Friday, January 20, 2012


What family in America doesn't eat spaghetti once a month?  It's a staple, right?  And, lucky for all of us, it's so easy to do unprocessed!  Let's start with the shining star of spaghetti night....the sauce!  I have to admit, in the past, for me making the sauce meant opening the jar of sauce and dumping it on some noodles.  So, today, I set off to make my very first batch of spaghetti sauce.  And, to keep things interesting, I didn't follow a recipe, but just some comments that I found online.

These are the ingredients I used.
  • one onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 cans plum tomatoes
  • basil
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar, 1 tsp
1.  Remove tomatoes from cans (keep the juice) and cut into chunks.
2.  In a pan, saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent.
3.  Add red wine, and let cook for a few minutes.  Some of the liquid will evaporate.  This is okay, just don't let it all.
4.  Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.  Stir.
5.  Simmer 30 minutes.
6.  If you don't like your sauce chunky, remove the large chunks of tomatoes and puree in a food processor. 
7.  Simmer on very low heat until ready to serve.

OH!  I forgot....there's a little "step 3.5" that I forgot to include in the recipe.  Find a large wine glass and fill to rim with remaining red wine.  Drink up.  And, yes, in a perfect world we would all use fresh plum tomatoes.  For those of us living in the middle, we are far better off with canned tomatoes this time of the year.  If using fresh, plop them in boiling water for a few minutes and then peel them. 

Now, if you were impressed with my sauce, sit tight.  Prepare to be amazed. 

Instead of using noodles for your spaghetti, try using squash....spaghetti squash. 

Cook the squash at 375 F in the oven for about an hour (or, if you're okay with the microwave, just nuke it.  I'm still unsure about microwaving everything, so I bake mine).  Once it's cooked, slice it in half, dig out the seeds, and scrape it with a fork just like this. 

Now, I know some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, "Heids McGhee, there is no way my kids are eating squash instead of noodles."  OK, fine.  Go buy some whole wheat spaghetti and do a 50/50 mix of the squash and noodles.  You still don't think your kids will eat it?  Tell your kids to go to their rooms and don't come out until their palate has matured.  What?  You don't talk to your kids like that?  Yeah, me neither. 

Everyone likes bread with their spaghetti, right?  How would the plates get clean if you don't do the final bread swipe once all the food has been eaten?  Well, this afternoon, I looked outside my window and this is what I saw.

And, when I see snow like that, there is only one thing my mind thinks.  White bread.  Yes, there's a time and a place for good ole' white bread and being snowed in on a Friday night with Mr. McGhee and the minis calls for white bread.  So, I followed a recipe from the NIU FCNS200B lab manual.

One Large Loaf
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup oil or shortening
1.  Grease loaf pan.
2.  In large bowl, combine 1/3 of the flour with all the sugar, salt, and yeast.  Blend well. 
3.  In small saucepan, heat water and oil until very warm (120-130 F)
4.  Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the warm liquid mixture into the well.  Blend at low speed until moistened.  Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
5.  By hand, stir in additional flour (no more than 1/2 cup at a time) until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl.
6.  On floured surface, knead in additional flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 10 minutes of kneading.
7.  Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel.  Let rise in warm place (80-85 F) until light and doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. 
8.  Punch down dough several time to remove air bubbles.
9.  Shape loaf by rolling dough into a rectangle.  Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly.  Pinch edges and ends firmly to seal.  Place seam side down in prepared pans.
10.  Cover.  Let rise in warm place until dough fills pans and tops of loaves are about 1 inch above pan edges, about 30-35 minutes.
11.  Heat oven to 375 F.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped.  Remove from pans immediately.  Cool before eating. 

We ate our p'sketti with a salad of spinach, blackberry, clementine oranges, goat cheese and this dressing along with a glass of resveratrol.