Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

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Wine makes everything better

I finished all of my finals, and it was amazing. I celebrated with spaghetti, meat sauce, and most of a bottle of the cheapest Cabernet Sauvignon I could see at Target.

Ingredients:

  • spaghetti
  • salt
  • pound of ground beef
  • jar of red sauce
  • some Italian seasoning
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • wine

Start browning the meat on medium-low and add a spoonful of minced garlic to it. It’ll smell delicious. While that starts up, pour yourself a glass of wine and fill a pot with water. Salt the water and put that on high on another burner.

When the meat is browned, add the jar of red sauce plus, depending on how thick you like sauce, a little bit of water. Throw on some more Italian seasoning and a generous splash of red wine, and whatever sauce you bought for as cheap as you could find it now tastes amazing. Making sauce from scratch takes hours and a lot of somehow dealing with tomato chunks, but this is a fast track to delicious.

Is the water boiling yet? Hopefully! Whenever the water comes to a boil, add however much spaghetti you want and cook according to package directions.

When the noodles are done and the sauce is hot, serve and enjoy with a well-deserved glass of wine.

Shopping

I had plans to get actual cooking done this weekend, since I’m done all my papers and have all my applications in, but that hasn’t happened. I have made progress on my knitting! And we had marinated chicken and instant mashed potatoes for dinner last night.

But we’re short on stuff – like, I have blocks of cream cheese and one egg, but nothing to make a cheesecake crust with, and I didn’t feel like making fudge today.

It’s hard to get out grocery shopping when I’m out from 7am-6pm Mon-Thurs and T works 6pm-6am Thurs-Sat. We barely see each other! It’s kind of annoying. But it’s also been why I’ve been exploring ordering groceries online – it seems kind of extravagant until I checked and one store that’s close by does free delivery of more than $100. I wouldn’t want to get, like, produce that way, or eggs, but we’re discussing how much the convenience of not having to navigate our ridiculous schedules is balanced by the things we tend to pick up that we haven’t thought of ahead of time and the whole bit where T might end up an agoraphobic hermit if not sometimes required to go out in public.

Preparations

It’s still gearing up for finals and all I’ve cooked this week is Hamburger Helper, so really I’m just proud to stick to an update schedule at all. But I haven’t been eating entirely like crap! And the reason for that is single-serve glass containers.

81er3kl-fxl-_sl1500_┬áLike, you fill your crock pot over the weekend, divvy stuff up, and throw it in the freezer. I’ve probably talked about this before, but I still have to finish personal statements for Harvard and Penn State and scan my official transcript so I really don’t care. These particular one-cup Rubbermaid glass containers are durable, show your food, and are freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe. Also they stack. We buy them in three-packs at Woodman’s because sometimes I fail at being an adult like this and having containers of soup or chili that can be heated up simply means we’re not going to Taco Bell.

I also wanted to mention – pasta and rice don’t freeze all that well, but they’ll refrigerate for up to a week, and bread, even stuffing, freezes great. Good luck with your end of semester chaos. I’m gonna go print a paper and then have a nap.

Balsamic Chicken

I had peas from Thanksgiving that I’d thrown in the freezer, and I wanted to use those up while disguising the whole vegetable thing because to be honest I am not a fan of peas.

Marinade/sauce ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • lemon pepper seasoning
  • honey
  • lemon juice
  • oregano
  • basil
  • Mrs. Dash Table Blend
  • garlic
  • pepper

Other Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Peas
  • pasta

Basically throw everything that smells vaguely like a spring garden into the marinade, then add chicken. Marinate then for about four hours in the fridge or a couple hours in the fridge and then in the freeIMG_1217zer for a couple days as you admit you’re a disaster who’s gonna be eating takeout and then in the fridge again as it thaws. Whatever works.

Cut the chicken and put it in a frying pan on medium with a little more olive oil and start water for pasta.

When the chicken’s mostly done, add the (thawed) peas. Maybe a little extra balsamic vinegar, too, so you have something approximating a sauce for your noodles.

Spices

A well-stocked spice cupboard makes it easy to fancy up pretty much anything, and have a variety in one’s endless chicken-and-pasta combinations.

Well, a spice cupboard plus hot sauce and mustard. Those two are also important. Dumping a can of cream of chicken soup over whatever carb you scrounged up and calling it a meal? Add paprika and garlic and dijon and you’ll feel all fancy.

It also doesn’t have to be super expensive to get set up with a good spice cupboard, since if you get one thing every or every other grocery trip, you’re not going to be running out faster than you can procure.

You also don’t need to get the most expensive spices – sure, that smoked Spanish paprika smells and tastes completely amazing, but if all you want is something to add dimension to otherwise bland fare, the cheap stuff does the job.