Our infamous event planner neighbor, Ms. Jackie, went above and beyond for her latest party. She hosted an 80s prom night last night in her backyard oasis, Possum Grove. She even rented a dance floor and had a balloon arch photo area. In honor of this big event, I cooked up a new party dip to share with guests rather than making one of my old reliables. This hot and cheesy roasted red pepper dip was better than I expected. I think throwing the bacon bits on the top before baking really elevated the flavor satisfaction levels.
The cream cheese base in this dish reminds me of the Hot Artichoke Dip and the Charleston Cheese Dip, which have always been favorites of mine. If you need appetizer ideas for football watching this fall or are cooking for a cocktail party with friends, I recommend this roasted red pepper dip recipe.
- 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 2 T. finely chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-5 sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (~4 oz)
- 1/3 c. chopped roasted sweet red peppers
- 1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 c. shredded Italian cheese blend
- 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
- Ritz and/or Club crackers for serving
- In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic until blended.
- Stir in tomatoes, red peppers, mozzarella cheese, Italian cheese blend, and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese.
- Spread mixture in a greased baking dish. I used an oval baking dish, but a 9-inch pie pan would work too. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bacon bits.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until edges are bubbly and lightly browned.
- Serve warm with crackers.
It is embarrassing how little food preparation I have done for my family in recent weeks. TheRoomDad has completely taken over weekend meals and school lunches. The best I have been able to do for weeknight meals is scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. He practically fell off his chair when I told him I was headed to the grocery store and had decided to make Spaghetti Pie for Sunday dinner.
My original Spaghetti Pie recipe came from the Beyond Parsley cookbook, but there are many Spaghetti Pie options if you run a Google search. Over time, I have adjusted my recipe slightly because I always make a double batch, so we can eat one pie and freeze one for later. The only reason I considered making Spaghetti Pie this Sunday was because it had the benefit of an extra freezable pie, so I could avoid preparing dinner on another night in the future.
Crust Ingredients (for 2 pies)
- 2 boxes (16 oz.) thin spaghetti cooked and drained
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 5 T. butter
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 t. dried basil
Meat Sauce Ingredients (for 2 pies)
- ~1 lb. ground beef (find a package that is close to 1 lb.)
- ~1 lb. Italian sausage (1 package)
- 1 28-oz can tomato sauce
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 2 t. sugar
- 2 t. dried basil
- 2 t. dried oregano
- 1/2 c. white wine
Other Ingredients and Equipment (for 2 pies)
- 1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
- 2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
- 2 10-inch pie plates (can be disposable)
- Make the crust first. Combine the cooked spaghetti with the other “crust” ingredients while the pasta is warm. Chop mixture with two knives until ingredients are well combined and spaghetti is in small sections. Put the two knives in the center of the ingredients and pull in opposite directions to chop the pasta. Repeat the knife movement moving the pan around, so all noodles are cut into small pieces.
- Press half of the pasta mixture into each pie plate making sure the pasta covers the bottom and sides of the pie plates and set aside.
- To make the filling, brown ground beef, sausage, and onion together. Drain the fat. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and heat thoroughly.
- Put the ricotta in a small bowl and add 1 to 2 T. warm water and mix together, so the ricotta will be easy to spread.
- To assemble the pies, spread about half of the ricotta cheese on each pie “crust.” You may have some leftover ricotta.
- Top the ricotta with meat sauce on each pie.
- Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each pie.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Freezing and Reheating Directions
- Before baking, cover pie completely with foil wrapping around the bottom as well. I like to use the disposable pie pans that come with lids. I attach the plastic lid, then wrap completely in foil.
- Put covered Spaghetti Pie in the freezer.
- When ready to eat, thaw the pie in the refrigerator overnight keeping the covering on it.
- Remove all coverings before baking. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top.
- The pie can be reheated straight from the freezer. Remove any plastic covering and cover the top with foil only. Bake at 350 or 375 degrees until thawed in the center (test with a knife). Remove the foil covering and continue baking until golden brown on top and bubbly on the edges.
- I think you could assemble the layers in a casserole dish rather than a pie pan and make a spaghetti casserole type thing.
- Leftovers taste very good reheated.
- These pies make great gifts for a new neighbor or a friend with a sick family member, new baby, etc. I have also given these pies to my children’s teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week with freezing and reheating instructions!
Do you have a recipe that you always double, so you can set a serving aside for later?
I read Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool this weekend. It won the Newbery a few years ago, and the title keeps appearing on book suggestion lists I receive, so I had it in my pile of to-reads. There are multiple characters and flashbacks, so you have to stay on your reading toes (and probably be at least a 6th or 7th grader). It has a style and setting that remind me of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters also came to mind while I read.
The main character, Abilene Tucker, is sent to live with a family friend in a small town during the Depression. The town is chock full of quirky characters who are more interesting to me than Abilene. The minor characters are the reason I like the book. It took several chapters before the story grabbed me, but I loved the twist at the end during the courthouse scene– it was worth the wait.
Moon Over Manifest kick-started a new list of books that are set in small towns with memorable side characters. Do you ever read books and get caught up with the stories of the extra characters more than the protagonist? What other books have great quirky characters?
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
- A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
- A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
- Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
- Hound Dog True by Linda Urban
- Pie by Sarah Weeks
- Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley
- Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
- The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
- Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm