Foolproof Spaghetti

May 20, 2012

in Domesticated Dishes, Headliners, Sound Bites, Vegetarian-Ish

There are very few dishes I get right on the first try. Or second.

Which may explain why the Big Man gets a little pale(r) whenever he catches me perusing bringing home a new cookbook.

Searching Paula Dean’s website in his presence is good for a minor heart attack. The Pioneer Woman? Makes him cry.

And while there are some dishes, like my grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies, for which he is willing to suffer through the dozens of trials until I finally get it right, there are others which don’t even make it back on the plate as leftovers the next day. Which is saying a lot in our house.

This dish, however, is foolproof.

I know, I usually find that term to be more of a challenge than a promise, but in this instance it’s true.

Granted, it started out with us adding some peppers and onions to a can of Prego.

Which was AWESOME.

Until we read the ingredients on the back of the Prego jar. And realized that Prego, like my bag of Oreos, was going to have to go if we wanted to move forward in our goal of reducing the amount of processed foods, sugar, and chemicals that we eat on a daily basis.

You know how much the Big Man likes his spaghetti? Enough to not just allow, but request, that I come up with a way to make our own sauce at home. Something with a little less sugar, chemicals, and whatever the heck “natural flavors” are, and, perhaps, a little more red pepper flakes?

Sadly, my argument for doing the same for Oreos was not as compelling…

Which basically means that, rather than chowing down on home-made oreos, we’ve instead chosen to survive three years of mastering, tweaking, and reheating this dish.

Not an Oreo…

And we haven’t even thrown it up out once. The only time it came even close to questionable? Was when the Big Man got hold of the red pepper flakes shaker. The Little Man and I drank enough milk that night to drain an entire herd of cows.

Needless to say, the fact that not even burning the vegetables can make this dish inedible, qualifies it for its status as a “go-to” dish. Although that may have to do more with how used we are to burnt vegetables, than the dish itself.

Whatever. If you burn the vegetables? Just put a little extra cheese on the top. No one will say a word…

Foolproof Spaghetti
Dish: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Feeds: 12+
  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (Optional)
  • 2Tsbp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Large White Onions
  • 2 Large Green Bell Peppers
  • 2 Large Red Bell Peppers
  • 16oz Fresh Crimini Mushrooms
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 7oz Sliced Black Olives
  • 12oz Tomato Paste
  • 8oz Tomato Sauce
  • 14.5oz Stewed Tomatoes
  • 2Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 bay Leaves
  • ½tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 tsp Pepper
  • 1tsp Basil
  • 1tsp Thyme
  • 1tsp Oregano
  • 1Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2Tbsp Sugar
  • 1tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1c Water
  1. Coat bottom of a large stockpot with olive oil and heat on medium.
  2. If using, dice chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to pot, cooking until just cooked-through, about 7minutes.
  3. Chop the peppers, onion, and mushrooms, and mince the garlic. Add to the pot and saute until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5minutes.
  4. Add in all remaining ingredients, seasoning, and water.
  5. Simmer for 30minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Allow to cool and serve over whole-wheat pasta or spaghetti squash with a freshly grated mixture of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheese.
Don't get daring with the Red Pepper Flakes. When it says ½ a teaspoon? It doesn't mean a heaping one. Unless you've got some sinuses you'd like cleared out, in which case, I'll have the Big Man come over and help you cook.

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