This casserole comes out scrumptious every time! The night I created it, I just kept throwing more stuff onto the browned ground beef and the end result got a fantastic reaction from both me and my husband. Very much like lasagna. The leftovers freeze nicely, too!
The key to throwing something like this together easily is having the homemade spaghetti sauce at the ready in your freezer. I try to keep a big batch frozen in smaller portions for just such purposes. My own homemade meaty spaghetti sauce is what I used for this tonight. Just made a 5X batch this week, in fact.
Because of the ricotta cheese, this recipe is not suitable until you get to the “more dairy” level of the Atkins OWL ladder. There’s way too much cheese in this for Paleo folks, but Primal followers might like to try it on for size.
My spaghetti sauce has ground meat in it, so if substituting a sauce without meat, you will want to increase the meat called for by another ½ pound or your dish won’t be quite as good, in my opinion. Get a load of the nutritional info for this recipe! A very nutritious meal indeed. It was sooooooo good I’ll be making this one again and again! 🙂
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1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
2 c. my meaty spaghetti sauce (https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/peggys-spaghetti-sauce/)
12 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed out all moisture
1 6.5-oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
12 black olives, sliced
½ tsp. fennel seed, crushed
¼ c. Parmesan cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
½ c. ricotta cheese
4 black olives sliced for top garnish
4 leaves fresh basil, chopped
VARIATION: Use 1# Italian Sausage for the ground beef in this recipe.
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350º. Brown the meat in a non-stick skillet. Sprinkle evenly into a 8″x12″ greased casserole dish. Crumble the well drained and squeezed spinach evenly over the top of the meat. Sprinkle with all the Parmesan cheese. Next spread the mushrooms and olive slices evenly over the mixture. Now spread the spaghetti sauce over all without disturbing the lower layers too much. Sprinkle with the crushed fennel seed and chopped basil leaves. Dot the surface intermittently with the ricotta cheese and sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top of the casserole. Garnish the surface with the 4 sliced olives. Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 30 more minutes or until bubbly all over. Allow to cool 5-6 minutes before attempting to dip it up or the servings won’t be so pretty. It’ll still taste good, however. Serve with a nice green salad and your favorite low-carb garlic bread.
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 6 servings, each contains:
36.6 g fat
12.77 g carbs, 4.03 g fiber, 8.74 g NET CARBS
38.33 g protein
500 mg sodium