Monday, February 1, 2010

Make it Cheap Monday - Sneaky Spaghetti

I have a wonderful little two year old daughter whom I totally adore. However, there is one thing about her that drives me nuts - her refusal to eat anything green. Of course we do the typical "mean parent" thing and make her eat at least one bite of everything at dinner but still, I keep hoping that she'll one day want to eat vegetables all on her own.

I'm going somewhere with this, promise.

A few weeks ago I came up with this sneaky way to get my daughter to eat one of the healthiest, and most feared by kids, green vegetable - spinach!

Check it out:

In a large pot of boiling water, add your spaghetti noodles, a tsp. of kosher salt and a tbsp. olive oil. The salt adds some flavor to the noodles and the oil keeps them from sticking together.

Stir occasionally.

While the pasta is boiling, saute 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until golden brown.

Remove the garlic and add 1 small onion that has been chopped. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Saute until they begin to caramlize like so.

Squeeze 3/4 of a thawed box of frozen spinach to get the moisture out. Throw it in a blender along with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Pretend I took a photo of this step.

Drain pasta when it is al dente (tender but still a little chewy). Return noodles to the pot. Add 1/2 of the sauce to the pasta, tossing over medium heat for a few minutes until pasta finishes cooking. This will help flavor the pasta even more. 

Pretend I took a photo of this step too. American Idol was on and I was a little distracted. Sorry.  

Serve pasta with the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with parmeasan cheese.

The sauce turns a little brown thanks to the spinach so you might want to let your kiddos know beforehand that tonight is "Brown Spaghetti" night. :)

Dig in!

You really can't taste the spinach in there so this is a great way to get some of those good vitamins in for anyone who has a spinach-phobia.

Sneaky Spaghetti (Printable Recipe)
Serves 8

1 lb. spaghetti noodles (1.00)
3/4 pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain (0.50) Frozen veggies frequently go on sale for 1.00 or less and that's when you should stock up on them so you don't overpay later. Use a coupon too if you have one.
3-4 cloves garlic (0.05)
1 small onion, chopped (0.25)
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes (1.00)*Substitution tip below*
3-6 oz. tomato paste, depending on how thick you like your sauce (0.30 - 0.60)
1 tbsp. italian seasoning (0.10)
Salt and pepper (0.02)
Olive oil (0.10)

Total Cost: $3.32 for 8 people. That's 42 cents per person! It doesn't get much cheaper than that.

In a large pot of boiling water, add spaghetti noodles, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Boil 8-9 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain.

While the pasta cooks, saute garlic in olive oil. Remove when golden. Saute onion in the same pan, with a dash of salt and pepper, until caramelized.

In a blender, combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, spinach, italian seasoning, garlic, and onion. Blend until smooth. Serve over pasta. Top with parmeasan cheese.

*You can substitue the tomatoes and tomato paste with your favorite pasta sauce, like Prego or whatever makes you happy.


  1. Looks yummy. We don't have "green" food issues at my house but I think I'll try it anyway. Meems will eat anything we give her; however, I'd take suggestions on how to get her to eat a meal--any meal--in under two hours! Ha ha.

  2. another great idea to get veggies in the diet thanks for sharing


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