Weekly Menu - Monday, August 17 2009

Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

This is just garden variety spaghetti, but it's my spaghetti - my combination of my favorite ingredients and what I plan on passing down as the best spaghetti ever to my children.

What's in it:

  • Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti
  • Garlic and Olive Oil Sauce
  • Boca Crumblers Veggie Burger
  • Red Peppers, sliced
  • Portabella Mushrooms, chopped
  • Sweet Yellow Onions
The garlic bread is also my "secret" recipe, which is probably no different than anyone else makes it. I don't care, though, OK? I grew up on nothing but tv dinners and goulosh, so learning to cook like a real person is a big deal for me.

What's in it:
  • Fresh bakery sourdough baguette
  • Freshly chopped garlic cloves (2)
  • Olive Oil
  • Light Butter
  • A touch of salt, pepper and paprika
How do I do it?

Let me get one thing straight: I suck at cooking pasta. By that I mean, the boiling and cooking of the noodles. I cannot get it right. I think it's patience, really. I do find that adding salt to the water helps to keep the noodles less sticky AND adds a nice flavor. We eat wheat spaghetti, because it's better than the enriched white stuff, and doesn't cost much more. I've learned to really love the flavor of the wheat, but it does cook differently - less time in the water. It also tends to get stickier on its own.

While the water is boiling, I prepare the garlic bread. The sourdough loaves I use for this are really huge, so one half is enough for two people. I take 1/4 olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance, and freshly chopped garlic cloves and heat them up until they're a nice smooth liquid. Then, I pour it over the bread - making sure that the cloves are spread out (they're powerful!). Once that's complete, I crack a few black peppercorns over the whole thing, add a little sea salt, and toss the whole thing in the oven to toast at 300 degrees.

Red peppers and sweet yellow onions are amazing. Well, I like any onions or peppers - but, for spaghetti, I like to use the yellow onions and red peppers because they have a sweetness to them that works well with the tomato sauce. I love finding the right onion and right pepper for a recipe - it's fun to enjoy the differences between them.

Anyway, for the spaghetti, I use a plain old frying pan with just a dab of vegetable oil and a lid. The veggies should be soft, not crunchy, so the steaming that happens with the lid on really gets them tasting scrumptious. Once they've gotten almost completely soft (you can tell by checking the color - darker = softer), I toss in a few chopped pieces of portabella mushroom. The mushrooms don't need much time at all to cook. And what's better than a portabella? Not much.

Once the veggies are cooked, I toss in the Boca crumblers (faux meat) to warm. The crumblers are pre-cooked, so they just need a few minutes in the pan. There are lots of different kinds of faux meat products out there, but I love Boca - it's got the best taste. After the crumblers have warmed, I add the spaghetti sauce, turn the heat down to simmer, and add garlic powder, cayenne pepper, basil and rosemary.

The bread takes about 15 minutes to toast, so if it's in the oven as I'm starting the boiling water, it is finished by the time everything else is. I usually end up getting it in too late and waiting for it, but it is worth it. Fresh garlic bread is wonderful, smells wonderful, and tastes wonderful.

As you can tell, we're garlic people. And pepper people. Bring it on.

So, there you have it - my "Secret" spaghetti and garlic bread. I'm launching Weekly Menu with an old favorite, but just wait - I'll be mixing old favorites with new and uncharted recipes as time goes on.

Weekly Menu is my attempt at creating a weekly pescatarian dinner menu on Sunday night night and sticking to it for the whole week. I'll post the basic recipe, preparation, and photos of each meal daily - please hold me accountable! I'm rallying around my many recipe books to try out new ingredients, spices and scenarios.

2 people's thoughts:

Monkeymama August 18, 2009 at 6:06 AM  

We'd be lost without weekly meal planning. Also, we're big fans of making a double batch of things so that one night of cooking gives two suppers and freezing meals can be your friend!

C August 18, 2009 at 9:20 AM  

J's been making me chili with the morningstar farms crumbles, and they don't taste that good. They give the chili a mushroomy aftertaste that I could frankly do without. Every day for lunch I have a boca bruschetta burger, and those are great- I'll look for the boca crumbles for the next batch of chili. And if you want the chili recipe, let me know, but maybe you said you had a vegetarian chili recipe. I don't recall...

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