Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Comfort Food

It's the Belle, here. And I'm sad to say it's turning cold in Georgia. Dropping from the 80's to 50's! So I thought I'd share some good, cold-weather comfort food: My dad's spaghetti recipe. I usually call it Frank's Spaghetti (but then the kids had to say, "You don't call him Frank. You should name it Papaw's Spaghetti.) So here, I present to you...

Papaw's Spaghetti

First, gather your ingredients. My dad usually makes massive amounts and freezes, but I usually cook for 4 to 6. For a crew my size, you'll need 1 pound of ground beef. One or two large cans of whole tomatoes (San Marzano are the best!), depending on how tomato-y you like your sauce. And 2 packets of spaghetti seasoning. Chop one half of a green bell pepper. As you can see, I only had a red pepper when I made this, and it was just as good. Also chop about a half a large onion.

Oh, and you'll need garlic. I like to buy the jars of minced or chopped garlic for convenience. The day I made this, I had to get dinner on the table quickly so grabbed the jar.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook until softened.

Add the ground beef and packets of spaghetti seasoning. I have a handy tool (from Pampered Chef) that I use to break up the beef. You just mash as you twist, and it breaks it up nice and small!

I usually buy lean beef so there's nothing to drain. If you use higher fat meat, drain off the grease. Then add the canned tomatoes and break them up with the same tool. Mash until you have the texture sauce you prefer. (My dad actually puts the tomatoes in the blender, but I don't like the extra dishes to wash. :)) Then let simmer while you cook the spaghetti noodles. Give angel hair pasta a try if you're in a hurry.

Don't forget the garlic bread! Around here, we use old hamburger and hotdog buns to help clean out the pantry. Spray with olive oil (see my nifty refillable sprayer!). Sprinkle with garlic salt and broil until golden.

Voila! A nice, hearty, homey dinner.

What's your favorite dish on a cold day?


  1. ooh I just got one of those pampered chef thingies - now I have something to use it on! looks good - now I"m hungry!


  2. Oh, Missy, I have to try this! It sounds like a wonderful, hearty dinner in twenty minutes...

    And we know that's clutch these days!

    I do use butter on my garlic bread, but I love bread (who doesn't, sigh????) dipped in olive oil, so I'll have to try it that way. I know I'll love it.

    But this Yankee buys crusty Italian or French or Vienna bread for garlic bread and my old rolls get broken up for stuffing bread and tossed into the freezer. But I can see this working just fine!

    Now I'm hungry.

  3. Susanna, you're going to love it! I think it's officially a potato masher. :)

    Ruthy, I still buy Italian or French bread sometimes (like when having company). But the buns are so good. Crunchy on the top, soft in the middle. Often I'll have a mix of hamburger and hotdog buns on the baking sheet! :)

    I do like butter better on dark, grainy rolls that I buy sometimes. I still slice, spread with butter, shake on garlic salt, then broil.

  4. Sounds yummy, Missy. And I LOVE that masher. Gotta get me one of them. I've used leftover buns for garlic bread on occasion too. Usually with margarine and garlic salt. Pepperidge Farm's frozen garlic bread is the one I really love. Very heavy on the garlic. Don't do that too often though because I'm apt to eat the entire loaf by myself.

    BTW, I discovered that I get to be me if I post a comment from my IPad. My desktop, however, apparently wants me to remain anonymous.

  5. Mindy, I love the Pepperidge Farm's bread, too! Especially the Premium Roasted Garlic toast and bread. On some of the other brands (like the store brand) I have to scrape some of the butter crud off! :)

  6. I love your easy-peasy spaghetti sauce (you could have saved it for a Saturday!)

    I've always just bought the kind in the jar - kind of the McDonald's approach to menu planning: "If they know what it's going to taste like, they'll eat it."

    But I have experimented with a few homemade sauces. As long as I don't call the resulting dish "spaghetti", I can get it past them :)

    My favorite cold weather food? It has to be beef stew, simmered all day in the crock pot, with a couple loaves of home made bread. Next time, I'm going to try bread bowls!

