Spaghetti…Yes, Please!

So last night was awful….

I didn’t sleep a wink…my brain just wouldn’t shut off.  In fact I thought multiple times about getting up and writing this at 2 in the morning because I had written it and re-written it over, and over, and over in my head. :-\ 

I got up early and got my run in, but it was tough due to my sleep-deprived body…:(

Anyway…back to the real reason you are reading this…Spaghetti!

So, I need to start by saying that although I LOVE my husband to bits and pieces…he’s not the most adventurous eater. Our weekly meals consist of chicken, chicken, beef in various forms (but usually ground), pork tenderloin, breakfast foods, and…oh yeah…chicken.  He also isn’t a HUGE fan of anything green or resembling a vegetable and doesn’t think we need to have a green component to each meal. He does have a few favorites that we tend to stick to (mostly because I know he’ll eat them and I will make the same thing every night if I know he’ll eat it) like zucchini & yellow straightneck squash, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, and occasionally a salad.

Heaven forbid I have a vegetable AND a salad at dinner….:-o

So, as I pin away on Pinterest, I pin things that I think we can try and hopefully, *fingers crossed*, add them to our weekly rotation of meals.

Last fall, I pinned this recipe for Million Dollar Spaghetti found here and I made it a couple of different times for our church youth group and potluck meetings.  I always received rave reviews and requests for the recipe, but I never thought to try it out with my husband until just recently…

AND….

He LOVED it!!

(HOORAY!!!This is where I jump up and down with Joy and the clouds open and angels sing!!) 🙂

However, this recipe makes A LOT…I mean enough for a small army…way too much for just my husband and I (we ate the leftovers everyday for lunch and still had TONS left over!). So, I made it again the other night and decided to cut the recipe in half and add a secret ingredient! 🙂

*Note: I made the full amount of ground beef and red sauce, but only used half for the spaghetti and put the other half in the freezer for later.  I also didn’t use any butter and used reduced fat cheeses and sour cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used 90/10)
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato based pasta sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Healthy 8 Veggies from Trader Joe’s, processed in food processor
  • 4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Light sour cream
  • 1/2-3/4 cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 8 oz. Barilla Plus multi-grain thin spaghetti
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend because it is what we have in our fridge)

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Bring your water to a boil and cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions.

In a mixer or food processor, blend cottage cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese until smooth.

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In a large skillet, brown your ground beef and drain any excess grease, if needed.

In food processor, add 1 1/2 cups Healthy 8 Veggies and process until fine almost paste. **This is a blend of 8 veggies (broccoli, jicama, carrots, green cabbage, red cabbage, green bell pepper, radish, celery), chopped up and ready for use in soups salads, etc. and it is my Secret Ingredient for sneaking in a little more veg!**

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Add the finely processed veggie mix to your ground beef in the large skillet and cook for about a minute.  

Add in your favorite tomato based pasta sauce and stir. **Our favorite sauce is Rao’s Homemade Arrabiata, which is a little pricey, but totally worth the extra couple bucks!!**

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Lightly grease an 8″x 8″ square pan with a little cooking spray and add about half of the cooked spaghetti noodles.

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On top of the noodles, spread the creamy cottage cheese mixture into an even layer.

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Add the second half of the noodles on top of the creamy mixture.

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Top the second layer of noodles with HALF of the spaghetti sauce….remember you will freeze the other half! (LOOK at that steamy deliciousness!!)

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Pop this bad boy into your preheated oven for 30 minutes!

After 30 minutes, take it out and add your shredded cheese to the top and pop it back into the oven for another 15 minutes!

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Let cool for a couple of minutes after you take it out of the oven because it is HOT LIKE LAVA and you will save your taste buds….TRUST me! 🙂

Serve with a salad or your favorite veggies, and crusty Italian bread. YUMMO!

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**Notice our veggies are steamed, sliced zucchini and yellow straightneck squash!!

This serves 6-8 depending on how generous you feel with your serving sizes!

Enjoy! 🙂

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