Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spaghetti Casserole

I grew up eating this recipe.  Everyone in my family likes it a lot- in fact, my mom refers to it as "Daddy's favorite".  He never, EVER complains about dinner and just eats whatever we cook, but he doesn't really like spaghetti very much.  It's one of those overused, all-we-have-in-the-house-to-eat kind of meals for him.  So when she'd say we were having spaghetti casserole, he'd get all droopy and she would have to backpedal and say no!  Not really spaghetti, it's that casserole one, the one you LIKE!

Yesterday would have been my Gram's 83rd birthday.  We lost her at 70, which still makes me sad every day.  She was such a great lady.  I decided I wanted to cook a meal that would remind me of her, and that we would talk about her at dinner and tell the kids some stories they might not have heard about her life.  I asked my mom what I should make.  The meal that reminds me MOST of her is chicken and dumplings, but I haven't perfected gluten free dumplings yet and a birthday dinner is not the time to play guinea pig with your family.  She suggested I make spaghetti casserole, because the recipe was from her.  All these years I've been eating it and I had no idea. 

So, here is Gram's (daddy's favorite) spaghetti casserole!
1 package spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes
some chopped onion and/or bell pepper, whatever you like
1 small can chopped black olives (you can leave it out if you hate them.  Hubby hates them though and he's ok with them in this recipe.  They blend well.)
1 small can mushrooms
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 cups shredded cheddar (I know most italian dishes would call for mozzarella and of course you can do that if you like it better.  I like the pop of the cheddar though.)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (may need to be thinned with 1/4 cup water depending on the brand.  Just use your best judgement on whether it seems too thick and goopy.)
parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.

Meanwhile, fry ground beef with onions and peppers.  Add tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, and seasoning and simmer about 10 minutes.

In a 13x9 pan, layer all the spaghetti on the bottom.  Then put the shredded cheese, then the meat mixture, and then spread the cream of mushroom soup over the top.  Top it off with parmesan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

It's super easy- way less work than lasagna, but tastes a lot fancier than regular spaghetti.

We served it with roasted asparagus and birthday brownies last night, and reminisced about my gram.  Fun times.

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