My wife and I have always shared the cooking chore. When our boys were young and she was in college, or later in our parenting life when she was at work, I would make a concoction the boys called Frankenchicken – chicken mixed with anything we had left over in the fridge. It was sometimes great, but it was never bad. And, of course, it was never the same twice.
I am, I must admit, an acceptable cook of simple dishes. No recipes, mind you. Just stuff I make up. I’m a guy. I have not read directions in 60+ years, and I don’t plan to begin now.
So, other guys, here is an uninspired recipe that is simple and sure to please:
Spaghetti and Meatballs (Serves 1 – 10, depending on how many people you want to feed or how many days in a row you want to eat spaghetti and meatballs.)
- 1-4 bags of frozen meatballs (angus, turkey, pork, Italian). If you can’t decide which to buy, then purchase whatever is on sale or, better yet, grab a variety. It’s all good.
- 2-3 jars of expensive marinara sauce. I honestly don’t know what marinara sauce is, but by looking briefly at the ingredients and through the glass jar, I think it’s halfway between ketchup and salsa. I know that “real” spaghetti sauces are on the store shelves, but there are far too many varieties to choose from; therefore, expensive, small-batch marinara is my go-to. That’s my reason. It makes sense to me.
- 1 full box of half-length angel hair pasta
- Butter or olive oil (something slippery)
- Wake up.
- Plug in the crock pot.
- Set on low, medium, or high depending on whether this is for lunch or supper.
- Open the bags of meatballs and the jars of overpriced marinara.
- Pour meatballs and sauce into the crock pot and mix it around with anything big (and clean).
- I don’t know why, but I stir the crock pot occasionally; although, it probably doesn’t matter if you play 18 holes and don’t stir at all because the crock pot seems to do its thing with or without help.
- Cook until done. The only consequence I have found for overcooking the sauce and meatballs is the crock pot is harder to clean. It tastes the same.
- When the sauce and meatballs are ready, boil water in a big pot. No, I don’t know how much water. Whatever you think is enough to cover the pasta.
- Add to the water whatever amount of olive oil and/or real butter you think will keep the pasta from sticking together. I have done both the “and” and the “or.” Again, it tastes exactly the same in the end. If you forget this step, you can add olive oil and/or butter to the strained pasta; however, you can add too much oil at this step. You can never add too much butter. To anything.
- Stir the entire box of half-length angel hair pasta into the pot because it’s easier to throw the empty box away than it is to close the box and put it back in the cupboard. And it’s usually a shorter walk to the kitchen trashcan than to the pantry.
- The only tricky part is figuring out when the pasta is cooked (10-15 minutes? Truthfully, I never time it). I have done the “throw it against the wall” test, which impressed my sons, but I prefer tasting it. Unfortunately, if you don’t cook the pasta long enough or if you cook it too long, it tastes the same kind of rubbery. This is the only time in the process that you need to stay on top of things. Just keep tasting it until it’s not stuck together or rubbery. Yes, the boiling water is hot. Either work through it or work around it.
- Strain the pasta in a colander.
- I have eaten spaghetti at least two meals a day for nearly a week straight. Like lasagna and chili, it just gets better in the fridge.
Accessorize your spaghetti with good parmesan, warm bread (probably Italian or French), and a nice bottle of wine. Don’t skimp here. All our local grocery chains have excellent selections. Enjoy!!!