I like to think I am pretty good with mixing it up and making new things for my family for dinner. Sure, there are the staple meals that are in rotation (you know, the no fail, easy meals that you know everyone likes?) but its always nice to make a new meal we haven't tried before.
Of course, I was midway through chopping my vegetables when it hit me again that I should blog this. Since I wasn't very far into the preparation, I ran to grab my camera (go me!) so I apologize, but you won't be getting the obligatory "ingredient" photo (but I would hope, my dear few readers, that you can manage to gather your own ingredients without needing to see them ;)
What you'll need:
- 1 lb ground beef (I used that plus about 1/4 lb ground turkey I needed to use up)
- 8 oz. uncooked spaghetti noodles
- 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used a 32 oz. jar..anything smaller and the meat soaks it all up)
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 1/2 c. chopped green peppers
- 1/2 c. chopped onions
- 1 tbl. butter
- 2 tbl. milk
- french fried onions
- parmesan cheese (there is no amount, you decide)
Start off by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees. Then, start boiling your water for your noodles, and browning your ground beef. I always add a little seasoning to the meat while its cooking (usually salt, pepper and garlic powder) Once the meat is browned, drain all the grease and set aside for now.
Your water should be boiled by now, so drop those noodles in and let 'em cook! But not too much, only till al dente. Drain those when done, also set aside.
Meanwhile, start chopping your vegetables. Next, put them in a bowl & add 1 tbl of butter. Microwave for a couple minutes or so (until they are soft)
You'll want to put the sauce in with the browned meat at this point (leave about 1/4 c. in the jar). Let it simmer on the stove while you finish up the rest of the preps. I also like to add a little "flair" to my sauce in the form of some Tastefully Simple seasoning. It's yummy..get some!
Next, you will add in your cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of milk to your bowl of peppers & onions. Mix 'em all up until its a nice, creamy mixture.
Lastly, you will begin the layering process. Start by spreading a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. And, because I am paranoid of food sticking and burning the crap out of my pans, I always spray a little Pam on the bottom first! After the sauce, you will layer the spaghetti noodles, the cream cheese mixture, followed by the meat/sauce. Next, you will sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top (this is where you can put as much or as little as you want!) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven, sprinkle a (generous) layer of the french fried onions (the best part!!) and bake for about 5 more minutes, being careful not to burn them. Sadly, I did not take any photos of the cheese or onion layers :(
Next -- enjoy! I served ours with a crisp salad and some garlic bread. It was a hit! My brother in law had three helpings! Even the little one (who can be quite picky!) seemed to like it. I will definitely be making this again as its a nice twist from your regular spaghetti, and something about the creamy, cheesy center is mmm mmm good :)