Martie Leming has worked for 15 years to perfect her recipe for Blue Jay Point Spaghetti. It's economical, so she used it once to feed 28 school kids on a field trip to Blue Jay Point Park in Raleigh, N.C. Hence the name.
This is one of dozens of original recipes from this Raleigh homemaker who has carefully typed and collected them in a loose-leaf binder. It's the family cookbook, she says, something her son or daughter might want to take to college.Fortunately for us, it's a recipe Martie is willing to share. How many other original family favorites might be floating around, we wonder, just waiting for an appreciative audience?
So we're calling all cooks.
Here are the rules: The recipe must be one you've either created yourself - or significantly adapted - that can be ready to eat in 20 minutes or less. Include your full name, address and telephone number. No hard-to-find ingredients, please.
Menu: Blue Jay Point Spaghetti, spinach leaves with bottled Italian dressing, Italian bread
BLUE JAY POINT SPAGHETTI
Cook's note: The addition of vegetables and a hint of cinnamon gives this sauce a competitive edge. Don't let the number of ingredients frighten you - the dish goes together easily in 20 minutes. If you don't want to serve 8, leftover sauce refrigerates well for several days, or may be frozen.
16 ounces thin spaghetti noodles
3/4 to 1 pound extra-lean ground beef, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion (for 3/4 cup chopped)
1 cup already-sliced mushrooms
1/2 medium green pepper (for 3/4 cup chopped)
1 medium zucchini (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup already-shredded carrots
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can (141/2 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 can (6 ounces) no-salt-added tomato paste
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
salt and black pepper to taste, optional
1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts of unsalted water to a boil in a covered 41/2-quart (or larger) Dutch oven or soup pot. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the noodles and cook until firm-tender, about 9 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, if the meat is frozen, run it under hot water so you can remove any packaging. Place the meat on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes, uncovered, to begin defrosting.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in an extra-deep, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as you chop. Add the mushrooms and partially defrosted meat to the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high, turning and breaking up the meat from time to time.
4. Cube the green pepper and zucchini, adding the vegetables to the skillet as you chop. Add the carrots, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sugar, cinnamon, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir well.
5. Add the water and stir until all of the tomato paste is well incorporated. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water in a small jar that has a lid. Shake well until the lumps disappear and then drizzle the cornstarch over the sauce. Stir well, and season with salt and black pepper if desired. Serve at once over hot, drained noodles. Serves 8.
Approximate Values Per Serving: 257 calories (29 percent from fat), 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 29 mg cholesterol, 14 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 153 mg sodium.