I love spagetti in all it’s forms. The most traditional is my mother’s recipe for spagetti sauce. Brown one pound of ground round with one chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic. Add one can tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and tomato soup. A heaping tablespoon of chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper.

Today I wanted to make this but I didn’t have any meat and I didn’t feel like going to the market. So here is what I came up with. I had a box of mushrooms so I chopped those up with the onion and proceeded as usual. Except I didn’t have tomato sauce or tomato soup, so I doubled up on the canned tomatoes and added a can of beef broth. Not bad.

I enjoy cooking with what ingredients I have on hand. It made quite a large amount and I have two jars left over in the fridge. I’ll have to think of something unique to do with these.

Maybe I can make some minestrone soup. I would think that would have similar things in it. This could be the base. Onions, mushrooms, tomatoes. I can’t remember what all is in minestrone soup. Garbonza beans? Macaroni? Thank God for the Internet.

Maybe I could doctor up one jar of sauce and turn it into lasagna. All I need to add is some Italian sausage, mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Oh, yes, some lasagna noodles. And of course parmesan cheese.

I love Italian food. That and Chinese are my two favorite ‘eating out’ foods. Usually when I go out for an Italian dinner I either order linguine and clams or pizza.

When I was nineteen and a new bride, I went to a bank that gave you a present every time you made a deposit. Each week I would go to the bank and put $10 in my savings account. That year they were giving Chef Boyardee pizza mix.

It came in a box with three parts. The dry mix that when combined with water became the dough. The can of pizza sauce to spread all over, and the packet of parmesan cheese for the top. I always bought a ball of mozarella to grate on top and sometimes a can of mushrooms.

I thought this was the greatest dinner and often served it for company. If it was a special occasion I would write something with the mushrooms. Happy Birthday was not too hard to do.

I don’t know if they still make this product. I’ll have to check it out next time I go to the market. I know Pillsbury has a pizza crust in a tube that you just unroll and bake. I think it is pretty easy to make pizza dough in the Cuisinart. Think I’ll try that one of these days.

One of the best and easiest pizza dough is simply a bread recipe for French bread. Add a little more sugar and spread it in the pan. Bake about ten minutes before spreading on the pizza sauce and cheese. By the way Contadina makes a good Pizza Squeeze sauce in a plastic jar. Easy and it stores well in the fridge.

There is one item I heartily recommend. That is the shredded parmesan cheese at Costco. This comes in a big plastic container and is superior to anything you can get in a regular market. Of course it is great on pasta, in salad and all the usual ways.

But here is another way to use parmesan cheese. If you want to make chicken parmesan, just mix about a half cup of canned milk, a half cup of parmesan cheese and juice of half a lemon. This recipe is from a Pet milk ad in 1960.

Flatten a chicken breast, (one for each person) season flour with garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in flour/canned milk/flour and  saute till browned. Put in an oven dish. Then pour a can of tomato sauce over, top with milk/cheese mixture and bake at 375 till browned. Yum. (You may want to use a little more cheese) This is good served on a bed of noodles.

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