Baked Spaghetti, Easy, Delicious Family Meal

Baked Spaghettie

I love when a spin on a clas­sic dish is even more deli­cious than the orig­i­nal. Baked Spaghet­ti takes every­thing we love about spaghet­ti sup­per and takes it to the next lev­el. Ten­der spaghet­ti, lay­ered with a meaty sauce and ooey, gooey cheese. 

Baked Spaghet­ti stretch­es one pound of ground beef to be enough for 12 serv­ings. With added pro­tein from inex­pen­sive eggs and the min­er­als and vit­a­mins from onion, gar­lic and spinach, this recipe is a scrump­tious way to nour­ish, make the most of your gro­cery bud­get and give your fam­i­ly a meal that they love.

This recipe is a keep­er! It does­n’t hurt that your entire fam­i­ly will love it or that it’s so easy to make, either. Get the kids involved in putting this dish togeth­er. It’s a recipe they will be excit­ed to see in your meal rota­tion, again and again.

Enjoy!

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baked spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 serv­ings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

For the Sauce Layer:

  • 1 lb LEAN ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 (45 oz) jar spaghet­ti sauce (about 5 cups)
  • 1 ½ cups cot­tage cheese
  • 1 medi­um red onion, minced
  • 2 Table­spoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, minced

For the Noo­dle Layer:

  • 1 lb spaghet­ti noo­dles, cooked and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 Table­spoons but­ter melted
  • ½ cup Parme­san, grated

For the 3rd Layer:

  • 1 (16 oz block) moz­zarel­la cheese, grat­ed (about 4 cups)

Instructions

  1. Begin by brown­ing the ground beef, cook­ing the spaghet­ti and *grat­ing the cheese. Prep­ping these things first, will allow you to assem­ble the baked spaghet­ti, quickly.
  2. Once the ground beef and spaghet­ti are cooked and your moz­zarel­la cheese is grat­ed, you’re ready to start assem­bling the Baked Spaghetti.

  3. To cre­ate the spaghet­ti lay­er, quick­ly melt but­ter in the microwave. Don’t over­due it. Heat it just enough to melt and then stir in the grat­ed Parme­san. (Remem­ber, grate your own for max­i­mum fla­vor and ease of melt­ing!) Stir­ring the cheese into the but­ter will help to cool it quick­ly. Stir for awhile longer if it still feels to hot. Your going to beat the eggs into it next and you want them to mix in, not cook.

  4. Once the eggs are beat­en into the but­ter and Parme­san, pour the mix­ture over the cooked spaghet­ti. You can try to do this step with a spoon, but I find the eas­i­est way to be sure the spaghet­ti is even­ly coat­ed is to sim­ply toss it all togeth­er with my hands.

  5. Next, mix the spaghet­ti sauce, cooked ground beef, onion, gar­lic and spinach in anoth­er bowl. Add the cot­tage cheese and mix, again, just to get it dis­trib­uted evenly.

  6. Now, you have every­thing prepped to cre­ate the Baked Spaghet­ti layers.

  7. Grease a *9×13 pan. Use ½ of the spaghet­ti to cre­ate the first lay­er in the bot­tom of the pan. Next, spread ½ of the tomato/meat sauce over the spaghet­ti. The third lay­er is ½ of the grat­ed cheese.

  8. Now, repeat all three lay­ers. Your Baked Spaghet­ti is ready for the oven! Cov­er it light­ly with foil. I usu­al­ly just lay it over the top of the pan. The foil keeps the cheese from get­ting to brown, but I don’t want the melt­ed cheese to stick to it, as the dish bakes.

  9. Bake in a 350° oven for 30 min­utes. Remove the foil and bake 10 more min­utes to melt the cheese. When the cheese is melt­ed and the casse­role is bub­bling and brown around the edges, it’s done.

  10. Let the pan rest on a cool­ing rack for 5 to 10 min­utes, so it holds togeth­er well, when you slice it.

  • Cat­e­go­ry: Main Dish, Casserole
  • Cui­sine: Ital­ian

Key­words: spaghet­ti, casserole

How to Make Baked Spaghetti

Begin by brown­ing the ground beef, cook­ing the spaghet­ti and grat­ing the cheese. Prep­ping these things first, will allow you to assem­ble the baked spaghet­ti, quickly.

Use lean ground beef, so you get the most for your mon­ey and don’t lose so much to grease. When I buy ground beef for burg­ers, I typ­i­cal­ly buy an 80/20 mix, because the fla­vor will be all from the beef. The fat adds fla­vor. No doubt about it. I always make the burg­ers a lit­tle larg­er than I want them to end up being when they’re done cook­ing, allow­ing for the inevitable shrink­age as the fat cooks out. 

