One Skillet Baked Spaghetti

There are no alarms set for the weekends and I am fortunate enough to not have to work them. Weekends are for catching up on homework and most importantly, spending the minutes making memories with my family.  But like all good things, it has to come to an end.

Mondays come all to quickly with its loud alarms and need to hit the snooze button just one more time. I’m lucky that most Mondays, my husband is home and can take the kids to daycare, which is Nana’s house. I generally work 9-530 and have no patience by the end of my shifts, especially since most of the customers I have dealt with are the types that need their coffee to get their day going. Mondays are for quick meals, that still look (and taste) like you slaved over a stove for a few hours.

Let’s talk spaghetti. Specifically, baked spaghetti. Spaghetti that only takes about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish and only requires one pan which makes clean up a breeze. I think that’s one of the many reasons I like this recipe. Classic Italian with a kick and a comfort food feel gives this plate a face lift. Husband and 3-year-old approved.

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30-Minute Baked Cast Iron Spaghetti

Level of Difficulty: Beginner

A few notes for this recipe, I have made it with both ground beef and ground turkey and the taste is not compromised. We tend to use whole grain past but have made it with regular and vegetable pasta as well and it is undetectable by my 3 year old. For the Italian seasoning, I use 1 tbsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. rosemary, 1 tsp. basil.

INGREDIENTS

1 16oz box of Spaghetti, broken into thirds
1 16 oz jar marinara or your favorite tomato based sauce
1 8oz cream cheese (light or regular), cubed and softned
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup of your favorite Italian shredded cheese
3 cups of water
1 packet of red pepper flake (from your local pizza place)
1 recipe Italian seasoning (see note)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In at least a 12 inch cast iron skillet, mix one packet of red pepper flakes and brown ground meat over medium heat until cooked through (about 165 degrees internal temperature) about 5-7 minutes, 10-15 if frozen. Drain excess fat if necessary.
  2. Add the Italian seasoning, jar of marinara, water, and spaghetti and stir ever so slowly just enough to combine .( The skillet is full, and I have spilled it over the the sides and onto the floors and stove top. You can hate the recipe for it, but you will love it in the end. )
  3. Bring the skillet to a simmer and cover for 13-15 minutes or until pasta is cooked and most of liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally so pasta does not stick.
  4. Turn on broiler on high.
  5. Stir in cubed cream cheese until melted and mixed evenly with everything.
  6. Sprinkle a layer of your favorite Italian cheese over the skillet. (I’ve used mozzarella, parmesan, Romano, Italian blend, and even Monterey jack, they all taste great)
  7. Put it in the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until cheese has melted and is bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes (if you can resist) because it is very hot.
adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe to use what ingredients I had on hand
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