Tangy Meat Sauce

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup green pepper, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • hot cooked spaghetti

Crumble beef into a 2-qt. microwave-safe dish. Add the onion, green pepper and garlic. Cover and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, stirring frequently; drain.

Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, salt, basil and oregano. Cover and microwave at 70% power for 6-8 minutes or until heated through, stirring once. Serve with spaghetti.

Notes: Very easy to make. Sweet. Maybe a little too much red wine vinegar. Would like to experiment with more kick and less sweetness. Excellent base recipe, though.

From Taste of Home

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Southwestern Macaroni Salad

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 oz olives, drained
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, corn, green pepper, red onion and olives.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine lime juice, oil, vinegar and seasonings; shake well. Pour over pasta mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or until chilled.

Note: We added more veggies to our liking.

From Taste of Home: Guilt-Free Cooking

Easy Manicotti

  • 1 box jumbo shell pasta
  • 5-6 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded, optional
  • ¼-½ cup Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350°. Cook manicotti for five minutes. Thaw spinach and drain; squeeze to remove liquid. Mix spinach, cottage cheese, egg, and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella. Using fork, stuff mixture into partially-cooked manicotti. Pour 2 cups sauce in bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Arrange manicotti on sauce. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups mozzarella over top. Pour remaining sauce all over. Sprinkle with parmesan. Cover tightly with foil and bake 25 minutes.

Macaroni-Corn Casserole

This somewhat odd-sounding recipe hits the spot when you’re craving creamy mac and cheese, or just comfort food in general.
  • 2 cups macaroni
  • ½ stick margarine, or less
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can corn
  • 1+ cup Velveeta, cubed
  • ¼ cup sugar

Cook macaroni. Stir margarine in until melted. Add creamed and kernel corn, Velveeta and sugar. Stir well. Cook in microwave for 10 minutes.