SpaghettiOs For the Grown-up’s Table

August 24, 2017
SpaghettiOs for the Grown-Ups Table - These are extra saucy and a little sweet like the original SpaghettiOs, but with grown-up flavors all around

Mid Week Inspiration No. 3:  Easy Weeknight Cooking

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I was at Toyota this week, hoping upon hope that the check-engine light wouldn't equate to something expensive.  Sitting next to me was the nicest older woman who asked me about the photos of food on my screen.

One thing led to another, and the conversation turned to favorite cookbooks.  Those I mentioned included Jerusalem, Dinner,  various Nigel Slater and Ina Garten titles.  Oh, and vintage church cookbooks from the little country church I grew up in.  Because I'm long-winded on the subject, my answer wrapped up about fifteen minutes later, on the topic of everyday cooking.

Most of which I make without consulting a book

In truth, I pointed out, this summer I've only been cooking two or three “real” meals a week.  And by “real” (a very arbitrary word), things that involve more than 20 minutes in the kitchen.  It's been a while since I've made more than one fairly involved dish at a time.  Say this Beef Bourguignon with a side of braised bok choy

Usually, even on a good day, it's a BLT alongside buttery sweet corn from our favorite street vendor.  Or even a beef roast with a few roasted veggies and maybe a grain of some sort.  When we're extra busy, an order from my favorite delivery service

I can't remember the last time I made a meal that involved three different recipe-based dishes on one plate

Most of the time home cooking at our house is very simple and quick.  Scrambled eggs and a salad drizzled with the best salad dressing (ever), something on the grill, a batch of tomato soup that lasts all week.  Even grains topped with whatever's in the crisper drawer, a fried egg and

hot sauce (for him) / ketchup (for her)

SpaghettiOs for the Grown-Ups Table - These are extra saucy and a little sweet like the original SpaghettiOs, but with grown-up flavors all around

Later, after I'd learned my fate (car shopping is on our horizon), another woman who couldn't help but over-hear expressed surprise that I “cook” so little.  That for someone who professes to love cooking, I haven't been doing a lot of it

It wasn't a shining moment as I bumbled my way through an answer, and a few days later I'm still trying to find the right words to articulate the thought

I think what it comes down to is this.  Maybe we're setting our standards far too high for what it means to cook at home.  To really do home cooking?  Certainly, I love spending time in the kitchen, but it also seems ok (even good, even great, even elegant), to make my husband scrambled eggs for dinner

No one (even company) would think twice if I served a pot of veggie soup that I'd made earlier in the week, with slices of indulgent cheddar and a loaf of bread from the bakery.  Cooking is a love of mine, but like everyone else, our lives are full.  I work in the evenings.  I don't have the patience say, for deveining shrimp

I love to cook, but lately, I love to cook two or three times a week; not much more than that.  For the rest of our meals, we eat leftovers or something that I (or we) can make in only a few minutes.  It's still home cooking, and we're still eating wonderful food, and there's real pleasure in that

At the end of the day, that's what's important

SpaghettiOs for the Grown-Ups Table - These are extra saucy and a little sweet like the original SpaghettiOs, but with grown-up flavors all around

These little O's are something I've made probably half-dozen times; adapted from a recipe I found last fall in Bon Appetit.  You'll have to make some pasta, some tomato sauce, and little meatballs (frozen work just as well if you're not feeling ambitious).  After that, you have a week's worth of lunches or a couple of dinners for a small family

They're extra sauce and a little sweet, just like the original SpaghettiO's, but with grown-up flavors all around.  A true delight.  When I was a kid, it was fun to see how many little pastas I could fit onto my spoon, cradled in a bed of slightly sweet sauce.  The meatballs?  Perfectly sized

While I didn't eat them as often as an adult, my love for them never really left.  True confessions?  Sometimes when I'm out shopping for the freshest and most beautiful ingredients, I buy myself a can of Annie's.  I have them sometimes on the nights when my husband is traveling

The recipe begins with the O's, which is the easy part.  Look for anelletti or any other small tube-shaped pasta.  You can overcook them like the canned kind, if you'd like, or boil them al dente for something a little more texturally interesting

The sauce is trickier; homemade sauces don't usually have that sweet, tomato-pastry consistency like the canned stuff.  So to start, make a sauce with a good amount of tomato paste, and add subtle sweetness with onion cooked down in the butter.  But, I finish it with some Parmesan, because I'm an adult now

(Well, sort of)

SpaghettiOs for the Grown-Ups Table - These are extra saucy and a little sweet like the original SpaghettiOs, but with grown-up flavors all around

Enjoy!

xoxo

What are your favorite weeknight meals?

ps:  For more Midweek Inspiration:  In need of some quick and healthy meal ideas?  Advice about weight loss and loving yourself right where you are?  Great reads for your nightstand

