Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Home Cooked Meal in 20 Minutes!


I just love blogs about cooking, don't you? The Pioneer Woman and Bakerella have just the best step by step instructions on fabulous meals and desserts that look so mouth watering. They are inspirational. They make you want to run to the kitchen and start creating a masterpiece.


My problem is, I never have too much more than 30 minutes a day to make a full course meal. It's got to be quick and dirty at my place. I've really had to learn to be an efficient cook in the kitchen and that's not something a lot of those cooking blogs talk about. Over the years I had to find ways to cut down cooking time while not compromising on great taste. I hated the cardboard flavor of boxed food like Campbells soup packets or Hamburger Helper. I wanted something that tasted like I spent an hour but really only took 20 minutes to prepare.


So here follows my version of Spaghetti. Very tasty and very quick.


Grab your biggest pot, and set the water on to boil. Add a dash of salt and olive oil. This part is so boring, I forgot to take a picture.......but you can follow me anyway, right?

Before the water's boiling, set a deep fry pan on the stove and turn the heat to high. Run to the pantry and grab a can of Tomatoe Paste and Tomatoe Chunks. I buy these in bulk at Costco, my favorite grocery store. Make sure you don't lose sight of your blackberry while you run back and forth because you might get an important call........like the kids phoning from the Music School to find out if you've left to pick them up yet.


Run to the fridge and rip open the giant pack of hamburger, also bought from Costco, and toss in 3 patties. Since you pre-heated your pan on high, you've got to be quick and run for the spatula the moment the hamburger hits the pan or the meat sears to the bottom of the fry pan. Some charring could occur so don't dilly dally with the spatula.
Add a dash of salt and then whip open the cutlery droor, grabbing the can opener with one hand and the tomatoe paste in the other. Remove lid quickly and dump contents into the fry pan. Don't worry if you do this upside down like I did in my haste. It still tastes the same anyway. Repeat with as much speed as possible with the Chunky Tomatoes and stir.


Right about now your water should be boiling. Grab you Gigantic sized box of spaghetti noodles, again from Costco, and dump a fist full of noodles in the water. Don't forget to stir them gently as soon as they get wet or they will stick together like a clump of cement. The kids don't like spaghetti that way!


Dash back to your pantry and grab the Classico spaghetti sauce, of course bought in bulk from costco, and dump into the fry pan. There will be some residue sauce left in the glass jar so just pour some of your cheap boxed wine inside to rinse. All that wine and sauce residue must now go into the fry pan as well. I used to do this step with water instead of wine. The sauce doesn't taste nearly as good that way. Definately go for the wine rinse!

Now let everything simmer while you race to set the table. Clearing the dinner table is the part of preparing this meal that will take you the longest to accomplish. Call the kids for help! It cuts down on prep time :)

Once the kids stop whining and start helping, dash back over to the fridge for the jumbo jar of garlic, also purchased at Costco. You should have already put this in with the hamburger while it was browning. Note to self: next week, remember to put the garlic in earlier.

At the same time, grab the pre-made Ceasar Salad and dump into one of your own ceramic bowls for the appearance of a home made salad that required a lot of prep time. Your husband will think you're a miracle worker!

Now for the most important ingredient of this entire meal.......the fresh grated Parmesan cheese! You must splurge on the best quality you can afford because it really takes this meal from blah to belissima! Grate lots! At least a cereal bowl full. I promise you, the kids will polish it all off before the meal is done.

All that's left to do is sit down, say grace and.........dig in!


4 Comments »

4 Responses to “A Home Cooked Meal in 20 Minutes!”

Tamara Jansen said...

I just realized that I forgot to mention 2 more secret ingredients that must be added to the sauce:

1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar

I don't know why but it really adds extra ZING!

Tootsie said...

I add mushrooms, and chop some onion and red peppers too....you cook like I do!

Nola @ the Alamo said...

You are so right about the fresh parm! Thanks for the tip about the wine, I, too, use water to rinse out my jar!

Evelyn in Canada said...

I always use a bit of milk because it lowers the acidity of all the tomatoes. Your recipe looks good and would provide quite a bit of extra sauce for the freezer in our family. One jar of Catelli is too much for us right now and that's without adding all of the extra tomatoes!

Mmm...mushrooms. That's a great addition.