Spaghetti that’s good for you body and soul!

An old family favorite for at least three generations in my family is homemade spaghetti.  I’m not talking about making noodles or sauce from scratch, because really? Who has that kind of time these days? I certainly don’t.  But does that mean my spaghetti can’t be just as good? No.  So let me take you on one of my more simple spaghetti journeys.

I start with fresh vegetables. A whole green pepper diced up small (and smaller if you have picky eaters).  Add 1/2 of a large yellow onion diced small as well.  These are the two consistent ingredients that I always add to my spaghetti.  I begin by sautéing this in a skillet or deep pot. Crumble in one pound of lean ground beef and one pound of Italian sausage. We will explore other options later on in more complicated recipes, but for now, I will stick to the basics. The truth is my spaghetti is never the same, it varies depending on my mood, and what I have readily available to use.  Get your water for your noodles going in another large pot.  I like to get the water going to a good roiling boil then add about 2 tbsp. of olive oil to the water before adding the noodles.  The trick to spaghetti is to stir the noodles as soon as you have them all in the pot.  Then continue to stir them every couple of minutes to prevent them from sticking to each other in a big uncooked clump.

Add garlic next to the beef-vegetable mix. One-two cloves diced or thinly sliced. You can also use pre-minced in a jar kind.  Whatever you have or prefer will work fine.  Finally, add mushrooms. I prefer fresh already sliced, but you can save a few cents by buying them whole and slicing them up yourself.  Also, for picky eaters you may want to chop them up small so they aren’t recognizable.  Sauté until hamburger and sausage are cooked thoroughly and there is no pink left when you chop a piece in half.  Also, you are going to want the mushrooms to cook down some to get the water out of them.

Strain the beef mixture to drain of the fat and excess juices.  I usually run hot water and drain down the sink, but be sure to run the hot water for at least a minute after draining grease to be sure it has run out of your pipes.  Put the mixture back into the pot and add one can of drained diced tomatoes.  You decide what size can depending on your personal tastes.  Add the jar of spaghetti sauce as well and stir thoroughly on a medium to low heat.  Once this starts boiling again, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover.

Turn your attention back to the noodles and continue to monitor, stirring frequently until your think they are done.  If in doubt, taste test one or have someone else taste one to be sure.  Another trick I learned a kid was to throw one at the wall, if it sticks it is done, if it falls it needs to cook longer.  Kind of messy, but a fun way to teach kids about gravity.  Once the noodles are done, drain off the water completely but do not rinse the noodles! Stir in the sauce until thoroughly mixed.

Garlic cheese bread can be found in nearly every major supermarket in the frozen bread section.  It literally takes five minutes in the oven!  Can I make it from scratch? Yes! Some day I will discuss how to do that. But right now, we will just stick to easy!  From here you can probably figure out the rest.  Scoop a portion onto a plate, add a slice or two of bread and sprinkle shredded or grated parmesan or Romano cheese on top of the spaghetti and serve!


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