When I ask my kids to help plan menus for the week, I ALWAYS get the same two responses. Tacos and pasta (usually tortellini, sometimes spaghetti).
While those are great suggestions and I appreciate the input and all that, tacos and pasta every week are not good for variety or for my waistline. I love them both, but I need to eat them less frequently than my children, apparently.
So, this week is like all others. I’m sitting with my notebook at the kitchen table, a cup of coffee next to me, surrounded by detritus of the week: signed reading logs, castoff envelopes from actual paper mail and a vase of flowers Paul brought me last week with lilies and greenery still holding on. The boys are sitting nearby, probably on an electronic device, and I asked the million-dollar question, “What do you want for dinners this week?” “Tacos!” was Curt’s immediate response. “Spaghetti,” Luke answered.
Perhaps this is not the season of life to force variety into the equation.
So, tacos it is (but we’re making blackened tilapia tacos with a jalapeño slaw) for Tuesday. On Friday, we’ll have super spaghetti, a recipe I found in an old cookbook my friend Jo Anne sent to me last week. I think she got it at a thrift store in the small town where she works (knowing I love to read cookbooks), and it’s an old, yellowed tome, but the spaghetti recipe I found in the book is also all over Pinterest in some form or fashion.
The boys loved it, and it definitely added some variety to our pasta rotation.
16 oz spaghetti, uncooked
1 lb extra-lean ground beef
16 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup butter, sliced (divided use)
1 cup cottage cheese
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350° F. While the oven heats, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and spaghetti. Cook until the noodles are al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add lean ground beef. Brown the beef until cooked through. Drain grease. Mix the spaghetti sauce into the browned ground beef.
In another bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese until well-blended (you can substitute ricotta for the cottage cheese). Place a layer of butter slices on the bottom of the pan (or spray liberally with a nonstick cooking spray). Top the butter with half of the cooked spaghetti, and then top that with the cheese mixture. Place the remaining half of the spaghetti over the cheese mixture, and then top with the remaining butter. Pour the meat sauce over the entire dish, making sure all the noodles are covered.
Bake for about 30 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese, and bake for 15 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 651, Calories from Fat: 353, Fat: 40 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (23 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 181 mg, Sodium: 765 mg, Potassium: 567 mg, Carbohydrates: 40 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 3 g.
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