Spaghetti Meatball Bake

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Warning! This is not an ordinary spaghetti and meatballs. It’s very cheesy in a healthy kind of way with the addition of cottage cheese mixed in the pasta (a protein packed punch). I like to use my homemade frozen meatballs, but feel free to use a good quality store-bought frozen meatball. However, do try making homemade meatballs. They are super easy and delicious in a number of entrees like this one. I’ve got a bag of frozen cheese and two dozen meatballs thawing as I prep the noodles.

bagged italian meatballs

I try to share my hidden ways of working smarter, not harder. Here’s another tip. While you’re making pasta for this entree why not boil two boxes and freeze some extra for another night. I’m using my extra pasta for sesame noodles and Asian honey chicken. I’ll bet you didn’t see that one coming. I’ve set aside one pound for this casserole and the other pound I’ve divided into two freezer bags. Read more about freezing pasta here. I toss my cooled pasta  in a little olive oil before freezing.

how to freeze pasta

I add 2 cups of cottage cheese and 1 cup of the shredded cheese to the noodles. I use my pot as my mixing bowl. Make sure it’s off the heat source.

Mix well and pour into a 9×13 pan. I top it with my frozen meatballs. I can give them a little twisting and turning and prodding to separate if they aren’t thawed overnight (which mine are not). Place as many meatballs as your heart desires or until you run out. I package my homemade meatballs in one dozen. I chose to use two bags. Try this recipe here.

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Then I top it with homemade marinara or use your favorite can sauce. I have an easy crock pot marinara that I freeze. I use about 3 1/2 cups to equal as commercial jar or can. Read more about here.

Then I sprinkle the reserved 1 cup of cheese and some Italian seasoning for color. I usually use mozzarella for Italian casseroles, but this is what I had on hand in the freezer.

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That’s the joy of freezer cooking, using what you’ve got because you’ve stocked up and frozen ahead of time. Enjoy this easy restaurant style casserole. It makes a large 9×13 pan so be sure to invite someone over for dinner and plan to have leftovers.

Spaghetti Meatball Bake

  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 cup reserved for topping
  • 2 dozen store-bought or homemade meatballs
  • 1 jar or can of pasta sauce or  3 1/2 cups thawed homemade freezer marinara
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Directions:

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and return to pot (remove from heat). Add cottage cheese and 1 cup mozzarella. Spread in a 9×13 pan or 2-8×8 pans. Top with meatballs and pasta sauce. Sprinkle reserved 1 cup cheese and Italian seasoning. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes for until hot and bubbly.

Freezing Directions. Spray a piece of labeled foil with cooking spray. Turn over and tightly cover uncooked casserole. Freeze until solid. Thaw 24 to 48 hours before baking. Bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil the last ten minutes for cheese to brown slightly if desired.

This is linked to Good cheap eats

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