Loaded Baked Spaghetti
Loaded Baked Spaghetti
A great potluck or cold weather dish that's a crowd pleaser!
For a time, I worked as a personnel sergeant in the Human Resources Department of the Ohio National Guard (both the Army and Air Guard). We were a crowd of food loving people. The world just seemed to stop every day at 11:00 am when we all broke for lunch (our typical workday started at 7:00 am or earlier!).
Back in those days, any excuse to have a potluck was a good excuse to have one. Themed potlucks were our favorite. We did several different ones over the years. One time we decided to have an all casserole gathering. We had two rules:
1. You had to bring a casserole
2. It had to have at least 4 ingredients
This baked spaghetti was a huge hit at that gathering. It sets up like lasagna and it has something to please everyone. Enjoy!
Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the layers of flavor in this dish!
- 1 Cup of chopped onion
- 1 Cup of chopped green pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of butter or margarine
- 1 - 28 ounce can of tomatoes with liquid or 1 jar of original style sauce
- 1 - 4 ounce can of mushrooms (stems and pieces) drained
- 1 Small can (2 ¼ ounces) of sliced ripe/black olives drained
- 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
- 1 Lb ground beef browned and drained (optional - can make this meatless)
- 12 ounces of spaghetti cooked and drained
- 2 cups (8 ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can (10¾ ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup undiluted - this is a binder
- ¼ cup of water
- ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1. Brown hamburger if desired, drain and set aside
- 2. Boil spaghetti and drain
- 3. In a large skillet, saute the onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Add the tomatoes (or sauce), mushrooms, oregano and ground beef. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.
- 4. Place half of the spaghetti in a greased 13"x9" baking dish. Top this with half of the simmered mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Repeat the layers.
- 5. Mix the soup and water until smooth then pour it over the casserole.
- 6. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese
- 7. Bake, uncovered at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until it is heated through.
- 8. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving
- Cover and refrigerate the leftovers in the same pan, if possible. This will set up well over time. Reheated leftovers taste even better than the first time around!
If you want perfect baked spaghetti... - You need the right baking dish
I personally use a Pampered Chef 9x13 stoneware cake pan that I've had for several years to make baked spaghetti and it comes out perfect every time. Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to just run out and by Pampered Chef equipment. A friend swears by the Paula Deen (Food Network kitchen goddess) line of stoneware pans for all of her baking needs, including casseroles.
This is just the right size to serve your creation in style and, I'm told, it cleans up quite a pit easier than my more traditional stoneware due to the ceramic over coating (I'm still not parting with mine!).
Serve this with a mixed green salad and a fruity red wine (or beer, or milk)...
It makes a very satisfying meal!
This is a flexible recipe. About the only thing you can't do with it is to leave out the shredded cheese or the mushroom soup because they're the glue that sets the dish up and holds it all together. Don't worry if you don't care for mushroom soup, you really won't taste it in the context of everything else but it just won't taste "right" (or set up right) if you don't put it in. Believe me, I've tried!
*At our house, we often mix ground beef and bulk Italian sausage for this dish. Also we typically brown a lb and a half of meat since we're feeding a teenage eating machine. My MIL makes this with ground deer/venison meat.
*You can add more spaghetti if your pan will hold it, but I wouldn't exceed a lb (the recipe calls for 12 oz, not 16 oz). This really does make plenty for a family meal.
*We've added pepperoni and other pizza style ingredients to this and we've really liked the variation. Feel free to experiment.
*For faster prep, we've purchased a pre-diced, frozen pepper and onion mixture from the grocery store. If you're really pressed for time, this will save you a few minutes of rinsing and chopping with little to no loss of overall flavor.
*You can cut back on the oregano or leave it out if you really don't care for it, but do season the dish. We personally like to add garlic as we cook the meat. You can choose a "flavored" sauce if you're going the jar of sauce route too. We like to use a garden vegetable sauce. If you've opted for some more pizza ingredients, try using more pizza spices.
More Amazing Spaghetti Recipe Resources
Can't get enough spaghetti? Is it the only thing your kids will eat? Well, here's some help to switch it up a little and keep it interesting for the whole family.
We'd all love to hear how you make yours. Go ahead, dish!