Tuesday, March 13, 2012

spaghetti bake

Whenever I set out on my evening routine of cooking dinner I know from the moment I start to lay out my ingredients which one of my 3 children will not like whatever it is that will be on the menu that night. And frankly, call me mean, but I usually don't care.
Trying to please all 5 of us at one time is like me trying to squeeze my be-hind back into my teal Bongo jeans from 10th grade....ain't going to happen.

So on the rare occasion that my 3 children all come to the table with a happy face on, with no threat of death or (even worse) punishment from some sort of electronic device before hand, I feel it is my duty to share my wealth of knowledge to every other dinner maker in the world! When you throw my husband into the equation and he too is pleased upon entering the dining room, I feel the need to shout it from the roof tops people!!

Spaghetti and meatballs or meat sauce (depending on how lazy I am feeling) is a staple in our house. I can take 2 and half pounds of either lean ground meat or lean ground turkey breast and make MAGIC happen. With that traditional dish I have added a few more steps that has turned this regular dish into, 'oh yeah this is some good stuff!"

This is how I prepare this dish for my family (I have 2 boys that combined, eat more than most small countries do) so my portions might be larger than what you need. This is not an exact anything, modify as you need to for your family...

the goods.....

2 and half pounds of either lean ground meat or lean ground turkey breast
about 1 to 2 palms full of each: basil, oregano, italian seasonings, minced onion, garlic powder, and Tony Chachere's
2 jars of spaghetti sauce ( I use whatever brand is usually on sale)
2 pounds of penni pasta ( not picky on this either, but I do use whole wheat)
1 bag of mozzarella cheese
about a half of a cup of fresh parmesan cheese

here we go.....

~boil your pasta as directed on package
~brown your meat until cooked all the way through
~after meat is cooked all the way, sprinkle half of your seasonings (put the other half aside) onto      the meat and let cook down for 2-3 minutes
~pour spaghetti sauce on top of meat and sprinkle the rest of the seasoning into the sauce.
~ stir really well, reduce heat, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes.
~Preheat oven to 400
~After pasta is done and drained and after your sauce has cooked down for about 10 minutes, pour pasta into spaghetti sauce and stir well
~If you are using a pan that can be used on the stove top and oven then leave the spaghetti concoction be. If not, pour concoction into a greased oven safe dish.
~Grate your half a cup of fresh parmesan on top of spaghetti concoction and stir really well
~Sprinkle your bag of mozzarella on top, I do not stir this in
~Bake until cheese is bubbly

I serve with garlic bread and a Caesar salad and everyone is happy!

I think what a lot of us need to remember is that dinner (for most of us anyway) doesn't need to be rocket science or something that looks like it could be photographed for a fancy magazine. It needs to be half way recognizable for the little ones and inhale-able for the older ones, at least in my house anyway. And for the ones that don't like it, sorry for you.
There's always tomorrow :)

Happy Cooking!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

simple pleasures

I recently realized while watching my 3 children interact with each other (the tall one telling the girl one that she was telling the hazel eyed one the wrong story) how lucky each of my days with them are. While listening to them, I knew the girl one was going to get her feelings hurt by the tall one and the tall one was going to be aggravated that the girl one was upset (again), all the while the hazel eyed one was going to be like, "mom, what's for dinner?"

Simple pleasures in life.
Simple being the silly arguments and pleasures being the 3 humans god has in trusted to me.

In the last few months I've done a lot of reevaluation's in my life. And in the process I've tried to do a lot of listening.
Listening to myself is hard for me.
I try and talk myself out of things or into things. All the while knowing that I just need to breathe and listen, and the right way will be shown to me.

So I have.

The good, the bad and the not so tasty morsels that I, somewhere along the way, have manged to bury inside me, I've allowed them back to the party.

I decided to listen to myself the same way I would with my children. Not judging right from the start and letting my thoughts and words marinade for awhile.

Another simple pleasure.
Simple being me, always trying to be my own worse enemy and pleasure realizing that I'm really just getting to old for that shit.