Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What do babies and baked spaghetti have in common??

They're both on my mind!

Its funny how a year can fly by so fast. You make so many memories along the way, but looking back you only immediately see the handful of major events, good and bad alike.  Looking back on the past year I can't help but smile. A year ago today was my last day of being just a person. Albeit a person with a REALLLLY big belly. Now I'm a mom, and quite honestly, I've never been a fan of titles or labels until I got this one. My baby girl is turning a year old tomorrow. And, before you ask, yes, I am one of "those" moms who gets all sentimental about my baby growing up. I can't help it.

It's so insane that one day they're just brought into this world, so tiny and helpless. I could never have anticipated such a mixture of feelings, I was SO happy and at the same time I was so incredibly scared. (Thank goodness for good old fashioned maternal instinct, seriously.) Now, just a quick year later, she's so close to walking that I'm ready with a camera every time she tries to let go of the couch, she likes to do as many things on her own as is possible (including try to climb up her daddy like he's a mountain) and she's even let a couple 'mama' and 'dada's slip out along the way (which I cannot for the life of me get her to repeat). So being one of those sentimental moms I naturally hugged and cuddled my baby girl today while we were watching Sesame Street and I just reminisced. I'm in love with what the past year has given me and what it's meant to me.

It's not the best picture in the world, I know, but this is me a year ago. And then there's my baby girl about a day old.

Now she's my happy-go-lucky adventure baby!

She's grown up so much, it really is crazy to me. Although I miss the little itty bitty baby that she was a year ago that I got to hold endlessly and comfort, I'm so in love with the little girl that she is right now. She honestly makes me laugh so hard it hurts sometimes. I wouldn't change my life for the anything.

But anyways, I'm done thinking back for the moment. On to the food!!

With a very curious mobile baby and a very busy husband that is hungry the moment he gets home, I've been working on organizing some quick, easy, budget friendly dinners. And actually, I'm really happy to say that it's been working! One of the hubsters favorites right now is baked spaghetti. He's got a thing for cheese so this hits the spot for him. I also make low budget garlic bread to go along with it. This recipe, for us, yields about  9 servings. Which means that hubby takes it for lunch if he wants, snacks on it when he gets home or when he's playing his video games. Bam! He's in love! It's a really good anytime meal for him

Here's what I did!

Baked Spaghetti:

You'll Need:

1 lb. spaghetti noodles
1- 66 oz jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice. (There's a little bonus with that, I'll tell you later!)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Baking pan

What to do:

Cook spaghetti normally. Drain & set aside in large mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat up your spaghetti sauce.
I only had Prego traditional sauce in the house, and to be honest with you I think it tastes a little bland... But with some basil, oregano, onion powder, minced garlic and a touch of salt it tastes pretty good! If I had an extra tomato to dice up & toss in there I would have done it in a heart beat!

Add mozzarella cheese to mixing bowl and add a few handfuls of parmesan cheese also.

Spoon in your spaghetti sauce.
Your only going to want to spoon in about 3/4 of the sauce. You don't want to put too much into the mix because it will end up looking like you just threw regular spaghetti into the oven for funsies. The bonus with this (told you there was one!) is that the extra 1/4 of sauce that's left over you can freeze, and after you make 4 meals you don't have to do anything but defrost what you already have! That's a HUGE bonus for me. 

Mix it all together! Mix mix mix mix mix mix mix!!!!

When your done mixing pour your gloriously cheesy noodles into your baking pan.

If your a big fan of cheese like we are here, top the entire pan with more cheese!

Put the pan into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes on the middle rack.
I put my camera down somewhere and had to go find it once I pulled the pan out of the oven, so this is what I came back to...

Budget Friendly Garlic Bread

You'll Need:

6 slices of bread (I used regular white bread)
6 tablespoons Margarine
Garlic powder
Cookie Sheet

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400.
I usually just bake this towards the end of the spaghetti being done so they both come out of the oven at the same time. 

Melt the margarine in the microwave.

Lay out the bread on a cookie sheet.

Spread about a tablespoon of margarine on each piece of bread, covering as much of the surface as possible.

Sprinkle on a light layer of garlic powder to each piece.

Sprinkle on the oregano and basil.

Bake for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown.

And there you have it! The entire dinner is super easy and really tasty! It's also a really refreshing twist on the normal. I think next time I make this I'll cut some meatballs into quarters and toss them in the mix. I hope you enjoy! I'll be off celebrating my baby girls birthday! =)

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