Sunday, January 24, 2010

Baked Spaghetti

We were walking through Costco and one of the samples happened to be spaghetti. The kids played "baby bird" all the way through the store, so naturally, we had spaghetti for dinner. Tomato sauce is an excellent opportunity to add additional healthy ingredients. Most kids will eat tomato sauce no problem and there are plenty of healthy additions you can use that nobody will even know are in there.

To one jar of spaghetti sauce I added 1/2 cup of carrot juice. The boys actually really liked the plain carrot juice (yuck) and the color and flavor make it combine very well with tomato sauce. I also added 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree. Too much sweet potato and you will be able to taste it (although not a bad thing if you enjoy sweet potatoes). I'm not a big fan and neither is anyone else here so I added just 1/2 cup and couldn't taste it at all. I Love spinach, can you tell by looking at my recipes? Not canned or frozen, I think those taste terrible, but fresh (especially baby) spinach has almost no real taste to it (but amazing health benefits) and mixes well with almost anything. But it's not such a bad thing to love :) I added 2 cups of fresh baby spinach. If you have family members that you couldn't pay to eat anything with spinach I suggest taking those 2 cups, or even cutting it back to one and pureeing it in your food processor. The last thing I added was flax seed for the Omega-3s. If I put a bread topping on this, which would be good but Mike would have nothing to do with it, then I would mix the ground flax into that. But I only top it with cheese so I took 2 Tablespoons of flax seeds ground in the food processor (your body can't absorb them whole, they are too small) and mixed it into the sauce. To get the right amount of Omega-3s adults should have about 2 Tablespoons of flax seed a day. Fish is the other good source of Omega-3s, but Mike refuses to eat store bought fish and he hasn't been fishing in awhile. I miss our freezer full of Halibut and Salmon :( But he did finally get the new boat floor cut so maybe, just maybe, this year?

The meatballs I used were from Costco, can you tell we made a Costco trip today? They are precooked chicken, spinach and fontina meatballs. So good.

Okay, enough rambling.

Ingredients: *this makes a lot of spaghetti, but who doesn't love spaghetti leftovers?

1 package of spaghetti noodles (17.6oz)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (32oz.)
1 package of precooked meatballs or make your own *enough to cover the bottom of a 13x9" pan.
1/2 cup carrot juice
1/2 cup pureed sweet potato
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 Tablespoons flax seed
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 350F and grease a 13x9" pan
Spread meatballs out over the bottom of the pan
Cook pasta according to package directions until just done, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse.
Put anything you need to in the food processor. (flax seeds, spinach if you need to...)
Mix sauce, carrot juice, sweet potato, spinach and ground flax together in a bowl. Mix in cooked noodles.
Pour noodle/sauce mixture over meatballs and top with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

All of us barely ate half of this casserole it was so much, but Thomas has been begging for spaghetti in his school lunch and Mike loves spaghetti sandwiches so it will save me some work throughout the week.

And the picture really doesn't do it justice. The slightly crunchy cheese and noodles at the top are the best part :)

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