Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Meals: Spiced-Up Spaghetti

The first thing I ever learned to cook was spaghetti. But I’ve come a long way since I cracked open the can of spaghetti sauce and spilled the dry noodles all over the counter because they wouldn’t fit in the pot.

Maybe it started one day when I looked closely at those pre-made spaghetti sauce jars. “With basil and oregano, huh? Maybe I can add that myself.” It was so fun that I just couldn’t stop! I added dashes and teaspoons of whatever sounded good. This meal has been fiddled with so many times, but we now have a tried-and-true recipe that we use pretty consistently.

I know everyone has their own way of making this classic meal; this is my version of spaghetti.

Start out with ground beef, onions, and garlic cooking in a large pot.

Drain/soak up the grease – yuck!

Pour in some tomato stuff! I would love to juice my own tomatoes and be all gourmet, but using cans of regular tomato sauce is a cheap, effective, and time-saving option. I don’t know if a 32-oz. can is available; we used a 24- and 8-oz. can.

I add tomato paste for more tomato-ey flavor, and then tomato juice lightens it up. (It just bubbles and pops and is way too thick without some extra liquid.)

Then comes my favorite part – adding the spices!

I add about half of them, stir them in and let them cook for awhile, then add more closer to the end.

Oh, and there’s the pasta. Not much difficulty there. Put a dash of salt in the water before boiling, cook according to box instructions, drain, and serve.

But the sauce is where the flavor comes in. We’ve experimented with adding vegetables to the sauce. On this particular day, we sautéed some zucchini and mushrooms in a separate pan and added them at the end.

So we had spaghetti (with the sauce and veggies), herb bread, and some fruit for dinner.

Kirsten’s Spiced-Up Spaghetti Sauce

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, diced

1-2 lbs. ground beef

32 oz. tomato sauce

6 oz. tomato paste

1½ cups tomato juice

1½ tsp. garlic salt

3 tsp. oregano

3 tsp. basil

2 tsp. parsley

2 tsp. sugar

Optional: zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, etc.

  1. Over medium heat, brown ground beef with onions and garlic; drain grease.
  2. Add tomato sauce, paste, and juice and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, adding the spices 1 teaspoon at a time.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 more minutes while cooking pasta.

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