After a long, taxing week, I know the nerves of my own 4 still at home are frayed. All of us are a bit weary from cold days outside and long, hard hours of work inside as we prepare for conferences, and as Joel and Joy work on their various projects. What is needed is for me to craft an atmosphere that says, “Relax, come sit a while, feast with me and we shall restore.”
Sitting down to a hot meal together is a tradition and center of Clarkson family life—no matter how many of us are home! So this weekend, I will make bread, (this always speaks love and comfort) and serve up a warm favorite meal. This recipe is a family favorite (Nathan’s “especial” favorite!) and I’m sure your family will love it, too. Happy Weekend to you.
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion - diced
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms - diced
1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 pound Italian sausage 1/2 pound ground beef)
1/2 tsp garlic salt (or 1 clove fresh minced garlic)
1 tsp dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 - 8 oz. spaghetti noodles (depending on your pie dish)
2 Tbsp butter (optional)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs - well beaten
1 cup cottage cheese - blended
1 8 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can of tomato paste OR 1 small can of tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 - 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese - grated
*Optional: pinch of Italian seasoning to finish on top of mozzarella
Directions: In your skillet, over medium high heat, saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute until cooked through. If using fresh garlic, add garlic and stir into the onion and mushroom mixture for 1 minute. Add ground beef to the skillet and stir until completely cooked. Add dried herbs, salt & pepper to taste. In a colander, carefully drain off any excess oil. Return the meat mixture to the skillet and return to a medium heat. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and garlic salt if not using fresh garlic. Turn off heat and set aside. You can also use immersion blender for sauce if your kids are not fond of a more rustic style sauce with diced tomatoes. This will make your sauce a smoother spaghetti meat sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spaghetti per instructions on package. Drain. Then stir in butter, parmesan, and eggs into the warm spaghetti. Pour spaghetti mixture into a 10 inch pie dish and press in to form a spaghetti crust. Spread the cottage cheese on top of the crust. Add meat sauce mixture. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes then remove from oven and top with shredded mozzarella cheese and return to oven to bake for 5 minutes longer to melt cheese.
Easy peasy, and your house will smell like an Italian restaurant. Enjoy!