For some reason, we had a lot of noodles at home. Fortunately, my family requested that I make spaghetti. Sweet! I used to rely on Prego - my favorite brand - spaghetti sauce all the time but I wanted more pizzazz. I looked up a homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, which I can't find right now (boo), and added Prego to it to make a large batch of sauce.
1 lb. ground beef
1 white onion, chopped (I ended up not adding this to the sauce because a relative who hates onions showed up for dinner at the last minute.)
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 container of fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil to taste
Thyme to taste
Italian seasoning to taste
2 bay leaves (I admit, I may have gone overboard with the herbs...)
1 Tbspn butter
1 slice of cheese (I use American)
1 45-oz. jar of Prego spaghetti sauce
1. On medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Drain and remove from skillet.
2. Still on medium-high heat, oil skillet and add minced garlic (I usually eyeball it). Add green bell pepper first; cook until almost tender then add mushroom. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Mix in tomato. Stir in tomato paste and tomato sauce.
4. Add jar of Prego sauce and all seasonings to taste. Turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour.
5. While waiting on sauce, boil spaghetti noodles on high heat. Cook to al dente.
6. When noodles are done, drain. Toss noodles back into pot. Mix in the butter and cheese while the noodles are hot.
7. Serve noodles in bowl with spaghetti sauce on top.
I like having a lot of colors in my meals, and the best way to get those colors is use a variety of vegetables. I have been trying to incorporate onions more into my diet but was thwarted in this instance. Otherwise, I would have caramelized them and added them to the sauce during the sauce-making process.
As for adding cheese to the noddles: One of my grandmas would do this when I was growing up. In my mind, not only did adding cheese help add flavor and richness to the noodles but it also helped create a "glue" for the spaghetti sauce to stick to. My grandma would not keep the noodles and sauce separate as many Americans traditionally do with spaghetti; she would actually combine the two. Hence, the "glue" was necessary for the noodles to hold onto the sauce. I understand it's not that healthy but you can always choose low-fat or no-fat products as substitutes. :oP Or simply don't add it at all. I opted to add butter as well to add another sticking agent to the process. I will always prefer spaghetti sauce mixed with the noodles because of my grandma. :o)