Perfecting Spaghetti for Twenty-Two Years

Spaghetti was the first meal my mom taught me how to make. Browning beef has literally been a job perfected for two decades. I remember back to seventh grade Health Class, when we were doing a cooking day. The task was to make spaghetti and fully cook ground beef. I was in a group with three others and was the only one who knew “how to cook”. That is one memory that has stuck with me, now for twenty-two years. Till this day, our family eats spaghetti just about every week.

Elliana sitting at dinner table with spaghetti

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Published October 29, 2021
Updated March 22, 2022
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Cost breakdown for this meal

Spaghetti is one of my fallback meals, what is for dinner when I do not want to cook anything else. So, to mix it up I made dinner with a Three Cheese Tortellini. We always have a few jars of spaghetti sauce in the pantry, and I like to pick up pasta when it is priced at a discount. To not have the same-old-same-old-spaghetti, I did not just use spaghetti pasta. Sometimes I make this meal with Penne or Shells or Angel Hair or Linguini.

2 pounds ground beef $10.36
1 pound ground pork sausage $2.05
2 jars spaghetti sauce $1.89
4 packs Tortellini $9.56
1 Tbsp minced onion $0.10
1 bag steamtable sweet corn $0.75

The total cost of this meal was $24.71
That was literally four servings for Samuel, two for Matthew, Levi at two, Elliana ate one, I had one and Tyler had a few plus he and I also had lunch the next day. So that makes 14 servings for our family!
That makes each serving only $1.76. For our family of six, this is an incredibly reasonably priced meal.

Typically, I like to price each meal under $20 and that keeps our budget of $170 a week for groceries right on track! Do you have a food budget? How much is it? Let me know in the comments!

all the ingredients needed to make spaghetti with tortellini on countertop next to 6-quart pot and large saucepan

Spaghetti Recipe

Ingredients for Spaghetti

2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork sausage
2 jars spaghetti sauce
Pasta or Tortellini
1 Tbsp minced onion
1 bag steamtable sweet corn

ingredients to make spaghetti on countertop

Directions for Spaghetti

1. Firstly, boil water in a 6-Quart pan.

6-quart pot on stove with large saucepan

2. Secondly, heat a large pan on medium-high and spray with non-stick spray.

6-quart pot warming water and large saucepan on stove

3. Add the ground beef and sausage to the hot pan and cook until browned. For the last few years, I have used a pound of pork sausage when cooking beef. Not only does it add an extra pound of meat but it also, in my opinion, adds a great flavor and texture to the mixture.

4. Thirdly, add 1 Tablespoon minced onion to the cooking meat. Minced onion is one thing my mom always added to spaghetti; much to my anger and dislike when I was young. She would try to trick me into not having the onion because I REALLY did not like onion as a kid.
I could always find the smallest onion, removing it with anger from my mouth, and honestly being upset that mom did it again. Like it was her personal mission to torment me or something. So now, obviously, I have to do the same to my kids! We all become our parents, right?! But seriously, it really is the best flavor. Ever.

minced onion with ground beef cooking on stove in large saucepan

5. When the beef is fully cooked, drain the grease. How I drain grease from cooked meat is to place the lid on the pan with a little gap at one end. Holding the lid onto the pan, tilt the pan to drain the grease into a large coffee cup and let it cool before emptying it to the trash. Unless you save it, then let me know in the comments what you do with it!!!

6. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to directions.
If you are using spaghetti, it typically cooks for 9-11 minutes, however, for this dinner, I used tortellini and it only cooks for 2-3 minutes, so make sure to keep a watch on it so they do not overcook.

7. Before the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water in a heat-safe measuring cup. Adding pasta water to the sauce helps it to stay onto the pasta more.
Just let the water cool before pouring it into the jars to get the rest of the sauce out and make sure to not cover the jar and shake it as it can explode.

reserve pasta water in measuring cup

8. Drain the pasta in a sink colander when it is fully cooked and return to the pot.
When returning the pasta to the pot to serve, be gentle with tortellini so it does not fall apart before you get to enjoy it!

tortellini strained in sink colander

9. Pour spaghetti sauce into the fully cooked meat and then stir to combine.

add traditional spaghetti sauce to cooked ground beef in large saucepan

10. Pour half of the reserved pasta water from the heat-safe measuring cup into each of the empty spaghetti jars and then carefully swirl it around to release the leftover sauce from the side of the jar.
Then add this extra spaghetti sauce to the rest of the cooking and simmer with a lid on the pan. Just make sure to not put the pasta lid back onto the jar; the heat from the water can cause expansion.
Just swirl the pasta water and stay safe from exploding jars!

