Scooter’s Spaghetti

scooters spaghetti post

What kind of recipe makes your all-star list? If you are like me, it must be easy, made from ingredients you are likely to have in your pantry and something most people (including kids and picky eaters) will like. Bonus points for something that can be made ahead of time and doesn’t require much last minute preparation.

scooters spaghetti 2

Scooter’s Spaghetti fulfills all these requirements. But who is Scooter you ask? She is one of my favorite people from way back who is an awesome cook and gave me this recipe. Her name matches her personality perfectly—she’s great fun.

While I’m pontificating, I might as well give you my take on sharing recipes. Some people are reluctant. I used to be. But I have found sharing a recipe ensures a memory of you every time the recipient makes it. Hopefully, you’ve written the measurements down correctly so the memory will be good.

Case in point, I recently ran into somebody I had not seen in 30 years. She was completely forgotten to me. But she remembered a recipe I had given her. Said she still makes it. When she told me what it was I couldn’t place it. Guess it was a fleeting experiment for me.

Note to Scooter: “I think of you every time I make this, which is really often since we all love it so much.” My hips are not quite as grateful.

Scooter's Spaghetti
Serves: 10
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Layered spaghetti casserole topped with french fried onions. A family favorite!
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers (I usually omit or substitute red peppers)
  • ⅓ cup chopped onions
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • French-fried onions (small can)
  1. Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef. Drain excess grease. Add spaghetti sauce to skillet and heat.
  3. Combine onions, peppers and butter in small glass bowl. Cover and microwave 4 minutes on HIGH until soft.
  4. Add cream cheese and milk to vegetables and stir well. (If cream cheese is not soft, nuke it for 20-30 seconds to make it easy to spread.)
  5. Using a 12 x 8-inch baking dish (or something close), assemble in the following order: thin layer of spaghetti sauce, cooked spaghetti, cream cheese/vegetable mixture, remaining spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese (amount subject to your own taste)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with french-fried onions and continue baking 5 more minutes. (This is the secret ingredient--don't let them burn.)
Make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze without the French Fried onions. Don't forget to add them 5 minutes before casserole is finished cooking.



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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Bobbi March 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm

May I use your picture on Pinterest?
Thank you!


Mandy March 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I LOVE this recipe! My husband told me to make sure I had it in a safe place. He raved about it. My kids enjoyed it too. I did change a couple things. I omitted the onion and peppers and used Philadelphia Pesto Cooking Creme instead of the regular cream cheese and milk. It was delicious!!


Paula March 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

Pesto Cooking Creme? That’s a new twist I haven’t heard of and I can’t wait to try it. Glad it was a hit. pr


Melissa February 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I froze this. Do I need to thaw it b4 I cook it?


Sandy February 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I made this for my husband and son. We all loved it! I rarely find a recipe that everyone likes well enough to say “Keep this one” and both made a point of telling me to fix this often. I used a little extra green bell pepper and a bit extra onion. Everything else was by the recipe and it was really good as well as easy ro prepare. It will be a staple for potlucks and to give to new moms, friends that have just had surgury and especially for our family meals! Thanks for sharing!


Barbara February 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Dirt cake is a combination of crushed Oreos layered with a cream cheese/vanilla pudding/confectioners sugar/whipped topping mix. Unbelievably delicious and with a calorie count to match! I usually make it for large gatherings as it makes a ton. : ) One of my favorite pictures of my daughter is of her with my best friend who is one of my incredible cook friends. They are rolling out pie dough together, my daughter is using a plastic play dough roller…adorable! Enjoy cooking with your little ones, it just makes it that much better.


Barbara February 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Paula, I saw your comment about recipe sharing and had to share this… I have a spiral bound “recipe book” that a friend bought for me in the dollar rack at Michaels a few years ago. She’s an excellent cook and I was a beginner, so she wrote a few of her recipes in it. I now, 5 years later, have 20 recipes in my cookbook, and ALL are from friends and family. They have names like “Teri’s Chicken and Noodles”, “Grandma Rose’s Snack crackers” and “Auntie Sue’s Dirt Cake”. I am eternally grateful to these gracious ladies who have shared their secrets and their love of cooking with me. It’s a treasure that I will add to forever and plan on passing on to my daughter…who at 2 1/2 loves to cook!


