My family loves Italian food. One day, I was eating dinner at my cousin’s house and she served a delicious meatloaf. I asked her for the recipe, and as I was reading over the ingredients, I thought how easy it would be to turn this meatloaf into a giant meatball!
So I added and deleted, and by trial and error, came up with this recipe. It is such a big hit at my house, I almost always make a double batch. I cut the meatloaf into one-inch cubes and either refrigerate or freeze my leftovers. I use them as meatballs in my next batch of spaghetti sauce, or sometimes make meatball sandwiches.
2 ¼ pounds ground meat
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 ½ cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. I don’t use the traditional loaf pan for my meatloaf, I use a 9×12 baking dish so it will cook faster.
Mix meat, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup spaghetti sauce in a bowl. Shape into loaf and place in pan. Cover with about a half a cup of spaghetti sauce and place in preheated oven. Cook for 30 minutes, remove from oven and drain juices. Cover with remainder of spaghetti sauce and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven, drain and serve.
Are you interested in guest posting on Family Friendly Frugality? Please email me heather @ familyfriendlyfrugality.com. I’m looking for anything in the family friendly/frugal niche, but specifically how-to’s, DIY posts and RECIPES! Must be original content not posted elsewhere.
Luckily, we’ve realized that diets with gross food don’t work any better then diets with perfectly tasteful food. That’s a big time relief for me, since I like my food to taste good! (luckily my Nutrisystem food tastes GREAT!)
I’m a big big fan of casseroles and this one is one of my absolute all time favorites. It is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe (thankfully NOT circa 1974), but tweaked with my own families preferences.
I hope you enjoy!
Beef , Vegetable & Cheese Casserole
12 oz lean ground beef
1 large onion chopped
1 zuchinni sliced thinly
1 yellow squash sliced thinly
1 medium tomato diced
1 cup of tomato sauce
2 cups low fat ricotta (or you can use cottage cheese; picture has cottage cheese…but we do prefer ricotta)
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup low fat cheddar shredded
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
First pre heat your oven to 500. Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the zuchini, squash and tomatoes on the tray. Roast for about 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat your ground beef and onions in a pan. I usually cook the onions first until they are just about translucent and then add in my meat. Drain the fat off the meat and onions and put back in the pan. Stir in the tomato sauce once the meat is browned and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Now you’ll want to mix together your ricotta or cottage cheese, cheddar, egg yolk and seasonings in a bowl.
In a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray: 1. Add the meat mixture 2. Followed by the veggies 3. Spread the cheese mixture on top
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.
This serves 6 easily
This casserole is SO good. It might not sound like much, but it’s a real treat!
Today’s recipe proves that it’s really okay to detour from the original recipe. Maybe you don’t have all the ingredients on hand. Maybe you can’t stand mushrooms or chicken or sour cream. The truth is, you can really custom make any recipe into a dish your family will love.
When I flipped over my bag of egg noodles the other day, I was hoping to find a stroganoff recipe. I have yet to make one I really enjoyed, and this was the first time I had purchased this brand of egg noodles. I was hoping for the stroganoff recipe to end my quest. Instead, there was a rather bland recipe for Creamy Chicken Noodle Bake. It didn’t use cream of mushroom/chicken/broccoli soup though, so I was interested (nothing against the cream of soups…I just get sick of every casserole recipe including them!), but it looked pretty boring.
The other problem was that it called for 4 cups of chicken, which is a lot of chicken for this frugal girl to dump into a measly casserole. AND it was devoid of any veggies. When I make a casserole, I want it to be all in one. Our meat, our veggies and our starch.
So I decided to manipulate this recipe a bit, and the finished result was just lovely! Know that you can change this up however you like. It’s a great basic recipe that you can really change up to suit your families tastebuds!
Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole
adapted from the back of a noodle bag <—Classy!
About 8 oz of egg noodles (cooked until al dente)
2 cups of cooked chicken (diced)
4 cups of chicken broth
6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
1 16 oz bag of chopped broccoli (drained completely and thawed)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat butter in a deep pot and mix in flour, salt, pepper and italian seasonings. Heat through until the mixture starts to brown (you’ll want to be on medium to low heat to be sure you don’t burn it!)
SLOWLY add your chicken broth to the pot, letting each little bit incorporate before adding more. This is the most important part! If you don’t do this slowly enough and without constant stirring, you will have a lumpy base.
Add cooked noodles, chicken and broccoli to the pot and stir
Pour into a 13x9x2 inch casserole dish that you have sprayed with non stick spray
Place in the oven for around 35 minutes
Take out and add cheese over the top and put the casserole back in the oven for 10 minutes
Let sit for a bit after you take it out of the oven so it has time to thicken
You might want to add some parsley or cracked pepper to the finished product, but I loved it straight from the oven!