Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baked Spaghetti Joy (The Happiness Challenge Day 8)

Despite the amazing and restorative benefits of The Happiness Challenge, this morning I woke up feeling rather blah and uninspired. My loudest thought today is, "I don't want to do anything at all productive."

Then I reminded myself that I don't have to do anything. That's just one of the many perks of unemployment. Another perk is that I get to wear elastic waist pants all day long. A third perk is that I get to home school my children  send my children off to school each morning and then walk around cussing while I pick up assorted socks and jackets and that pair of underwear I found in the living room. What the? Seriously, someone explain the teenage brain to me, please. Wait. I think I lost my grasp on the meaning of the word perk somewhere in this paragraph.

So, because I only have to do what I want to do, I'm going to take advantage of this gorgeous day here in Birmingham. I'm going to hit the trail on Lakeshore Drive for five miles of iPod therapy. Then I'm going to sit on my back patio and read my new library book.

Later today, I'll prepare a delicious, carb-laden dish full of pasta and cream cheese.

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole is one of my favorite meals. I found the recipe on a food blog called Plain Chicken. I'm not sure how I found it. Maybe I typed "comfort food" or "something to eat while I wear sweatpants and sit on the sofa" or "cream cheese cream cheese nom nom nom" into the search term box on Google. 

Whenever I make this, we always have leftovers and it tastes even better the next day. 

I take joy in anything involving cream cheese. I could live for a month on Wheat Thins and cream cheese alone and be perfectly content. I don't understand why something so wonderful has to be so fattening.

If I ran this universe, cheese puffs would have the nutritional value of carrots and Doritos would give you the same benefits as broccoli. Also, George Clooney would be my boyfriend and my friend Stephanie would be married to Hines Ward. If you don't think my universe is better than this one, you're just crazy. 

Back in the real world, this meal is even better if you serve it with a loaf of crusty, golden French bread and a bottle of red wine. If you show up at my house for dinner tonight, please bring the wine. 

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti Casserole

12 oz spaghetti
1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

Brown the ground beef until cooked through. Drain fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce.  Set aside.

While you're browning the beef, cook the spaghetti.  Drain and place cooked spaghetti in bowl.

Stir in cream cheese (it melts faster if you cut it up into cubes first). Add Italian Seasoning and minced garlic.  Stir until cream cheese is melted and thoroughly coats the spaghetti.

Lightly grease a 9x13" pan or a casserole dish.  Spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Put spaghetti on top of sauce and top with remaining meat sauce.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

If I have some in the fridge, I sometimes sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top instead of Parmesan.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Find more delicious words dedicated to The Happiness Challenge at one of these fantastic blogs:

The Gold Shoe Blog
That's Just My Opinion
Nothing But Time For Me
My Sweet Addiction
Jen Talks A Lot About
Stellar Fashion and Fitness



    I love living in my head.

    I also love this spaghetti casserole. Mmm. Winking Owl red to the rescue.

    1. You are welcome to come to dinner. : )

  2. This is the recipe that I have been dreaming of for a long time. Spaghetti IS health food. Cream cheese too. Emotional health. Put them together and ... brilliance. Yum yum yum.


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