Monday Menu: Spaghetti Sauce

Well, I missed putting up a short story again on Saturday. I get tied up in other things (been messing around with the Barbies again), and lose track of time. I really should do a week's worth of posts ahead, so I don't get caught out like that.

Anyway, this week's menu is homemade spaghetti sauce. I like to make it, though it doesn't save a lot of money, because so many things have high fructose corn syrup in them, or MSG, or other stuff I don't want to eat. Once again, I'm using stuff from my local Aldi grocery store.

Ingredients:

1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 pound ground beef
onion
bell pepper
salt
pepper
oregano
basil
parsley

Chop onion and bell pepper in the amount you like. I usually do half a medium-sized onion, and half of a medium-sized bell pepper. Saute in a little oil (I use olive oil) until the bell pepper is soft and onion is transparent.

Add the ground beef to the onion and bell pepper, cook until browned. Drain. You can use less than a pound in the sauce, and it will come out fine. Tonight I used about 3/4ths of a pound, because I had a pound and a half left, and wanted to cook it up. The rest will probably be used in chili mac, or cheesy mac later this week.

Or maybe burritos. With homemade refried beans. Yum. Oh, where was I? Right.

Add about a tablespoon of oregano, and a teaspoon each of basil and parsley. You can, of course, adjust amounts to your liking, but this is my general measurements. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir into the browned and drained hamburger.

Put about half the can of crushed tomatoes in with the beef. I like crushed tomatoes because of the texture, but you can certainly use regular sauce, or tomato paste, and add some water. I usually add a bit of water anyway, to thin things down a bit (about a ladle full).

Add about a half of the can of diced tomatoes, and stir everything well. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for a while. I try to do at least ten minutes, but longer lets the spices blend better.

While the sauce is coming to a boil, you can be boiling the water for the noodles (in fact, you can start the water boiling before adding all the spices and tomato products, if you're trying to cut down the cooking time. We sometimes use regular spaghetti noodles, but sometimes I like to change it up and use penne pasta, or rotini -- especially the garden rotini.

Once everything is ready, serve your delicious meal to your hungry family! Some folks like to put the sauce over the noodles in a serving dish, but my family just serves themselves out of the pans (well, the noodles are in a strainer, but you get what I mean).

Add some of that powdered Parmesan, or the real thing, and some shredded Mozarella, maybe have garlic bread. Or a salad. Whatever rocks your world.

There you have it, Gentle Readers, the latest installment of my dubious homecooking skills. If you try making the spaghetti sauce, I hope you enjoy it. Experiment with it, make it your own. Take care, and pass the garlic bread.