Baked Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Baked SpaghettiHey all! It’s been quite a while since I posted an actual recipe so I decided to take a break from my “goal” posts and give you something tasty to munch on. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I started incorporating gluten-free grains from time to time into my diet. For this recipe I used quinoa pasta, but you could use any gluten-free pasta you like or roasted spaghetti squash (see recipe for details). You can also eliminate the cheese if you want to go dairy-free.

I can’t believe how fast January flew by! I feel like it was just Christmas and now I have to think about Valentine’s Day. I already convinced Joe to buy me a dozen chocolate covered strawberries from Amy’s Ice Cream. I cannot wait for those! 🙂 I also just saw a recipe for chocolate mousse hearts that I’m dying to make.

This year I’ve been pretty busy traveling for work. I was in Washington, D.C. for a conference and just finished up a trip to Dallas, Texas. We are also heading to Omaha, Nebraska at the end of February to visit family and friends. We haven’t made it back since we moved to Austin so I’m excited to spend time with loved ones again.

I am honestly ready for spring and warmer weather to make it’s way to Austin. We get teased and have 70 degree days here and there, but mostly it’s still been cold. We even had a few “ice days” where the roads were not even driveable. Luckily we didn’t get it as bad as some southern states did! But I am still ready to be able to go outside, walking, eating on the patio with the pups and just enjoying the sun. Come July and August, I’ll be wishing it was February again…

Onto the recipe. For some weird reason I had a craving for baked spaghetti that I used to get at Fazoli’s, an inexpensive Italian fast food restaurant in Omaha. Totally unhealthy. I can’t even tell you the last time I ate there or why I was thinking about it, but this recipe completely satisfied that craving! This sauce is so versatile. You can switch up the meat with Italian sausage, ground pork or ground turkey. You can add in other veggies like zucchini, and fresh basil would be delicious! Enjoy it!

Baked Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Serves 4-6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Delicious gluten-free pasta or spaghetti squash paired with a hearty meat sauce and baked with mozzarella cheese. Comfort food at its finest!

Ingredients

  • 1 box gluten-free pasta (to use spaghetti squash, see recipe)
  • Olive oil
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced and separated)
  • 2 bell peppers (chopped)
  • 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes with basil
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried chives
  • 1-2 cup spinach (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper

Optional

  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Step 1
If you are using spaghetti squash instead of gluten-free pasta, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash in large baking dish and roast for about 45 minutes until completely cooked. Once it's cool enough to handle, cut squash in half, remove the seeds and shred the strands with a fork. This can be made up to a few days ahead of time. Use this in place of pasta in the recipe.
Step 2
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the ground beef, one garlic clove, and spices to taste (basil, oregano, chives, salt and pepper). Cook, stirring until beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Step 3
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add olive oil. Add in bell peppers and remaining garlic clove. Season with basil, oregano, chives, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until peppers begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes.
Step 4
Add in canned tomatoes, chopped spinach and cooked beef. Stir everything together and turn down heat to let simmer for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Step 5
Meanwhile cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to the directions on the box. (Or get your spaghetti squash ready).
Step 6
Combine your pasta (or spaghetti squash) and meat sauce in a large bowl and transfer to a glass or ceramic baking dish. You may not use all of you meat sauce depending on how much pasta or spaghetti squash you've made. Freeze the extra for a super quick meal next time!
Step 7
Sprinkle cheese on top, if you are using, and transfer the dish to the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the pasta starts getting crispy. Enjoy!
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