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Spaghetti sauce good for more than just spaghetti

One day I was hungry for spaghetti so I made a pot full of spaghetti sauce. After dinner, I divided the sauce and put it into freezer containers to use for future meals. The sauce sure came in handy for a dinner I made last week for Chicken Parmesan. The super thing about this dish is that you get full flavor without having to brown the chicken.

■ Spaghetti

Serving size: 8

3/4 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, diced

29 ounce can crushed tomatoes

15 ounce can tomato sauce

1 14-1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

6 ounce can tomato paste

1 cup sliced mushrooms, optional

1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 bay leaf

Hot cooked spaghetti

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown beef and onion; drain. Return to saucepan and stir in remaining ingredients except spaghetti. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, two hours. Remove bay leaf and serve over hot, cooked spaghetti noodles.

■ Chicken Parmesan

Serving size: 6

14 ounce jar spaghetti sauce

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided

6 small skinless boneless chicken breast halves

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour sauce into a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Carefully stir in four tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Add chicken; turn over to evenly coat both sides with sauce. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover. Top with mozzarella cheese and remaining two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese; continue baking five minutes or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted. Serve over hot cooked pasta, if desired.

■ 1 2 3 Toffee Bars

1 cup butter, not margarine

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 sleeve Saltine crackers

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

Line a jelly roll pan with non-stick foil. Mist the foil very lightly with cooking spray. Arrange crackers (salt side up) on the foil-lined jelly roll pan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil, and cook for three minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over crackers. Bake in a preheated oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Return to the oven and bake until the chocolate just starts to melt. Remove from heat and spread melted chocolate chips over the top. I also like to sprinkle finely chopped almonds (about 1/2 cup) over the melted chocolate to dress the bars up. Refrigerate for at least three hours, then break into pieces and store in the refrigerator.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: An unkind remark is like a killing frost — no matter how much it warms up, the damage is already done.

GARY’S TIP: Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut green beans into pieces. It works really slick.