— — —

~ Adapted from Bon Appetit

SpaghettiOs For the Grown-up's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely grated Parmesan + more for serving
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • fine grain sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 5 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 lb ground beef chuck
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbsp natural sugar
  • 4 large sprigs basil
  • 12 oz anelletti ditalini, or other short tubular pasta

Instructions

  • Purée tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth; set aside
  • Whisk panko, cheese, oregano, garlic powder, ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, and 1½ tsp. sea salt in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk in egg and cream. Add the beef and mix with your hands until just combined, being careful not to overwork (if packed too firmly, meatballs will be dense).
  • Form into 1"-diameter balls (you should have about 24); transfer to a plate.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet, over medium-high.
  • Cook the meatballs, turning occasionally until lightly browned on all sides but not fully cooked through (~ 5 minutes). Transfer to another plate.
  • Cook onion and garlic in a skillet, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and begins to soften (~ 5 minutes) season with salt and pepper.
  • Add tomato paste and cook until brick red (~ 1 minute)
  • Add paprika and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (~ 1 minute)
  • Add sugar, basil, and reserved tomato purée. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced and flavors have melded (~ 20 minutes)
  • Add meatballs and any accumulated juices; continue to cook until meatballs are cooked through, 5–10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and return to pasta pot. Pour sauce and meatballs over pasta and stir to combine.
  • Transfer to a platter and top with cheese.
Serves: 8
Nutrition + Show
Rating:
Calories 304
Total Fat 9g
Carbohydrates 39g
Sugars 8g
Protein 19g
Print This Recipe

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99 Comments

  • Reply Heather August 20, 2017 at 5:45 am

    “When I work from home, I’m guilty of throwing together less-than-ideal meals. I had to stop keeping cereal around the house because that’s what I would end up eating. My favorite lunch, though, if I’m being honest, is actually a single serving Amy’s Organic Frozen Pizza, topped with canned pineapple and crushed red pepper. Or, you know, sometimes I’ll just eat the cookies I’m photographing.”

  • Reply Sherri August 21, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Lately my go-to lunch has been a greek farro and chickpea chopped salad that I will make for dinner and then enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next few days. I chop up a red onion, cucumber, red pepper, some kalamta olives and sundried tomatoes, and mix in a cup of cooked farro, a can of chickpeas, and some feta, and then toss it all together with a yummy lemon greek vinaigrette! For dinner, I serve it over lightly dressed chopped spinach. If I have herbs on hand, I will throw some in as well. It’s really flavorful and filling and makes for an easy and delicious lunch to bring to work and eat right of the office fridge from your tupperware 🙂

  • Reply Vanessa August 21, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Leftovers! Today was southwestern quinoa salad with rotisserie chicken and extra cilantro, and for second lunch (nursing mama) it’ll be pulled pork; on a bun, and maybe with a fried egg?

    If I don’t have leftovers, I always keep homemade burritos in the freezer. Currently I have over a dozen chicken + refried bean + cheese + corn burritos and a few bbq chicken + pineapple + bell pepper + cheese wraps. Sometimes I get creative and make something fun, but at least I’ve always got something filling that isn’t crackers or chips.

  • Reply Hannah August 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    I make this every time I get home from the airport and either don’t have anything decent in the fridge or am too tired to actually cook: kimchi and two runny eggs fried in sesame oil eaten on top of tortilla chips with shredded parmesan and mozzarella melted on everything. If I have green onion, then I fry that with the kimchi and eggs.

  • Reply Deb B August 23, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I have a few go-to’s:
    – slices of apple with cheddar
    – roasted beets with a little vinaigrette and a sprinkling of goat cheese
    – a toasted English muffin with 1/2 an avocado smeared on top and a little salt, pepper and (again) goat cheese
    All simple and healthy!

  • Reply Alice August 23, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I love this post and all the comments! Isn’t it funny how a glimpse into little mundane details of each other’s lives can be so fascinating? It would be fun if COJ did a series like the “My Day on a Plate” column from the Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/healthyeating/11552176/My-Day-on-a-Plate-Francesca-Annis.html

    I’m a big leftovers fan – so easy. When I worked from home a few summers ago, I ate the same thing almost every day: toasted pita topped with hummus, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, toasted pine nuts, olives, and some salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. I never got tired of it and it filled me up until dinner every day!

  • Reply Allison August 24, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Yes! It’s funny to see all of these. We rarely had snack food in the house when I was growing up but we always had cottage cheese. So good on a baked potato. My go-to was with lots of pepper, but I also liked french dressing with some chopped veggies. It’s pretty great with basically any type of chips-but probably shines the most with Doritos, hahaha.

