Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Recipe


Introduction

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Who doesn’t love a hearty pasta dish? Especially one that combines the creamy goodness of cheese with the comforting taste of baked spaghetti. This baked cream cheese spaghetti recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious, homemade meal without spending hours in the kitchen. It’s easy to make, incredibly tasty, and a surefire way to impress your family and friends. Ready to dive into a plate of pure comfort? Let’s get cooking!


Table of Contents

Sr#Headings
1Ingredients
2Step-by-Step Instructions
3Preparing the Spaghetti
4Making the Cream Cheese Mixture
5Combining and Baking
6Serving Suggestions
7Tips for the Perfect Dish
8Variations to Try
9Storing and Reheating
10Nutritional Information
11Health Benefits
12Pairing with Other Dishes
13Common Mistakes to Avoid
14Frequently Asked Questions
15Conclusion

1. Ingredients

To start, you’ll need to gather all your ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need for this baked cream cheese spaghetti:

  • Spaghetti: 12 ounces of your favorite spaghetti.
  • Cream Cheese: One 8-ounce package, softened.
  • Ground Beef: 1 pound, or you can use ground turkey or chicken.
  • Marinara Sauce: 24 ounces, choose your favorite brand or make your own.
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped.
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced.
  • Parmesan Cheese: 1 cup, grated.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: 2 cups, shredded.
  • Italian Seasoning: 1 teaspoon.
  • Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.

These ingredients are the heart of your dish, creating layers of flavor and creamy textures.


2. Step-by-Step Instructions

2.1 Preparing the Spaghetti

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Start by cooking the spaghetti according to the package instructions. You’ll want it to be al dente, which means it should still have a slight bite to it. Overcooking the pasta will make it mushy, especially after baking.

Steps:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the spaghetti and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
  3. Drain the spaghetti and set it aside.

2.2 Making the Cream Cheese Mixture

While the spaghetti is cooking, prepare the creamy mixture that will make this dish irresistible.

Steps:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Mix until smooth and well combined. Set aside.

2.3 Preparing the Meat Sauce

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The meat sauce adds a rich and savory component to the dish.

Steps:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until browned.
  5. Stir in the marinara sauce and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2.4 Combining and Baking

Now, it’s time to put everything together and bake.

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked spaghetti with the cream cheese mixture. Make sure the spaghetti is well coated.
  3. In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce.
  4. Add the spaghetti mixture on top of the sauce.
  5. Pour the remaining meat sauce over the spaghetti.
  6. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

3. Serving Suggestions

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This baked cream cheese spaghetti is a versatile dish that pairs well with various sides.

  • Garlic Bread: The classic pairing that everyone loves.
  • Green Salad: A fresh salad with a light vinaigrette balances the richness of the pasta.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Broccoli, green beans, or asparagus make for a healthy and delicious side.

4. Tips for the Perfect Dish

Achieving the perfect baked cream cheese spaghetti is all about the details.

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh garlic, onions, and high-quality cheese make a big difference.
  • Don’t Overcook the Pasta: Remember, al dente is key.
  • Let it Rest: After baking, let the dish rest for a few minutes. This helps the flavors meld together and makes it easier to serve.

5. Variations to Try

One of the great things about this recipe is its versatility. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Vegetarian: Skip the meat and add sautéed vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.
  • Spicy: Add red pepper flakes or use a spicy marinara sauce.
  • Cheese Lovers: Add more types of cheese like cheddar or gouda for an extra cheesy version.

6. Storing and Reheating

If you have leftovers, here’s how to store and reheat them:

  • Storing: Place leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and bake until heated through, about 15-20 minutes. You can also microwave individual portions.

7. Nutritional Information

Understanding the nutritional content can help you manage your dietary needs.

  • Calories: Approximately 600 calories per serving.
  • Protein: 30 grams.
  • Carbohydrates: 50 grams.
  • Fat: 30 grams.

Keep in mind these values can vary based on the specific brands and ingredients you use.


8. Health Benefits

While this dish is indulgent, it also has some nutritional benefits:

  • Protein: The ground beef and cheese provide a good amount of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Calcium: Cheese is a great source of calcium, necessary for bone health.
  • Fiber: If you use whole grain spaghetti, you’ll get an added fiber boost.

9. Pairing with Other Dishes

Complement your baked cream cheese spaghetti with these dishes:

  • Wine: A nice glass of red wine like Merlot or Chianti.
  • Appetizers: Bruschetta or stuffed mushrooms.
  • Dessert: Finish with a light dessert like lemon sorbet or panna cotta.

10. Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are a few pitfalls to watch out for:

  • Overcooking Pasta: It’s crucial to cook the pasta al dente to avoid a mushy texture.
  • Not Preheating the Oven: Make sure your oven is fully preheated before baking.
  • Skimping on Cheese: Cheese is a key ingredient. Don’t be afraid to be generous!

11. Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I use low-fat cream cheese? Yes, you can use low-fat cream cheese, but it may alter the creaminess slightly.

Q2: Can I freeze this dish? Absolutely! Assemble the dish but don’t bake it. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before baking.

Q3: Can I make this dish ahead of time? Yes, you can assemble the dish up to a day in advance and store it in the fridge. Just bake it when you’re ready to serve.

Q4: What can I use instead of ground beef? Ground turkey, chicken, or even sausage are great alternatives.

Q5: How can I make it gluten-free? Use gluten-free spaghetti and ensure the marinara sauce is gluten-free as well.


Conclusion

There you have it—a delicious, comforting, and easy-to-make baked cream cheese spaghetti recipe. This dish is perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or just a cozy night in. The creamy, cheesy goodness combined with the savory meat sauce is sure to become a favorite in your household. Enjoy your meal, and happy cooking!

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