Quick Johnny Marzetti

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This is not the first time I’ve posted a recipe for Johnny Marzetti on this blog. Today I had neither the time nor the need to whip together a dinner so large, so I tried to make this as simply as possible with some convenient ingredients.

By the time I started making dinner today, I’d already walked 15,000+ steps, so I was more than willing to toss aside any culinary aspirations. I admit that I used a can of Chef Boyardee spaghetti sauce in tonight’s dinner. Yes, it possible to buy a can filled with nothing but the same sauce that blankets the famous ravioli of that same brand. Strangely enough, whenever I use this spaghetti sauce, the resulting dish does not scream of canned ravioli. Instead, the sauce lends a bit of complexity with its hints of Romano and fennel.

My husband was the one who introduced me to the Chef Boyardee spaghetti sauce. It’s one of those tips that have been surprisingly useful in the kitchen, like his suggestion to cook hamburgers “low and slow” on the stovetop (which actually makes delightful burgers, by the way).

Quick Johnny Marzetti

Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 oz sliced white mushrooms
  • 1/2 t seasoned salt
  • 1 15 oz can spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups cooked pasta, such as macaroni or small shells
  • 1 medium tomato, diced

Season beef and mushroom with seasoned salt in a 10″ or 12″ skillet. Cook and crumble over medium heat until beef is well-browned and mushrooms are soft. Drain fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes. Heat until bubbling. Add pasta to skillet, tossing gently until it is covered in sauce. Sprinkle cheese over mixture and stir until cheese is melted.

This recipe goes well with sweet peas and Texas toast on the side.

Big Daddy Meatloaf

My local independent grocer runs specials on freshly ground beef, but these sale packages average three pounds. Big Daddy Meatloaf was born from my wish to use all three of those pounds in a single recipe. Chili and spaghetti sauce can easily be adapted to a three pound range, but I wanted another simple recipe that would make a large batch that yields easy leftovers from the fridge or freezer.

As an aside, I will tell you that every time I have tried to type meatloaf in this post I have accidently keyed in meatload. I suppose this recipe does make a load of meatloaf.

Big Daddy Meatloaf

  • 3 lbs 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1.5 oz packet meatloaf seasoning
  • 2 oz packet onion soup mix
  • 3/4 cup ketchup, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Combine oats, milk, egg, seasonings and 1/4 cup ketchup in large mixing bowl. Add ground beef to bowl and gently fold into other ingredients, as if you were slowly kneading bread. Mix just until combined; overmixing will result in a tough, dense loaf.

Empty meat mixture onto cookie sheet. Shape into large oval that is 2″ thick. Cover the top with the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the center of the loaf reaches a temperature of 160 degrees.

Corn and mashed potatoes are good dishes for this meatloaf. I think the meatloaf is rich enough that no gravy is needed for the mashed potatoes.

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Chrystal at The Smallwood Parsonage.

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