Oh pasta and cheese, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Baked in a casserole dish like this Mexican Spaghetti Bake is sure to please!
Don’t you just love it when you can throw together a yummy casserole with pantry staples? It’s such a great way to use up items that may have been sitting around and forgotten, usually in the back of the cupboard. That’s exactly how this Mexican Spaghetti Bake came to be. In my week-long quest to purge the pantry so I have less stuff to pack and move this week I pulled out some random canned goods and went to work.
BTW, does anyone know if canned goods go bad? I came across a can of cream of chicken soup that had a date on the bottom of October 2006! If my calculations are correct, that poor can of soup made it through 6 moves (yes, Navy families move a lot!). But don’t worry, I didn’t use it in this recipe, I tossed it in the garbage so it wouldn’t have to endure yet another move. However, I did find perfectly acceptable cans of tomato soup, enchilada sauce, chopped green chiles, and sliced olives. On top of that I came across two open boxes of spaghetti, each half used, what’s up with that? Sounded like enough ingredients to make some sort of Mexican inspired casserole, similar to the popular Mexican Taco Casserole I made a while ago. I had already defrosted some ground turkey (you could use ground beef) and had a brick of Monterey Jack cheese that needed to be used up. And, last but not least, I had 4 wedges of Laughing Cow Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese just sitting in the cheese drawer of my fridge so they got thrown in the mix as well!
I have to say this is one really fantastic recipe. Not only is it easy to throw together, it tastes great and you can practically add anything into it you like. If I had a can of corn or black beans I probably would have used them too. The enchilada sauce was only medium spicy so I added some additional chipotle powder and cumin. I probably would have used a chipotle chile with some of the adobo sauce but I didn’t want to open another can for just one chile. Instead, I added a couple of dashes of Chipotle Cholula on my serving when I ate it for even more spice. I just LOVE that stuff! But if you’re not into chipotle spice as much as I am then leave it out. Basically, adjust seasoning to your own taste. Some like it hot, some not.
So go check your cupboards right now. I bet you have enough ingredients to throw together this awesome Mexican Spaghetti Bake tonight for dinner. Your family will thank you!
- 1 box spaghetti
- 1½ lbs. ground turkey
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can enchilada sauce
- 1 can tomato soup
- 1 sm. can diced green chiles
- ¼ - ½ tsp. chipotle powder
- ½ tsp. cumin
- 3½ C. shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack)
- 4 wedges Laughing Cow Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese (opt., but good)
- Garnish with sliced olives, diced tomatoes and sliced green onions
- Preheat oven to 350º
- In large skillet, brown ground turkey, onions and garlic. Season with chipotle powder and cumin, and a little salt & pepper, if desired. Drain fat.
- Add enchilada sauce, tomato soup, green chiles. Stir to combine well, let simmer while cooking the pasta.
- In large pot, cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
- Add turkey mixture and combine well.
- In large casserole dish (I used a 2.8 liter one), layer half of spaghetti mixture. Dot with chunks of Laughing Cow cheese (if using, or you could even use cream cheese if you want). Sprinkle with half of shredded cheese.
- Top with remaining spaghetti mixture. Press down with back of spoon.
- Sprinkle top with remaining cheese.
- Bake about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- Garnish with sliced olives, diced tomatoes and sliced green onions.
- Add additional hot sauce, if desired.