Monday, November 24, 2008

Spaghetti & Cheese

I promised that if I was able to find a decent substitute for Velveeta that I would post my recipe for Spaghetti & Cheese. Well luckily I found just such a thing. I was very happy with the way my casserole turned out using this new cheese. I found this wonderful creation:
It is Kraft Deluxe American Cheese. I found it right next to the Velveeta. My only qualm about it is that it only comes in a 1lb loaf when Velveeta comes in 2lbs. I do not really mind the price difference so much since I like the way it tastes. The 1lb loaf means adjusting and having to buy some sliced cheese for the top of the casserole but I can handle that. So as promised here is the recipe.

I used these ingredients
I hope you can see all of that. But here is a list of ingredients you will need. This recipe will make a 9x13 pan and can easily be halved.
1lb Spaghetti
1/2 Onion, diced
1/2 Bell Pepper, diced
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
1lb Kraft Deluxe Cheese
1 package Kraft Sliced Cheese
As you can see I don't have a Bell Pepper in my picture of ingredients. I used what I had on hand which happened to be 2 green onions and they worked just fine.
So here is how you put it all together.
Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, dice 1/2 Onion and Bell Pepper. Once the water comes to a boil throw in the Spaghetti, Onions, and Bell Pepper. I like to break the noodles in half before I add them to the pot, but that is just me. You can add in a spoon of minced garlic as well, I always do. (But I always add garlic to everything, except dessert.) Boiling the noodles with the vegetables gives the noodles a really good flavor and I promise you will like it.
While the noodles are boiling you will need to dice the pound of Kraft cheese. Toss a few cubes in your mouth because you just can't wait. Pour the can of Evaporated Milk into a medium bowl and whisk in the egg. Toss in the cubed cheese and stir together to get the cubes to not stick together so much. Set this aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Take your 9x13 baking dish and add the 2 tablespoons of Butter. It helps if you dice up the butter some. Once the noodles are done drain them and then add to your pan. You will more than likely have too many noodles but that is normal. You want to make sure to leave enough room for the cubed cheese mixture so you do not have to fill the pan to the top. Now toss the spaghetti around in the pan until the butter is melted. Once the spaghetti is coated level it out and pour in the cheese mixture. Use the pasta fork to kind of wiggle the noodles so that some of the cheese gets pushed down and isn't all just laying on top of the noodles. You want the level of the liquid to be right at the top of the noodles. If you think the level of liquid is too low you can add some more evaporated milk, or be like me and just add a splash of half and half or milk since you already have some in the fridge. You don't want the noodles to be swimming but you want an adequate amount of sauce, so adjust to your taste. Now take the sliced cheese and cover the top of the pan.
Place the dish uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes. Check on it after about 15 minutes to make sure the cheese on top is not getting too brown. You can always cover it if you don't want browned cheese. After 30 minutes take it out of the oven and be sure to let it cool for about 20 minutes or so. Allowing it to cool lets you cut and serve it easier.
Enjoy the cheesy goodness!
This is what mine looked like when it was done.
I kind of browned it a little too much but it was still yummy. You definitely do not need to brown it this much, I made it in two small pans and it cooked faster than I was expecting. If you do brown it this much don't fret I promise it still tastes great.
And this is what my serving looked like
I was very happy with my results.
So lets recap:
Boil the spaghetti with onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
Put the noodles in a pan with some butter to coat them.
Add in the diced cheese, evaporated milk, and egg mixture.
Cover with sliced cheese.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
It is really pretty simple and you can adjust proportions for your needs. Please use this recipe as more of a guideline and add in whatever else you want. I sometimes add in frozen broccoli with my noodles. You could definitely add other ingredients and make it your own like diced chicken or maybe even spinach. What makes it unique is the use of spaghetti and the fact that it is a casserole. It is really easy and really versatile. Make it special!
P.S. If you do not think Velveeta tastes funny and/or you want to use it because it is cheaper and you only have to buy one cheese, go right ahead. Dice about 1/3 of the loaf for what goes inside the casserole. Use a cheese slicer and the rest of the loaf for the cheese which covers the top. One 2lb loaf of the Velveeta will be more than enough for one recipe.
P.P.S. The type of noodle you use will affect how dry or wet the casserole turns out. We normally use spaghetti and I remembered the first time we used angel hair it was soupier. If you use more of a fettuccine I can say it will be more solid.
P.P.P.S. You can make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you need it. Just make sure to have a little less milk in it if you want to do this so that it is not too runny.

No comments: