Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spaghetti Casserole

One of our favorite recipes here at the apartment is the Spaghetti Casserole.  I love it because it tastes better as leftovers than plain spaghetti does.  And when it's just the two of us it carries for a couple days. :)  It's really nice to make before I know I'm going to be away, so I know Jon gets a good meal with easy clean up. :)

(fills up a 9x13 "casserole pan")
2 lb hamburger
1 large (4 lb 3 oz) container of Prego Traditional Italian sauce (Use whatever is your favorite traditional spaghetti sauce, or make homemade....but I'm not gifted in that area yet.) I use about 3/4 of the container.

Zita noodles (or whatever noodles you want)
2 bags of shred cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you want really)  We love cheese, so I load it big time! :)

Directions: (read all before you begin)
1. Boil water/ cook pasta and drain.  (You need enough pasta to cover the pan evenly twice.)
2. Brown hamburger (drain) [My skillet is not big enough to hold the hamburger and the added sauce later.  So when doing step #6 only add half of the meat sauce if you have all of the meat cooked.]
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
4. Wipe hamburger skillet with paper towel to get rid of extra grease/fat left in pan.
5. Return hamburger to pan and add half of your sauce (enough to fill the bottom of your casserole pan).
6.  Put the meat sauce in the casserole pan.
7. With the pasta cooled by now, layer your pasta on top of the meat sauce.  Do not overlap.
8. Layer with lots of cheese. :)
9. [Skip this step if you were able to cook all of hamburger at once.]  Brown other half of hamburger.  Drain. Wipe skillet.  Put hamburger back in skillet, add sauce enough to layer the casserole pan again.
10. Put the rest of your meat sauce (on top of the cheese layer) in your casserole pan.
11. Layer evenly your pasta again.
12. Load up the cheese! :)
13. Put in oven for 15-20 minutes or until you can put your finger through the casserole and it's warm and the cheese is melted.

*Note: The last batch I made was our favorite.  The directions above is what I did.  However, in the past I layered the casserole differently.  The order in the past was: sauce, cheese, pasta, sauce, cheese.
Jon and I really liked how much more cheesy it tasted by layering the cheese on top of the pasta.  But do what you and your family likes the best.

I serve it with garlic bread: butter bread or leftover buns, sprinkle a good amount of garlic salt, put under broiler until your liking. Yumm!

Enjoy!! :)

                                What the casserole looks like after it's 3/4 gone. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


"He who spare the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."  Proverbs 13:24

Okay, I know I'm not a parent.  But I'm observant after all these years with children........
Last week I had an interesting experience.  One that maybe parents can relate to, but I desperately cry out to God that He will provide peace.  While visiting my sister, my nephews were so motivated to have me take them to the Learning Post.  When we got to the store the boys rushed to the train table (play area provided for kids so moms can enjoy shopping). :)  Melissa and I crack up because the boys have a train table at home, in yet they get so delighted to play at the Learning Post!

L to R: Max (2), Jack (4), and Sam (5)
Sam and Jack came with me to the Learning Post.

My nephews went straight for the trains, but this time there were two boys already playing with "their trains."

I'm sure you can imagine what is already about to happen.

The boys that were there first our pretty sure that the trains are theres.  I tell my nephews those boys were there first, so they have first pick.  However, once they will leave they can play with the certain ones they want.

Sam grabs one that he wants and the little two-year old boy (maybe a young three?) cries out, "NO! NO!"  He grabs the trains of his desire.  I whisper to Sam, "I know it's hard to share sometimes.  But just treat him like Jesus would.  He's kind of like your brother Max (age 2).  He's still learning manners."  The boy's mom hears her kid's 'cry' and shouts out, "Share boys!"  Then returns to her shopping.

Sam and Jack find something else to do.  I also notice the young boy playing with trains and also holding three or four in his hand.  Oh boy.

While watching my cheerful nephews play, I talk to the employees whom I used to work with.  It's soon time to meet back up with my sister, but my poor nephews barely got to play with the toys they were so excited to play with! :(  The mom comes by and says it's time for them to leave.  The boys don't budge.  Then she says, "I'm leaving!"  The older son rushes to his mom's side.  The younger one....not so much.

The mom tries and tries to get the little boy interested in leaving.  That doesn't work so she says, "You are never going to come shopping with me if you keep this up!"  Then she says, "I don't know what else to do!  Why don't you ever listen to me?  How do I get him to listen to me?"

The manager of the store tries to help, "I'm going to close the store.  All the lights will be turned off and you will be here all alone.  Mom is leaving."

The boy cries out, "NO!  I'M STAYING HERE!!!!"

After much fight the mom just decides to come and pick him up while he screams and kicks his legs.

After they leave, the manager of the store tells me she comes in with these kids a lot.  The boy fights the same fight every time.

That poor mother.

That poor son.

I look at my nephews and they are happily playing.  I talk to them about what just happened.  "Remember how Mom and Dad talk to you about having a grateful heart?  Well, this is why.  She wants you to be able to think about the good things.  She also likes to see you show people the love of Jesus.  What do you think?"

Sam (age five), "Yeah.  That boy is not happy.  He needs Jesus."
Jack (age four), "Yeah.  He was really upset with his mommy.  He needs to listen to her.  He did NOT want to leave."

I know I'm not a parent yet, but my prayer is that I will become a mother someday who is willing to stick out in the tough moments.  I really want my kids to learn respect, thankfulness, and what it means to have a grateful heart--in Jesus' Name!  And ladies lets continue to lift up mom's in prayer.  They really need rest and wisdom!

"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."  Proverbs 12:1

"Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death." Proverbs 19:18