Wednesday, September 30, 2015

{baked spaghetti + meatballs: Real Simple style}

I LOVE magazines. Really love them. I am so happy when I get the mail and 1) It isn't a bill, and 2) I have a new magazine!!! One magazine I have loved for a long time is Real Simple. There are tons of organizational articles in there (which I love), but I especially love the recipes. Their cover pics are always awesome as well. Look how happy this one is:
Anyway, I was really happy this month when I saw a new recipe: spaghetti and meatballs. I know, what's new about that? Well, Caden and Lilli LOVE spaghetti and meatballs. Really, they love the meatball part the most. Mommy and Daddy like it, too, but sometimes it gets a little old. This month's Real Simple magazine has a new take on it to serve it as a casserole. Again, I know that is nothing new. What really caught my eye is that you do not need to cook the spaghetti. Nope. You just break it in half and mix it in. I had to try this for myself, so that is exactly why the kids and made this last night for our dinner tonight. The recipe takes over an hour and a half (at the least), so I knew that would take too long to eat it last night as dinner.

Again, I am super lucky to have some wonderful helpers at home. The first thing we needed to do was make the meatballs. Lilli wanted this to be her job. She mixed all of the ingredients together. She cracked the eggs:
Added them to the meat and breadcrumb mixture:
She also added the salt:
The black pepper:
The parsley flakes and the garlic powder (my additions):
From the mixture she made 18 meatballs (with some help from Mama) and put them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet:
I gave Caden the job of breaking all of the spaghetti in half:
Look at that determination on his face :)
No prob!

Then Caden poured the marinara sauce (1 1/2 jars--I would use two full jars next time) into our baking dish:
And he whisked in one cup of water:
The dish was a 2 1/2 quart baking dish (I would use a bigger one next time, fyi). He then added the broken pasta to the dish and mixed it to make sure all of the spaghetti was covered by the sauce.

We next layered the meatballs on top of the sauce and added some fresh basil sprigs that the kids picked from our backyard. How beautiful if this?!
And we covered it to bake at 400 degrees. The recipe says that it takes about an hour, but ours took closer to an hour and a half. I think the difference may be that I used gluten-free pasta.
After the pasta was cooked, we topped the casserole with fresh mozzarella:
Then we threw it back into the oven until the cheese melted and the meatballs were browned. Here was our finished product:
I would recommend putting the baking dish on top of a cookie sheet. There was a little spillover.
The kids' verdicts: They LOVED it! Two thumbs up (times two)! We will definitely be making this recipe again. Here is a link to Real Simple's website with a copy of the recipe I used.

Until later!

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