Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Girl Paula's Baked Spaghetti

I admit it, I goofed! I didn't look at My Girl Paula's blog and see that we weren't suppose to make this for two more weeks!! Yikes! Last week was a blur and when I got to my menu/grocery list I just "assumed" this was the next recipe. Don't ask me why - no logical answer!! Anyway, I was going to hold off on posting it until the "correct" week, but I realized there are a couple of twists in this recipe that might deserve a "heads up" before making.
First, don't be like me and not read/comprehend the recipe. I go to make this at 5:00 pm last night, after fighting rush hour traffic and a screaming three-year-old coming home from the dentist (another stressor all to itself!!). So I'm feeling rushed and a little "snippy" (ya all know what I mean?), and I grab the ingredients and start reading. YIKES! It takes the sauce a full hour to simmer, then another 20 minutes after you add the browned ground beef, then 30 minutes to bake. Based on all this, I'm guessing my family won't be eating until 7:30 pm!! The cavemen will revolt! My husband, who was home early (figures, right?), said it would be fine to "order pizza". NO! (yep, I'm shouting now!!), I won't be defeated!! So I begin........
This is actually a very simple recipe. I really didn't know what to expect. I was thinking something like a lasagna, only with angel hair pasta. No, not really. More like "Cincinnati Style Chilli" - if you've ever had that. The sauce is really more chilli than "lasagna sauce". Got all that?
Now, here's a pet peeve I've got with a lot of recipes. If a recipe calles for canned, diced tomatoes, then it's a MUST they tell me whether or not to drain. I mean, don't make me assume anything. I can't tell you the recipes I've bombed because that was so obvious to the author. No offense, Paula, just my own ignorance. Luckily, this recipe is also on Paula's site - and based on the comments, I'm not the only one confused. While this recipe gets 5 stars, some said too watery, while others thought it was fine. After speed reading through the comments (I'm on a time crunch here!!), I decided not to drain the tomatoes, and I only added 1/4 cup water (not one cup). Just thought I'd let you all know that. You also add 2 bay leaves to the sauce. The recipe never tells you to remove them - but I think it's a good idea to remove them just before you add the hamburger (after the first hour). It's too hard to find them after you add the hamburger. Finally, I think you might want to add just a little more cheese - make sure you cover the entire top of the casserole or you will get some "crunchy" pasta! No one seemed to mind, though!
So, how'd we like it.........A big 5 stars with the cavemen going back for seconds and thirds (and I think one got a 4th!!). Really, it's rare that I make a 9 x 13 casserole and the whole thing is eaten up (with one son running his fingers around the pan!).
I served it with some homemade artisian bread and a tossed salad. I will make this again (and again, and again) for sure. But I do think I'll make the sauce up early so the dinner prep time is kept shorter.
No, that's not really my salad - but that's about how I felt by the time I got dinner on the table!! So don't stress yourself out, read the recipe, and give yourself plenty of time - just a tip from me!! :)


  1. I have all the ingredients for this and can't wait to make this weekend. I have loved all the recipes from the book so far!

  2. Looks great Caroline! I will definately have to eventually try this. :)