On top of making sure that my kids had some schooling done, I also had to make sure that dinner was ready for my family and my hubby's work team. Yes, we entertained guests for dinner on a weeknight--something we actually do quite often!! On top of the seven that are usually at my table, I had FOUR more adults to feed and one of those adults is vegetarian!
I started out my day in the kitchen by putting ingredients in my bread machine for making dough for french bread. While the bread machine was doing its job, I set out to brown some ground beef to start working on my spaghetti sauce.
While meat was browning, I dumped the ingredients in the crockpot for the sauce. My sauce is a very basic. I used a 45oz jar and 28 oz jar of Ragu traditional sauce as my base. Then I add more spices--italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, and minced onions; along with some shredded carrots. Once the tomato base of the sauce is ready, I then added some of my browned ground beef. I put the sauce on low in the crockpot while I got to work at making up a batch of meatballs.
While the meatballs were cooking, I put together some marinara sauce for the vegetarian. For the marinara sauce, I used a 29oz can of tomato puree and a 15oz can of tomato sauce. I added my spices--italian seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, and minced onions along with shredded carrots and parmasan cheese.
By this time in the day, I needed to get lunch for my kids so it was a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some chips and baby carrots. After getting lunch, it was quiet time!! My little one goes down for his nap while the others pick up a book and do some reading for a 1/2 hour! On any other day I would be picking up a book too BUT I needed spaghetti noodles for the dinner so off to the store I went leaving my 12 yo in charge for 45 minutes! Oh the niceness of having a child old enough to trust to leave for 45 minutes to an hour!
I ended up hitting up all of my corner grocery stores, that is three stores(Aldis, Family Fare, & Save A Lot)!!! Nothing like living in the big city and having a store on each corner of the intersection! Initially, I was just going to go to Save A Lot but once I got there I didn't like their selection of produce! Wait a minute, I thought you said that you needed spaghetti noodles and now you are talking about getting produce!?! Yes, I also figured out before I left for the store that I needed to get the rest of the leafy green salad makings! So I got my spaghetti noodles for dinner, egg noodles for Friday's dinner and a pack of 4 tomatoes at Save A Lot.
Then I went acrossed the street to Family Fare and decided that I wasn't going to pay their outrageous prices for their produce so I strolled by the meat counter only to find a few packages of fresh meat for 50% off!!! I couldn't resist! So I did something I normally do NOT do and got those meat pkgs despite them not being on my list!! Then I headed over to the dairy case and picked up a couple of gallons of milk for breakfast!
Off to across the street to Aldis, only because it was Monday I decided to venture in there to look at their produce. Their produce actually looked half way decent so I picked up a head of lettuce and some broccoli. Now back to the homefront to continue my dinner preparations!
Once I was back, I finally decided that I was going to do for dessert---chocolate chip cheesecake pie! I had been wanting to try this recipe for a long time! I already had all the ingredients to make it, the key was just finding the right time to make it! So I set out to make this recipe for the first time! It was very easy to make! It turned out yummy despite the fact that the chocolate chips sank to the bottom instead of staying in the cheesecake. I'll be making it again to see if I can have better success with the chocolate chips!
While the pie was cooling, I set out to make my leafy green salad. I just put the lettuce and shredded carrots together in one bowl while putting other salad toppings(chopped boiled egg, bacon bits, tomatoes, broccoli, cheese and croutons) in smaller bowls for people to add their own toppings.
About 5:30pm, in the middle of getting my salad toppings ready, my hubby called me to say they were on their way! OH NO! I had roughly 20 minutes to get everything done!!! I still hadn't put the glaze on the pie, the water for the noodles hadn't been started and the french bread wasn't made into garlic toast!! Instead of staying calm and focused I went into a panic!! I called my oldest son to help me, but he really did not know what to do to help so was more in the way than anything! I got him to measure the chips out for the pie glaze and got them melting in the microwave. I worked on getting the bread sliced and buttered along with sprinkling garlic powder and parmesan cheese on top. The bread got into the oven just as they were pulling up in the driveway! However, the water for the noodles had not even been started!! UGH! Thankfully noodles do not take long to cook!
They came in a little before 6pm and we were able to sit down and enjoy the dinner by 6:30pm!
All in all, everything from the salad to the dessert turned out great! It was a success! Everyone left full and even said that everything tasted a whole lot better then going out to a restaurant!! And to think that I fed 5 adults and 5 children a whole meal for $20!! That is definitely cheaper than all of us eating at a restauraut!