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Baked Spaghetti Casserole + Wine Pairing

I know, I’m a bit late for Wine Pairing Wednesday. But to make it up to you, I’ve got a two-fer! Not only are we going to talk about wine, and maybe call this Thirsty Thursday 😂, but I have a great recipe to share with you that pairs perfectly with this beautiful wine!

Meet Los Andicos. A red wine, Malbec,  from Mendoza, Argentina. I found this at Aldi to be honest with you. If you have an Aldi nearby, you should really check out their wine and beer selection. They have some interesting things there and I love trying new wines. Not to mention they’re cheap too. I paid about 6.99 for this bottle. This is the third bottle of wine I have tried from off of Aldi’s shelves, right in this price range of 6.99 – 9.99 and I have not been disappointed. So lets talk about the Malbec a little bit. I have seen it labeled as a full bodied red and also a medium bodied red. I think both might be true. I am not a full bodied red fan. When I hear full bodied red, I instantly think of Cabernet Sauvignon which is my “cooking” wine and I don’t care to drink it. I was a little hesitant about trying the Malbec since the bottle says it’s a full bodied. However, this tastes like a medium. Odd, but whatever. It’s delicious! Most full bodied reds pair well with heavier meats like the Cabernet. For the Malbec, it’s softer with less tannins than other reds. “What the frack is a tannin” you ask? Good question cause I had no idea either. I had to look that one up. According to vinepair.com, “Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that exist inside grape skins, seeds and stems. The scientific word for these compounds is polyphenols. Polyphenols release from the skins, seeds and stems when they soak in the grape juice just after the grapes have been pressed and are what give certain wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, their characteristic dryness or astringency. You experience the effect of tannins any time you drink a wine that creates a drying sensation in your mouth. Depending on how dry your mouth feels, you can determine whether a wine is high or low in tannins. We say a wine that is high in tannins is tannic.” So now we know! With that said, since the Malbec has less tannins, you’ll want to pair this with leaner meats like barbecue beef, ribs, rich red sauce pastas. I hear it also pairs very well with duck. For cheeses, you might consider mild cheeses like Gouda, Gruyere or Provolone.

I paired this with pasta. Which brings me to the recipe! Yes! Baked Spaghetti Casserole. This recipe comes out with layers of texture and flavor. The pasta is rich and creamy, and the meat sauce is saucy, and the cheese is so cheesy! I Served this up with some Garlic Texas Toast and it was out of this world! Especially when paired with this lovely Malbec.

Grab your ingredients! Lets get started!

You’re going to want to get your pot of water for your pasta on the stove first and cook your spaghetti according to the package directions. While that’s going on, you can go ahead and brown your ground beef right along with your chopped onion and minced garlic.  Once that’s all cooked through, drain any fat if necessary, then dump your spaghetti sauce into the skillet, along with about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and combine it with the meat.

Once your spaghetti is cooked, drain it, but don’t rinse it. Put it directly back into the warm pot and add your cream cheese. Stir until it’s melted and combined, then add your sour cream and combine that.

Now just spread your noodle mixture in a greased 13×9. You can also split this up into two 8×8 casseroles and have one to freeze.

Then, spread on your meat sauce.

Top with a ton of mozzarella, and a sprinkling of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, and it’s ready for the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.

Once it’s finished, let sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving, which is the perfect amount of time to bake up some of that Garlic Texas Toast, and open that bottle of Malbec. Enjoy!


Print Recipe
Baked Spaghetti Casserole Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain, do not rinse, and return to warm pot.
  3. Add cream cheese immediately to the spaghetti, stir together until the cream cheese has melted. Add in the sour cream, and stir to combine.
  4. Put spaghetti mixture into a greased 13x9 baking dish.
  5. In a large skillet, add ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the meat is no longer pink. Drain if necessary.
  6. Add the pasta sauce and Italian seasoning to the meat and combine.
  7. Spread meat sauce over pasta in the dish.
  8. Top sauce with Mozzarella and then the Parmesan.
  9. Bake at 350 for 30- 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese has melted.
  10. Let it stand for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Freeze Option:
  12. You can make this, and instead of using a 13x9, divide it up between two 8x8 baking dishes. Assemble casserole as per the directions. Do not back, but instead, wrap in plastic wrap, and then a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to bake, let casserole defrost in the fridge, then bake as directed.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from food.com

