Easy Baked Spaghetti for a Crowd #SundaySupper

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06 Sep Easy Baked Spaghetti for a Crowd #SundaySupper

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Want to take the labor out of Labor Day food? This week’s #SundaySupper family is sharing recipes that will allow you to fully enjoy the holiday with family and friends, by eliminating some of the time spent preparing yummy foods. We are serving up slow-cooker ideas, no fuss dishes, and beverages that will not only please your guests, but you’ll get to enjoy the moments and fun because most of the work involved is down right simple!

My dish today is one that I recently made for a birthday gathering. My friend, Tami, loves Italian — particularly spaghetti. She orders it whenever we dine out for Italian. And since I wanted this night to be all about socializing, I wanted something that I could make ahead and that involved little fuss, but would compete with the flavors of a really good Italian restaurant or home-cooked meal. Baked spaghetti just seemed to speak to me, and so I’m sharing this easy recipe today in the hopes that you’ll be just as pleased if you make it, as my guests were when we celebrated Tami’s birthday!

Simplifying meals is one of my favorite things to do. Whenever I can get something thrown together that tastes like a million bucks, but neither costs very much nor involves tons of labor and prep, I’m a happy girl. Hence, a terrific jarred marinara sauce can really be your friend! Packaged high protein pasta is not only convenient, but very nutritious and a wonderful way to spread a meal out for a gathering.  A little light cream cheese or (American) neufchatel cheese is a secret ingredient to making that red gravy super creamy in texture with a bit of tang added in taste. Follow up with a good part skim mozzarella and some Parmesan and you’ve practically got the entire dish made. (If you want to keep it vegetarian, you really do have it made; however, in lieu of meatballs and traditional spaghetti, I made a meat sauce using lean ground beef in which I added the jarred sauce.)

I’ll get to it, but before I list the ingredients and amounts, be sure to read to the bottom of my post to explore all the fabulous recipes presented in our #SundaySupper No Labor Labor Day meals! There’s something for everyone here! 

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Ingredients

2.5 lbs lean ground beef

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 T olive oil

2 t sea salt

1 T red pepper flakes

1 T oregano

2 t basil

2 jars (24 oz) good quality marinara (I had some Rao’s Homemade Marinara that was a gift.) YUM!

1/2 jar of water or chicken stock

1 8 oz package light cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (American, no French)

2 pkgs high protein spaghetti, cooked according to directions for al dente (just before done)

16 oz part skim mozzarella, shredded cheese

8 oz shredded Parmesan

4 oz shredded Fontina (optional)

fresh basil to garnish

Instructions

Start by heating oil in a very large skillet. Saute onion and garlic until just tender. 

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Add in the beef and break up as you brown it. Get it evenly crumbled as it cooks. Drain excess grease.

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Add the seasonings and stir. Add in the jars of sauce. Stir.

Bring to a low boil and turn heat down to low. 

Add the cream cheese and let it melt completely. Add the water, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Stir and check for evaporation. If you need a little more water, that’s fine. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes.

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Remove from heat and keep covered.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare pasta.

Lightly spray 2 9×13 baking dishes. When the pasta is done, layer a thin bed of pasta in each. Top with meat sauce and then mozzarella. Repeat layers in both dishes 3 times. 

Top each with half the Parmesan and half the Fontina, if using. Cover with foil and bake in preheat oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Easy Baked Spaghetti for a Crowd #SundaySupper
Author: 
Recipe type: Italian
Cuisine: Baked Spaghetti
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14
 
Super easy version of baked spaghetti using good quality jarred marinara, lean ground beef, and high protein spaghetti! Cheesy and delicious! Perfect for a crowd -- make ahead!
Ingredients
  • 2.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 t sea salt
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 T oregano
  • 2 t basil
  • 2 jars (24 oz) good quality marinara (I had some Rao's Homemade Marinara that was a gift.) YUM!
  • ½ jar of water or chicken stock
  • 1 8 oz package light cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (American, no French)
  • 2 pkgs high protein spaghetti, cooked according to directions for al dente (just before done)
  • 16 oz part skim mozzarella, shredded cheese
  • 8 oz shredded Parmesan
  • 4 oz shredded Fontina (optional)
  • fresh basil to garnish
Instructions
  1. Start by heating oil in a very large skillet. Saute onion and garlic until just tender.
  2. Add in the beef and break up as you brown it. Get it evenly crumbled as it cooks. Drain excess grease.
  3. Add the seasonings and stir. Add in the jars of sauce. Stir.
  4. Bring to a low boil and turn heat down to low.
  5. Add the cream cheese and let it melt completely. Add the water, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Stir and check for evaporation. If you need a little more water, that's fine. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  7. Prepare pasta.
  8. Lightly spray 2 9x13 baking dishes. When the pasta is done, layer a thin bed of pasta in each. Top with meat sauce and then mozzarella. Repeat layers in both dishes 3 times.
  9. Top each with half the Parmesan and half the Fontina, if using. Cover with foil and bake in preheat oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

 

Here’s what #SundaySupper has cooked up for your easy Labor Day food fun!

