Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Healthier Spagetti Bake

Ya'll I am soooo bad at recipes. As in, I NEVER follow what they say! I guess that is how I came up with some of our favorite dishes but still it makes it impossible to share recipes because usually every single time I cook a dish I cook it differently! ha! So, this is going to be my first attempt at recording a recipe. Also if you like exact directions and measurements you might want to kill me when this post is over. Please bear with me!

I am sure there will be MUCH explanation in this recipe. haha. Ok so I call almost all of my original recipes "healthy" or "healthier" because I have usually taken a recipe someone has given me and picked healthier options to make the recipe better for you or I have just guessed at how to make a recipe with healthier ingredients.

A little more explanation needed. I married a man who used to eat NO veggies, salad, anything green and who is OBSESSED with bacon and cheese! Soooooo, I make recipes that he can still live with but are also in my opinion healthy compared to the normal version. I'll just say it this way, I make all the substitutions I can while making the dish still yummy enough for him to eat!! I am also on a tight budget so I use A LOT of off brand etc.

I also feel a lot of pressure (mostly the bad kind I put on myself ha!) because I am a nutritionist to not lead people astray. So, for example, if I was to cook the recipe the below just how I wanted it I might try spaghetti squash instead of noodles and use all organic products BUT I have to be practical for our lifestyle so I just go with what I can do and don't stress about the rest. Our family truly strives to honor God with our food choices as in we know our body is a temple and we try to treat it that way and God only looks at the motives of our heart and so that is truly what is important. (Golly, a whole different blog post necessary here but no time right now...) Ok enough explanation for now...haha...

Healthier Spaghetti Bake

All the ingredients are shown above. Salt, pepper, italian seasoning, olive oil, whole grain noodles of choice, 96/4 extra lean ground beef, parm cheese, other cheese of your choice (even fat free works ok), & organic Bartolli spaghetti sauce.

Cook the 96/4 ground beef, drain fat, and add the whole container of sauce. There will be very minimal fat because it's extra lean ground beef. I use 96/4 because the "bad" stuff in meat is found in the fat so we cannot afford to buy all organic products but I know that in dairy and meat the less the fat, the less the hormones etc there are so I do this for our family. (We eat A LOT of chicken so I do buy only farm fed chicken.) The Bartolli sauce is just the best tasting sauce I have found and it is so reasonably priced for organic.

Cook whole wheat noodles as suggested and then put them in a strainer and add parm cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt as desired. (They won't need much if any salt because the sauce is sooo yummy.)

Place the noodles in the bottom of a 10 x 13 glass baking dish and top with meat and sauce mixture.

Next add cheese as desired. Then, add parm cheese and then Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper as desired. Sometimes I put a lot because that's what Adam likes best and sometimes we don't have a lot of cheese and so I don't put a lot and it is still good. If you use fat free cheese you need to be aware that it cooks much differently that regular cheese. It is a little rubbery when cooked but let me tell you, it still works if you want to try it!

You will then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. The meat is already cooked inside and so the reason you are baking is for the cheese to melt! Just watch it and you will know when it needs to come out!

I never got an after picture...haha! Maybe I'll do better next time! :)

I always serve mine minus the bread and plus the broccoli. (My husband has given in and will actually eat broccoli!!) You can steam it or cook it in a pan as shown. I buy frozen broccoli florets and then I cook it on the stove with a tbsp of olive oil until it is a little burnt and we love it like that. Adam adds.....cheese...you guessed it! :)

I have to give credit where credit is due. I got the original spaghetti bake recipe from one of my best friend Crystal's mom and I tweeked it a lot. Mrs. Cassandra gave me the recipe when we ate it at her house one night and said she used thought to fix spaghetti as a casserole because her family of 8!!! wouldn't eat as much of it if she put it in a casserole!! Crazy huh?

I was planning on posting Healthier Mac and Cheese twitterers also but I'm just going to save it for another day!! Sorry, I know that is the one you really wanted!! Thanks for hanging in there with me!


Ashley E. said...

Looks yum!!!

the miller mommy said...

I love it!! Keep these coming!!!!!

Cerys said...

I had no idea you could cook frozen broccoli like that! I'm going to try it out tonight!