All of our special meals are shared here… Spaghetti Dinner

Best Spaghetti Dinner

{Best Back to School Dinner}

One of our favorite family meals is Spaghetti!  It’s our tradition to have spaghetti for dinner on the first day back to school.  This year, I want to share your with how I put our spaghetti dinner together.

I love a chunky, meaty, hearty sauce.  My secret ingredient is SPINACH.  I think I am like other moms… I know I am like my mom… I use prepared sauce and then I make it better by adding extra ingredients.  I add ground meat, garlic, and fresh spinach to the sauce.  This is a great way to serve healthy, vitamin-rich spinach – a “super food” to my family.

But wait, check out my clever method to chop the fresh spinach — Spaghetti Dinner

First, the fresh spinach must be chopped to go into the sauce.  Whole spinach leaves become stringy in the sauce, and are easily picked out by the kids.  So, chopping the spinach is a must.

Second, chopping fresh spinach is a mess.  It stains the cutting board when chopping.  It stains your hands when transporting from the cutting board to the pot.

To manage these 2 problems, why not chop it inside the bag?

Follow these easy steps to chop the fresh spinach in the bag and get into the sauce: Spaghetti Dinner Spaghetti Dinner Spaghetti Dinner Spaghetti Dinner Spaghetti Dinner

And here is our family favorite spaghetti dinner recipe.

{download printable Best Spaghetti Dinner Recipe Printable}


1 pound ground hamburger or turkey

3 garlic cloves

1 bag fresh spinach

1 jar or can of prepared sauce

cooked thin spaghetti noodles

fresh shredded parmesan cheese, if desired

optional, but highly suggested, 1 bottle of red wine for the adults Spaghetti Dinner


In a large cooking pot, Cook the ground meat and drain well. Spaghetti Dinner

Add the chopped garlic and chopped spinach.  Add the sauce.  Cover and Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spaghetti Dinner

Serve over noodles with fresh parmesan cheese.

ENJOY! Spaghetti Dinner Spaghetti Dinner Hot Brandy Wine

Hot Brandy Wine Recipe

I have perfected Hot Brandy Wine into a perfect potion for chilly gray days here in the Pacific NW.  I am sure it is perfect for your wintery weather too… or, if you are lucky enough to be a warm climate in January, save this recipe for your blustery days ahead. Hot Brandy Wine


Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner: Turkey Enchiladas

Have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner?  Here is a recipe for you.

One of my best recipe books is the 9×13 The Perfect-Fit Dish.  It is all recipes for the most popular casserole dish.  I have a vintage glass pyrex dish that I use for these main dish, side dish, and dessert recipes.

To use up that left over turkey and cranberry sauce, try this yummy dish.  It makes up a slightly sweet and slightly spicy enchilada meal. leftover turkey recipe 21 (more…)

Recipe: Matzo Ball Soup… good comfort food

My go-to comfort food is Matzo Ball Soup… if you haven’t tried this at a classic delicatessen and if you haven’t tried this homemade, then you are missing out.

I don’t remember my Mom making this soup when I was a kid… and I don’t remember when I started making it. But at the first sound of a sniffle or the first sight of a frown on faces at the box, and the matzo mix comes out.

Last week, my oldest daughter was sick with a cold and sore throat. She immediately asked for Matzo Ball Soup since that was the only food that sounded good to her. I can’t claim that it made her well, but it made her feel better, it tasted good to her, and I felt like a good mama.

It’s the warm chicken broth and the soft matzo balls that make anyone feel better!  It is the ‘cure all’ for headaches, colds and sniffles, stress and tension, tummy aches and the heartaches. (by ‘cure all’ I mean it makes you feel better… I am not implying anymore than that)

Matzo Balls are a great food for toddlers! My little cousin Kent loves Matzo Balls made by my Aunt, his Bubbe (grandmother in Yiddish). He gets them chopped into bite size pieces right on this food plate for his toddler fingers to grab.

My Aunt adds schmaltz, which I am informed is rendered chicken fat. I skip that step just because I don’t usually have schmaltz on hand and wouldn’t know where to find it in the grocery store. But I am sure it adds a richness to the flavor.

This is a good opportunity for the kids to help out in the kitchen too. The matzo meal is easy to mix it up and rolling the matzo balls out is kinda fun for their little hands — but of course keep them back from the boiling pot of broth on the stove (I couldn’t not say that here). 

Then you just drop the balls in the boiling pot, cover, and wait for it to be soup.

I make my soup with chicken broth and extra chicken base, garlic, carrots, and the matzo balls. I have only ever used Manischewitz brand for the matzo meal. The soup seasoning mix can be too salty, so I generally use low sodium broth. Otherwise, I follow the recipe on the box. 

It’s nice to have the Matzo Ball Soup as a tradition in our family… it is truly the go-to remedy for feeling bad.

What is your go-to comfort food for feeling bad in body or spirit?

Recipe: 1-2-3 Beef Stew

Growing up, one of our staple meals was 1-2-3 Beef Stew.  I don’t know where Mom learned the recipe, but it’s probably some wives’ club or bridge club or a PTA meeting from back in the day.  When my sister and I left the nest for our own places, this recipe came with us for when we needed an easy meal that might impress our guests.

The recipe is easy… Mom said, “It’s 3 ingredients: meat, mushroom soup, and onion soup, for 3 hours at 300. Easy as 1-2-3.”, and still to this day she follows up with, “and don’t add water! and don’t cook it faster or at higher temperature!”

While the recipe has been enhanced over the years and variations have been tried, the heart of Mom’s recipe stays the same and tastes the best.  And always, always reminds me (and makes me a bit sentimental) of my growing up days at HOME with Mom, Dad, and my Sister.

Here is my version of Mom’s recipe.

4 pounds of Stew Meat
2 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 packets of dry Onion Soup Mix
8 medium size Mushrooms

Spray a large Casserole Dish with non-stick – spray the lid too.  Slice the Mushrooms.  Mix all the ingredients in the dish. 

Put the lid on. Put in the oven on 300 degrees.

Cook for 3 hours.

Serve with Wide Egg Noodles and a veggie.

This is a family favorite at the box.  We have tried it with mashed potatoes and rice too, but the w-i-d-e noodles are the best for collecting a lot of the cream sauce with each bite.  We really like the sauce which is why I use 2 cans of soup.  The dish can be salty, so I prefer the low sodium soup.

And as Mom says, “don’t add water!  and don’t adjust the cooking time or temperature!”

Voila, easy as 1-2-3… and usually there are leftovers to enjoy another night.