    On the flip side, my dad always ate it sweet with fruit or brown sugar.

  • Reply Ana Ojha August 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm


    This is another delicious and quick recipe from your site! My favorite quick and easy weeknight meals are scrambled egg and a cheese omelet!

  • Reply Chichi Uguru August 24, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers – if dinner doesn’t make additional lunch sized servings (one for each of us) it rarely stays in the rotation.

    I work from home two days a week, and I second all the avocado toast, good quality cheese with fruit, and quick egg options that can be tossed together if you have access to a kitchen.

    A recent favorite is tuna packed in olive oil, mixed with some capers and some golden raisins, with just a little pasta (usually tiny shells) thrown in hot from the boiling water. I top it with some panko, and it’s quick, delicious, and sticks to the ribs.

    I’ve also gotten hooked on Trader Joes frozen falafel, which cooks up practically instantaneously in the microwave. I “cover” it with a flour tortilla while it cooks (to warm the tortilla too) and spread some hummus on the pita before wrapping it all up up. It’s a perfect lunch when you’ve only got 5 minutes before the next conference call and also have to run to the restroom (assuming you can eat while on the conference call).

    Loved reading all the suggestions!

  • Reply Bethany August 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    BAKED. POTATO. With a lethal amount of butter, salt, and pepper. It requires no effort. You can even cook it the night before. If I am feeling fancy I will put one of the following on top- fried egg, scallions, salsa, sour cream, seitan, leftover steak, cheese sauce, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, herbs, lemon dressed arugula, broccoli… you get the idea. If it’s hot out, I’ll slice it up and put tzakiki and tomato on it. I also make a fresh french press and listen to the radio because why not? x

  • Reply Shelly August 24, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Ok brb, running to the store. 🙂 Thanks Ali and all you ladies for great inspiration!

    If I’m being honest, I’ve been horrendous about having easy go-to meals – it’s a problem. But this talk is reigniting my passion for leftover veggie and grain mixtures, cottage cheese, and smoked trout (not all together though, that might be overkill). My contribution is this: I’ve recently discovered Trader Joe’s dukkah and IT IS LIFE. I adore it on avocado toast, salads, plain yogurt with olive oil… Also, sauerkraut. It adds just enough crunch and zip to make plain tuna or lentils or eggs really delicious and satisfying.

  • Reply Cathy August 24, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    I’m also here with the pan of roasted veggies that I then top with two salted fried eggs. In the winter time, some sort of soup that has lentils or cannelini beans in it. In the summer, Greek Salads. I eat PB&J almost every day for breakfast.

  • Reply Amy August 24, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Soup. Cheese. Almost any kind of leftovers in a bowl with greens and vinaigrette. Eggs. Cold soba noodles with shredded seaweed, lettuce, tomatoes and an egg on top.

    This salad:
    http://www.irishboutique.com/blog/2016/7/25/coldcannon-in-the-heat-of-summer

    and this:
    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/crisp-baked-tofu-recipe/

  • Reply Rachel August 25, 2017 at 1:42 am

    When I am home, avocado and sweet potatoes are my go-to. Usually avocado toast along with some roasted sweet potatoes; sometimes I will boil or fry up an egg as well. I also like to spread burrata on pugliese and then add some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Or just chop up mozzarella and add the above seasonings!

    At work, it’s usually a Trader Joe’s frozen meal or a salad with a bunch of toppings and protein.

  • Reply Chelsea August 25, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I love a few small pieces of fried haloumi on a salad (usually some lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomato, and a mix of seeds). I might also add in leftovers like roasted veg or a bit of salmon or chicken or toss in some nuts or avocado. The haloumi makes the whole thing feel like a treat, even though most of it is super healthy. I just dress it with a bit of balsamic vinegar or a bit of lemon juice.

  • Reply Beth Ann Chiles August 25, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I wish I didn’t loathe cottage cheese because I’d be digging these suggestions!
    I don’t eat gluten or dairy anymore, but my dream lunch everyday of my life would be a grilled cheese, please.
    For what I do actually eat – I’m huge on a combo of avocado + roasted veggies/sweet potatoes from the weekend + leftover protein from last nights dinner (often roasted chicken thighs). Lately I’ve been making a lot of curried chicken salad (shred leftover rotisserie, add avocado oil mayo, chopped parsley, raisins, curry powder, dash of cider vinegar, chopped almonds, sometimes sunflower seeds for crunch). Or a handful of arugula/spinach combo with roasted tomatoes, avocado and whatever roasted veggies I have in the house.
    I like a bit of dark chocolate or 1-2 dates for a sweet.
    I eat a big lunch – otherwise I’m raiding the snack drawer at 3pm. I can usually make it til about 6pm when I will nibble green olives or a slice of prosciutto while prepping dinner (and sometimes I cook random stuff for my husband and kids and my own dinner continues to be olives and prosciutto!).

