Oh, how they loved a casserole (aka hot dish) in the 1950s during this doo-wop era. After all, it was easy to prepare; there were canned or frozen ingredients that speeded along the cooking and preparation process; and the vegetables and starches extended the meat far enough to satisfy the whole family. The emphasis was not on farm to table or authentic (e.g., Italian) cuisine. It was just considered to be wholesome, simple food.
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
½ lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 lb. spaghetti
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup crushed potato chips
Start a large pot of water for the spaghetti. Lightly grease a 9”x13” baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot, cook the beef, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic over medium heat until the meat just turns brown (about 8-10 minutes). Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the water for the spaghetti comes to a boil, add salt and the spaghetti. Cook until it just becomes tender, as it will be cooked further in the oven and it should not be too soft. Drain.
Add the spaghetti and one cup of the cheese to the sauce. Stir. Put it in the baking pan. Sprinkle the cheese and then the crushed potato chips over the top. Bake for 30 minutes.