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Awesome Beef Enchiladas

Cinco De Mayo 2017 has passed! Not that I need an excuse to devour Mexican food, but if I ever do, that will be my excuse. Mexican food is my favorite kind of food, in fact most of my menu this week is made up of Mexican inspired food. Italian is a close second. I do cook a lot of Mexican and Italian inspired recipes. We had a lovely couple over to our home on May 5th. My husband has known them since he was just a kid, and had not seen them in quite some time. So I knew I wanted to make something really good, and since it was Cinco De Mayo that they came over for dinner, it wasn’t difficult for me to figure out the menu.

This recipe is my very first recipe that I developed as my own. I have made it several times in the past, and it always goes over well with my family and company alike. It’s super easy, and it makes a lot, so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd or taking to a potluck. I always make two pans of these because one is never enough, even for just my family. Plus, they reheat really well and we like to have leftovers for lunch the next day. Since I had not made this recipe in quite some time, simply because I’ve been too busy trying out new recipes, I felt it was the perfect dish to serve to our very special guests. Needless to say, it went over great with them too! Super easy and quick, and all you really need is some tortilla chips and salsa to serve along with them. You can top these with anything you like. We had sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, salsa and verde sauce. You could even top these with some shredded lettuce and fresh chopped tomato if you wish.

So, you want to try them? Good! Let me show you how easy this is. First, you want to prepare your Spanish rice mix according to the package directions. I do this well in advance so it’s cool enough to handle when I’m ready to roll these babies up. You can use your favorite brand of Spanish rice mix. I use Zatarain’s.  Set that aside. When you’re ready to start cooking the whole… enchilada… (HA!) just brown up  your ground beef in a very large skillet, stock pot, or dutch oven. Crumble it up as you go until no pink remains.

Once it’s cooked through, remove it from the heat and drain any fat if necessary. Now add in your prepared and cooled Spanish rice (warm is ok, you just don’t want to burn your fingers here in a minute), some cheese, and some enchilada sauce. I don’t measure the enchilada sauce, I just add some. You want the mixture to be moistened with the sauce, not drowning in it.

Now, mix it all up.

Now the fun part! Spoon some of this delicious enchilada filling onto one end of a tortilla and roll it up.

Place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. A 13×9 baking dish should hold 10 enchilada’s.

Once you have all of your enchiladas rolled up and in the baking dish, pour the enchilada sauce over them. As much as you like. We like ours saucy. Then cover in cheese. I use a lot of cheese. You can never have too much cheese. I use about two cups of cheese on each baking dish. Then top with sliced black olives. Into the oven at 375 it goes!

You’re gonna bake these for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Remember not all ovens are created equal, so check them at 15 minutes and go longer if needed. You want the cheese melted and the sauce bubbly.

Let it sit for just a few minutes, then dish ’em up, top them with whatever you like to top your Mexican food with, and enjoy! Don’t be afraid to spice this up if you like things spicy. Add jalapenos to your toppings, use hot enchilada sauce instead of mild. Add spicy chiles to the filling. Whatever your family likes, mild or spicy, this is the perfect dish. See, nothing to it! I hope you and your family and/or friends enjoy this as much as we do.


Print Recipe
Awesome Beef Enchiladas Yum
Recipe by Christine Titus
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Prepare Spanish rice mix according to package directions, using the diced tomatoes and butter (I do this in the microwave). Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two 13x9 glass baking dishes.
  3. In a 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in the prepared Spanish rice, about 1 cup of cheese, and some enchilada sauce (you want it moistened, not drowning).
  4. Spoon enchilada filling onto tortillas; roll up and place steam sides down in baking dish.
  5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tops; sprinkle with remaining cheese and black olives.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve with sour cream, salsa, or any of your favorite Mexican toppings.
Recipe Notes
  • Let the enchiladas sit for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven, for easier serving.
  • Don't be afraid to spice this up if you like things spicy. Add jalapenos to your toppings, use hot enchilada sauce instead of mild. Add spicy chiles to the filling.
  • Top with your favorite Mexican toppings like sour cream, guacamole, salsa, cilantro, shredded lettuce, fresh chopped tomato, taco sauce, salsa verde. The options are endless.
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