and ramblings on everything in between
When I moved into my current apartment and started living on my own for the first time, I quickly realized a lot of things. One of them was why so many people blog about food – it’s because they live alone and nothing is more disheartening than slaving over a meal to not have anyone “Ew!” and “Aw!” over it (and help with the dishes!). I often send pictures of my dinner to my mom so she can see the domestic skill she has passed down to me. She tells me I need to get a life.
This dinner really isn’t one to blog home about, but it does bring back a lot of memories. In college I lived with three roommates. Our lives quickly intertwined and we became a happy little family. One of our favorite meals was Spaghetti Bake Surprise. It was cheap, easy, and could feed the four of us, along with whoever was living on the couch that week. The thought of it reminds me of all the laughter in that house.
A few years after college when I left that make-shift family to nanny for a real family in Boston, Spaghetti Bake Surprise was a go-to meal for crazy nights of hockey practice, lacrosse games, and swim lessons. As a stand-in single mother of three kids whose parents were too busy to eat with them, I made it a point to cook for them every night. We never ran through McDonald’s. We never even ordered a pizza in the year I spent there. My mother cooked for me and I was determined to cook for them. Meals were spent playing the quiet game because not a one of them would ever shut up. Oh, how they loved playing the quiet game, though. The first one to talk got bombarded with tickles. They were big fans of happy plates, too. Happy plates were clean plates that wrote you a permission slip to leave the table and resume playing the video game you were so engrossed in when I yelled up the stairs four times that dinner was ready.
I occasionally make this meal when I don’t have time to think about what pairs with what, or when the week’s grocery money is gone and I need to make do with what’s already in the cabinet. It’s a plain jane meal that is more often than not made out of desperation, but the memories it carries with it always leave me smiling.
The ingredients for Spaghetti Bake Surprise:
– Any noodles you can find in the cupboard (combining a variety of almost empty boxes is absolutely acceptable)
– Any leftovers you can find in the fridge, such as veggies, cheese, proteins, fuzzy mystery containers in the way back (hence the “surprise” part)
– Whatever leftover sauce needs to be used up
Mix together. Bake. Enjoy.