Spaghetti Rice

Hello everyone. I hope you all are staying warm…..or cool if you’re in the middle of summer where you live. It’s finally feeling like winter down here in the south. If you saw my last post we got snow down our way. If you live in the south where it doesn’t snow much, when it does, you have to take advantage of it.

For times like that when you can’t get to the store, it’s a great time to start pulling out the pantry staples and leftovers in the refrigerator and cook up something new…..or at least new to you. That’s kind of how this latest dish came about. I had some really nice homemade pasta sauce leftover from the previous night’s dinner, but I didn’t have any pasta left. I always keep rice on hand in the pantry because it’s definitely a staple in our house. When I saw the two, it reminded me of when I was young, my mom would make rice with pasta sauce for a quick lunch. It was so simple yet so comforting. So naturally I thought this would be a great way to use up that delicious meat sauce. This was a nice change from the usual pasta dish.

To make this even faster if you don’t have leftover pasta sauce, you can use sauce from a jar and instant rice. Grate some parmesan cheese over the top and pair it with some nice crusty bread and a salad, and you have a really tasty dinner.

Here’s what you need:

*rice; you can use any kind. I used long grain instant rice

*butter to taste

*salt to taste

*pasta sauce; homemade or from a jar. If you need a fast but tastes like homemade pasta sauce, try my Shortcut Meat Sauce

*grated parmesan cheese

Cook rice according to package directions; add butter and salt to taste once the rice is tender.

Pull out the leftover pasta sauce and warm it up in a sauce pan.

If you are making the sauce from scratch, you might want to start the sauce first then cook the rice as the sauce simmers.

Place the rice in a serving bowl or plate and spoon the sauce over the rice. Grate the parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy!

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Shortcut Meat Sauce

I’m a big fan of making my own homemade meat sauce, but there are times when I want to put a dish together quickly or I’m just too tired to do all of the work it takes to make a great sauce. This is my go to shortcut sauce. I have used it in many dishes that require a meat sauce. With some added love and ingredients, no one will know it came from a jar…… just make sure you get rid of the evidence before anyone enters the kitchen. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*2 jars or your favorite spaghetti sauce

*1 Tbs olive oil

*1 small onion, diced

*2 cloves of garlic, minced

*2 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. sweet paprika, or more to taste

*1 bay leaf

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste; yes you read right, chili powder in a small amount doesn’t really add the heat, but it adds another depth of flavor.

*salt, to taste

Heat a large sauce pan to medium high heat. When the pan becomes hot add olive oil and onion and cook about 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add in the garlic and saute until onions are softened, but do not let the garlic burn. Add the ground beef, and break into large pieces while mixing it with the onion and the garlic; let it brown for several minutes. As the beef continues to brown, break it up into even smaller pieces. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, but not too often so all of the meat can brown; drain if needed and add back to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add in the spices except for the bay leaf, cook for about 1 minute, stirring to mix spices into the beef. Carefully add both jars of sauce; stir to mix well and add in the bay leaf. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Use right away or refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. This also freezes nicely in an airtight container or zip top bag for 4 to 6 months.

Enjoy!