Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gluten Free Dinner #2 - Fancy Spaghetti

Growing up, Mom's spaghetti was a weekly staple. I seriously think we had it at least once or twice a week the entirety of my childhood.

Mom's spaghetti was simple: hamburger, store bought pasta and store bought sauce. That was it, and we loved it. It was a cheap, filling meal for a big family on a very tight budget.

My family doesn't eat spaghetti every week, as we try to keep pasta dishes more of a special treat rather than weekly standby. But I get a craving every so often for Mom's spaghetti, and this is my twist on her basic recipe.

Gluten free pasta is readily available at regular grocery stores, and makes cooking so much easier! So many good old recipes that used to be off limits with a gluten allergy can now be made safely and just as deliciously  as the originals. Don't be afraid of the gluten free pasta! It cooks exactly the same way as regular pasta, comes in all varieties from angel hair to penne, and your gluten-eating family and friends will never be able to tell it's gluten free. Most gluten free pasta is made of white rice, which is not very good for you, so we usually stick to the quinoa/corn pasta (as seen above) and brown rice pasta.

I am ashamed to say I don't make my own tomato sauce. Part laziness, part time constrictions that come with being a mom to ittie-bitties, part love of the taste of my childhood years of eating Prego every week...I just don't make my own sauce. (Yet. It's on my "when I grow up" list of things to learn.) Most canned tomato sauces are gluten free, and some brands (like Prego) list that on their labels. (Remember to always read your labels!)
Instead of using ground hamburger, I use ground turkey in my spaghetti, and I season it with minced garlic, onion, and basil.

Silas cheered me on as I cut up a couple of green peppers into strips to add into the sauce, to give the spaghetti some vegetable content. We love green peppers. We like them crunchy, so I usually throw mine into the pan once the meat has browned, and let them cook a bit before I add the sauce to the meat.

I love my giant cast iron skillet, and cooking one dish meals in it! Keeps things simple.

I just topped my spaghetti with a light dusting of parmesan and it was ready to eat. If I was having company over and wanted to make the spaghetti a little more fancy, I might have added 3-4oz of cream cheese to make the sauce creamy and rich. It's a fun twist. Another fun variation is to use italian turkey sausage instead of ground turkey. It gives the dish some serious kick.

It's a simple, affordable, filling meal that can be dressed up or kept really simple. Best of all, everyone loves it, even picky kids!

*Disclaimer: This post is not endorsed by Prego or any other brands.*

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