Today we take a break from serious stuff with… talking about my money problems. Well, sort of. Mostly, it’s about a very nice weeknight recipe!
I am never in a very good situation financially, but I LOVE good food. Even though I cook almost every night, cooking is still one of my favorite things. So it’s kind of a challenge for me to come up with ways to cook delicious food with as few inexpensive ingredients as possible.
There are many different methods to save money on groceries and food. The way I do it is usually to buy mostly cheap ingredients and jazz them up with a few more expensive ingredients I buy when I have the cash. I’ve also invested some time in finding which ingredients can be bought cheaply and which should be bought more expensively in the first place.
As far as any prices I mention go: The food prices I am quoting are from stores in Central Indiana--Krogers, a local organic grocer, and a Luckys' Market. I wax poetic about Lucky’s Market and how its prices have enabled us to sometimes afford fresh fruits and vegetables and decent meat, but that is a subject for another post!
1 lb ground beef (on sale for $2.99 at Lucky’s Market)
1/2 lb ground mild sausage ($1.50 at Kroger. I would probably have ordinarily just used ground beef but I had leftover sausage, and it was great.)
32 oz tomato sauce ($0.29 for an 8oz can at Kroger)
Approximately 1/4 cup dry red wine
Approximately 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to toss with pasta
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
1 box whole wheat spaghetti ($1.19 at Kroger)
Place the ground meat into a large lidded frying pan (a.k.a. all-purpose pan) and cook over medium heat, breaking up any large chunks, until the meat is cooked with no pink spots. Drain.
Yup, pretty much what that looks like.
Pour the tomato sauce into the pan on medium-low heat.
Cheap tomato sauce. It's all right.
Stir in the meat, olive oil, and wine. Add the seasonings. I still have the problem with recipe writing and seasonings, but I used somewhere around 3/4 tsp garlic powder; 1/2 tsp basil; 1/2 tsp oregano; 1/2 tsp parsley; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp pepper.
Awesome organic red wine for only $8 a bottle at my local organic grocery store.
Stir everything up really well and place the lid on the skillet. Reduce the heat to Low.
While the sauce simmers (still stir occasionally to prevent sticking) bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti for the least amount of time mentioned on the package.
I use whole wheat spaghetti because not only does it have a better taste and texture to me, but my fiancé has hypoglycemia and whole wheat products seem to be very helpful in causing his blood sugar to raise and lower more slowly.
Drain the spaghetti and return your attention to the sauce!
The delicious, delicious sauce.
Stir the sauce and taste it, re-seasoning if necessary. (If I am cooking for more than just me or me and my fiancé, I use the two-spoons tasting method my grandmother taught me—pour sauce from a “stirring teaspoon” into a “tasting teaspoon” and only get the “tasting teaspoon” near your mouth!)
Next, grate parmesan cheese into the sauce.
I only had this little bit (about a one-inch or one-and-a-half inch cube-ish) left, so I only used this little bit! I would usually use a little bit more.
Stir the parmesan cheese throughly into the sauce. Taste it one more time just in case you need extra seasonings. Leave the heat on low and simmer uncovered for a few minutes while you toss the spaghetti with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
I also made salad at this point.
Red leaf lettuce ($2 at Lucky's Market), grated carrot, and homemade ranch dressing.
Simply put spaghetti on a plate, pour the sauce over the spaghetti and eat! Yum. :)