  • Reply Courtney Andrews August 25, 2017 at 9:08 am

    SpaghettiOs were probably my favorite food growing up but my mom wouldn’t let me eat them often because of all the sodium. I am loving this homemade version! I also think this recipe would be good with ground turkey to change it up a bit!

  • Reply Sue Tanya McHorgh August 25, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I was never the type to love cooking but i have been getting into it lately. I really love your recipes, i am always looking for your newest post. This spaghettio recipe looks like an easy meal to make. I’ll give it a try.

  • Reply Ayesha Farhad August 25, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I love the recipes that you have on your blog! Even tried a few with my own little tweaked version since we like spicy food! This looks so yum! Will definitely be trying it out!

  • Reply Stacie August 25, 2017 at 9:53 am


    Are you kidding me right now? Are you kidding! That is amazing. I grew up on Spaghettios and I still routinely raid my kids’ supply. I love the idea of making a homemade grownup version! I am totally NOT sharing with the kids. Maybe with my husband. Maybe…

  • Reply Heather Johnson August 25, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Cheddar, mozzarella (or my favorite manchego) along with a simple arugula salad, crusty bread, and cooked apples. Plus, almost always a cookie to follow.

  • Reply Bethany August 25, 2017 at 11:13 am


    Okay, I have to admit that spaghetti-o’s were a guilty pleasure in my teens. I can’t touch the stuff now, but this homemade version looks like a great alternative! xx

  • Reply Tara Pittman August 25, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I try to always have a jar of homemade vinaigrette on hand. At a moment’s notice, it can be tossed onto any type of salad greens I have, sliced cucumber or as a dip for carrot sticks. I’ll round out the meal with a slice of peanut butter toast. To me, that’s just about perfect for a quick, healthy, and easy weeknight meal

  • Reply Jenni August 25, 2017 at 1:25 pm


    I love your cute little spoon! The kids like Spaghetti O’s but this would be such an amazing alternative. Being able to cook it with them would be even better. The recipe seems pretty easy to follow. I’m excited!!

  • Reply Heidi Spears-Gray August 25, 2017 at 1:26 pm


    I like how this recipe, as all of your others, is all homemade! Your pictures capture the quality of the recipe. The recipe looks delicious and easy to prepare. Another awesome recipe/post!

  • Reply Aileen August 25, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I totally agree with you about the home cooking part — that is what’s important and that everyone in your family is with you 😉 I also usually just used to whip up something quick but coming up with a nice meal is always pleasant.

    Thanks for this recipe though! I love Spaghettios the first time I’ve tried them (grabbed it from my niece lots of times) haha.

  • Reply Lynsey August 25, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Just made a bowl with cottage cheese (seasoned with salt and pepper and olive oil and lemon), soft-boiled egg, avocado, and scallions — then seasoned the top again with the same stuff and it’s GOOD. New go-to!

  • Reply Mary August 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Just because we like to do something doesnt mean we have to do it everyday…like cooking! We like doing other stuff to! So I rarely say to people that I like cooking for that reaso they assume that I would gladly cook everyday. Or that I cook really good…which is not true.

  • Reply Jin August 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    This really looks like the grown up version of spaghetti o’s! Presentation looks fancy and I’m practically watering at the mouth! Now I’m hungry!

  • Reply Alicia Taylor August 25, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Haha! “Real” meals require more than 30 minutes in the kitchen. No wonder I don’t like cooking much. However, your recipe looks simple enough – and very flavorful.

  • Reply Kelly August 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    For a quick and easy meal, I toast pita, spread with mayo (Hellmann’s) and mustard (Maille Dijon). Then I drape it with turkey or ham and put some olive oil/lemon-ed greens on top. It’s the best!

  • Reply Ruth I. August 25, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I love spaghetti so much that my Mom would cook it for my birthday every year. Now that I enjoy cooking, I love easy and quick recipe like this. Nothing wrong with left overs, we have that every day.

  • Reply Helene Cohen Bludman August 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I am a cheese fan (my husband has nicknamed me ‘Backup Cheese,’ because I always have more than one on hand). Fittingly, one of my go-to meals is homemade bread with cheese (ricotta, mozzarella or something else fresh and soft), prosciutto and arugula. Delish! xx

  • Reply Stephanie Jeannot August 25, 2017 at 7:10 pm


    Pasta is definitely one of my favorite foods to eat so I can say that I would enjoy eating this. Actually, I often get spaggheti-os in a can so making it fresh would be a real change. For the better too. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Reply Chloe Griffiths August 25, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    To me weeknight meals needs to be savoury, extremely quick to make, creating minimal dirty dishes, and based around grains (to keep me full), veg (to keep me healthy) and some sort of protein (to keep things interesting!)
    So I’ll do either couscous (throw it in the bottom of a bowl+hot water, it gets ready while you prep the other elements and does not create an extra dirty dish) or any leftover rice or quinoa. Then top that with a no cook, no peel veg (most often avocado of cherry tomatoes cause I don’t even need s cutting board to prep them!), and either a good can of tuna in olive oil or an egg (soft boil or fried, eggs are a glorious lunch item cause they go with anything). Then olive oil, Viandox (it’s a French condiment that is like soy sauce but more umami, look it up!), and whatever I feel like on top –> hot sauce, cilantro, lime juice, coriander… and dark chocolate for dessert!