  7. Jan, you actually caught me. I should be totally honest and say that about 75% of the time, I use Ragu. :) I don't know why, though, since this is so easy. But I stock up every time they put jarred sauces on sale.

    I love bread bowls from Panera! Have never tried making. Let us know how they turn out!

  8. Glad I'm checking in close to dinner time unlike Ruthy who has been hungry since 4:53 AM. Hope the salad was a filling one today!

    Jan, we just got a crock pot. If your stew recipe is available to share, I'd love to see it.

    Wet, windy day here. The best part - I got off work a couple of hours early today (no tutoring!) and had the BEST afternoon writing with the dog curled at my side and soft music playing while the rain fell outside.

  9. Slow Cooker Beef Stew -

    About 1 pound stew beef - cut up roast, steak, stew beef from Walmart...whatever

    Put it in a bag with 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 tsp. paprika. Shake it all together until the meat is well coated and put it in the crock pot.

    (I use those crock pot liners - just do the shaking in there and then line your crock pot with the meat already in it.)

    Add -
    2 cups beef broth (or 2 cups water and 2 beef bouillon cubes)

    3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
    2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
    1/2 - 1 onion, diced
    1 tsp. oregano
    1/2 tsp. basil
    1/2 tsp. thyme
    1 tablespoon parsley flakes

    Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

    Or start it out on high for 1 hour, then cook on low for 6-8 hours.


  10. Sorry, forgot to say the recipe serves 3-4 big people, or 6 if there's a mix of large and small appetites.

  11. LOL sounds about right for my husband. After working all day, he has the appetite of 3-4 big people!

    Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  12. Jan, that's a great recipe! I love slow-cooker recipes.... And meals that STRETCH for two or three nights.

    When I do pot roast I use big, thick chucks and simmer them all day, adding broth. So the first night I add carrots, potatoes and onions....

    Pot roast.

    Second night I either "Pull" the beef for beef barbecue sandwiches (I use Famous Dave's rich and sassy sauce, but any favorite works great)..

    OR... (and this is what made me think of you)...

    I thicken the juices from the pot roast into thin gravy, cut up the meat, add a few more carrots and potatoes and we have stew.

    If I do two big chuck roasts, it's enough for three or four meals. Or for hungry grown kids that happen to stop by, LOL!

    Mindy, so we LIKE ipads and not laptops, huh? Probably a Steve Jobs thing. ;)

  13. Jan, thank you for sharing!! That sounds delicious!! And a reminder to me to add those crock pot bags to my shopping list!

  14. That post made me hungry. And, I just ate! I'm definitely going to have to try that recipe. How awesome that you get to share cooking techniques with your Dad, Missy.

    Now that it's cold here in GA (and, yes, in GA 50 is cold), I've had chili on my mind...think I'll make some this weekend.

  15. Dianna, my dad loves to cook. He just about always makes a big pot of chili or spaghetti sauce (or both!) when we go visit. Just add a can of beans to his spaghetti recipe (plus a good helping of chili powder), and you'll can have that chili.

    It's miserable out there tonight! Would y'all believe I went out at lunchtime in capri jeans and flip flops?! I got some funny looks. And was miserable, even with my long sleeved shirt. Had to come home and put on a jacket, long pants and real, closed toe shoes for the first time in months (other than tennis shoes for Zumba). Bummer.

  16. Oh Missy, I went barefoot to the mailbox South Dakota. I think it might have gotten up to 50 this afternoon!

    But 50 and sunny here feels like 70 farther south - it's the dry climate and higher altitude :) But when the north wind blows, we can tell there's nothing but prairie between here and the north pole.

  17. I can't imagine how cold it must get in winter, Jan! I know I'm a wimp after the mild temps here for so many years. I was miserable yesterday! Although at least the sun came out. The sun, thankfully, is still really hot. :)