Source: What's Cooking, Chicago?
Baked Spaghetti & Meatballs
recipe adapted from Paula Deen
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti pasta
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
For the meatballs:
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg. Mix well and form into 36-48 mini meatballs; set aside.
Crumble the ground beef in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked, with no pink color remaining. Drain the fat from the meat, and then transfer the ground beef to a crockpot. Add the mini meatballs, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Cover the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with sauce. Add a layer of pasta and then a little less than 1/2 of each cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, return it to the oven, and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 more minutes. Cut into squares before serving.