No Ordinary Spaghetti Dinner

Most of my life consists of ordinary days.  The type of day where I get up, go to work, come home, have dinner with my husband, play with our dogs, and then go to sleep.  Of course, there are certain days that are consumed with attending marching band competitions to watch Melissa perform, entire afternoons filled with anticipation of a new Mad Men episode, or planning trivia nights with new friends.  But these can be few and far between so Tim and I have settled into somewhat of a quiet routine with one another.  I can't complain--I'm lucky. 

I suppose some of my initial interest in blogging was to throw myself out there a little bit more, mix things up, have some new experiences.  And this little blog hasn't let me down.  I was able to attend an awesome luncheon on canning at Local 127; I have challenged myself to cook and bake things I've never made before; and I have started some new food traditions in my family that I look forward to continuing. 

But even with all of these new and interesting opportunities and foods, often the weeknight dinners are the meals that I love the best.  I like just being home with Tim and that makes an ordinary night special just because we are together.  Cheesey--I know--but it makes workdays pass a little more quickly and it makes me want to turn an ordinary spaghetti dinner into something with a little more "za za zu."

Because really, my life with Tim is no ordinary life.  It's a good life, and it deserves some good food to go with it. 

Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella
adapted from Everday Food Magazine
serves 4

3/4 pound spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2  28oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups basil leaves, torn or coarsley chopped
salt & pepper
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Cook at a simmer until tomatoes break down, using a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up pieces of tomatoes, about 12-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.  Salt & pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta about 5 minutes.  It should still be slightly crunchy.  Drain pasta and return to pot.  Add tomato sauce, basil, and half of the mozzarella and toss to combine.  Transfer mixture to a 3 quart baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella.

Bake until cheese is golden and edges are bubbling, about 25 minutes. 


  1. This is such a good idea. More complex than spaghetti marinara, but not as labor intensive as lasagna... I've actually been getting much more into pasta lately. It's so easy to tire of the traditional dishes, I think, but I'm finding really great, fresh ways to prepare pasta paired with unexpected ingredients.

  2. Did you use your homemade spaghetti sauce? (or would you next time?)

  3. Thank you for the recipe! I will definitely try this one too. I decided not to make the chili this week because Joe is in California for the week and I know that he would love to try the chili. So guess what we had for dinner today while he was away! Spinach, salad AND a 3 veggie medley of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli! The girls all said "Wow Mommy! This is a lot of veggies! It looks so healthy!" You know what they say...
    "While the cat's away..." ;)

  4. Loved reading this post. I agree with you - my food blogging has made me branch out of my comfort zone of tacos, stirfry and burgers!

    To me my day doesn't even begin in my mind until I get home from work, hug my husband and daughter, put my pj's on, and start cooking dinner - its ordinary but I am lucky too! :D

  5. Anon--I think that my homemade sauce would have worked fine, but I did enjoy having some chunks of tomato in this dish. It gave it a nice texture.

    Liz--So funny that you indulge in veggies while Joe is out of town.

  6. Man that mozzarella looks good! I've never seen it melted on spaghetti like that...definitely putting it on my to-do list.

  7. Tyla, it was good--very good.

  8. This looks lovely! I love finding recipes for baked pasta that don't include ricotta, since I can't get my husband to touch ricotta! I know what you mean about the ordinary nights being some of the best, even if they are routine.


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