How­ev­er, when using ground beef in a casse­role or “mixed” dish, I opt for very lean beef (at least 90/10, some­times 93/7) because fla­vor will come from oth­er sea­son­ings and ingre­di­ents. Lean­er beef means less loss from fat and more beef per serv­ing in your dish. It’s a good way to stretch a pound of meat.

Buying Block Cheese vs Grated Cheese

I want to share a quick tip about buy­ing cheese before we dig into this recipe. We’ve become accus­tomed to grab­bing a bag of pre-grat­ed cheese when we’re buy­ing gro­ceries. At my store, pre-grat­ed is the largest sec­tion in the cheese area. And I get it. I’ve done it and still do it, on occa­sion. It’s just so convenient.

What I’m propos­ing to you, today, does­n’t come from any sci­en­tif­ic study, but it IS what I have observed over years and years of cook­ing. If you’ve ever grat­ed your own cheese, you know it clumps togeth­er, eas­i­ly. You would­n’t be able to keep all the shreds sep­a­rate, toss­ing them in a zip-top bag in the fridge. The man­u­fac­tur­er solves that prob­lem by coat­ing the pre-grat­ed cheese we grab in the store. It may be coat­ed with cel­lu­lose (wood pulp) or some oth­er anti-cak­ing agent. What­ev­er they choose to use, it’s def­i­nite­ly not some­thing you NEED in your diet. 

cheese grater and mozzarella

In my expe­ri­ence, the pre-grat­ed cheese we pick up in bags from the store has less fla­vor than cheese you fresh­ly grate your­self. One of my best invest­ments for the kitchen is a *4‑sided grater. I use it mul­ti­ple times per week. Grate a block of fresh extra-sharp ched­dar or moz­zarel­la and com­pare it to bagged, pre-grat­ed. You’ll only buy block cheese from then on. The fla­vor dif­fer­ence is astounding! 

The oth­er ben­e­fit of grat­ing your own cheese is the melta­bil­i­ty. (My soft­ware is telling me that’s not a word, but I like it. lol) Coat­ed cheese does­n’t melt near­ly as eas­i­ly as fresh­ly grat­ed. When what you want is ooey, gooey, stretchy cheese melt­ing over your dish, opt for grat­ing your own block of fresh cheese and enjoy the deli­cious difference.

Baked Spaghetti

Mixing Up the Individual Baked Spaghetti Layers

Once the ground beef and spaghet­ti are cooked and your moz­zarel­la cheese is grat­ed, you’re ready to start assem­bling the Baked Spaghetti.

To cre­ate the spaghet­ti lay­er, quick­ly melt but­ter in the microwave. Don’t over­due it. Heat it just enough to melt and then stir in the grat­ed Parme­san. (Remem­ber, grate your own for max­i­mum fla­vor!) Stir­ring the cheese into the but­ter will help to cool it quick­ly. Stir for awhile longer if it still feels to hot. Your going to beat the eggs into it next and you want them to mix in, not cook.

Once the eggs are beat­en into the but­ter and Parme­san, pour the mix­ture over the cooked spaghet­ti. You can try to do this step with a spoon, but I find the eas­i­est way to be sure the spaghet­ti is even­ly coat­ed is to sim­ply toss it all togeth­er with my hands.

Next, mix the spaghet­ti sauce, cooked ground beef, onion, gar­lic and spinach in anoth­er bowl. Add the cot­tage cheese and mix, again, just to get it dis­trib­uted evenly.

Now, you have every­thing prepped to cre­ate the Baked Spaghet­ti layers.

How to Make Baked Spaghetti

Assembling the Baked Spaghetti

Grease a *9x13 pan. Use ½ of the spaghet­ti to cre­ate the first lay­er in the bot­tom of the pan. Next, spread ½ of the tomato/meat sauce over the spaghet­ti. The third lay­er is ½ of the grat­ed cheese.

Now, repeat all three lay­ers. Your Baked Spaghet­ti is ready for the oven! Cov­er it light­ly with foil. I usu­al­ly just lay it over the top of the pan. The foil keeps the cheese from get­ting to brown, but I don’t want the melt­ed cheese to stick to it, as the dish bakes.

Bake in a 350° oven for 30 min­utes. Remove the foil and bake 10 more min­utes to melt the cheese. When the cheese is melt­ed and the casse­role is bub­bling and brown around the edges, it’s done. 

Let the pan rest on a cool­ing rack for 5 to 10 min­utes, so it holds togeth­er well, when you slice it. 

We like Baked Spaghet­ti with a green sal­ad or sauteed zuc­chi­ni. DELISH! Enjoy, my friend!

baked spaghetti

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