Baked Spaghetti Casserole

I am in a confessing mood today. I'd like to share with you a little secret about why I like to cook.  It's in this video. Take thirty seconds to watch it and change your life. Seriously.

Do you see? Do you understand? Sanctuary friends, it is in your kitchen! Mr. Bell has taken to reading in the bathroom and for some reason, the little Bells leave him alone. He manages what I call a complete "get ready from scratch" almost every day. Showering, shaving, grooming, dressing. All of it. Every day. I don't know why our children respect his bathroom time because I'm lucky to get 90 seconds alone in the bathroom every third day. Not that I don't shower every day, don't freak out. I totally do. But leisurely alone time? No. 

I must be much more creative.  Do you smell what I'm cookin' here? Things that seem complicated - like a totally homemade freshly baked casserole coming out of the oven - can buy you some peace and quiet. Especially if you have a door on your kitchen which I do not but for the love of all that is holy, some day I will.

This recipe makes enough for two complete casseroles. Bake half tonight in a casserole dish and put the other half in your freezer. Then next week, whip this out and put it in the oven while you catch up on Real Housewives, Facebook, whatever. I don't judge.

Baked Spaghetti Casserole

1 lb spaghetti
1 lb bacon
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 (14 ½ ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles (or not if you don't like a little spice)
2 (10 ½ ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water 2-3 minutes less than the package directs for al dente as you will be baking this. Drain pasta and set aside.
  3. While pasta is cooking, chop bacon and cook until crisp. Wipe pan clean.
  4. In bacon pan, cook ground beef, onion and bell pepper over medium heat and season with a bit of garlic salt and pepper. Or whatever you like for general seasoning. Drain fat.
  5. Add tomatoes and soup to meat mixture and heat through. Stir in half of the cheese and the crumbled bacon. Continue heating until cheese is melted.
  6. Add cooked spaghetti to the sauce mixture and pour into a casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove cover and top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese is melted -  about 15 minutes.
What are some of your favorite time saving tips? I'd love to hear them!

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