Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spaghetti Bake

This is a great way to make spaghetti in advance.  It's layered like a lasagna, but much easier.


16 oz spaghetti                                1.00
2 quarts pasta sauce                        5.96
2 eggs                                               .30
30 oz Ricotta                                  3.28
1 cup chopped frozen spinach          .75
       (thawed and drained)
1/2 cup Parmesan                            .66
8 oz shredded mozzarella               2.32


Cook spaghetti to package directions and drain.  Let noodles cool slightly.  Beat the two eggs together and stir into the noodles.  Add the Parmesan and stir well. Spray three 8x8" foil pans with non-stick spray.  Place one third of the noodles into each pan.

Mix the spinach with the Ricotta and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Spread one third of the ricotta spinach mixture over each pan of noodles.
Top each pan with one third of the spaghetti sauce. 

Sprinkle one third of the mozzarella on each pan.

Cover with foil and label.

Place in freezer until ready to use.  When you are ready to use please thaw the spaghetti bake for two days in the fridge.  Bake 375 degrees for 60 minutes.  I was able to make three pans of spaghetti bake for $4.76.  I plan to bring one to a friend who is expecting twins, one to Grandma and Grandpa and will keep one for my and my husband. 

I put veggies into the sauce when I make it.  I have a recipe for this sauce on my blog.  You can locate the recipe on the index page.  If you want to bump up the nutrition in this dish you can layer in mushrooms, olives, green peppers or tomatoes.  You can hide a lot of veggies in this dish, or you can serve a salad on the side if you have some picky eaters in your home. 


Christie aka Keeza

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce

Hello blog friends!  Things at our home have been crazy!  Exibit A:

After three long years of waiting, filing out paperwork, getting finger printed and saving money we have been able to adopt a baby boy!  His name is Santiago and we call him Santi for short.  I had to travel to Colombia to adopt him and live there for 6 weeks while we completed the court process.  He is now 100% ours, (although he has always been ours, because God chose him for us).  It was such a roller coaster.  Now I am home and have a few more weeks before I go back to work.  So I am trying to get into a new routine.  Today I was finally able to make a freezer meal.  Otherwise I have been relying on the crockpot to make all our dinners.  (baby is happiest in the morning, so I throw something in the crockpot and forget about it all day) 

So without further ado, here is Spaghetti Sauce!


4 26 oz jars or cans of your favorite marinara sauce         4.00
16 oz Italian sausage                                                          2.98
3 lbs ground beef                                                                7.98
1 onion                                                                                  .30
1 green pepper                                                                      .99
2 celery ribs                                                                          .20
1 handfull of baby carrots                                                    .75
3 garlic cloves                                                                      .15
Italian spice to taste
1tsp-1Tbsp sugar to taste


In a large pan brown the sausage with the ground beef.  Make sure to brown them together so the flavor of the sausage gets all through the meat. 

Meanwhile, chop the onion, celery, carrot and green pepper.  Place these in a big stew pot.  Mince the garlic and add to the pot.  I used an electric chopper to get the veggies really small.  I am making spaghetti this weekend for my niece and nephew so I want the veggies too small for them to pick out!  
Once the meat is browned drain off the fat and add the meat to the large stew pot with the veggies.  Add all four cans/jars of marinara sauce and stir well.  Now turn the flame on low and heat the sauce through.  Taste and add Italian spice mix and sugar to taste.  (I like a sweet sauce, and not too acidic).  Cover the pot with a splatter screen or a sheet of foil and let is simmer on low for at least one hour. 

Once the sauce is well mixed and the veggies are soft turn off the heat.  Once the sauce has cooled divide into quart size containers and freeze.  Now you have a great meat sauce to use on any kind of pasta from macaroni to tortellini.  I am planning to use this sauce to make a spaghetti bake to bring to a friend soon.  You can also defrost a quart and assemble a great lasagna. 

I made 6 quart freezer containers full for $2.89 a quart.  Now I have 6 containers of great slow cooked sauce that will dress up any pasta or calzone, but I only had to make my kitchen messy once.  Just warm the sauce on the stove and add to any dish.  Later I'll post the spaghetti pie/bake when I make one for a friend who is expecting. 

This sauce is also great with chopped baby spinach or sliced mushrooms.  Just add them with the rest of the veggies before you simmer for an hour.  You can use peeled whole carrots for this recipe, but I had baby carrots on hand so I used those.  If you stew your own tomatoes you can substitue 4 jars of stewed tomatoes for the jarred marinara.  If this recipe is way too big for your family and you do not want to freeze the extra then reduce the meat to one pound of sausage and only use one jar of sauce.  Add veggies to your preference.  But I like to make several meals at once to save time later!

I hope you enjoy this sauce as much as we do.
Christie aka Keeza