Paula February 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hi Barbara,
Auntie Sue’s Dirt Cake sounds interesting. Assuming it’s chocolate something??
What a blessing to have a daughter who already loves to cook! I just found out my daughter-in-law is pregnant last night and I’m praying for a girl since I only had sons. Either way, I can’t wait to cook with them. pr


Michele February 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I just started a new blog about recipes and this was my first one!


Elsie February 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm

What brand of spaghetti sauce do you use?


Megan February 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Made this tonight for the first time, I didn’t have any french fried onions or any peppers so I omitted both, but it was still fabulous! My husband said he couldn’t really tell a difference between it and regular spaghetti, but I could. I will definitely be making again! Thanks!


Paula February 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Glad you liked it. I make it most often without the peppers myself but couldn’t do without the fried onions. They would definitely make your husband sit up and take notice. 🙂 pr


Joan@Chocolateandmore February 7, 2012 at 10:21 am

I’m so glad I found this on Pinterest. I’ve been looking for a spaghetti recipe for a cooking challenge but wanted something different. Based on all the comments, I’ve found my recipe, can’t wait to make this!


Paula February 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Hi Joan,
It’s definitely my favorite spaghetti. Hope you like it. pr


Lori Lindsey February 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm

This is, by far, the best baked spaghetti I’ve ever made. I cannot wait to make it for a group other than our family. I wasn’t too sure about the cream cheese but that, along with the onions, really make this fabulous!


Cindy January 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I found this on Pinterest and made it for dinner last night. It was amazing! We will definitely be having this again. I mixed half zesty/spicy spaghetti sauce and half regular and it was perfect.


wintersundays January 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

🙂 You know what? They were actually shredded carrots. Not sure why I said chopped. That might be too chunky. I bought them pre-packaged and had only a 1/4 cop or so left. So I threw them in! I was really looking forward to left overs today. Le sigh. The fam had other ideas! Someone (who shall remain nameless) polished it off. Actually there must have been at least 2 midnight snackers. LOL. Thanks again Paula!!


wintersundays January 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

After seeing this recipe on Pinterest; I made this for the fam tonight. Big hit! I used Italian sausage instead of ground beef and added minced garlic and chopped carrots to the green peppers/onions (3 minutes in the microwave – I like crispy veggies). To me the real secret ingredient is the cream cheese. One note I totally missed the part about adding the sausage (or ground beef) to the tomato sauce so I was half way through layering when I realized that I hadn’t added the sausage! Ugh. Fam didn’t seem to care or notice that the sausage was on top. 🙂 Definitely making this again!! Thanks so much


Paula January 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Your comment made me laugh. I’ve gotten the layers mixed up too but it all tastes about the same in the end. Have never tried carrots but why not? pr


Chalyna January 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

Made it for my family and friends yesterday.Was a huge succes.So delicious and easy to serve.
Will be a favorite at our house from now on.


Melissa January 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I pinned this a little while ago, and it has been re-pinned like crazy!!!! 163 times in just a few days!! It’s totally cracking me up. Guess I’ll have to actually MAKE the recipe and give it a try!!!!


Julie January 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! I made this tonight, then waited for hubby to go get his customary Indian pickle to spice it up (he is Indian, and Italian food is never flavorful enough for him). He RAVED about this dish! No spicing up needed. (I will say….I used spicy Arrabbiatta pasta sauce, and hot sausage in place of the ground beef…but still..). The whole family loved it, and it was easy to prepare. This is a new favorite.


Paula January 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Love, love your modifications!


Ashlee January 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Found this on Pinterest, I am always looking for easy make ahead recipes that all my husband has to do is throw in the oven. Getting ready to hit the kitchen right now! Thanks!!


