Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a delicious and budget-friendly dish that has become a popular comfort food for many families. This hearty and ooey-gooey casserole is made with simple ingredients like spaghetti, Italian sausage, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella. It is easy to make and takes only 45 minutes to prepare, making it a perfect choice for busy weeknights.
The popularity of Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole has led to many variations of the recipe. Some recipes use cream cheese, sour cream, or ground beef instead of Italian sausage. Others add vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to the mix. Regardless of the recipe, the end result is a delicious and satisfying meal that is perfect for feeding a crowd or for leftovers throughout the week.
History of Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a popular American dish that has been around for many years. The origins of this dish are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in the Southern United States.
One theory is that the dish was created during the Great Depression when families had to make do with what they had. Spaghetti was a cheap and filling ingredient that could be stretched to feed a large family. The addition of cheese and meat made the dish more substantial and flavorful.
Another theory is that the dish was created in the 1980s by a group of Italian-American women who were looking for a new twist on traditional spaghetti. They added cream cheese and sour cream to the dish, giving it a rich and creamy texture that was reminiscent of a million-dollar meal.
Regardless of its origins, Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole has become a beloved comfort food for many Americans. It is often served at potlucks, family gatherings, and other social events. The dish is easy to make and can be customized to suit individual tastes. Some people prefer to add vegetables such as bell peppers or mushrooms, while others like to add extra spices or herbs.
Overall, Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a delicious and satisfying dish that has stood the test of time. Its popularity is a testament to its versatility and appeal to a wide range of tastes.
Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that can feed a crowd. To make this casserole, there are a few essential ingredients that you will need.
The base of this dish is spaghetti noodles. It is recommended to cook the spaghetti al dente, which means it is cooked but still firm to the bite. Overcooked spaghetti can turn mushy once baked, so it is important to cook it just right.
The meat sauce is what gives this dish its savory and hearty flavor. Ground beef is the main source of protein in this recipe, but lean ground beef can be used to reduce the fat content. Other aromatics and spices like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and green onion are added to enhance the flavor of the sauce.
The cheese layer is what makes this dish creamy and cheesy. Either cottage cheese or ricotta cheese can be used for this recipe, depending on personal preference. Additionally, cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded cheddar-Monterey jack cheese blend are also used to create a rich and flavorful cheese layer.
Other ingredients like marinara sauce, water, and olive oil are also used in this recipe. Marinara sauce is used to add a tomato flavor to the meat sauce, while water is added to thin out the sauce. Olive oil is used to cook the meat and onion.
In summary, the essential ingredients for Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole include spaghetti, meat sauce, cheese, marinara sauce, water, and olive oil. By using these ingredients, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal that is perfect for any occasion.
Cooking Utensils Needed
To make Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole, you will need a few essential cooking utensils that can be found in most kitchens. Here is a list of the basic cooking utensils required to make this delicious dish:
A large pot is needed to cook the spaghetti noodles. The pot should be big enough to hold the spaghetti noodles and water, with enough space for the noodles to move around freely. A pot with a lid is preferred as it helps to retain heat and cook the noodles evenly.
A colander is used to drain the spaghetti noodles after they are cooked. It is important to use a colander with small holes to prevent the noodles from slipping through.
A skillet is used to cook the meat sauce. A large skillet is preferred as it allows for the meat to cook evenly and gives enough space to mix in the other ingredients.
A baking dish is used to assemble the casserole before baking. A 9×13 inch baking dish is a good size for this recipe.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Measuring cups and spoons are used to measure the ingredients accurately. It is important to measure the ingredients correctly to ensure the best taste and texture.
Mixing bowls are used to mix the ingredients for the meat sauce and cheese mixture. It is important to use a large mixing bowl for the cheese mixture to ensure that all the ingredients are well combined.
Having these basic cooking utensils on hand will make the process of making Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole much easier and enjoyable.
Preparing Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a simple process that involves cooking the pasta, preparing the meat sauce, mixing the cheese layers, and layering the casserole. Here are the steps to follow:
Cooking the Pasta
To begin, cook 8 ounces of dry spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente. Once cooked, drain the water and toss the spaghetti in a bowl with some butter and a little marinara sauce. This helps to keep the spaghetti from sticking together.
Preparing the Meat Sauce
In a large skillet, brown 1 pound of ground beef over medium heat. Once the beef is browned, add 1 small diced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add 14 ounces of spaghetti sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Mixing the Cheese Layers
In a separate bowl, mix together 3 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1 cup of ricotta cheese, and 1 cup of sour cream. This creates a delicious and creamy cheese layer for the casserole.
Layering the Casserole
To assemble the casserole, pour half of the cooked spaghetti into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread the cheese layer on top of the spaghetti. Then, add the remaining spaghetti and top with the meat sauce. Cover the casserole with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Overall, Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for feeding a crowd. By following these simple preparation steps, anyone can create a mouthwatering casserole that everyone will love.
To bake Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole, follow the steps below:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook and crumble the ground beef and Italian sausage until it is browned and fully cooked. Drain any excess grease.
- Add onions and garlic to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add all but 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce to the skillet and stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese until they are well combined.
- In a 9×13 inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of the reserved marinara sauce on the bottom.
- Layer half of the cooked spaghetti on top of the sauce.
- Spread the cheese mixture on top of the spaghetti.
- Add the remaining spaghetti on top of the cheese mixture.
- Pour the meat sauce on top of the spaghetti and spread it evenly.
- Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the meat sauce.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Let the casserole sit out and cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
This recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months. To freeze the casserole, wrap it in plastic wrap first, and then aluminum foil. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a hearty and delicious meal that is perfect for feeding a crowd. Here are some serving suggestions to make your meal even more enjoyable:
- Garlic Bread: Serve garlic bread on the side to complement the rich and savory flavors of the casserole. You can make your own garlic bread by toasting slices of bread with butter and garlic, or you can purchase pre-made garlic bread from the store.
- Salad: A fresh salad is a great way to balance out the richness of the casserole. Try serving a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing, or a Caesar salad with homemade dressing.
- Wine Pairing: A glass of red wine pairs well with the flavors of the casserole. A full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is a great choice.
- Dessert: Finish off your meal with a sweet treat like chocolate cake or ice cream. A rich and decadent dessert will complement the flavors of the casserole and leave your guests feeling satisfied.
Overall, Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a versatile dish that can be served with a variety of sides and beverages. Experiment with different combinations to find the perfect pairing for your next meal.
Variations and Substitutions
There are many ways to customize the Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole to suit different tastes and dietary needs.
For those who prefer a vegetarian version of this classic dish, it is possible to omit the meat and replace it with vegetables or meat substitutes. Some options include:
- Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms can add a meaty texture and umami flavor to the dish.
- Eggplant: Roasted or sautéed eggplant can be used to replace the meat in the sauce.
- Tofu or Tempeh: Crumbled tofu or tempeh can be added to the sauce for a protein boost.
While the traditional recipe calls for cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, there are many other types of cheese that can be used to add flavor and texture to the dish. Some options include:
- Mozzarella: Shredded mozzarella cheese can be used in place of the cottage cheese or ricotta cheese for a more traditional lasagna-like flavor.
- Parmesan: Grated Parmesan cheese can be added to the sauce or sprinkled on top of the casserole for a nutty, salty flavor.
- Cheddar: Shredded cheddar cheese can be used in place of the mozzarella for a sharper flavor.
While the classic recipe calls for a meaty tomato sauce, there are many other types of sauces that can be used to add variety to the dish. Some options include:
- Alfredo Sauce: A creamy Alfredo sauce can be used in place of the tomato sauce for a rich, indulgent flavor.
- Pesto Sauce: A pesto sauce can be used to add a fresh, herbaceous flavor to the dish.
- Arrabbiata Sauce: A spicy arrabbiata sauce can be used to add some heat to the dish.
Overall, the Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a versatile and customizable dish that can be adapted to suit a variety of tastes and dietary needs. With a few simple substitutions and additions, it’s easy to make this classic recipe your own.
Storing and Reheating
Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a great make-ahead dish that can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. Here are some tips on how to store and reheat your casserole to ensure it stays fresh and delicious:
- Refrigerator: If you plan to eat the casserole within a few days, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Be sure to cover the pan with plastic wrap before refrigerating. The casserole will last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer: If you want to store the casserole for a longer period of time, wrap it in plastic wrap first, and then aluminum foil. Label and date the package, and store it in the freezer. The casserole will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Oven: To reheat the casserole in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator or freezer and let it come to room temperature. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
- Microwave: To reheat individual portions of the casserole in the microwave, transfer a serving to a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole stays fresh and delicious, even when stored and reheated.
Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a delicious and filling dish that is perfect for feeding a crowd. However, it is important to consider the nutritional information before indulging in this tasty meal.
One serving of Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole (approximately 1/12th of the recipe) contains around 500-600 calories, depending on the specific recipe used. It is also high in carbohydrates, with around 50 grams per serving.
Additionally, Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is typically made with ground beef or sausage, which can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. To make the dish healthier, consider using leaner meats or incorporating vegetables such as mushrooms or zucchini to add flavor and nutrition.
It is also important to note that Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a high-sodium dish, with many recipes calling for prepared spaghetti sauce and cheese that are already high in sodium. To reduce sodium intake, consider using low-sodium versions of these ingredients or making your own sauce from scratch.
Overall, while Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a delicious and satisfying meal, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What ingredients are essential for a classic Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole?
The essential ingredients for a classic Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole include spaghetti pasta, ground beef, spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Some recipes may also call for additional seasonings like garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning.
How can I make a Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole without cottage cheese?
If you prefer not to use cottage cheese in your Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole, you can substitute it with ricotta cheese or cream cheese. Simply mix the ricotta or cream cheese with an egg and spread it over the spaghetti layer before adding the meat sauce.
What are the steps to prepare an easy version of Million Dollar Spaghetti?
To prepare an easy version of Million Dollar Spaghetti, cook the spaghetti according to package instructions and drain. In a separate pan, brown the ground beef and add spaghetti sauce. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Layer the spaghetti, meat sauce, and cheese mixture in a baking dish and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Can cream cheese and sour cream be used interchangeably in a Spaghetti Casserole?
While cream cheese and sour cream both add a creamy texture to the Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole, they have different flavors and consistencies. Cream cheese is thicker and tangier than sour cream, so it may not be the best substitute. However, if you don’t have cream cheese on hand, you can use sour cream in its place.
What is the origin of the name ‘Million Dollar Spaghetti’?
The origin of the name ‘Million Dollar Spaghetti’ is unclear, but it is believed to have been named for its rich and indulgent ingredients. The dish has been a popular potluck and family dinner recipe for many years.
Where can I find the Taste of Home recipe for Million Dollar Spaghetti?
The Taste of Home recipe for Million Dollar Spaghetti can be found on their website at tasteofhome.com. The recipe includes step-by-step instructions and helpful tips for making the perfect Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole.