Million Dollar Spaghetti

I was going to change the name of this dish to just ‘spaghetti casserole’ because (before I made it) I thought that calling it Million Dollar Spaghetti was a bit pretentious. Well, as you can tell, I didn’t change the name. That’s because, yeah, Million Dollar Spaghetti is the perfect name for it.

If you close your eyes and take a bite of this spaghetti you’ll almost think you are eating lasagna. Actually, it’s very close in flavor to my mom’s easy lasagna, a recipe I make and devour regularly. Spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, pasta, a little Italian seasoning and plenty of cheese. What’s not to love?

Million Dollar Spaghetti was a huge hit in our house. We were sad when the last piece disappeared. But not super sad since we knew it won’t be long until we make this again. And again.

You can easily change this recipe up to meet your own tastes. Maybe add some fresh mushrooms in when you cook the sausage. Or a few bell peppers. For me, a pinch or two of red pepper flake is always a good idea too. You don’t have to use an expensive jarred spaghetti sauce, either. Good ole Prego (I used Italian Sausage and Garlic) works just great!

5 from 1 reviews
Million Dollar Spaghetti
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (24 ounce) jars your favorite spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (if using links remove the casings)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) stick cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 16 thin pats, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and return the spaghetti to the pot you cooked it in and stir in one bottle of the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Crumble in the raw sausage and stir, cooking until the sausage is cooked through. I used a wooden spoon to help break up the sausage while it cooked.
  6. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining jar of spaghetti sauce.
  8. In a bowl, combine the Ricotta, cream cheese, sour cream, Italian seasoning and 1 cup of the Mozzarella.
  9. Place 8 of the pieces of butter in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish.
  10. Place half of the spaghetti mix into the bottom of the dish. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
  11. Add the cheese mixture and spread out evenly.
  12. Add the remaining butter and then add the rest of the of the spaghetti mixture. Spread out evenly.
  13. Add all of the tomato sauce mixture and spread out evenly.
  14. Add the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  15. Bake for 35-45 minutes until hot.
  16. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Peach BBQ Beans

Yeah, this is how BBQ beans are done. When you need a big batch of beans that’ll knock everyone’s socks off, these peach BBQ beans are it. Sure, I’ve smoked baked beans before and I’ve soaked dry beans overnight and gone through all the hassle. No hassle here. Just great BBQ bean flavor, with a little sweetness from peaches added in. Nice and different, and definitely delicious.
peach-bbq-beansIf peaches aren’t your thing, substitute canned apple pie filling instead. Or make two batches, one peach and one apple and amaze all of the guests at your next (big!) party.

Peach BBQ Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14 servings
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until the bacon starts to crisp.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Do not remove any fat in the skillet.
  5. Add the bell pepper and onion to the skillet and cook until softened, stirring often, 5-6 minutes.
  6. Place all ingredients into a very large bowl and stir to combine well.
  7. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in the bean mixture and spread out evenly.
  8. Bake for 1 hour or until bubbly hot. Note: If your pan is full to the brim, you might want to place a large baking dish on the oven rack below to catch any drippings that might flow over the side.
  9. Let cool slightly before serving.

 

Chipotle Shake’N Bake

It has been a long, long time since I have made Shake’N Bake pork chops. They were a staple in my bachelor days. I also recall my mom making Shake’N Bake chicken or pork chops back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Honestly, I’d forgotten all about it until the other day when I came across a copycat recipe for Shake’N Bake. I instantly flashed back to the pork chops of years passed, and thought… boy, I really need to make those again. So I made the copycat of the mixture, but of course I had to add my own little twist. That twist came in the form of great, spicy smokey chipotle powder. What a great addition. I so loved these pork chops. Even better than I remember.
Chipotle Shake'N BakeI didn’t go crazy adding the chipotle. I wanted just enough to get a hint of smokiness. I hint of heat. Subtle is what I was after and that’s what I ended up with.

My favorite way to use chipotle Shake’N Bake is on pork chops cooked in my Big Easy.

Chipotle Shake'N Bake
Author: 
Recipe type: Seasoning Mix
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
Copycat Shake'N Bake
  • 1 tablespoon (or more, to taste) chipotle powder
  • 3 cups unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 3 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Instructions
Copycat Shake'N Bake
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the oil and stir until the lumps are all gone.
  3. Store in an air-right container for up to 2 months until ready to use.
For pork chops
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Rinse chops and pat dry.
  3. Working in batches, transfer chops to a resealable bag.
  4. Add chipotle Shake'n Bake mix.
  5. Seal and shake to coat chops.
  6. Shake off excess coating and transfer chops to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
For chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Working in batches, transfer chicken pieces to a resealable bag.
  3. Add chipotle Shake'n Bake mix.
  4. Seal and shake to coat chicken.
  5. Shake off excess coating and transfer chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes for bone-in chicken or 20 minutes for boneless chicken until done.

Baked Smothered Chicken Burritos

After making a big batch of slow cooker Mexican chicken I knew what was next. Burritos. But not just regular ole burritos. Burritos filled with spicy, tender, juicy chicken,topped with a a fantastic creamy sauce full of cheese and fire-roasted green chiles. Served garnished with tomatoes, avocado and chopped cilantro. These baked smothered chicken burritos made for a fantastic dinner.

Baked Smothered Chicken BurritosI loved that these burritos have a bit of crunch to them, thanks to spending a few minutes under the broiler. You don’t have to get them super crunchy, or crunchy at all, but it adds a nice textural contrast to the moist soft chicken.

Baked Smothered Chicken Burritos
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
For the burritos
  • 3 cups slow cooker Mexican chicken, warmed
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Nonstick cooking spray
For the cream sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (4 ounce) can fire-roasted chopped green chilies or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Hot sauce, to taste
Instructions
For the burritos
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
  3. Lay tortillas out on a flat surface.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup of the chicken into the center of each tortilla. Top with a small handful of cheese.
  5. Roll the tortilla up like a burrito and place onto a baking rack seam-side down.
  6. Place rack onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Place burritos under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until crispy. Flip and broil the other side until crispy, about a minute.
  8. Remove from the oven and plate topped with the cream sauce and your favorite toppings.
For the cream sauce
  1. Warm the chicken broth in a small sauce pan.
  2. Melt the butter with the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  3. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes or until the flour has cooked.
  4. Slowly add the broth while whisking. Cook until thickened, whisking constantly.
  5. Add the cumin, salt and pepper and stir.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream. Then add the chiles and cheese. Stir to melt.
  7. Add hot sauce to taste, stir, and serve.

 

Baked Potatoes on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I rarely eat baked potatoes as a side. Instead, I prefer to cook up a big ole Russet potato, load it up with all of my favorite toppings, and eat it as the main course. They are truly one of my favorite foods. I like my potatoes done perfectly, with a slightly crunch skin. If I’m cooking them indoors, in the oven, I follow the recipe for the Best Baked Potatoes. They always come out fantastic.

This time I decided to see if I could get the same great results cooking potatoes on my Char-Broil Big Easy. And boy, did I ever get great results. These potatoes were as great as (if not a bit better than) the potatoes made in the oven. Creamy insides, slightly crunchy skin, just absolutely perfect.
Baked Potatoes on the Char-Broil Big EasyI didn’t want to bury the flavor of these great baked potatoes, so I topped them simply: a bit of crumbled cooked bacon, a little butter, a dollop of sour cream, cheese, and a few green onions. Perfection.

Baked Potatoes on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Russet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Your favorite potato toppings
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Rinse the potatoes under cold water and brush off any dirt. Dry well with a paper towel.
  3. Pierce each potato 4 times with a sharp knife.
  4. Lightly brush the potatoes with oil.
  5. Sprinkle some salt onto a plate and roll the potatoes in the salt.
  6. Place potatoes into the Big Easy cooking basket.
  7. Bake until potatoes are done (210 F internal temperature, or tender all the way through when poked with a knife), 40-60 minutes depending on their size. You can also test for doneness by squeezing the potatoes (with potholders on). If they give easily, they are done.
  8. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Tortilla Pizzas

Sometimes you just need a quick, easy, fun dinner. We often make pizzas on French bread and either grill them or bake them in the oven. This time we decided to try something new and make tortilla pizzas. They turned out fantastically crunchy and very tasty.

Tortilla PizzasMake sure you don’t use too much sauce or your tortilla pizzas will get soft and soggy. You can bake them for a few minutes before adding the toppings to help crisp them up, or use a pizza stone.

We used our homemade pizza sauce when we made these pizzas. I think it’s the best sauce ever. It takes a little bit of time to put together, but it is oh so worth it. I usually make a very big batch and freeze some so I always have it on hand for a great, quick dinner like these tortilla pizzas.

Tortilla Pizzas
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Toppings (mushrooms, olives, cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, etc)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven to get hot.
  2. Spread sauce over tortilla. Add cheese and toppings.
  3. Bake 10 minutes or until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted.

 

Creamy Garlic-Cauliflower Bake

This is the first time I’ve cooked with the new Philadelphia savory garlic cooking creme, and I have to say, I was pretty happy with the end result. The flavor is definitely there. If you know someone that isn’t a fan of cauliflower, this creamy garlic-cauliflower bake side dish will change their minds in one bite.Creamy Garlic-Cauliflower Bake

Creamy Garlic-Cauliflower Bake
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 10 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces (2 medium heads)
  • 1 can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 2 (10 ounce) tubs Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
  • 20 Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  3. Add cauliflower and let boil 3-4 minutes until just starting to get tender.
  4. Remove cauliflower to drain, but reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  5. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  6. Add the cauliflower, peppers and cooking creme. Stir to coat and spread out evenly. If the mixture is too thick to stir, add a bit of the reserved cooking water.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, and fresh parsley. Sprinkle over the cauliflower mixture.
  8. Cover the baking dish with aluminum and bake 25 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake another 5-10 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

 

Oven-Baked Hot Dogs

Who would’ve thought… who would’ve known…. that oven-baked hot dogs could be soooo good? Maybe it was because I was just jonesin’ for a hot dog, but a glance outside made me realize that a grilled dog just wasn’t in my future. These baked ones came out just great!

Here are they are just before getting cheesed and baked.Oven-Baked Hot DogsAnd… the money shot! I think these would be great for a party, kids or not!

Love hot dogs as much as I do? Check out my free eCookbook that is packed with tons of hot dog recipes.

Oven-Baked Hot Dogs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili
  • 8 hot dog buns
  • Mayonnaise
  • 8 all hot dogs
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pickled jalapenos (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onions and cook until just starting to get tender.
  4. Stir in the chili and heat through. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread a little mayonnaise on the inside of all the hot dog buns. Yes, mayonnaise. Trust me.
  6. Add a hot dog into each bun then place into a 9" x 13" baking dish. You might have to squeeze them in a bit, but that's ok.
  7. Top each dog with a tablespoon of the pickle relish.
  8. Spoon the chili mixture over the hot dogs and top with cheese and jalapenos (if using).
  9. Bake for 40 minutes.