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Baked Spaghetti is a higher protein, lower fat version of the original Million Dollar Spaghetti that still tastes amazing and will fill that pasta craving while keeping your eating habits on track.
Today was a snow day for my two oldest so all the plans I had for tackling my to-do list went out the window. NYC got lots of snow plus 40 mph winds, so no school! Yes, I love having my kids home because that means I get to spend more time with them but man oh man is it frustrating when you’re starting to get momentum and excitement for the new year just to be psychologically tripped at the starting line before you get started!
Regardless, I was able to spend less time at the computer, but more time in the kitchen today which means more recipes!! I documented a lot of this recipe on my instagram stories this afternoon and a lot of you seemed to be super excited about it, so I’m quickly posting it while I have a minute alone while my kiddos are in bed (but not asleep so hold your breath!)
Baked Spaghetti, or sometimes referred to as Million Dollar Spaghetti, is a huge spaghetti casserole that is covered with sauce, cheese and butter (!!!) and baked until hot and bubbly. It is pretty phenomenal, but since we’re all looking to be a bit healthier in the new year, I thought I’d create a lighter version with more protein and much less fat. Carbs, yes, but much more figure-friendly than the original.
I use 95% ground beef, onion, Rao’s jarred marinara, lots of mushrooms and garlic to create a lower fat tomato-based meat sauce. The pasta I used was a spaghetti high in protein and fiber. And of course, I topped the whole thing with a light bechamel sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Bake this off until hot and serve as you like!
Of course if you have a better tomato sauce you’d prefer than this one I used, feel free to use that instead. This or this are great options. Also, just using straight up jarred marinara with a few veggies would work too. You do you, buttercup 🙂
Printable recipe card below!
Skinny Baked Spaghetti
For the Sauce--
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 8 oz. button mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 lb. grass fed ground beef 95% lean
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 dried bay leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 32 oz. jar marinara sauce I used Rao's brand
- 1 cup water
- MAKE THE SAUCE: heat olive oil over medium heat in large, deep pot. Saute onion and mushroom until tender, about 6 minutes. Add in ground beef and break apart as it browns. Stir in minced garlic and seasonings. Pour in sauce and water. Stir, cover, bring to boil then reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes to 1 hour, adding in a little water if sauce gets too thick.
- COOK PASTA according to pasta directions in salted boiling water. Drain and set aside.
- MAKE THE BECHAMEL SAUCE: melt butter over medium heat in small pot. Sprinkle flour over top and whisk to create a paste. Cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk slowly in three parts, allowing sauce to thicken and bubble before adding in each additional splash. Stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
- TO ASSEMBLE, pour cooked spaghetti into a lightly greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Top with pasta sauce evenly. Drizzle bechamel sauce overtop the red sauce and any pasta noodles that didn't get covered. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Cut into 12 squared and serve hot.