"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
March 25, 2014
Skillet Baked Spaghetti {One Pot, 30-Minute Meal}
by Melanie Gunnell

Don’t you think Tuesdays just call for an easy breezy dinner solution? Something quick and delicious that requires very low levels of brain activity and even lower levels of cleanup? Say, a skillet baked spaghetti made start-to-finish in one skillet, for example?

I do.

This dinner is a perfect weeknight what’s-for-dinner solution. It’s uncomplicated and incredibly tasty. And while you might be cursing my name for the extra-full skillet (don’t worry, if you stir carefully, you’ll be juuuust fine), the fact that you only have to clean one skillet will have you thanking me later.

I have nothing against regular, old spaghetti. We eat it often, in fact. But everyone needs a couple spaghetti variations in their menu planning archives, wouldn’t you agree? And this is a keeper. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I carry a lot of love around in my heart for one-pot/one-skillet meals.

Skillet Baked Spaghetti
Yield: Serves 6

The easiest way to do this, says America’s Test Kitchen, is to place the spaghetti in a gallon-size zipper bag so the spaghetti is lying inside the bottom of the bag. Roll the bag up into a tight roll around the pasta and then using the edge of the counter, press into the rolled log of dry noodles, breaking them in 2-inch intervals.

Unroll the bag and you'll have lots of 2-inch segments of dried spaghetti in the bottom of the bag. Trust me, it's a lot less messy and faster than doing it strand by strand. Also, don't even think about making this in a skillet smaller than 12-inches (if you have one bigger/deeper, use it) because you'll have major overflow issues.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 12 ounces spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces (see note)

  • 3 cans (15-ounces each) crushed tomatoes

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 4 ounces light cream cheese, softened and cubed

  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet (see note above) that is oven-safe, cook the ground beef or turkey with the garlic and red pepper flakes over medium to medium-high heat, breaking the meat into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Drain any excess grease, if needed.

  2. Stir in the oregano, basil, thyme, spaghetti, crushed tomatoes, water, salt and pepper. The skillet will be very full! You are going to want to curse my name. It's ok. I still love you. If you stir carefully, you'll be fine. Just kind of lift the pasta up and over to get everything well combined.

  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook, covered, stirring every once in a while to prevent sticking and break up the noodles, for 12-14 minutes, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. It's ok if it still looks quite liquidy as it will continue to thicken while it broils and rests. While the pasta cooks, preheat the broiler.

  4. Stir in the cubed cream cheese until it has melted and combined with the pasta. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the top and broil until golden and bubbly, 2-3 minutes.

  5. Remove the skillet from the oven and let it sit for 5 or so minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Best of 2009 (changed all the ingredient amounts to better feed our family as well as changing the liquid ingredients, some of the spices, cheese, etc.)

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About Melanie Gunnell

Melanie Gunnell is a food-loving, chocolate-obsessed mom who has a desperate need to share her favorite tried-and-true recipes with the world. In a past life she graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in public health, but for the past ten years, stay-at-home motherhood has been her job along with blogging-from-home for the past five.

She resides in the brilliantly cold tundra of Northern Minnesota with her husband and their brood of five children: four boys and one tiny, bossy girl. Dark chocolate (particularly the act of shoving chocolate chips in her mouth whilst hiding in the pantry) is her coping skill of choice for both the never-ending winters and the never-ending wrestling matches in her front room.


Calling(s): Primary pianist, CTR 6/7 Primary teacher, Activity Day leader

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