The Daily Grind.

Back to the grind.  After a perfect weekend, it is today that we commence our oh-so-hectic schedule.  Dance classes resume for the year beginning today.  While I find it exceedingly fun and rewarding for my little angels, it is also a bit of a busy bear for this mama.  Is it worth it?  Of course.  (Especially come June recital when I see those girlies dancing their little hearts out in tutus and lip gloss!)  Is it easy?  Not a chance.  Not without a little planning anyway… and of course, a cup of coffee.

For the next nine months dance classes will put a permanent dent in our family dinner time every Monday and Tuesday.  I will arrive home well after 6:00 pm with 3 hungry kids in tow and a famished hubby on his way home from the office.  By that point, I am exhausted, spent and most certainly not in the mood to cook.

Three Options.  Dining out.   (I don’t know about you, but my money tree doesn’t seem to be quite so fruitful ever since I had kids.)  Frozen pizza.  (Ugh.)   Preparing ahead for a home-cooked meal.  (Now, were talkin’!)

These are the days I thank God for my crock pot.  At this stage in my life, I am certain that my survival depends on it.  Mondays are dubbed crock pot day (as are most Sundays!) and thanks to the large volume produced from many crock pot recipes, we enjoy mouth-watering leftovers on Tuesday night, too.

I enjoy a Sunday beef pot roast as much as the next girl, but my crock pot has so much more potential.  Spaghetti is one of the few meals that every person in my family will actually eat… even the picky one!  Serve with a light lettuce salad and you’ve got a winner.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion (1 medium)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 16 oz. can tomatoes, undrained and cut up
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 c. fresh mushrooms 
2 T. corn starch or quick-cooking tapioca
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Dash salt
8 oz. spaghetti, cooked and drained

1.  In a skillet cook ground beef, onion, garlic and mushrooms until meat is brown and veggies are tender.  Drain.

2.  Meanwhile, in a 3 1/2 – 4 quart slow cooker, combine tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, tapioca or corn starch, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt.  Stir in meat mixture.

3.  Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours or on high for 4 – 5 hours.  Serve over hot spaghetti.

For a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker, double all ingredients.  Prepare as above.  Makes 8 – 10 servings.

I think if I were a woman I’d wear coffee as a perfume. ~John Van Druten

You know, that’s not exactly a bad idea…  Happy Monday!


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