Friday, January 16, 2015

Altering Spaghetti To Accommodate A Toddler

V.L. Jennings' Spaghetti
Growing up in my later years I discovered that I wasn't very fond of spaghetti. It took more work to eat it than most foods- I mean really... who wants to eat half a plate of spaghetti with sauce and the other half with a bland sorta 'no more sauce' taste? A lot of work goes into getting the proper sauce to noodle ratio on each spoon! Then you add in the fact that apparently tomato sauce just tasted really acidic to me, the same reason I dislike ketchup (and yet I LOVE hot sauce... how does that work?).

However, when you are trying to cook family meals on a budget, spaghetti is still awesome in a pinch.

When my husband and I married he came with two kids- ready made family. One was 2 almost 3 when we married and the other was 6. The oldest came with a bunch of medical issues, one of which being fine motor skills. What this boiled down to was having two kids in the house with the dexterity of a toddler.

At first I tried chopping the spaghetti up... yeah that went over well *sarcasm*. Not that they pitched a fit or anything, they just really didn't enjoy eating it. So I took a bite... and discovered that chopping up the spaghetti so fine may have made it easier to pick up but was BLAH as far as chewing texture goes.

Add that into the fact that noodles sliding all over the mouth leaves sauce all over the face... cute to some parents sure- I could see the appeal. Until I discovered that eldest's face would sport a red rash the next morning from the sauce. I thought about nixing spaghetti and pizza all together until I realized that she would only have a reaction if she made a mess of it on her face. If it all made it into her mouth... no problems at all.

Next time I decided to try using elbow noodles instead- SUCCESS!!!

From there, I was even more determined to tweak the sauce recipe to get just the right amount of flavor and enjoyment out of it. Heck, if I'm going to be working over a stove to make this than it better be enjoyable to eat even for the cook!

I was raised on the walmart brand of jar'd spaghetti sauce, it was the cheapest, and I am on a budget so I stuck with that as a base. I also wanted something to cut down on the tang of the tomato taste in the spaghetti sauce. Walking through the spaghetti isle I noticed the jars of alfredo... Why not! Lets try that and see how that tastes!

TONS better!

Fast forward to the end of 2014... hamburger meat is sky high... and strangely enough sausage is CHEAPER than hamburger meat (where before hamburger was cheaper). So to save money on my spaghetti dinner I opted for two lbs of sausage instead of my usual hamburger.

Ok... now I have total yumness!

I may eventually go back to using spaghetti noodles but for now my third child is 3 soon to be four, (*cries* is it really that time already!) and he loves the elbows!

V.L. Jennings' Spaghetti

1- 16oz box of elbow noodles
1- small jar of alfredo sauce
1 extra large jar (66oz) and one medium jar (45 oz) of your choice spaghetti sauce
2lbs of sausage (I like to do one spicy, one regular or one regular, one sage)

Brown spaghetti sauce and boil noodles/drain. Mix sauce, sausage, and alfredo in one big pot. Makes two dinner nights for 5 people!

PS If you are here wondering how my Crock Pot Ham turned out... 

Well I am happy to report that it was, fall of the bone, absolutely AWESOME! I ended up cooking it for 5 hours on high- I had an appointment so I didn't get back till then. However, I believe it may have been done around 4 hours.

It was SO juicy that I could shred it easily with just ONE fork!

Each bite was full of flavor and SO super succulent! It was a big success with my kids and my husband. Plus I even have some left over that I think I will shred into some mac n cheese for tonight's meal!

Anyhow- I hope you enjoyed these recipe's! Stay tuned... there's no telling what sorts of things I will go exploring or altering next!

Do you have a recipe you've altered that you would like to share? Tell us about it in the comments! I love to try new dishes!


  1. What great ideas! Thanks for linking up with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday." Hope you can join us again this week.

    1. Thank's for visiting Lisa! I don't try new recipes often, but when I do I'll be sure to share!