  • Reply Libby S August 25, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    I can’t think of a reason not to try this recipe! It sounds like such a fun throwback to a childhood favorite, plus there are meatballs! Pure deliciousness. xx

  • Reply Michelle August 25, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Its great pasta comes in so many different and fun shapes. And there are so many good meatball recipes to try.

  • Reply Sam August 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Love your Mid Week Motivation series!

    At our house, I’ll make a big batch of soup or roasted vegetables, which can serve as my lunch (or easy weeknight dinner) for a few days. Then, before eating, I’ll add greens and a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to perk things up. If I’m feeling extra fancy, I’ll chop some fresh herbs like parsley, chives or cilantro and put those on top. I also like to have a second (or let’s be honest, third) cup of coffee with half-and-half for a little pick-me-up.

  • Reply Kristal August 25, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Cottage cheese with flax oil, salt, pepper, and a poached egg. A smoothie with greens, banana, frozen blueberries, almond-coconut milk, and turmeric. x

  • Reply Amallia August 26, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Okay my quick and easy dinner for about six years (!!!) has been 4x rye cruskits, topped with smooshed avocado, sliced Lebanese cucumbers and a can of spicy chilli tuna… I’ve had breaks of this lunch each time I’ve been pregnant (not enough carbs/cheese for my pregnant tummy!) but always seem to come back to it eventually…..
    it’s filling, fairly healthy, cheap and easy….
    I’m very very terrible at making up recipes on the fly, so I’m completely impressed by all these people who make up salads as they go – perhaps I need to practise some more….?? (and buy cottage cheese, obvs ?)

  • Reply Genevive August 26, 2017 at 12:10 am

    I’m all about Trader Joe’s smoked trout, a la Jenny Rosenstrach, but I have a small portion for breakfast every morning! I complement it with two large dates and an extra (sometimes a cup of yogurt, an apple, a bagel, depending on what’s in the kitchen). I need to find a standard lunch though; the cheddar & apple sounds appealing, as does dressed arugula. Avocado toast is the way to go, but I can’t keep avocados on-hand consistently enough to have them every day.

  • Reply Chrissy August 26, 2017 at 2:07 am


    This is so good! Love all these ideas, particularly the canned fish.. smart and easy and quick. Your intro reminded me of the daily lunch of the manager of a burger joint I worked at. Every day, he ate a small baguette with cucumbers, tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon, and feta. No meat, no dressing. I always admired that when there were so many other temptations.

  • Reply Gracie August 26, 2017 at 3:22 am

    That sauce looks divine! I love making new and improved (and healthy!) versions of old favourites! I grew up on Beefaroni (YUCK!) but since those days I’ve made a healthy version for my kids to enjoy. It’s fun to play with old recipes and improve them!

  • Reply Leta August 26, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Nothing wrong with quick meals you can whip up in minutes, as long as they’re fresh ingredients and wholesome food. But I agree, the luxury of having more time to cook is a joy. This recipe sounds great.

  • Reply Angie August 26, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I love finding new recipes to try out making different food once in a while. Whether it’s “real” cooking or leftovers it’s more important to eat together as a family.

  • Reply Pammy August 26, 2017 at 7:52 am

    My favorite go-to meal is sharp cheddar cheese, whole grain crackers, and those small Kosher dill pickles. It’s perfect.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey August 26, 2017 at 8:44 am

    It is amazing the conversations you can strike up in the unlikeliest of places. I am loving the idea of grown up spaggettios as well 😉

  • Reply Lisa Lisa August 26, 2017 at 9:10 am


    Homemade spaghetti sauce is the best. Just this week my husband who do all the cooking made a fresh pot of spaghetti with his signature homemade sauce and it was so delicious. Making the homemade sauce can be tricky at times, we have definitely had it too sweet before. I love the title :Grown Up Spaghettios, too cute. As always love your images!!

  • Reply Natalie August 26, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Very similar to you I love cooking but I have to really in the mood to spend ages on a recipe. We eat leftovers, quick and simple veggie curries or lots of egg dishes also. Cooking for me is therapeutic and if I’ve had a stressy day I’m more likely to enjoy it. I also love simple cooking as it means I get more time with my son on an evening before he goes to bed.

