Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Take on Homemade Spaghetti O's

When I was a little kid, I loved canned spaghetti.  I would even make a spaghetti sandwich out of the stuff.  I can't make this kind of story up!  What's funny is that real homemade spaghetti is actually one of the things that my mom would make, and it was good.  I just still loved the canned stuff too.

Anyway, I can remember when the Munchkin was younger he would see commercials for Spaghetti O's and ask me to buy them.  In contrast to my childhood, I would never buy the canned version.  I caved and finally bought him a can so he could try it.  He took about two bites, declared mine much better, and wouldn't eat any more.  Score one for mom!  {virtual fist bump}

But, you have to admit, Spaghetti O's are cute!  They just are.  Here's my take on a homemade version.  It makes a lot, be warned.  However, if you aren't feeding the entire neighborhood you can freeze it.  I tried it and it heated up quite well without the pasta getting all mushy.  The kids loved this recipe, and so did I!

Homemade Spaghetti O's
from Katy | Alphabet Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped (just use 1/2 onion if it seems overly strong)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
10 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
a few turns black pepper
2 cups water
1 lb ditalini pasta (or your favorite fun shaped pasta)
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup milk

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot or dutch oven.  Cook onion, bell pepper, celery and carrot until they start to soften.  Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Puree until smooth using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender.

Return to pot, add water and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, 15-20 minutes or until pasta is done.  Add salt, pepper, sugar, cheese, and milk and stir just until cheese is melted.

If freezing, divide into freezer containers, allow to cool in the refrigerator, then transfer to the freezer.  To serve, thaw in the refrigerator (or microwave) then heat in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  

Enjoy!  :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

For Jennie


I honestly don't even know how to start this post.  I've written it a thousand times in my head, and now that I'm sitting at the computer, the words won't come.

Earlier this week Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie's Kitchen lost her husband suddenly.  There was no chance for a goodbye.  She has two girls, 8 and 3.  Though I've never met her in person, I follow her through her blog and on Twitter.  And even though I don't know her or her family, when I read what had happened, it brought me to tears. 

On Tuesday she posted on her blog.  I don't know that I would have had the composure to do so.  This is part of what she wrote:

For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there's no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.

So I baked today, along with many others. I made our family's new favorite chocolate chip cookie.  It's not a peanut butter pie, but it's my way of telling my family I love them, my way of grieving for Jennifer's loss, my way of helping.