Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dinner for my man

After this crazy past week and a half of depending on Jason for everything from getting me back and forth from car dealers on his evenings off to lining up our joint insurance to scheduling an appointment for the winshield replacer guy to come replace the windshield in my new car because it had a crack in it when I bought it (no worries, the dealership paid for it), I really wanted to show him my appreciation by making him a big, hearty dinner the night after we bought my car. The dinner was only a very small way to show my gratitude, I don't think I'll ever be able to make it up to him. The wonderful thing is, that's what love is about. He doesn't expect me to make it up to him or repay him in any way. I just know that I want to be there for him in his hour of need the way he's been here for me, loving, comforting, and uncomplaining.

So I made something delicious and hearty... Homemade Spaghetti! Once again, I hi-jacked this from Celeste's blog, and it was soooo yummy. True to my nature, I had to tweak stuff, and it made it a little different but it was still really good. I'll start putting my little tweaks in red. :) I served roasted asparagus (I got it from Maryanna's blog, Taste & See) and garlic biscuits whose recipe I "made up" myself.

The best part about this recipe is that I was running late getting home because I had to get the ingredients at the store, and instead of being mad, Jason wanted to help cook and we learned a lot together :)

I think it goes without saying that my relationship with Jason as grown, evolved, and morphed into something bigger and more beautiful than either Jason and I. He is the kindest, most gentle, most beautiful man I have ever met in my entire life. I can't wait to start my life with him!

Brad's (Celeste's dh) Spaghetti:
1 box uncooked spaghetti
1 green bell pepper, chopped -I omitted this, Jason *hates* bell peppers.
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves, minced -I got a jar of minced garlic and 1/2 tsp = 1 clove
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (E.V.O.O.), plus 1 tbsp. E.V.O.O. for pasta
1 jar Ragu spaghetti sauce (we always get the garlic and onion flavored kind) -I got the jar of parmesan and romano Ragu. Warning- it was on sale because it's been discontinued!
1 can tomato paste
1 can stewed tomatoes Here is where I screwed up. I was rushing and grabbed two cans of tomato *sauce* instead of tomato *paste*. I was going to omit the stewed tomatoes because Jason and I don't like tomato chunks in our spaghetti sauce and use two cans of the paste instead. Oh well, c'est la vie!
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tbsp. dried oregano I used more than this because I seasoned to taste.
Garlic salt, to taste
Grated parmesan for seasoning
1 tbsp. butter I omitted this, honestly I just forgot about it.

Drizzle E.V.O.O. in a skillet over medium heat. Take half of the bell pepper and half of the onion (reserving the other half for later) and add them to the skillet; saute for a few minutes or until bell pepper and onion are softened. Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Add ground beef to the skillet and cook until no longer pink, gently breaking the meat apart as it cooks.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Season the water with a generous amount of salt and 1 tbsp. of butter. Cook pasta until al dente.
In a separate large saucepan, pour contents of Ragu jar. Add tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, and the other half of the bell pepper and onion. When beef is completely cooked, drain if needed and then add to the spaghetti sauce mixture. Season with the oregano and garlic salt to taste. Let the sauce cook through for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

***The reason Brad sautes half of the bell pepper/onion and then adds the rest directly to the spaghetti sauce later is because it adds texture. You will end up with half soft, sauteed bell pepper/onion and half slighty crunchy bell pepper/onion. It adds a special yummy-ness!***

Pour pasta in a strainer and rinse with HOT water. Let drain. Brad hates runny pasta, so that is why he adds this step! Put drained pasta back into the pot. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp. E.V.O.O. and sprinkle with oregano. Stir.

Put cooked pasta on a plate and top with a generous serving of the spaghetti sauce. S
prinkle with grated parmesan

Maryanna's Roasted Asparagus:
1-2 bunches fresh asparagus, rinsed with water and dried
Olive oil flavored cooking spray I used good old fashioned evoo
salt to taste I also used coarse ground pepper for a little kick

Snap the tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Place the asparagus in a single line on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Broil for 5-7 minutes.

My Garlic Biscuits:
Basically, this is the red lobster biscuit recipe, except I didn't have any cheese (I bought a full bag of shredded sharp cheddar on sunday, my mom's fi ate the whole. damn. bag. by Tuesday afternoon).

2 2/3 cups bisquick
1 cup milk
¼ tsp. garlic salt
4 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ tsp. parsley
Preheat oven to 450ยบ F

In a large mixing bowl, combine bisquick, milk, garlic salt, and a pinch of parsley. Mix together until a soft dough forms then beat vigorously for 30 seconds. On an ungreased baking pan, spoon the dough onto the pan in small balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them though, they tend to bake quickly!

While they are baking, combine the melted butter, extra garlic salt, and the rest of the parsley. Once the biscuits are done cooking, brush the butter mixture onto the biscuits while they are still on the baking pan. Best served when warm.


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