Baked Cream Cheese & Spaghetti Casserole with Fried Onions

Two posts in two days… aren’t you lucky!?!? I’d like to say that I’d love to do this on a regular basis but, I’m a realist and two posts in the same month will be an achievement at times. Please, hang in there during the slow periods. I love to share recipes and know that people are enjoying them so, even when the posts seem few and far between, I hope you all still keep checking back. That being said, tonight’s dinner was a HUGE winner (and reason enough to check back often). My husband’s description was, and I quote, ‘slammin’!! Considering he was just complaining about my love for casseroles the other day, I’ll take it!!! Needless to say, I’ll be making this one again.

I like to give credit where credit is due but I won’t be sharing a link to a website for this recipe. Reason being that I took about three similar recipes that I previously bookmarked for this casserole and combined all of them and then added my own finesse. So I’m gonna call this the closest I get to my own recipe. Hope you all enjoy!

Baked Cream Cheese & Spaghetti Casserole with Fried Onions

  • 12 oz. spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (about 1-1/2 lbs.) spaghetti sauce of your choice (I used a 24 oz jar of tomato, garlic & onion sauce)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • Parmesan Cheese (I used about 3/4 C. of shredded)
  • French Friend Onions (I used about 3/4 C. but only put it on half)
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I used about 1 C.)
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray a 13″x9″ baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente pasta remembering to salt pasta water before adding the pasta. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef. Drain excess fat from pan, if necessary and then add the sauce. Keep warm until pasta is ready. When pasta is al dente, drain and return to warm pot. Stir in cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic. (You may want to add a little extra seasoning, salt & pepper, at this point. Especially if not adding the onions on top.) Stir until the cheese is completely melted and coats the pasta. (This took a little extra work but, trust me, was well worth it.) Put a small amount of meat sauce mixture in the bottom of the pan to coat. Pour the spaghetti & cream cheese mixture on top of this and then top with the remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Top with french fried onions and then mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Enjoy!

 


Sweet Potato Waffles with Crunchy Nut Topping

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Santa was very good to our house this year. I have a son who also turned 3 on Christmas, so our house is definitely on present overload! I didn’t ask for much this year but, of course, had to put a list together of things I’d like Santa to put under the tree next to my son & husbands’ presents. Most of what I asked for was kitchen tools. What else would I ask for… right? I was lucky enough to get most everything that was on my list and can’t wait to test them all out but the first to get ‘played’ with was a waffle iron. Now, I know you are thinking, a waffle iron? Yes, I am married. Yes, most people dread the waffle iron wedding present. I, however, have been  jealously longing for all those waffle irons idly sitting in the other wives’ pantries or attics collecting dust. I’ve actually been bookmarking waffle recipes on my computer for years waiting for the day when I could try some of them out.

I recently downloaded Google chrome. What does this have to do with the waffle maker you ask? I LOVE the bookmark manager for Google chrome! I have enough recipe bookmarks to last me until my son moves out and then some, but with a few simple clicks I quickly searched the bookmarks and narrowed down the recipes for brunch this morning. And the winner was….. Sweet Potato waffles. I’m so glad I had bookmarked this one because it was a big hit in my house. My husband felt it was a little ‘rich’ with both the topping and a touch of maple syrup but I thought it was sublime. Hope you all enjoy!

Sweet Potato Waffles with Crunchy Nut Topping  from http://www.tasteofhome.com

  • 2 C. biscuit/baking mix
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/3 C. 2% milk
  • 1 C. mashed sweet potato (it calls for canned but I used some I had frozen a couple weeks ago and just defrosted them in the microwave)
  • 2 Tbsp. oil (I used vegetable)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Topping (recipe follows)
  • Maple Syrup

In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix, brown sugar and spices. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, sweet potatoes, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined.

Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until golden.

Meanwhile, make topping.

Crunchy Nut Topping:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 C. chopped pecans
  • 1/2 C. chopped walnuts (I used all, 1 C., pecans)
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Dash Salt
  • Dash ground nutmeg

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add nuts and stir for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the topping ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Keep warm until waffles are ready. Serve with waffles and maple syrup.

Yield: 12 waffles

ENJOY!!

This post is linked up to Make Ahead Meals – Melt In Your Mouth Monday Blog Hop #46

Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake & Thinking About Moving

Hi! My name is Kellene and I’ve actually been food blogging for a couple years now. I’ve tried blogging on other platforms and just haven’t been happy with the capabilities of it. The last one I was at, I stayed at the longest and, I’ll be honest, I’m not completely unsatisfied with it. There are just some things I can’t do and was curious as to whether wordpress could offer me the features I liked. So, here goes nothing. My first post on wordpress and, hopefully, a new happier home for my food passion to come to.

I love the holidays! I’m a baker by trade and I love to cook at home but it’s very rare that I go on a baking spree at home. I work at a local university and, around the holidays, things slow down giving me more free time. This year, I’ve gone on that rare baking spree. I when I say spree… I mean spree. I’ve been baking up a storm. Quick breads & raised breads. Cookies and Bars. Cakes and Casseroles. My kitchen has been busy. I love it!!! I’ve been reminded of why I love to bake and became a baker in the first place. I love being able to bake on my terms at my leisure for people who TRULY appreciate it, my friends and family. (Or at least have to pretend to appreciate it!)

One of the many things I’ve baked in the last few days was a wonderful recipe for Bananas Foster Upside-own Cake. It was while I was baking this that I truly realised that this baking was making me happy again. I didn’t have to bake this cake. It wasn’t a cookie going on a plate under the tree for Santa. It wasn’t a dessert or bread making it’s way to a too little visited relative. It was something I baked just to bake. Sure, the bananas were sitting here a touch long, but my son would have polished them off before going bad if I let him. I baked this because I WANTED to and I thought the end result would bring a smile to the face of my son and husband. I’m so glad to have made this and had the time to remember where my passion came from. I hope this recipe brings you even a small portion of the happiness it brought us!

Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake (from myrecipes.com)

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rum (I didn’t have rum on hand so I used just over 1 tsp. rum extract)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring once. (I toasted them in a pan on the stove over a low heat just until fragrant.)

2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch round cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches high (I used a cake pan) over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar and rum (or extract).

3. Cut bananas diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices; arrange in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle pecans over bananas.

4. Beat granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add milk and next 2 ingredients; beat just until blended. Beat in baking mix and cinnamon until blended. (Batter will be slightly lumpy.) Pour batter over mixture in skillet. Place skillet on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan. (You really want to do this. Mine cooked over onto the pan so I didn’t have to clean my oven and I just threw away the foil afterward so I didn’t have to scrub a sticky pan either.)

5. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet/pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen. Invert onto a serving plate, spooning any topping in skillet/pan over cake.

Enjoy!

This post is linked on Melt in Your Mouth Monday Blog Hop #45.