Savory Snacks and Sides:

Labor Free Main Dishes:

Sweet Treats and Drinks:

Labor Free Labor Day:

  • 10 Store-Bought Cooking Shortcuts by Sunday Supper Movement
  • Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

     

     

     

     

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    31 Comments
    • Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm
      Posted at 07:53h, 06 September Reply

      Baked Spaghetti is always a winner and when you doctor up a store bought sauce it becomes your own.

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 10:52h, 06 September Reply

        Totally love using this short cut Wendy! You’re right; it does become your own. 🙂

    • Hezzi-D
      Posted at 08:03h, 06 September Reply

      Pasta is my favorite meal and this looks like an easy way to make it for a group of people!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 10:53h, 06 September Reply

        It is super easy my friend! I love that it can be a make ahead and heat for the crowd meal too. 🙂

    • Liz
      Posted at 08:12h, 06 September Reply

      What a fabulous way to serve a large group! My crew would give this a thumbs up!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 10:55h, 06 September Reply

        My crew really enjoys this one too, and I love that it is so easy and “semi-homemade” 😉 xo

    • Nichole
      Posted at 08:22h, 06 September Reply

      Heck yes! This is perfect for the masses, and tasty too!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 10:56h, 06 September Reply

        Thanks, Nichole! I love how easy this is to feed a large gathering. 🙂

    • Bernie Dezenski
      Posted at 09:05h, 06 September Reply

      I’m in! I’m all about giving food as gifts — this would also be perfect to pass along to a new mom when you visit the baby!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 15:30h, 06 September Reply

        I’m with you Bernie — I do love giving food as gifts too and this is one I’ve made for the homeless shelter and for our outreach hospitality at church as well. It is great for these kinds of needs! Plus, it’s really comforting food!

    • Constance | CosmopolitanCornbread.com
      Posted at 10:41h, 06 September Reply

      Spaghetti is the BEST go-to for an easy meal!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 15:28h, 06 September Reply

        I so agree, Connie! It’s so easy to prepare in advance and just have it ready too!

    • Stacy
      Posted at 14:33h, 06 September Reply

      Best way to feed a crowd, Valerie! Love the mix of cheeses!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 15:27h, 06 September Reply

        Thanks, Stacy! I agree; anything that can be mass produced and made ahead works for me 🙂

    • Renee
      Posted at 18:26h, 06 September Reply

      Baked spaghetti has been one of my favorites for a long time. I do like your recipe.

    • Sarah Reid, CNP (@jo_jo_ba)
      Posted at 20:05h, 06 September Reply

      We are DIEHARD fans of any baked pasta, this would be a great item on our rotation

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 10:46h, 15 September Reply

        We just love this one, Sarah! Thanks so much for your comment, and please do share with me if you make this one!!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 17:24h, 17 September Reply

        Thank you, Sarah! This is one of my kids’ favs too!

    • Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere
      Posted at 11:10h, 07 September Reply

      What a great idea to feed a group! Everyone loves spaghetti!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 17:23h, 17 September Reply

        Thanks, Sarah! It goes a long way for a crowd and I love that it is easy and can be made ahead of time.

    • Sue Lau
      Posted at 16:51h, 07 September Reply

      We love quick spaghetti as an easy comfort meal and letting it come together in the oven to melt the cheese and let the flavors blend is a simple matter while the table is set and the wine poured. Perfect homestyle easy meal!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 17:23h, 17 September Reply

        Thank you, Sue! I love those dishes you can make ahead and then enjoy the company and conversation! And the wine… 😉

    • Soni
      Posted at 11:19h, 08 September Reply

      Oooh this looks heavenly! I love how easy it is and most definitely a crowd pleaser 🙂 My daughter loves Spaghetti and I cannot wait to make this for her!Thanks Valerie 🙂

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 14:58h, 08 September Reply

        I hope she loves it Soni! My kids love it too! Thank you sweet friend! xo

    • Cindys Recipes and Writings
      Posted at 19:37h, 08 September Reply

      I love the mix of cheeses you picked!

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 23:39h, 08 September Reply

        Thanks, Cindy! I’m addicted to cheese — most any kind, so I play with many varieties often!

    • Laura Dembowski
      Posted at 12:56h, 09 September Reply

      This seems like a great recipe to serve a crowd.

      • Valerie Cathell Clark
        Posted at 17:22h, 17 September Reply

        And it’s SO easy, Laura! I can prepare ahead and then enjoy the company!

    • Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook
      Posted at 11:00h, 11 September Reply

      Ah, the flavors of lasagna without all the work! (Plus, cream cheese makes this a win.)

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