In any event, I worked hard all day, and by 5:30 pm I was dragging. I wanted to make pasta for dinner, but I didn't feel like preparing a homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch. Rather than just heat up store-bought sauce out of a jar, (which I personally don't really like) I made my shortcut version of "sort-of-homemade" spaghetti sauce.
This version involves browning ground beef and garlic, adding some veggies, and a jar of whatever brand of spaghetti sauce that I have on hand (usually a roasted garlic or basil and roasted tomato flavored one). Yesterday though, the jar of spaghetti sauce presented quite an obstacle. So much for minimal effort in preparing the sauce.
When I tried to open the lid on the spaghetti jar, it wouldn't budge. I have pretty strong hands, and usually jars don't present any problem. The diameter of this one was large enough that I had some trouble getting a good grip, and it was STUCK. I tried all the tricks that I knew - using a rubber mat for more traction on the lid, tapping the jar lid on a hard surface, and running it under hot water - all to no avail.
I suddenly knew just how frustrating and limiting a physical challenge like this can be. Fatigue was definitely interfering with my coping skills; I began to feel very overwhelmed and started wondering what on earth I was going to make for dinner! Fortunately, right about then, after a lengthy time of being held under hot water, I was able to use a damp washcloth to help twist the lid and open the jar.
In those few frustrating moments before the jar opened, I gained a true appreciation of how much I take for granted the skills I have to perform simple everyday activities.
I did get the sauce made, and it was good. I'm sharing the recipe here, you might find it helpful the next time you are pressed for time and lacking energy when it is time to get dinner ready. This sauce over pasta and served with a salad is a satisfying dinner - very quick and easy to prepare. Unless, of course, the lid to the spaghetti sauce jar is stuck!
Shortcut "Sort-of-Homemade" Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. ground beef
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (or, if feeling really lazy, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt)
1 can sliced mushrooms, 8 oz.
1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz.
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp. chopped)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 jar storebought spaghetti sauce, 28 oz.
1. Lightly spray a deep frying pan with cooking spray. Brown ground beef with minced garlic until no pink remains, stirring to crumble the meat.
2. Add mushrooms tomatoes, salt and herbs, and full jar of spaghetti sauce.
3. Simmer for at 30 minutes. If too acidic tasting, add a little brown sugar while cooking.
4. Serve over cooked pasta.
Note: If you are feeling ambitious, you can also add chopped onion and/or chopped pepper when sauteing the meat, use fresh mushrooms instead of canned, and sometimes I add a splash of red wine.
What is your favorite shortcut for preparing a quick meal?
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