Friday, August 8, 2014

Randomocity Spaghetti Bake (A Healthier Version of Million Dollar Spaghetti)

"Should we go out to dinner when we come down Friday night, or is there something special you'd like me to make?" I asked my older, married son.

"OOH! Would you make Million Dollar Spaghetti again? That is my favorite thing ever!" And yes, he uses the word "ooh." He's nothing, if not enthusiastic. Love that about my boy.

When I visit my married kids, I like to make something they'd enjoy eating, if it's feasible. Lately, I've been making two recipes' worth of whatever it is; one to eat, and one to freeze for later. 

We're heading down to Saint George for our first time this summer. It's not that I haven't wanted to see the kids, it's just hot as fried hell down there, and our schedules have been out of sync these last few weeks.

Last night, I decided to healthify Dylan's favorite Million Dollar Spaghetti recipe. The basic recipe combines all of these ingredients in one casserole: cooked spaghetti (broken into smaller pieces), spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, cooked hamburger and a stick of BUTTER. My intention was to make it a healthier, meatless dish with extra veggies, and I eliminated the butter entirely. By using veggie noodles, this dish is low in carbs, too.

During the summer, when there is an abundance of zucchini, I like to take advantage of that with my SPIRAL SLICER. It cuts the zucchini into spaghetti noodles, and it's so simple to use. Peeling the zucchini first seems to make the noodles a little less crunchy, and more pasta-like.

If the idea of zucchini noodles makes you nervous, just substitute whole grain spaghetti noodles or your favorite pasta, and cook according to directions on the package.

Last night's concoction got rave reviews. It was tasty, and microwaving the noodles first eliminated the crunchiness. When I make it for the kids tonight, we'll be using moose meat because we can. I like utilizing wild game when it's available because it's lower in fat, and, you have to admit,  it's just fun to say "moose meat."


Serves 6


4 medium zucchini, peeled and spiral sliced into noodles OR a box of whole wheat spaghetti noodles, if you prefer
1 medium onion
1 c. mushrooms
1 t. garlic, minced
1 (16 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce (I love the chunky garden-style, either Ragu or Great Value)
8 oz. cottage cheese (I use nonfat, but don't tell my family!)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (Neufchâtel works great)
1/4 c. Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat
8 oz. mozzarella

While sautéing onion, mushrooms and garlic in a small amount of olive oil, spiralize the peeled zucchini. I like the noodles to be tender, so I microwave them for several minutes before assembling the casserole.

In a medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese, cream cheese, and yogurt. Stir in half of the mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

Spray non-stick coating on casserole dish (9x9), and line the bottom of the pan with half of the microwaved zucchini noodles. Add the layer of sautéed vegetables, and then spread the cheese and yogurt mixture. Top with the remaining zucchini, and then pour the spaghetti sauce over all. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, topping casserole with remaining mozzarella during the last five minutes. (I browned the cheese under the broiler.)

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