About ten years ago was my first time on Weight Watchers. I had lost about 35 lbs that time. I’ll admit I didn’t cook as much as I do now because I worked a lot. However, I did have a few staple meals that I loved to have on hand! This is one of them. Even when I wasn’t doing weight watchers this continued to be one of my favorite ways to eat spaghetti!
The bake is one’a of my favorite recipes. It’s creamy, cheesy, packed full of yummy nutrient rich veggies, and quick and easy to prepare! People will think you spent HOURS in the kitchen. But you didn’t, and it’ll be our little secret.
This can also be one of those casseroles that you have to “clean out the left over vegetables in the fridge quickly” type of deals. I’ve added different things over the years, but the zucchini, spinach, tomato, and onion combo is my favorite. I’m sure Eric would love if I were to put mushrooms in it, but not on my watch. I’d throw them or him out the window.
Also, I have some incredibly lovely friends who are vegetarians. This can also EASILY be turned into a vegetarian meal or a Meatless Monday meal. I add lean ground beef or turkey because I like meat and the extra protein kick it gives me. Plus, I’m from the midwest, and we like our meat and potatoes.
I hope you enjoy!
Garden Veggie Spaghetti Bake
- 10 oz Spaghetti, dry broken in half
- 1 lb Extra Lean Ground Beef (I use ground turkey sometimes too)
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
- 4 cups Marinara Sauce
- 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 large bell pepper diced
- 3 medium zucchini (chopped)
- 6 cups fresh baby spinach torn into small pieces (i prefer to remove the stems, but thats a personal preference)
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- cooking spray
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat add ground beef, onions, and red peppers. Season with kosher salt and pepper. When meat mostly browned add garlic and cook until fragrant. If needed drain any extra grease.
- Add the diced tomatoes and zucchini. Cook for 5-8 minutes until veggies are softened. Add spinach and cook for another couple minutes, until it's lightly wilted.Add in marinara, cottage cheese, and whipped cream cheese. Stir to combine everything. Set to low and stir occasional.
- While the meat is cooking, boil spaghetti noodles in salted water according to package instructions. *remember salted water flavors your noodles so be sure to add it*
- Transfer the noodles and marinara/meat/vegetable mixture into the 9×13 casserole dish. Stir together until combined. Top with mozzarella cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake covered for 30-35 minutes. Then, uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Let sit for about five minutes before cutting into six servings. Enjoy!