UTmama December 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

This sounds really yummy! I didn’t see the temperature to bake it anywhere. Can you please tell us what time & temp to cook? Thx


Paula December 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Check out #12 on the directions. 25 min at 350. Add onion rings on top and bake 5 mor minutes.


lindsey December 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Thank you SO much for sharing Scooter’s spaghetti. I found it off of pinterest and it has become a staple in my house for the last month. I make it for all of my friends who have had new borns and for my boyfriend’s mom who recently had surgery. EVERYONE loves it! Its so easy and so tasty! thanks again for sharing!


Barb C. December 17, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Yummy! My daughter and her 4 children are visiting for the Holidays, so we made a double batch… I really didn’t need to, but it will make for some awesome leftovers! Thank you for shaing the recipe and thank you to Scooter!!


Paula December 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hi Barb, I get so excited when I have leftovers of this stuff. I’ll admit to hiding it so I can enjoy for lunch at work. So glad to hear you liked it too.


kristen December 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

thanks! made this tonight (via pinterest) & it was SO YUMMY!


candice December 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

made this last night for my family! This was SOOOOOO GOOD! I added mushrooms to the veg mix and cooked with butter and garlic on the stove then mixed with the cream cheese. we WILL be making this again!


zena December 6, 2011 at 7:09 am

I found this on pinterest and i’ve made this three times already..this is my family’s new favorite spaghetti recipe! The only change I make is to mix the pasta, veggies, and meat mixture together and pour into a casserole dish. Just easier for me. Thanks to Scooter for creating it!


Jody December 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Can’t wait to try this, it looks super yummy! Thanks for pinning!!


Michele November 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Made this for my daughter and her family – huge hit with everyone especially the 2 year old! It is now on their Favorites List! Thank you so much for posting this – and thanks to your friend Scooter for creating it!


Terrah November 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

making this tonight. my little one loves to help in the kitchen, and she will love helping with the layers! thanks! will update and let you know what we think!!


Paula November 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Making this tonight—so excited!


Missy November 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Made this tonight and it was delicious! I could have eaten the cream cheese mixture by itself! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!


Marie November 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Just for ease of reading the recipe I would change the “spaghetti sauce” step to “meat sauce” as it was referred to earlier in the recipe. I would also make sure your cream cheese is softened because the heat of the onions is not enough to melt the cream cheese when mixed together. I used an 8×8 dish and it fit perfectly. I didn’t add green peppers or french fried onions and it was very good. I will definitely make this again.


Dar November 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit! Love the fried onions on top for that little crunch. All I added as an extra was basil and oregano to to the sauce and a bit to the cream cheese mixture. After letting it set for 10 minutes it held together like a lasagna when dishing up. Will make again!!!


Brandi November 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I made this last night and use fake beef crumbles to make it vegetarian and it was sooo good. Had it again for lunch. Yum!


Holly Ford November 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm

This was SOOOOO good! We are vegetarians, so I substituted 1 lb baby bella mushroom chopped for the ground beef. It was heavenly!


Sarah [Nurse Loves Farmer] November 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Definitely love this…but is there an easy way to mix the cream cheese with the veggies? It’s so awkward!


Paula November 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Hi Sarah, I soften the vegetables and cream cheese in the microwave for about a minute and they will mix together easily. Hope that helps. Paula


Kathy November 10, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I have made this two times. My daughter loves it. I added some garlic salt the second time as I thought it was a bit bland but that is probably due to the brand of sauce I used. A big hit regardless!!


Kim November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am

Oh how my husband loves those fried onions! I showed him this recipe and he can’t wait to try it!


ande November 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm

This was awesome!! Thank you!!


Amanda November 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm

What size pan would you suggest for the spag if I don’t have a 10×6?


Amanda H March 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I made it in an 8×11 and it worked fine.


Nicole November 1, 2011 at 7:56 am

Making this for dinner tonight! I’m so excited to try it!


Paige Mark October 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm



Jessica October 30, 2011 at 12:16 am

First recipe of yours I’ve made thanks so much for posting this!! Soooo Good!


