Spaghetti and What to do With the Leftovers
1 pound ground meat (I used turkey)
3 jars of pasta sauce (I do not care what kind, but humor me and buy them on sale)
1/2 red bell pepper
4 oz. cream cheese
1 box spaghetti noodles
1 box small random noodles
Minced garlic (please do yourself a favor and go buy a jar)
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
A handful of parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley finely chopped (if you happen to have it)
Yummy french bread to serve beside
Really, Jenni, you are going to write a post about spaghetti? And you are going to use jarred marinara. Oooohh, you are so innovative! Well, this post is not really about spaghetti, but what I do with my leftover spaghetti. Plus, I purchased two loaves of french bread this week for .39 cents each, so I needed to use them up.
Okay, so I brown my meat with a pinch of salt and pepper, a splash of worchestire sauce, and a teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar because who has time to do it themselves? “I ain’t got time for that!”. While the meat is browning, I boil my pasta water.
Once the meat is crumbled and brown I pour in three jars of whatever pasta sauce I have gotten on sale. This week it happens to be Ragu. I mix 2 traditional jars with 1 pasta sauce with garlic jar, because I like my spaghetti fancy.
I learned the next trick from my mother in law (although she denies it ; ) ) . I use a potato masher and mash my meat in the sauce, a couple of times around the pan. This gives you finely chopped meat, instead of big chunks. If you are into that sorta thing and I am. I now add the chopped parsley and mix it in the sauce.
Cook your noodles the way your package states. Before you drain it, reserve 1/3 cup of the boiling water (carefully friends, you still need those precious hands to hold your wine glass later) and mix the water into the sauce. Now, drain pasta.
Serve it over noodles. Done. Consume. Done. Now get back up and cook some more.
At this point, you should have 1/2 of your spaghetti meat sauce left over. If you do not, you are a pig! Just kidding, simply toss in another jar of pasta sauce. You will also have a lot of noodles. Now, it is decision making time: you can decide to just skip reading the next part and have spaghetti again tomorrow, you can throw the noodles away, save them with butter and salt for the kids’ snack, or give them to your dogs. I seem to always choose the latter.
You are going to now boil the pack of other random short noodles that you have in the house in the same pot you boiled your spaghetti noodles, because you do not need to do more dishes than you have to. It does not matter what kind of pasta you use. I happened to use penne this week, because that is what I had the most of. Drain after it is done cooking. Set aside.
Dice a red bell pepper into little pieces. Stick half in a baggie, write the date in sharpie and freeze it so you can use it in the future or use it in the salad for dinner. Take the other half and sauté on the stove in some olive oil until tender. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
Drain the oil and mix the bell pepper in with the sauce. Take 1/2 block of cream cheese (4 oz.) and melt it into the sauce. I had this leftover from the cheesesteaks I made the night before. This is easier if it is softened.
Combine 2/3 to 3/4 of the noodles until it has the sauce to noodle ratio you are after. Place in an ovenproof casserole dish. Pour 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the top and a little sprinkling of parmesan. Cover with foil. Put the whole dish in the refrigerator and go have a glass of wine, knowing that you just made dinner for tomorrow night. And girl, that is impressive.
The next night cook this in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes with the foil intact. Remove foil and cook another 10 minutes.
I served one of these meals with salad and bread and the other with just bread. I am creative like that.
Let’s see how these two meals broke down cost wise for me:
Total for two nights: $16.77
Ground turkey meat $3
2 packs of noodles $2
3 jars of Ragu $3
1/2 bundle of italian parsley .25
1/2 stick cream cheese .75
1/2 bag of shredded mozzarella $1
2 loaves of french bread .78
A sprinkling of parmesan .50
1 red bell pepper $1
1 bag of Caesar salad $3
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter for bread .86