Make One; Freeze One

spaghetti pie bite

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.

spaghetti pie baked

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)

Directions

  • 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.

spaghetti pie mixing noodles

  • 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.

spaghetti pie crust

  • To make the filling, brown ground beef, sausage, and onion together. Drain the fat. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and heat thoroughly.

spaghetti pie sauce

  • 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.

spaghetti pie ricotta filling

  • Top the ricotta with meat sauce on each pie.

spaghetti pie assembly

  • Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each pie.

spaghetti pie cheese topping

  • 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.

spaghetti pie freezing

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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!

spaghetti pie slice

Do you have a recipe that you always double, so you can set a serving aside for later?

Comfort Food

taco soup and tortilla chips

It is dreary here today. We are on the fringe of all of the icy weather, so we have had solid rain with some icing. It means that bridges are closed, and school was cancelled. What do you do on a day like this? Cook soup. Since I was in my pajamas when I had this brainstorm, I sent TheRoomDad to the grocery store for Taco Soup ingredients. Not only is the soup delicious on a cold day, it is also the perfect soup for eating dinner in front of the TV and watching winter Olympics.

taco soup

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 32-oz. chicken broth (sometimes I use an additional 16-oz. can)
  • 1 4-oz. can mild chopped green chiles
  • 1 16-oz. can yellow corn (I like shoepeg corn)
  • 1 16-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16-oz. can light rd kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 16-oz. cans diced tomatoes (drain 1 can and leave juices in 1 can)
  • 1 package original taco seasoning mix
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing mix

Toppings

  • grated Mexican cheese blend
  • sour cream
  • tortilla chips

taco soup prepping

Directions

  • Trim any fat off the chicken breasts and cut in half. Put halved chicken breasts in a large soup pot with chopped onions, garlic, and 32-oz. chicken broth.
  • Simmer until meat shreds (about an hour or so). I take the pot off the heat and with two forks, pull the chicken apart in the soup pot. If it is not pulling apart easily, cook longer.

taco soup shredding chicken

  • Add all other soup ingredients through the ranch dressing mix.

taco soup adding ingredients

  • Cook another hour or two on low heat. If you would like to thin the soup at all, add some more chicken broth.
  • Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Notes

  • This is a great crock pot recipe. Put the chicken, onions, garlic, and broth in the crock pot on low in the morning. At the end of the day (about 3:00) shred the chicken. Add the other ingredients and cook a few more hours on low.
  • The longer it sits, the better it tastes!
  • Freezes well.

taco soup bite

Recipe for a Good Teacher

recipe for a good teacher one card

Teacher Appreciation Week is on the horizon at my daughter’s school, which completely turns my idea brain into overdrive. We are implementing an idea I used during the nursery school years for the kindergarten teachers this year. We are organizing delivery of a week of freezable meals and a grocery store gift card.

E-mail the parents in the class with a list of suggested freezable dishes and ask for volunteers to deliver one item each day of the week. For those who don’t like to cook but want to participate, suggest a $5 donation (per teacher if there is an aide) and use the collection for a grocery store gift card. Finally, send 4×6 blank notecards with directions home via kid mail about 2 weeks before Teacher Appreciation Week. Ask the students to write a “recipe for a good teacher” on the card– or write a note– or draw a picture.

grocery gift card

The Giftcard to Kick Off the Week: Collect donations and purchase a gift card to the local grocery store. You can also pick up one of those hot/cold bags, so the teachers can transport their casseroles home. Deliver the gift card and freezer bag on Monday with a card letting them know that meals are on the way!

sausage artichoke soup

The List: I don’t want the teachers to end up with 5 pans of lasagna, so I send an e-mail to the parent group with days of the week and casserole suggestions. Parents sign up for a day and reply all to the group. Depending on your teachers, you can add bottles of red and white wine too. If your child has 2 teachers, ask that volunteers bring 2 9×9 pans of the same casserole, so both teachers get the same thing. Food should be delivered in disposable containers, so the teachers do not have to return the dish.

  • Tuesday: Italian
  • Wednesday: Soup or Chili (Sausage and Artichoke Soup is an easy freezable soup. Click the name for the recipe.)
  • Thursday: Chicken
  • Friday: Breakfast

recipe for a good teacher card

The Recipe Cards: The concept of a “recipe for a good teacher” is tricky for small children (and some parents). Children do not have to write a recipe. Any thoughtful note or picture will work. Teachers like to be recognized by their students in some way. If students write a recipe, it should list things the teacher does in class that the kids like and then put measurements next to it.

Deliver the recipes on Friday to wrap up Teacher Appreciation Week. In my experience, this gift is the most well received of any that I give. Delivering a freezable meal to any busy friend (not just teachers) is always appreciated.