Thursday, May 10, 2012

Simple Baked Spaghetti

Those of us who have experienced the first few weeks of a baby's life know that sometimes getting through normal, everyday tasks can be tough at first - especially with baby # 1. You're not quite sure what you're doing, your baby is just adjusting to life on the outside, and your husband definitely isn't sure what's going on or if things will ever return to normal again. The good news is, life does become sane again and you will be able to get back into a routine and truly enjoy your new little one. 

When I had Riley, one of the biggest blessings was not having to cook those first couple of weeks we were at home. I could have done it, I guess (it was a painful recovery); but I was thankful that I didn't have to try. Now, when my friends have babies, within the first couple of weeks I like to take them a meal (preferably one that will last a couple of days) so they don't have to worry about food. 

Since it's pretty busy around the Brown house these days, the meal we take has to be simple (are you noticing a trend with how I cook?). My "go-to" recipe is baked spaghetti. I hesitated posting it because I know I have some honest-to-goodness Italian friends who might just read this post. They will probably crack up when they read the recipe and think that I've made a ridiculous choice, but it works for me. Not to mention, my non-Italian family loves it. In fact, Riley loves it so much, one of her nicknames is Spaghetti Betty.

If you have a friend who's just had a baby or is going through a tough time, I encourage you to look for ways to make her life easier. If cooking isn't your forte, take her older kids for the day so she can get some rest. Even if cooking isn't your thing, this recipe is super easy, so you could still give it a try.

You'll need:

  • 1 box of angel hair pasta (Ronzoni is my favorite since it's the thinnest angel hair I can find)
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I use the 45 oz. jar of Prego Traditional) or 40-45 ounces of homemade sauce
  • 1/2 lb. of Italian sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)
  • 1/2 lb. of ground beef
  • Italian cheese blend (I use Sergento's 6 cheese Italian blend)
Brown your meats (I do it together). Mix with sauce and set aside. Prepare your pasta according to the directions on the box. Combine sauce mixture with noodles. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 35-45 minutes in a 350˚ oven. 

If you're taking this to friends, don't bake it before hand. They'll be able to pop it in the oven whenever they're ready to eat. 

We like to eat this with garlic bread, salad, and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. 

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