Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Recipe Tuesday: Baked Spaghetti

1 pound lean ground beef, 7% fat
1 cup frozen diced onions
1/4 cup frozen diced bell peppers
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
8 ounces spaghetti
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
1 (26-ounce) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Fill large saucepan 1/2 full of water. Cover and bring to a boil on high for pasta.
2. Meanwhile, mix beef, onions, peppers, 1 egg, garlic powder, oregano, and seasoned salt in large bowl. Mix by hand (or in food processor) until thoroughly blended. Spread mixture evenly in 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Wash hands.
3. Stir pasta into boiling water. Boil 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
4. Drain pasta thoroughly (do not rinse). Whisk remaining 2 eggs, in medium bowl, until well blended; stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Add pasta and toss to coat until eggs and cheese are well blended into pasta. Spread pasta evenly over meat mixture.
5. Spoon pasta sauce over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake 30–35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F and meat is fully cooked. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. (Makes 8 servings.)

I was a little worried about how today's recipe would turn out. Mainly because I managed to mess it up before I even started cooking. See, one of the directives for this particular one was to go ahead and mix up enough batches of the meat layer for all the presentations I had to do (three), place them in individual Zip-loc baggies, and store them in the fridge until needed. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, apparently I read the directions wrong because I put THREE eggs in each mixture, rather than ONE. And I didn't even realize my mistake until I had finished with the final batch and prepared to actually start cooking.

Lucky for me, no one seemed to noticed. I was worried that the base would be too "eggy" or something, but I guess not. And that's one of the important things to remember when you're cooking: it's ok if you screw up, because people probably won't even notice. And if they do, chances are they'll be willing to overlook little mistakes. Of course, it's also important to read directions carefully. Just so you know.

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