I'm one of four, and when we were little my mom worked really hard to make sure we had good balanced meals every night that were affordable and included some kind of protein.
Protein isn't always meat.
This is how my family makes spaghetti. It's one of those really weird flavor combinations that you've probably never thought of, but the dairy and acidic tomatoes make a really great combination!
Don't ask, just make. It's healthy!
Veggie Spaghetti with Cottage Cheese
So, this is the way my family ate spaghetti. I'm not sure if anyone still actually likes the cottage cheese action, but I do!
There are no measurements for this bad boy (shocker!), but a general rule is that 1 large can of tomatoes and 2 cups of chopped veggies (including the onion) will give you 4-6 portions of sauce.
Here's what you need!
- cooked noodles - regular spaghetti is my favorite for this!
- crushed red pepper
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- veggies - I like a mixture of mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers, but whatever you have on hand and enjoy is fine!
- grated carrot - this gives a nice texture and thickens the sauce
- canned tomatoes - I prefer crushed or a mix of diced and crushed
- cottage cheese (low fat or fat free, don't kill the diet with dairy!)\
- parmesan cheese
Let's start with our sauce. You'll want to chop the onion and mince the garlic. I like the other vegetables to be in large chunks - they'll get smaller as they cook!
Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat with a swirl of olive oil. Add the onions for 1 minute, then add the rest of the veggies, a sprinkle of salt, and as much crushed red pepper as you'd like to the pan.
Now, stir everything together and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes, but more if you have time, to thicken. Taste the sauce and add more salt and a pinch of sugar if you need to!
And find some cottage cheese.
Now, stacking your meal is a matter of personal preference. My mom puts her cottage cheese on the pasta, then tops the pasta with sauce and microwaves the whole thing so it's all melty and hot.
I prefer my cottage cheese on top so it stays cold and is a weird cool contrast to the spaghetti sauce, kind of like sour cream on tacos.
It's very important that you determine the best plating method for your pasta.
Listen, I know this is a weird idea, but it's delicious and has lots of nutrition right on one plate! It's very affordable and kids love it (if they can get over the zucchini), so give it a whirl and let me know what other weird things you come up with that your family loves!