measuring, out-of-oven cooking took 15 minutes, tops. Ready?
In a medium size pot, get some water boiling for the pasta. Meanwhile, get the oil sizzling in a small saucepan. Finally, begin melting butter over low heat in a small pot.
When the water is ready, add the noodles, breaking them in half before cooking to shorten their length [especially important if using individual dishes]. Cook until al dente. [My noodles cooked for about 4 minutes so watch ‘em closely!] This will be cooking again in the oven, so do not overcook the noodles!
Check the oil in the saucepan by throwing on a little piece of garlic or a green pepper–if it sizzles, you are good to go. Sauté the garlic, squash, and peppers until almost tender or about 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
When the butter melts, whisk in the flour. Stir until smooth or about 1 1/2-2 minutes. Stir in the milk and sour cream, taking care to stir constantly to avoid lumps. Heat until sauce thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon. This should take an additional 5-6 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of sauce, or about half of the sauce.
In a large bowl [or a large pot if you had foresight unlike me], mix the cooked noodles, meat sauce, veggies, oregano, and half of the butter/flour/milk/sour cream divine-ness [aka the unreserved cup]. Add 1/2 cup Italian blend cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle on a dash of ground pepper and nutmeg [trust me! It’s good!], and mix well. Spoon into baking dish[es], top with remaining shredded cheese, and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve and smile! :)