It's mighty quiet out there...I'm wondering if you all are cooking at all. I have to say this time of year I start to crave those "inside" meals. I am tired of figuring out what to throw on the grill and I just want a casserole. So I made Paula's Baked Spaghetti this week, and realized I had never posted the recipe here. It's one of my favorite take-to-a-new-mom or bereaved family meals. I know a lot of people get lasagna and other Italian-type casseroles at those times, but Paula's Baked Spaghetti beats 'em all hands down.
I usually make this recipe exactly as written, except I don't use as much of the salt (both varieties) and I add a little more sugar. Otherwise, it's perfect. When I made it this week I did not have a green pepper, and really didn't miss it, but I do like it with if for nothing other than color. I also subbed spaghetti because I did not have angel hair pasta and I am trying not to run to the store every time I am out of an ingredient. "Make do" is my new motto.
This dish is one of the ones in Paula Deen's very first cookbooks that she serves at her restaurant. If I ever actually went there to eat, I would hate to think I would order this dish, of all the wonderful food she serves, but I just might.
Paula Deen's Baked Spaghetti
2 c. canned diced tomatoes
2 c. tomato sauce
1 c. water
1/2 c. diced onions
1/2 c. diced green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ t. Italian seasoning
1 ½ t. Lady's House seasoning
1 ½ Lady's Seasoned salt (I use Lawry's, but see note about about using less)
1 ½ t. sugar (I use about 1 ½ T.)
2 small bay leaves
1 ½ pounds ground beef (I use about 1 pound just to make it easy)
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese (sometimes I use mozzarella)'
In a stockpot, combine tomatoes, sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Crumble ground beef into a skillet and brown. Drain off fat.
Add ground beef to tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the sauce simmers the second time, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Cover a 13x9x2 pan with a thin layer of sauce. Then add half the pasta, half the sauce, half the cheese and repeat. Bake for 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Source: modified from The Lady & Sons, Too! (modified for brevity of directions)