I grew up with a remarkable lady as a family friend that we, and nearly everyone else we knew, called, "Ma". Ma has to be nearing the century mark by now, and she is one of the toughest ladies you would ever meet! She possesses so many talents - BBQ queen, carpentry, baseball coach, and if you were ever sick, she would bring you an entire homemade coconut cream pie. Now THAT is some good medicine!! I could go on and on about this woman as there are so many wonderful stories. Every Sunday, Ma made spaghetti and invited all of her family for Sunday lunch after worship.
After talking it over with the Preacher Man, we decided to adopt this tradition too, and we've been having spaghetti, salad, & garlic bread for Sunday lunch for about 2 months now. It makes sense in so many ways for us. Sundays are so busy. I'm sure they are for most people, but being a PW, I notice how much more intense they are. I try to do as much prep as possible Saturday night, but still, Sundays are such a whirlwind that we always need Monday to recover from them. We are nearly always the last to leave the building, and by the time we get home (yes, after walking all of 50 feet to our house), I usually have two hungry little ones who are extra cranky from having to sit still for so long and being cooped up while mama and daddy visit after services. Having pasta sauce in the crock pot warm and ready to go, and a salad tossed and ready in the fridge means that all I have to do is boil some water and drop in the pasta. I put my "big littles" to work toasting bread and we make some garlic toast. We set the table, bring out the "sprinkles" (parmesan) and enjoy a tasty meal. So simple, so little stress, it works for me! Of course, that exact scenario happens in the happy, perfect little world I like to blog about. In the more realistic world, I have not made the sauce or salad up ahead of time and we have to trip over toys and clothes to get to the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, the dishes from breakfast are still piled up and the dishwasher is full of dishes that need to be put away, and I have to do so just to be able to function in my kitchen! But even in this slightly more realistic scenario, having the habit of spaghetti on Sundays makes my life so much more simple, and best of all, I don't have to think too hard about what we should eat. I always have the ingredients, so I just make it!
Before I had little ones, and while I was only a part time PW, I would stay up extra late Saturday and wake up sometimes as early as 4 a.m. to get a fancy meal ready for company that day. Those days may come again... maybe, maybe not. For now, I see the wisdom in keeping things simple, yet tasty. After all, "a cheerful heart has a continual feast" (Proverbs 15:15).
One of the advantages of spaghetti is that you can change it up a lot to keep things interesting, while still staying within the realm of "spaghetti". You can use different pasta shapes, you can have marinara or meat sauce, sometimes I add chopped pepperoni, you can add extra veggies to the sauce... in fact, I am known to add pureed butternut squash and shredded zucchini to almost every batch of pasta sauce I make! You can't taste them at all, and they just add to the nutrition. I have heard of adding in green olives... need to try that sometime.
If you want to make Spaghetti Sundays extra fancy, you can try this recipe -
Sausage and Peppers Sunday morning, brown a tray (about 1 lb.) of hot or sweet Italian sausages (according to your taste) in olive oil on medium-low heat, turning occasionally. I cover them with a lid and slowly cook them for about 30-45 minutes to make sure they are done all the way through. Meanwhile, pour two 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes into the crockpot. Mix in a palmful or so of Italian seasonings. If you have the time add several minced cloves of garlic. If you don't have the time, add about 2 tsp. of garlic powder. Stir up your sauce. Cut about 2 large or 3 small bell peppers and one large onion into strips and stir into the sauce. Add the sausages, put on the lid and cook on high until you get home.