Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baked Spaghetti with a Cream Cheese Tomato Sauce & French-Fried Onions

I'm a little ashamed to admit that so far this year I've not been planning out my dinner menu as well as I have in the past.  Hopefully it'll get back to normal soon, but for now things have been pretty busy around my house; or should I say, soon to be ex-house?  The reason I say this is because Jeff and I are currently in the process of packing up boxes to move.  We decided a while back that we wanted to build a new home, so in the meantime we've sold ours and are going to have to rent a place for a few months.  I'm a little nervous about the in between time, but it'll definitely be an adventure.  I'm just curious to see where we're going to store all the baking items I have, that are currently overflowing from our cabinets.  The good news though, is that my new kitchen will be rather large and I'll have plenty of space for everything once we move in! 

Seeing that things have been chaotic, I wanted to prepare a meal that would be quick, easy, tasty, and last us for a few days.  This spaghetti recipe worked out perfect!  In fact, spaghetti type dishes have kind of become my "fall back on" recipes lately, especially when I'm short on time.  I find that one of the best parts about this particular recipe though is that you can use the meat of your choice.  I chose to go the healthy route and used 99% fat free ground turkey and turkey bacon.  It turned out fantastic.  The next time I make this though, I may add in some fresh baby spinach leaves.  Not that the recipes wasn't good as is, but I'm currently in love with spinach.

Baked Spaghetti with a Cream Cheese Tomato Sauce & French-Fried Onions
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Serves: 8-12
10 oz. uncooked spaghetti
1 pound ground turkey (or meat of choice)
1 tsp. Oregano
½ tsp. parsley
5-8 strips of turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 (24 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce (I use Prego, flavored with meat)
1 Tbsp. butter
1/3 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
French Fried Onions (small can)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions, then drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet, over medium heat.  Next, add in the ground turkey, onion, oregano, parsley, and garlic and cook until the turkey is no longer pink.  Place the cream cheese, precooked bacon, and water into the skillet, stirring around until the cheese is melted and well combined with the ground turkey.  Next, add in the jar of spaghetti sauce and stir around.  Then, allow the mixture to slowly heat through.   Once ready, season the sauce with salt and pepper.

To assemble:
Pour a thin layer of the sauce mixture onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Add all the cooked spaghetti noodles on top, making sure to arrange it so that the noodles are spread evenly over the mixture.  Pour the remainder of the spaghetti sauce evenly over the noodles.  You may need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to help you spread it out.  Top with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the French fried onions over the top of the melted cheeses.  Place the dish back in the oven and continue to bake for 5 more minutes. 

Serve with a slice of garlic bread, or a nice side salad!  Enjoy!

Source: Inspired by and adapted from Let's Dish


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