Friday, March 9, 2012
Day 30: Spaghetti
I've always been one to use time-savers. Spaghetti was no exception to this rule. If I could buy a jar of sauce, box of pre-made noodles, pre-shredded cheese, and pre-made bread, all the more time to surf mindless hours on the Internet!
When I decided to check into little dietary changes that could possibly improve our health, I started reading labels. Boy, was I shocked! Do you know how much sodium is in the average jar of spaghetti sauce?? And just what is that stuff coating the pre-shredded cheese to preserve it?? Not to mention what that stuff they call butter substitute on the garlic bread! I was appalled at what my culinary laziness was doing to us! I mean, it's not like I had a job that took up any time. I'm a stay-at-home mom!
Something had to give! Both Jason and I struggle with chronic diseases that, if left unchecked, could disable us! Jason has Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I've yet to be diagnosed (insurance pending). I've read all sorts of ideas about dietary changes that could improve our situations, and really, it's completely been worth it to make these little subtle differences.
The easiest has been to stop buying stuff in jars or boxes that somebody had to stuff with artificial crud like preservatives. Just this change helped take some of the weight off and that alone has helped with the feeling better!
I haven't learned quite a lot about making my own ingredients yet, but I'm in this for the long haul! While I can't make the noodles, yet, the sauce is completely in my realm of do-able, as is the bread.
Growing up, whenever we were tight on money, Mom would take the time to make her own spaghetti sauce. It was pretty good. She simply put in tomato paste and sauce and some spices. (I'm sure I'm simplifying what she put in, but these are the ingredients I remember!) Voila! Meal for our large brood relatively cheap!
I wasn't happy with the recipes I could track down, so I tweaked one from an old cookbook I've had forever. It's not totally healthy, but WAY better for you than the sauce you get in the jar and didn't really add too much to the cook/prep time of spaghetti!
Jason calls this stuff "Awesome Sauce" and swears I could market it under "Cindy's Awesome Sauce," so, coming from a guy who never wanted homemade sauce before, that's a pretty good review!
This sauce can be made ahead of time. It will keep for several days covered and refrigerated, which saves me time and gives me a meal I can whip up quickly on days I need something fast that won't compromise my new motto of "a little more healthy."
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 large tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1. Brown the beef in a heavy-bottomed pot. Drain off the fat.
2. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic and sauté until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomatoes, seasonings, Worcestershire and water. Simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Serve with spaghetti or your favorite pasta.