11. Cook the sweet corn according to the package directions.
Sweet corn with spaghetti is a traditional side that I have had since forever. I do not remember any other food that my parents served for dinner with spaghetti.
Since having kids, we have tried carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peas and more. Maybe it is nostalgia, but I just cannot eat anything else with spaghetti! Do you have a specific side that you always have to have with a meal?

steamtable corn

12. Plate pasta with meat sauce on top and then serve with a sprinkle of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

tortellini with spaghetti and meat sauce on a white plate with corn and a brioche garlic bread

Brioche Garlic Bread

With four hungry kids to feed, sometimes we do not have enough food at dinner time. Not that we do not feed our kids enough, but they eat enough to feed a hungry lion. Literally. Tonight, I made Brioche Garlic Bread, and it was literally the most delicious thing ever. Turn the oven to broil with the rack in the middle position. Place the buns on a baking sheet, spread with butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook until just browned, keeping a watch that they do not burn.

brioche buns

Typically, our kids fought over who got the most garlic bread. How is it that kids always know who had more than them?! I promise you; they will fight over how big the slices are and who had the bigger half.
We had these Brioche Buns left over from a burger night this weekend. Tyler and I were so thankful for garlic bread! Not only is it delicious, but bread is a fantastic filler when you have the most starving kids at dinner time.

toasted brioche buns with garlic powder

Enjoy!
~Monica

tortellini with spaghetti and meat sauce and brioche toast on a white plate

Recipe for Spaghetti

Spaghetti

Recipe for spaghetti that I have perfected for twenty-two years, plus directions on how to make a quick brioche garlic toast.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Large Saucepan
  • Sink Colander
  • 6-Quart Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Pork Sausage
  • 2 jars Spaghetti Sauce
  • Spaghetti Pasta OR Tortellini
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Minced Onion
  • 1 bag Steamable Sweet Corn

Instructions
 

  • Bring a 6-Quart pot of water to boil on the stove.
  • Heat a large saucepan on medium-high and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Add the ground beef and sausage to the hot pan and cook until browned.
  • When browned, drain any grease from the beef. The easiest way to do this is to place a lid on the saucepan, with a slight gap, and then pour the grease into a coffee cup.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon minced onion to the cooking meat.
  • When the water is boiling, add the Spaghetti pasta or Tortellini and cook according to directions.
  • Before the pasta is done, reserve a 1 cup of the pasta water in a heat-safe cup.
  • Drain the pasta in a sink colander when it is fully cooked and return to the pot.
  • Pour the 2 jars of spaghetti sauce into the fully cooked meat and stir to combine.
  • Pour half of the reserved pasta water into the empty spaghetti jars and swirl it around to release the leftover sauce from the side of the jar. Add to the rest of the cooking meat. DO NOT COVER WITH THE LID AS THE HEAT FROM THE HOT WATER CAN CAUSE THE JAR TO EXPLODE.
  • Cook the sweet corn according to the package directions.
  • Plate pasta with spaghetti meat sauce on top and serve with a sprinkle of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Pour half of the reserved pasta water into the empty spaghetti jars and swirl it around to release the leftover sauce from the side of the jar. Add to the rest of the cooking meat.
DO NOT COVER WITH THE LID AS THE HEAT FROM THE HOT WATER CAN CAUSE THE JAR TO EXPLODE.
Keyword Dinner under $25, dinner under $30, Recipe, Spaghetti
Spaghetti and tortellini on table for dinner

4 responses to “Perfecting Spaghetti for Twenty-Two Years”

  1. Hairstyles Avatar

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  2. Hairstyles Avatar
    Hairstyles

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    1. Monica's Scratch Kitchen Avatar

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  3. Hairstyles Avatar

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4 thoughts on “Perfecting Spaghetti for Twenty-Two Years

  1. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Fantastic blog and outstanding design and style.

  2. Thanks for this article. I will also like to express that it can often be hard if you are in school and just starting out to create a long credit score. There are many students who are just simply trying to survive and have a good or beneficial credit history can often be a difficult factor to have.

    1. Good point! I am 34 and in no need to increase my credit score. It is for sure beneficial for young people to learn the right ways to use credit, as there are so many who use it incorrectly and it adversely effects them for years.

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