Kate Hansen October 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Made this tonight for my family. Rave reviews. Will definitely make again! Thanks for the recipe.


MariJo October 15, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Ok, so I was telling my husband about seeing this recipe on your blog and he was really excited about it. He usually cooks dinner during the week because of our work schedules and he actually made this this spaghetti. It was really, really good. He said he’ll be making it again. Thanks for the recipe!


Nelena Liff October 11, 2011 at 5:33 am

I made this for dinner tonight. It was super tasty, and not to mention, quick & easy!


Paula October 11, 2011 at 11:53 am

Nelena, Thanks for coming back to say so. This is definitely one of my very favorite recipes.


Katie October 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Now that’s what I call some serious comfort food! Awesome!


Gail Tucker October 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Enjoyed “Scooter’s Spaghetti” last evening made by Scooter and it was delicious. I have never had a pasta other than lasagna that you could make ahead and bake in the oven just before serving. It was so good and I was told it is even better warmed up the next day. A great recipe to have in one’s file. Thanks. Gail Tucker


Xanax November 12, 2010 at 8:47 am

OMG, it looks amazing…! Thanks


Beth Pope October 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I don’t check your website often enough – I am having to stay up tonight to wait on a cheesecake that is cooling – I won’t share the recipe – because it doesn’t meet your requirements – way too much effort and time – but boy does it taste good. I thought I would share with you our favorite Salmon Recipe – it’s one that we’ve had for Christmas the last several years. Try it and give me your opinion – Would love to see you some time – the next time I’m over your way – I’m calling and scheduling some time with you and Billy.

Grilled Salmon with Sweet Corn, Tomato and Avocado Relish and Grilled Asparagus

2 large ears fresh yellow corn, peeled & silk removed
2 large Creole or other vine-ripened tomatoes, cored & cut into 3/4 inch dice (about 2 cups)
2 Haas avocados (14 oz), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice (2 c.)
6 T. finely chopped red onions
2 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. salt (might want to cut down)
1/2 t. freshly ground white pepper
4 (6 oz) salmon filets with skin
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. Essence (I just buy a jar)
Grilled Asparagus with Garlic (I just cook it in a pan with garlic and olive oil)

Boil corn until tender (approx. 4 min.). Drain. Cut kernels from ear and put in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, avocados, onions, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Toss to combine and set aside

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Lightly brush the fillets with the olive oil and season each on the flesh side with 1/2 t. Essence, and 1/4 t. of the remaining salt, and pinch of the remaining white pepper. Add to the grill, skin side down and cook until the skin is crisp (4-5 minutes). Turn and cook until the salmon is opaque and medium-rare (about 4 minutes) depending upon the thickness of the fillets.

To serve, lay the asparagus fillets down the center and place the fillets of salmon on top. Spoon the cool or cold relish over the fish and serve immediately.

We like the warm asparagus and salmon with the cool relish.

You are doing an awesome job on your web page – later, beth


Suzanne August 26, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Yum! I think I need to make this next week sometime!!


Scooter August 13, 2009 at 9:14 pm

this was quite fun to log on and see that I made the blog. I am thoroughly enjoying the tips. I check the blog just about every day and then scour the grocery stores to check them out for myself.
So far…….love the gnu bars, smoked sundried tomatoes and fage greek yogurt!


Romaine August 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm

I was hoping you would see it! Ok if I put up the almond chicken one of these days? Love that stuff too.


Julie Lancelot September 24, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Scooter! I cannot tell you how much we love this recipe, and how many times I’ve made it. Thank you SO much! Just today I took a pan of it over to the home of a friend who has cancer. Her daughter texted me, raving about it, and asking me to please, please make it again, even if only for a church potluck or something. I have made it for our church home group meetings, family gatherings…..I always make two pans of it (one with ground beef and regular sauce, another with hot sausage and spicy arrabbiata sauce), and then we have leftovers for another night later in the week when we are all running different directions. It is my go-to recipe, all thanks to you!


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