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...
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 :)