This is my last week of maternity leave and I have to say – I kind of have mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I’m only going back to work two days a week, so I will be spending more days than not with Lars. But wahhhhhh for having to get up in the morning and wear something other than yoga pants and nursing tanks.
I’m also kind of looking forward to some adult time. While spending 10 hours away from my little guy will be heart wrenching, it does sound kind of nice to not talk in my baby voice all day long to Lars (but let’s face it – I’m really just talking to myself).
So I guess amidst my excitement for autumn, I’m having myself some summer blues with my upcoming return to work.
I can imagine there are lots of you that might have similar feelings – excited for fall but mourning the gone-in-a-blink-of-an-eye summer.
Regardless of what level of summer blues you have, there’s no denying the kids are going back to school, the trees are slowly starting to turn, and pumpkin EVERYTHING is showing up in stores everywhere. This also means my cravings for comfort foods is creeping back in.
Beef stew, chili, casseroles, and spaghetti are all high on my list of comfort foods, and these days I’m looking for ways to make them a quick and easy as possible.
I have to admit – prior to having a baby, I really didn’t understand the appeal of buying pre-packaged foods when I could make them from scratch. I mean, I understood wanting to get dinner on the table as soon as possible, but the logistics of getting dinner ready in 30 minutes pre-baby are way different than now.
For example, pre-baby I likely was able to make a spaghetti sauce from scratch, along with garlic bread and a salad all in 30 minutes. Now, I completely understand the appeal of spaghetti sauce from a jar and those salad kits that have everything you need in the bag (p.s. those are amazing).
So when spaghetti night rolled around, I walked right past the diced tomatoes and fresh herbs, and headed straight to the jars of spaghetti sauce.
To make spaghetti night even easier, I tried my hand at one-pot spaghetti. As in, everything is made in one pot. The beef, the veggies, and even the pasta. This means only one pot to clean up. It’s completely genius!
This recipe is very adaptable to your idea of the perfect spaghetti. If you want to omit the onions and peppers, add mushrooms, or use ground turkey instead of beef, go for it! I have even made this recipe using gluten-free pasta and it turned out great.
No matter how you make it, dinner is guaranteed to be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Spaghetti night has never been easier!
One note about the recipe – I mention that you might need to add more water towards the end. If you find that the sauce is getting pretty thick and the noodles still need a few more minutes to cook, I recommend adding more water, about ¼ cup at a time. When I used the gluten-free spaghetti noodles, I needed to add about ¾ cup of water, and you might need to also! I would guess the type of spaghetti sauce you buy might determine if you need extra water or not, also, as some brands tend to be thinner than others. Just keep an eye on it towards the end and adjust accordingly.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper seeds removed and diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups water plus up to 3/4 cup more, added as you cook, see recipe notes
- 8-10 oz spaghetti noodles
- Parmesan cheese for topping
- In large pot, brown the beef.
- Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add olive oil to pot over medium-high heat and saute onion and bell pepper.
- Add garlic and saute one more minute.
- Season with salt.
- Add beef back to pot along with spaghetti sauce and water.
- Bring to a simmer and then add noodles.
- Try to get noodles as submerged in the liquid as you can.
- Cook according to the noodle package.
- If you find your sauce is getting too thick and the noodles are not cooked yet, add more water, 1/4 cup at a time, up to 3/4 cup more.
- Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.