Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge for March - Spaghetti

Do you have that one go to dish that you really like?  I have always loved spaghetti but I never had a special recipe.  And can you image that the month we join the Crazy Cooking Challenge, spaghetti is the category.  I know, it's like magic.

Here's how it works.  You find a blog that has a recipe for what you need to cook.  So simple.  I looked at a couple that met the requirement but really, I wanted comfort, everyday dinner spaghetti.  Cooking a sauce all day on a Sunday did not appeal to me...AT ALL.

Then, I found it.  At Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  And found it quite by accident but found it just the same.  I sometimes click on the blogs that other bloggers read.  At one point, I can have 15 windows open because I just keep on going.  Somewhere down the line, I found Mel.  She's in Wisconsin raising her 4 boys and taking care of her husband while sharing wonderfully delicious recipes and great looking pictures with us.

Let me share her aunt's recipe that she tweaked.  It's even got the best name:

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce - Perfected
    by Mel

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions - divided
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 pounds hamburger (90% lean)
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1- 12 oz can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoon dried oregano
3 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2- 14 oz can Italian style diced tomatoes
2- 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil.
Add 1/2 of the onion.
Saute until translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the meat and cook through.
Drain if needed.
In food processor, blend the remaining onion and the red pepper until smooth.
Add mixture to the meat.
Add tomato past and spices.
Cook for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, broth and brown sugar.
Add bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to low simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Fifteen minutes before serving, add balsamic vinegar.

Mel notes that she has let this cook for 3 hours before with no problems.  I was hungry and Charlie couldn't stand not eating when the house smelled so good.

There was plenty and we put some in the fridge and some in the freezer.  This is absolutely going to be a staple in our house.

What could be better...easy, mostly pantry items, and oh so good.  You really need to try this one. Thank you Mel.


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If you would like to join the Crazy Cooking Challenge, visit Tina at Mom's Crazy Cooking.

 Live, Laugh, Love!!

Karen and Charlie


  1. haha... I'm so guilty of having a gazillion windows open at the same time. My husband gets on my case about it - "you're going to bog down the system!". Somehow it works.

    I hope you'll stop by and visit my CCC - Spaghetti Pie


  2. I do the same thing with links to other blogs! Glad I'm not the only one!

  3. I click through windows and blogs the same way, it's always such a fun adventure. You found a wonderful recipe, sounds great.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my CCC entry: Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  4. Thanks for sharing the link, Karen! I'm so happy you liked this recipe!

  5. Mmm... Yes, loved this recipe! I just couldn't resist with the balsamic vinegar. Thanks for stopping by. This was a fun challenge for sure.

  6. Too funny, I do that too with the opening of extra tabs, I can't even tell you how many I have open right now with this cooking challenge, lol! The sauce looks great!

  7. Bay leaves! I never thought to do that. Great idea!

    Jen #19

  8. YUM!!!!

    I was #7 Have a Happy Friday :)