I know it has been a really long time since I have posted a recipe. Like many of you, I’ve just been so busy with family and volunteer commitments that my blog has taken a back seat. Thank you for hanging on and waiting for me. It doesn’t mean that I am not cooking … I have been tweaking and refining existing recipes like Barbecue Boneless Short Ribs, Dinner Frittata, Maple and Balsamic Pork Tenderloin, Mexitalian Quick Chili and Savory Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, and making simple, but I guess could be post-worth meals. I have heard from many of you that simple is good, especially on weeknights. I am going to make a better effort to photograph and post what we are eating. This particular recipe was a totally unplanned, seat of the pants kind of thing. It was the Friday before February vacation and I was at Whole Foods getting provisions for Matt, Noah and Jeremy to bring to Vermont for the weekend. I was staying home with Zach, who was diving in States, and then we were headed up on Monday. I was waiting for what seemed like an eternity at the prepared foods counter to buy pre-made dinner and no one even glanced at me. Frustrated, I headed back over to the meat department and surprisingly, grass-fed ground beef was on sale, something that doesn’t happen often at Whole Foods. With 3 teenage boys and my oldest in “weight-gain/muscle building” mode for the Crossfit Opens, I always buy 3 lbs. of meat for dinner. Plus Whole Foods considers this a family pack and you get an additional $1 off per pound if you buy more than 3 pounds.
I arrived home and looked around in the kitchen to see what I had to make a meal, which was not that much since we were going away. I roasted a spaghetti squash, browned the beef with scallions, threw in some canned tomatoes, poured it into a casserole dish, sprinkled mozzarella cheese on top and baked it. My family LOVED it. Even Zach, who had a terrible cold and couldn’t taste anything, thought it was delicious.
Hearty Ground Beef Casserole
Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes, excluding roasted the spaghetti sauce
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8, depending on your quantities, see notes in the recipe below
- 2 – 3 pounds ground beef or turkey, **if you want this to be meat intensive and/or have leftovers, use 3 lbs.
- 1 spaghetti squash, roasted, ** if you want the recipe to be less meat intensive, use a medium to large spaghetti squash, mine was on the smallish side. http://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/photos/how-to-roast-spaghetti-squash, BTW, I find it easier to scoop the seeds after cooking the squash
- 1 bunch of scallions (6 – 8) OR 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil OR 2 tbsp EVOO and 2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese OR sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast if you don’t eat dairy.
- 3 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic, if using.
- Brown meat until it is more brown than pink.
- Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, seasoning, scallions or onions and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes.
- Add roasted spaghetti squash to the pan and stir well to combine.
- Pour the whole mixture into a 9 by 13 pan (plus I needed and 8 by 8 too) and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese or nutritional yeast.
- Bake in the oven until cheese starts to bubble and brown, about 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
If you want to spend more time and include some extra veggies, you can add some chopped spinach or kale, fresh herbs like basil or rosemary and diced peppers, but it is totally unnecessary in my opinion and takes away from the simplicity of the recipe. ENJOY!