  • Reply Kaitlin August 26, 2017 at 10:00 am

    If i have any leftover pasta it turns into frittata for dinner. If i have any leftover rice it turns into fried rice for lunch, and then my back up is always avocado toast. I usually have sliced walnut batard in the freezer which i can toast and top with avocado.

  • Reply Samantha Carraro August 26, 2017 at 10:18 am


    The photos look great and the recipe looks delicious. Here in Italy pasta+meatballs isn’t very popular but it’s definitely something I’d like to try.
    That type of pasta is actually called “mezze maniche”, which literally means “short sleeves”. Funny, isn’t it?

  • Reply Natalie August 26, 2017 at 11:48 am

    My three go-to’s are: 1) Leftovers–if I can swipe them before my husband does! 2) Trader Joe’s Pork Gyoza + frozen edamame + frozen other veg, (usually snap peas) + TJs Gyoza sauce — it all microwaves together perfectly. 3) Trader Joe’s Chicken Tamale + sliced sweet bell pepper + sliced fresh tomato (if good ones can be found).

  • Reply Sara August 26, 2017 at 11:59 am

    My husband has many childhood favorites that I do not allow him to eat any longer. This grown up spaghettios might be a perfect way to satisfy his childhood cravings with more appropriate adult offerings

  • Reply Krizia Velez August 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    My mouth is watering!!! I usually cook 6 times a week for dinner and I make enough to have leftovers for next days lunch. I agree with you, it’s extremely tiring working full time job, taking care of my side hustles and cooking. I’m not married but I live with my long term boyfriend and he doesn’t accept just anything for dinner so I have to cook. The good thing is that he washes the dishes and cleans the kitchen otherwise I couldn’t do it. I’m always on the look out to delicious meals but that are easy to make.

  • Reply Eloise August 26, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    looks delicious! I think my kids would even like this better than the can kids spaghetti O’s, I’ll give it a shot this week for a yummy dinner ; ) thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply Terri Beavers August 26, 2017 at 3:33 pm


    I can pretty much guarantee that my family would eat this dish. They’re so picky but they love anything that has spaghetti in it. This is a nice touch and unique way to make SpaghettiOs.

  • Reply Paula Schuck August 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    LOL I was working at the car dealer this week too while waiting for brakes on the van. Anyways the second woman sounds judgmental kind of. My goal is never to spend more time in the kitchen. When I cook I make big meals so we can save the extra and freeze it or eat it two nights in a row. So 2-3 nights for real meals sounds good in my opinion. We are all busy and ultimately you look like you are making some incredible food here. Meatballs are one thing I rarely make but should do more often. They can be so delicious! The Spaghetti-Os look very grown up and of course parmesan. Why wouldn’t I add that?

  • Reply Melanie August 26, 2017 at 3:41 pm


    Now that is a gorgeous looking dish that both my husband and I would enjoy. I need to give that a go. Wow I never thought to drizzle salad dressing on scrambled eggs that sounds interesting I must try it.

  • Reply Jennifer L August 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm


    I could completely relate to your mention of loving to cook but also having a busy life that you dont always find yourself in the kitchen cooking a “real” meal everyday. It’s one of those things people find so surprising when I tell them I’m a foodie and enjoy cooking but don’t spend my time cooking more than 2 to 3 meals per week. If maybe life wasnt so busy I would probably find myself more in the kitchen but its not realistically possible. But I guess that’s what makes it more special when I do find time to be making a dish.

  • Reply Kelly Hutchinson August 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm


    My latest go-to quick meal is finely chopped cauliflower and/or broccoli, sauteed, with a couple slices of cheese melted in at the very end. American cheese is my guilty pleasure for this!

    You also can’t go wrong with an apple and smoked gouda! Or an apple and my favorite nut butter, Trader Joe’s salted almond butter.

  • Reply Vanessa August 26, 2017 at 4:33 pm


    I’m vegan so I eat a lot of varieties on the grain & bean combo (a perfect protein!) for an easy weeknight meal .. chickpea salad on whole grain toast with lots of fresh dill and pickles. Yellow lentil dahl with wild rice and a squeeze of lemon juice. Black beans on a tortilla with sliced radishes, tomatoes, and cilantro. I usually make big batches of two different types of beans and some grains on Sunday and it lasts me and my husband through most of the week!

  • Reply Annie August 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I love to throw together a Southwest Sweet Potato – 1/3 of a roasted sweet potato mashed topped with spicy black beans and a little melted cheese, some lettuce or cabbage, a single serving guac or salsa verde, other veggies I might have on hand. Tortilla chips for some crunch. Salad like but warming with those warm potatoes on the bottom!

