Thursday, November 29, 2018

Instant Pot Spaghetti

My daughter is a spaghetti fanatic.  She'd probably eat it every day if I'd let her.  Unfortunately, the rest of us don't feel the same way!  So, to accommodate her desire, I've started making big batches and freezing them in thermos-size portions for her school lunches.  The easiest and quickest way for me to do this is with the Instant Pot.  I've tried a couple of recipes but none came out with thick enough sauce for her, and after some experimenting I've finally come up with a winner!

1 T. olive oil
1/2 to 1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. pepper
16 ounce package spaghetti noodles
1 24-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
1 24.5-ounce container crushed tomatoes
3 c. water

With the Instant Pot on the saute setting, brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic in the olive oil.  Once cooked, turn off the pot.  Carefully drain grease if necessary.  Add seasonings and stir with the meat mixture.

Break the noodles into desired length and sprinkle into the pot (don't put them in in solid handfuls or they'll clump together when they cook).  Pour the spaghetti sauce and crushed tomatoes over, then pour the water over all of that.  Make sure the noodles are submerged in the liquid. 

Seal the Instant Pot and cook on manual for 9 minutes.  After cooking, use the manual pressure release.  Remove the lid and stir thoroughly to make sure that everything is incorporated evenly.  Serve immediately, or freeze in single-serve portions to eat later. 


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving food 2018

In our house, we do two Thanksgivings.  Fortunately, I don't host either one and they're both potlucks, so I don't have to make too much food or make sure my house is presentable!  My husband's family gets together on Thursday and my family gets together on Saturday, at which time we also celebrate the five November/December birthdays in the extended family, including my daughter's, which is in early December.

There were a couple of recipes I tried for the first time that were definite keepers, so I want to be sure to make note of them here!

For Thursday:

I think there was something else but I can't remember what it was!

For Saturday:

  • Hot Double-Onion Cheese Dip (I'll admit I had doubts about this recipe - especially the lemon zest - but it was delicious!!!  I used Jarlsberg cheese because it was less expensive)
  • An assortment of veggies, crackers, and chips 
  • Ranch dip made following the recipe on the Uncle Dan's dressing packet  
  • Homemade Mini Strawberry Strudels, with homemade quick puff pastry using this recipe (this was my daughter's choice for her birthday dessert this year)

All in all, a delicious weekend! 

Monday, November 05, 2018

Menu Plan November 4 - 10

How'd everybody do on their menus last week?  I did a few switches but for the most part we stuck to it.  We ended up picking up Taco Bell on Tuesday because we made a last-minute trip to the pumpkin patch rather than getting our carving pumpkins at the store.  And, I switched Friday and Saturday's dinners because I didn't get the enchiladas made in the morning so I needed something quicker after Zumba class on Friday night. 

Funny story - I told my husband we were supposed to have enchiladas Friday night and he said he didn't like those (which I know isn't true).  I said I was making the creamy kind, not the red sauce kind (I've never found a red sauce that didn't taste like a can so I don't make that kind).  I asked if he liked those and he couldn't remember.  I said (with a smile on my face) "well I'll just make them and you can tell me how gross they are."  He ate them, and then ate the leftovers for lunch yesterday, so I think they were acceptable, LOL.

And so, without further ado, here's this week's menu (also posted to Menu Plan Monday at

Sunday:  White chicken chili (I used this as a base recipe)
Monday:  Leftover chili
Tuesday:  Bean and Cheese Burritos (something like this)
Wednesday:  Chicken Divan over rice 
Thursday:  Rice ball casserole
Friday:  Boboli pizza
Saturday:  movie night at my sister-in-laws means a bunch of junk food for dinner!

Have a great week!