Quick Fixes in Small Spaces: Spaghetti Casserole

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we have bought a new house and will be moving in mid-May. We have also moved out of our soon-to-be old home and are staying in a 1-room studio apartment.

Though our “palace” has a kitchen, it is not fully stocked as recommended in Eat In Not Out. I have no food processor, no blender, no slow cooker or grill. I have a few pots and pans, some small bowls and four forks. I brought with me a limited supply of spices, my large knife and a grater, items I couldn’t possibly live without.

As you might imagine, It’s time for quick fixes – recipes that are easy to make and require few ingredients. Tuesday was chicken fajitas, and today’s recipe is spaghetti casserole. Though a few steps are involved, there will be plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day!

This recipe is a variation on Grand Mary’s specialty, as I would never reveal her true secret.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 14 ounces tomato sauce
  • 14 ounces chopped tomatoes
  • Seasonings
  • 8 ounces Cottage Cheese
  • 4 ounces Sour Cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (add more if you like)
  • 1  pound dried pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

Step 1. Prepare the spaghetti sauce.

Cook the ground beef/turkey along with chopped onions. Drain the grease. Then add tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, and seasonings. For seasonings, simply add a mixture of your favorites, dried or fresh, such as garlic, rosemary, basil, oregano and sage. Alternatively, you can use a package of spaghetti seasonings found at the grocery. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

For this step, you are welcome to follow my instructions or use your favorite family spaghetti sauce recipe. If you like tomato sauce more than chopped tomatoes, you can substitute accordingly (and vice versa).

2. Cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta in salt water till al dente. Drain and place in bottom of large, oblong pyrex dish.

3. Prepare the “middle” layer.

Combine cheeses and sour cream. Note: If you prefer a lower fat/calorie dish, substitute low fat versions of the cheeses and sour cream.

4. Assemble and bake.

Spread cheese mixture on top of pasta and top with sauce. Add parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Melinda Hinson