This is one from my childhood, except I just made it up as I went along since I didn’t have my mom’s old recipe handy. What I remembered is that it had cooked spaghetti and sauce, cheese, kidney beans, green peppers and ground beef. My mom used to make it in a large 9×13 pan I think, feeding 6 including two hungry teenage boys, but I wanted a smaller portion for us, so I started with just a half a pound of ground turkey.
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 1/2 a pound of ground turkey or beef
- 1/2 an onion (1/4-1/2 cup) diced
- 1/2 a green pepper, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups marinara sauce (red pasta sauce)
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-2 cups Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package. There are all different widths so I can’t give you a time. Mine was 11 minutes. You can start the next step while the spaghetti is cooking, just drain and rinse with hot water (to rinse off some starch and keep it from clumping up while you’re waiting.)
Brown the ground meat until no longer pink, then add the onion, green pepper and garlic and cook another few minutes until the vegetables are softened.
Stir the pasta sauce into the ground meat and vegetables. You can make your own marinara sauce or use a store-bought jar or can of sauce. If you have a bit more or less than 2 cups don’t worry about and use it. If it seems to0 thick, add a bit of water. I usually do that just to rinse the jar out if I’m using store-bought sauce anyway.
Stir in the kidney beans. Cook 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors. Then stir in the cooked pasta.
Add about 3/4 of the cheeses and stir. You could of course do this with mozzarella but I’m only Italian by divorce and grew up with Cheddar in here and it tastes good to me. I don’t claim the dish to be Italian! I am pretty sure my mother never put Parmesan in it but it seemed to add a nice touch to me. But skip if it you don’t have it.
Pour this all into a 9×9 or similar casserole dish that can go in the oven. Top with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.
I have no idea where this dish came from or how close I am to what my mom used to make but it tasted pretty darn good to me. I served it with some cheater garlic bread, made with some leftover hamburger buns rather than French bread since I had some of them languishing in the freezer, and a green salad. We always had a green salad on the table growing up with my mom’s own oil and vinegar dressing. That was what we filled up on, usually after the rest of dinner.
This is pretty cost-effective in terms of getting your protein since you’re adding beans to the meat and it tastes good. The funny part is I remember picking out the beans when I was little. My kids tend to pick the green peppers out of things but happily eat up the beans. This would easily serve 4 regular appetites I think. If you’ve got growing boys, you might want to double it.
Leftovers are good the next day. You could probably use leftover pasta, too. In fact, maybe that’s how it got it’s start.