  • Reply Thalia August 26, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    So many good ideas for easy meals! Love the cottage cheese bowl. We often have brown rice leftovers, so I’ll do brown rice with a 6 1/2 minute boiled egg and slices of avocado, and sometimes strips of nori and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds for crunch. ^__^

  • Reply Censie Sawyer August 26, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Quick meals are a staple in our house, expect on Sundays. I love getting into the kitchen and cooking big meals that take more than the 30 minutes I usually do during the week. I love it!! Now this recipe looks amazing. My husband still eats Spaghettios sometimes for lunch! ha!! Men….

  • Reply Amy August 26, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I love the idea sof grown up spaghetti o’s!! Looks so yummy and your images are really great!

  • Reply Patricia August 26, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    My husband does cottage cheese, French dressing and a whole diced tomato. Still not into that combo, but he swears by it

  • Reply Jenny August 27, 2017 at 1:15 am

    Beans! I always have cooked beans on hand (either Marcella or Midnight Black Bean) because they make throwing together a quick meal so easy. They can handle a lot of salt (which is never too much for me), and they’re amenable to so many treatments. I love sautéing them with onions, garlic and cumin, and then scrambling an egg in the same pan, and then tucking it all inside a warm tortilla with cheese, avocado, sour cream and hot sauce. I love beans cooked until they’re stewy and ready to be sopped up with bread. I love beans on toast. I love bean soups. I love bean salads.

  • Reply Chloe August 27, 2017 at 2:00 am

    I talk to so many people who hate salads or don’t understand my undying love, but they can be anything! Most days, it’s a bowl of arugula with herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, avocado and whatever cute things I can find in the fridge. I often put soft-boiled eggs or even frittata on my salad as well as any leftover grains, lentils, roasted vegetables, etc. Thinking outside the box is crucial to good salads I don’t resent

  • Reply Ania August 27, 2017 at 5:18 am

    I love home cooked meals and I great up on spaghetti, probably my favorite food as a child. This looks like a great recipe to try.

  • Reply Helen August 27, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I hope you manage to find a new car quickly. I love cooking but, like you, don’t have the time to make huge meals that take hours in the kitchen 7 nights a week. We eat a lot of left overs or quicker / easier to cook home made meals too.

  • Reply Lindsey August 27, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I am a big Nigel Slater fan, I love all his cook shows. This adult take on Spaggeti O’s is great and looks super tasty.

  • Reply Reginald August 27, 2017 at 6:06 am


    My go-to meals are always based on a grain or bean. I love brown and sweet rice, chickpeas and any large heirloom bean. I spoon that into a bowl and top with toasted seeds (sunflower, black sesame or pumpkin or all three!), scallions, tamari (a thicker soy sauce), leftover veggies and sauerkraut. I always add either a crumble of goat cheese or some avocado and a generous drizzle of flax oil

  • Reply Kavita Singh August 27, 2017 at 6:16 am

    I love the recipe and I will try it definitely! It looks so yum! Smiley Potatoes is my favorite and easy weeknight meal.

  • Reply Claudia Krusch August 27, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Braised bok choy is one of my favorites. I love to find new recipe online to try. I have a collection of cookbooks from my Mom and Grandmother that are always fun to pick a recipe from. This recipe looks like a delicious meal.

  • Reply David Elliott August 27, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Hi, Alison. I just think you are being hard on yourself to think that you have to do the cooking like fresh and intricate every day of the week. I would imagine no one really does that. They might decide to make a few things one day and then heat them up for the day of the event. But unless they are a professional chef being paid to cook I can’t imagine that they do. Besides. I think reheating is cooking anyway. As for the recipe, it does look delicious. I think my daughter would love it. She loves pasta and meatballs.

  • Reply Lynndee August 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

    That looks delish! I love to cook too because I prefer home cooked meals more than anything. I cook 4 to 5 times a week and I like preparing my favorite Filipino dishes. Good thing my husband is not picky.

  • Reply Annie August 27, 2017 at 3:08 pm


    I have not ever tried making homemade meatballs. Maybe one day, I will get ambitious. It has been so long since I have had a can of Spaghetti Os. My youngest son would eat them or spaghetti with red sauce every day if I let him. The noodles are cute.

  • Reply Vicky August 27, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I agree with you about the homemade sauce. It doesn’t taste as sweet as the can or jarred stuff. But I like that better. They add so much sugar into it. Honestly, my dad is a cook for elementary schools and he does that. He adds in sugar literally to the sauce he makes for that sweet flavour. I would eat adult spaghettios with you any day.

  • Reply Lena Burkut August 27, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    The homemade sauce looks absolutely delicious! For once, you know what’s in it. And the tastes – You can’t compare it to anything else. It is amazing!

