School Cafeteria Spaghetti

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This school cafeteria spaghetti brings all the flavor of a childhood favorite for many of us. Rich and beefy, this spaghetti always hits the spot.

Overhead shot of school cafeteria spaghetti

A zingy tomato sauce, lots of beef, and plenty of Italian seasoning combine to create a spaghetti that everyone always loves. You’ll love how easy it is to make.

School Cafeteria Spaghetti

I’ve often heard cafeteria food spurned, but I loved it as a kid. From octagonal pizza to corn dogs, and of course, my favorite – spaghetti. That’s why I love this recipe so much.

Closeup shot of forkful of school cafeteria spaghetti

Ingredients

This simple spaghetti is made with simple ingredients. There’s nothing fancy here.

  • ground beef
  • yellow onions
  • dry spaghetti sauce mix
  • whole tomatoes, undrained
  • tomato paste
  • sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Italian seasoning
  • basil
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • spaghetti
  • parmesan cheese
Overhead shot of spaghetti ingredients in bowls on table

Instructions

Just a few simple steps are all it takes to make this classic spaghetti dish.

Step 1: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef with minced onions. Be sure to smash beef into small pieces while cooking.

Overhead shot of beef and onions in skillet

Step 2: While meat is cooking, prepare tomatoes by dicing them. (*You can substitute crushed tomatoes, but I prefer the texture of the whole tomatoes diced instead.)

Closeup shot of diced tomatoes on cutting board

Step 3: Add diced tomatoes and juice from tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Stir well.

Overheat shot of spaghetti sauce ingredients in bowl

Step 4: When meat is done, drain any fat.

Step 5: Stir in dry spaghetti sauce mix. 

Closeup shot of cooked beef in spoon

Step 6: Add tomato mixture to the meat.

Step 7: Bring to a slow boil.  Allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Closeup shot of school cafeteria spaghetti

Step 8: While the meat/tomato mixture is simmering, prepare spaghetti noodles according to package directions and drain.

Step 9: When the sauce is thickened, stir cooked pasta in. 

Spaghetti noodles on top of spaghetti sauce in skillet

Step 10: Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Serve and enjoy.

Overhead shot of school cafeteria spaghetti topped with cheese in skillet

Equipment

You’ll only need some basic kitchen supplies to make this recipe.

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Bowl
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Skillet

Substitutions

Noodles: If you don’t have spaghetti noodles, any noodles will do.

Onions: Yellow onions work best, but in a pinch, any will work.

Closeup shot of tongs holding school cafeteria spagehtti

Options

Looking for ways to change up this school cafeteria spaghetti? Here are some suggestions.

Italian Sausage: Use Italian sausage to give this recipe more heft.

Spicy: Add red pepper flakes for a kick.

Tips:

  • If you use ground sirloin, you won’t have to drain the meat.
  • Cook your pasta to al dente so it stands up to the sauce.
 Closeup shot of school cafeteria spaghetti with fork in it

More Pasta Recipes

FAQ

How long is spaghetti good?

This will keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Can you freeze spaghetti?

Yes, you can. Place it in an air-tight, freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.

How to reheat spaghetti?

If reheating from the refrigerator, simply microwave it. If you’ve defrosted it, bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees to preserve the noodles.

Closeup shot of school cafeteria spaghetti on plate

School Cafeteria Spaghetti

Ready to cook this school cafeteria spaghetti? Then print the recipe card below.

Yield: 8 servings

School Cafeteria Spaghetti

School Cafeteria Spaghetti

School cafeteria spaghetti brings back all the flavors of one of many people's favorite cafeteria food - spaghetti! It's so easy and so good.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ cup minced yellow onions
  • 1 pkg dry spaghetti sauce mix
  • 2 - 28 oz cans whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef with minced onions. Be sure to smash beef into small pieces while cooking.
  2. While meat is cooking, prepare tomatoes by dicing them. (*You can substitute crushed tomatoes, but I prefer the texture of the whole tomatoes diced instead.)
  3. Add diced tomatoes and juice from tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Stir well.
  4. When meat is done, drain any fat.
  5. Stir in the dry spaghetti sauce mix. 
  6. Add tomato mixture to the meat.
  7. Bring to a slow boil.  Allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  8. While the meat/tomato mixture is simmering, prepare spaghetti noodles according to package directions and drain.
  9. When the sauce is thickened, stir cooked pasta in. 
  10. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Serve and enjoy.

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 333Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 54mgSodium 532mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 4gSugar 11gProtein 23g

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