Spaghetti Pie. Freezer entrée. Two phrases that make me so happy together! First of all, my family loves this spaghetti pie. It’s a little less tedious than lasagna (with the more intricate layer…though I never cook my lasagna noodles anymore!). But it still tastes a lot like lasagna. Secondly, it is a perfect “batch cooking”/mega cooking entrée. It seriously comes together so quickly and freezes so well. It is simple to make several of these!
Now to the healthy part of this! 🙂 Many people consider baked pasta dishes to be incredibly unhealthy. First of all, low carbers would never eat something with 40 carbs a serving in it. Calorie and fat counters (they do still exist as more and more people are coming to realize that even if it is REAL, if you eat too much (i.e. more calories than your body needs), you will not maintain a healthy weight) cringe at all the cheese, ground beef, and ricotta (or cottage cheese or sour cream).
(Keep in mind that fat has 9 calories per gram whereas protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. This is why people used to count fat grams in order to lose weight—by reducing fat grams in their diet, they were automatically reducing calories as well.)
So how can this recipe be “healthified” to fit all types of eaters—real foods, low carb, lower in calories, family friendly?
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Here are some tips:
1) Low carbers can substitute spaghetti squash, low carb pasta, Miracle Noodles, strips of savory crepes, etc.
2) Lower calories—you’re not a bad person if you want to lower your calories! If you have extra weight, you probably need to consider the total caloric intake each day. With my fat grams example above, the obvious places to cut calories in a recipe like this are the meat and cheeses. Natural/real food people can do this by using a lower fat cottage or ricotta and ground turkey or ground white meat chicken. You can also use a combination of cheeses that are a little stronger while reducing the total amount of cheese. Those who are not as concerned with everything being real can use lower fat products, again reducing the caloric load.
3) Real foods—you can follow the tips in #2 for real foods, but you can also add veggies to it, make your own marinara out of roasted tomatoes, etc.
4) Finally, those looking to go lower in calories, fat, and carbs can do a little of all of the above and end up with a healthy spaghetti pie that has less caloric, fat, and carb load per serving.
- 10 oz spaghetti
- 4 eggs
- 2 TBSP butter
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
- 12 oz of cottage cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese (I have never used anything but cottage cheese)
- 4 cups favorite spaghetti sauce ("marinara")
- 1½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (plus ½ cup more for top)
- Up to ¼ cup milk
- 1½ lb meat (I use ground beef, but I have seen recipes that call for crumbled sausage--and smoked sausage would also work in a pinch and reduce your prep time)
- Break spaghetti in thirds and cook until al dente in boiling water. (I used 48 oz of spaghetti so used my huge stock pot...as in REALLY big...).
- Cook ground beef and drain it.
- Drain spaghetti. While warm, add butter, eggs, and Parmesan cheese to the pasta and toss.
- Place into a well greased casserole. (At this point, many recipes say to "make a well" for the cottage cheese mixture; I just layer it right over all of the pasta, more like a lasagna.)
- Mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, and a little milk (as needed for "spreadability").
- Spread cottage cheese mixture over pasta base.
- Combine meat and red sauce. Pour over cottage cheese layer.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes uncovered.
- If desired, sprinkle another ½ cup of mozzarella over dish during last ten minutes.
This recipe was in my “ground beef cycle” from my many years of MEGA freezer cooking. It freezes great and makes a nice all-in-one-dish entree for a new baby’s arrival or for feeding many people a hearty entree (when using two or three of them).
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