  • Reply Yona Williams August 27, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    I love the spoon in your last photo. A quick and easy meal that I like to make is chicken salad using leftover chicken…or is that cheating? Tacos are pretty fast. I like to make beef tacos topped with pico and sour cream.

  • Reply Made Adayasa August 27, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    This anneleti pasta on the plate make me hungry . I remember when I was on board , working with Italian company . Pasta is our main food . But since I live in Bali now I miss to make pasta sometimes . Thanks for sharing your great pasta ingredient .

  • Reply Ricci August 27, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Now this looks yummy!! I am a pasta fiend as it is so I am seriously loving this!!

  • Reply Tiina A August 28, 2017 at 2:03 am

    Very often I cook something easy which I remember by heart and make different variations without cook books. I always plane to cook a proper meal and follow different recipes but that happens too seldom, probably bacause of lack of time. Actually it’s prioritizing issue.

  • Reply Laura charles August 28, 2017 at 4:00 am

    My go to recipes are anything that I can throw in a crockpot or a one pan dish, so I’m also guilty of not cooking any “‘real” meals in a while. Since I’ve been on my weight loss journey I haven’t indulged in some pasta in a while and this picture makes me wanna have one for my next cheat meal! How does one go through life without pasta?!

  • Reply Ashley August 28, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I love the idea of “Adult” spaghetti-ohs! Those were my favorite growing up. With meatballs, of course.

  • Reply Lauren August 28, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    This sounds amazing! I am not a fan of canned pasta so I love the idea of a homemade version! Thanks for sharing this amazing looking recipe!

  • Reply Angela August 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Those spaghetti-o’s looks oh so yummy! I can’t even!!! I need to try doing this version asap.

  • Reply Joanna August 29, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Let me tell you something: my biggest passions (besides traveling) is photography. Do you know how long it’s been since I actually went out to take photos? I blame it on my camera as being too bulky, too big, I try to find reasons why I don’t do it. But the truth is that my life is simply too busy and I am so exhausted every day that I simply lost the passion for photography somewhere on the way… I know I will find it again though, it’s just a matter of time until I will break free from my routine and start loving it again.

  • Reply Alyssa C August 29, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I am loving this recipe, I was a sucker for spaghettios growing up and now I can make my own?! So excited to give this recipe a try.

  • Reply Katherine August 29, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I couldn’t get enough of spaghettios when I was a kid, but the mushy pasta makes it a new go for me now. However, this recipe still incorporates the sweet sauce, but with proper al dente pasta.

  • Reply Allison August 30, 2017 at 12:52 pm


    Reading this brings back so many childhood memories. It’s funny though, because now that I’m an adult I realize how unhealthy spaghetti O’s were lol. It’s nice to have an adult version though so I can make it less processed. As far as quick weekend night meals go at my house, I can whip up my favorite spaghetti squash dish in 30 minutes. I eat it at least once a week.

  • Reply Nat August 30, 2017 at 2:35 pm


    A great new recipe idea I need to try. Your pictures make it look mouth watering. Its always good to have something quick and easy to make when home. My go to is simple (and boring) Cheese, tomatoes and crackers- my favourite.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus August 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I hear you, I don’t tend to cook complicated meals any more because of time constraints but pasta dishes and potato based dishes seem to be what I cook the most because they don’t take too long. I like the sound of your spaghettios but I just clicked on your veggie soup recipe and have pinned it for later. x

  • Reply Kallia August 30, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    It looks so yummy!! i always look for easy weeknight recipes and spaghetti and meatballs is a staple in our house! We actually just had it like 2 days ago!

  • Reply Eileen Kelly August 31, 2017 at 1:41 am


    Do not compare this delicious meal to Spaghetti-O’s ! This is super flavorful and a meal that should be in everyone’s regular rotation! BTW, I am a cook and you should delve into your cooking more. This is a keeper!

  • Reply Rachel September 1, 2017 at 8:32 am


    Haven’t tried this kind of pasta but it kinda looks good and tasty. We love to reheat our rice left overs and mixed it with sliced hotdogs, green peas, and carrots.

  • Reply Jhilmil September 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Hey this is all so nice to have a peek-a-boo into these snacky days. I haven’t tried SpaghettiOs, but their shape looks so tempting, my kid will pounce on them. I remember having baked potatoes with black pepper on it while I was small and it tasted so delicious that I would eat a full bowl of it and get all the fats inside;)

  • Reply Natalie September 11, 2017 at 1:11 am

    I remember eating these as a kid so many happy memories. I kind of forgot about spaghettios and will have to give them a try again.

  • Reply Akamatra May 19, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    We don’t have those here but I am a spaghetti lover for sure. It was the first thing I learn to cook!

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