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Food & Wine

Pasta for Dinner

Pasta seems to get a bad rap these days, but I think everyone needs pasta in their lives now and then. I read somewhere that pasta made in Italy was less likely to cause gluten issues. I have no idea if that is true or not, but the argument they made sounded reasonable so I have been buying Italian pasta since then. These pasta noodles turned out really big and soaked up the meat sauce. Guess what? It’s pasta for dinner tonight!

A little over a year ago, my husband retired and we informally share cooking duties now. Before he retired, he did all the grilling (and still does). When it comes to grilling and smoking meat, my husband is a real pro. I was the queen of the kitchen. As funny as it sounds, it was hard learning to share the kitchen with someone else. I’m a meal planner at heart and my husband is the “hey, I saw this recipe and I want to make it for dinner tonight” kind of guy. I just love it when he finds a great new recipe and makes dinner for me. We have learned to peacefully co-exist in the kitchen.

Pasta for Dinner Prep

During my stop at The Market earlier this week HERE (where I meal planned on the fly) I picked up pasta for the meal I’m going to share. I knew I had ground beef in the freezer and canned tomatoes in the pantry, so I planned on making a pasta dish.

The night before, I looked through my cookbook collection and found Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Pasta Recipes. I adapted their Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce recipe for this. I decided to swap out using canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes. You might notice in my photos below that the sauce isn’t quite as red as it would have been if I used canned tomatoes.

Pasta for Dinner

I started early on the tomato portion of the recipe to let them cook down. I quartered the tomatoes and set them on medium heat for about an hour. While they were cooking down, I chopped the onions.

Pasta for dinner

Once the tomatoes softened, I used an immersion blender to break them down. Then put them back on the stove to thicken them up.

Browning the onions.

Mixing the panade (a paste of milk and bread) and ground beef in the food processor.

Adding the ground beef mixture to the onion mixture.

Below is what it looked like after I added the homemade tomato sauce. As you can see, it needs to thicken up some. I set the burner between low and simmer. While it was cooking, I put the water on to boil for the pasta.

Between the above picture and the below one, I removed about 1/3 of the sauce for my daughter to take home, and let the sauce cook down for 30 minutes. I added the parmesan cheese and reserved oregano.

Just waiting for the pasta to finish up and then…

Dinner’s Ready!

Rather than post the recipe here, I’m linking it for you: Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce recipe. For reference, I used 3.5 lbs of tomatoes in place of the canned tomatoes. Buon Appetito!

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Manic Monday

Hi there! I haven’t posted a blog for several days though I did post directly to the Travel, Family Fun, and Beautycounter tabs. Check them out! I posted some darling photos of our play day with our two grandsons, Mason and Dillon, under Family Fun.

I had a really busy week! Earlier this year, I fell in love with Beautycounter products. Their natural scents, the way they make my skin look and feel, and how good I feel about using more natural products. In fact, since then I’ve compiled nearly the whole product line to use. I decided I wanted to share the mission of providing people with safer products, so I became a consultant. Have you heard of Beautycounter? If you’d like to learn about safer products for you and your family, visit my personal webpage HERE. We even have a line of products for babies and children!

Last night, I made my special homemade pizza. It came out soooo good. I love the recipe that I use for my pizza crust. If you follow the directions, it is virtually foolproof.  I am going to share it and a photo of my pizza on my Food & Wine link. I haven’t shared much about cooking yet, even though it’s one of my passions in life. My goal is to post a new photo and recipe each week. There, I’ve said it – so now I have to follow through…

So, Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Do you have family traditions for Mother’s Day? Post below and let me know what they are. Last year, my daughters and I went to Santana Row in San Jose for the day. We had fun shopping, having lunch, and spending time together. We decided to do that again this year, except we’re staying at Hotel Valencia there overnight. It will be a total girls trip, with us three mommies and my seven-month old granddaughter, Makenna.

Check out the tabs on the top to see what I posted last week. I will be working on uploading some before and after pics of our house this week. It’s coming up on two years since we bought out current home, though we moved in full-time a little over a year ago.

See you back soon!