Hello Friends! Happy First Day of Fall!!
Soon it will look like that outside, so it's time for cozy goodness - especially in the kitchen! So today I thought I'd share this family favorite that has been a staple in my hubby's family since he was really young. Cherie's spaghetti hot dish!
Cherie is my Mom-in-law...the one suffering from Alzheimers disease. I thought this is such a perfect comfort food recipe for this time of year - that I would share it. And also that I could share an update about my MIL.
Those of you whom have become such wonderful Friends to me already have followed a lot of her story. After some glitches that caused her not to be admitted to a facility (long story so I'll spare that)....she is finally going to a facility tomorrow. My FIL has been amazing and has taken such good care of her these past several months. We help with some meals and pop in for some things - but he has really taken on the primary role lately. And he needs the break, so it's definitely time for the move. But it's still so sad and difficult to see the pain in him...even though he puts on a strong brave face. So prayers are welcomed and appreciated! Thank you so much for being so wonderfully supportive throughout this whole process. I could never express enough how much your kind words and prayers have meant to me. So thank you!!
That's why I think things like recipes that are handed down are so special and important. This was a favorite that Cherie made for her family all of the time. It's simple - definitely nothing fancy. But it means "home" to my Hubby and my FIL, especially now. And it's come to mean comforts of home to me too. It kind of reminds me of a goulash... but with more Italian flavors. I never follow an exact recipe and neither did Cherie - but here's the basics:
1 pound hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 green pepper, chopped
2 - 3 cans or more of tomato sauce - or large jar pasta sauce ** (see directions below)
1 tbsp olive oil
about 1 pound elbow macaroni
Boil pasta according directions. While pasta is cooking start sauce in another pan. Saute onion and green pepper for a few minutes in olive oil. I sometimes will add a little garlic if I have on hand too - but careful not to burn. Add ground hamburger and brown and cook through with veggies, adding some Italian seasonings. I use a bottle blend - but you could easily add whatever you have on hand (basil, oregano, garlic powder, parsley). Drain grease. Add a favorite jar of pasta sauce - or my MIL favorite was to add cans of tomato sauce and more Italian seasonings. And then she would add a little bit of brown sugar or ketchup for sweetness. I have done jarred sauce and her way - both equally good. The bottom line is that you want there to be a fair amount of sauce as it needs to coat all of the pasta too. Simmer sauce for at least 15 minutes or so.
When boiled pasta is done - drain and put back in same pan. Add sauce to pasta pan and toss all together. Top with real shredded parmesean. Or sometimes my MIL would add some shredded mozzarella to top of hot dish and put a lid on until it melted all over the top. Do what you like - the fun of a home cooked recipe!! Serve with crusty garlic bread and a salad. Enjoy from Cherie's kitchen to yours. ;)