Last fall I attended a hosting class led by Katherine Sasser at Hurley House (you can read about here).  One take away, in particular, from the class that really resonated with me — “host” dinner for your family.

A weeknight dinner at the table can be a challenge especially with everyone’s busy school, work and after-school activities. My schedule affords us the opportunity to have a sit down meal most days of the week.  I try to get ideas from Mr. and Miss Bee each Sunday on what they might like to eat for dinner during the week.  So, I have the “making dinner” part down when it comes to hosting a dinner for your family.  What Katherine was talking about are the special touches we often save for guests.  Like using china, flowers, candles, serving desserts on fancy plates, etc…

During the week, I always use the same white dishes, place mats and cloth napkins (no, I don’t use paper napkins.  I’m Southern).  Her class inspired me to prepare a meal with brand new recipes, served on pretty dishes I had put on display.

I prepared all of Katherine’s recipes — Spaghetti Pie, Spinach Salad with Basil Green Goddess Salad Dressing, Garlic Bread and Outrageous Brownies.

I’m speechless.  It was probably one of the best home cooked meals I have prepared in a long time.  Everyone had seconds, licked the plate and wanted more, but we knew we had to save room for the decadent brownies.

Back to the food.  Miss Bee’s favorite food groups are pasta, beef and cheese.  Katherine’s Spaghetti Pie was right up Miss Bee’s alley.  It made a huge 9×13 pan.  We ate half the pan and I saved the other half of the casserole and put it into two separate containers for the freezer. You may not want to be this generous and share it because I bet it tastes even better when you eat it the next day.  While I was making the casserole, Mr. Bee was making the garlic bread and doing the herb chopping for the salad dressing.  It’s always so much fun to cook with him in the kitchen.

september-2015-330Katherine’s Spaghetti Pie

1 pound of spaghetti noodles
1 24-oz jar of Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 pound of lean ground beef
1 8-oz packaged of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 16-oz container of sour cream
4 green onions, finely chopped
12-oz grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large stockpot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the meat sauce. Choose a pan large enough to hold the ground beef and spaghetti sauce.  Cook the meat, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp. of pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder over medium-high heat until well browned, crumbling meat with a metal spatula as it cooks.  Turn off heat.  Stir in spaghetti sauce. Set aside.

Prepare the cream mixture in a bowl large enough to eventually hold the pasta.  Combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and green onions.  Mix until all the ingredients are smooth. Set aside.

When the water comes to a boil, add 1/4 cup of salt before adding the pasta.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions (about 9-12 minutes).  Remove the pasta from the water and add it directly to the bowl containing the cream cheese mixture.  Stir until all the pasta is coated evenly.

Pour the pasta into the prepared pan.  Top with the meat sauce.  Add the grated cheddar cheese.  Cover with foil that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and cook and additional 5 minutes.

Your homework this coming week:  What is something you can do to make your family feel like invited guests to the dinner table?