Cooking Connection is a Journal-World feature that prints favorite reader recipes. This week's featured cook is Hazel Springer, of Lawrence, with her spaghetti hot dish.
Why it's special: "This has become our Christmas dinner over the years. The recipe came to me through our very good friends in Bella Vista, Ark.
We would feast on this the night before we all went floating down the Elk River. Served with a green salad and hot bread, it's a real treat."
Spaghetti Hot Dish
12-ounce package spaghetti (prepared per package instructions)
1 small can or jar mushrooms (sliced)
1 medium can black olives (whole pitted)
1 15-ounce can tomatoes (diced)
1 to 2 onions chopped
2 medium green peppers chopped
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup butter
1 pint half-and-half
1 pint milk
1 pound box of Velveeta cheese
Fry chopped onion and green peppers in 1/4 cup butter. Add tomatoes, mushrooms and olives. Simmer 40 minutes. Fry ground beef in 1/4 cup butter.
Make white sauce with 8 tablespoons butter, 8 tablespoons flour, milk and half and half. Melt Velveeta in white sauce.
Layer in 13-by-9-inch pan spaghetti, tomato mixture, ground beef, then repeat.
Pour white sauce over the top, working it down into the layers and sprinkle with crushed Saltines or other bread crumb mixture of your choice.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbling.