TheHub loves spaghetti and I mistakenly told him we were having it last night. (That was before I got hung up doing some business for Mom, got home in the early evening and just didn't feel like making spaghetti, so supper became a deli roasted chicken and a huge tossed salad.) He was already salivating for some Italian flavors, so I did the wife thing and promised it for tonight. For us spaghetti dinner is always the same; meat sauce over spaghetti, and a huge green salad. It would be fine except the salad will not give us the 3 servings of veggies we need for tonights meal.
Fortunately I have a crisper full of veggies and a really sharp knife. Instead of spaghetti we are having superghetti, an intensely amped up version of our old standard. This is not a recipe but more of a how to, since everyone has their own favorite sauce recipe or jarred sauce. (No judgements!)
1 lb. ground beef (OK, I actually had barely 3/4 lb. but it worked fine)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (minced, grated? your choice)
2 medium zucchini, chopped (ditto)
1/2 green pepper chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 clamshell cherry tomatoes cut in half (that is just what I had on hand)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 recipe of your favorite sauce or 1 jar of the same (I used an organic no sugar added sauce)
This is where it get tricky because some love a traditional old world flavor and others like a more Americanized version. I will just say whatever your choice is make sure you add additional herbs, spices, wine, salt, and pepper, because the additional vegetables will absorb some of the flavoring from the sauce and will leave it a little too bland.
In a heavy skillet brown the ground beef until it is crumbly. Remove the meat to a paper towel to drain reserving the meat drippings in the pan. Stir the onions into the drippings to soften. (If needed add a little olive oil ).
Toss the vegetables into the pan in the order listed, letting each soften a little bit before adding the next. When all the veggies have been added and are wilted put the beef back in the pan and cover with your sauce. Mix together until it comes to a boil, add additional seasonings and wine, put the lid on, turn it to low and let it simmer away until the veggies are nice and soft. (This might be a good time to pour yourself a glass of that wine)
About 20 minutes before serving, cook the spaghetti noodles, drain them and plate. Serve the sauce over the pasta and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. (Or use the stuff in the green can, again, no judgements) Serve this to your unsuspecting family who will not realize it is now loaded with good for them stuff and will just think it is delicious. (If you have someone who stages a revolt every time green food is served, peel the zucchini first and substitute red pepper for the green. I can't begin to tell you how many times I had to do this when Son3 was young! I have even been known to grate everything just so he would not know what he was eating, and as long as he didn't know he loved it.)
If you feel like you need a little more umpth to your dinner, try this. Sometimes it is better to be sneaky and silently win the dinner vegetable battle, than to wage war over trying "just one bite".