I know, I know....the title for this blog entry reads like the next installment of The Chronicles of Narnia. But it does all make sense. Really.
The count, of course, is the number of hits on this blog. Sometime this past Sunday we went over 60,000 and naturally, I'm thrilled. To think that one person visited here 60,000 times is a true study in dedication.
Okay, of course I'm kidding. Thanks to everyone who has been here, read what I've had to say, and then came back for more. I hope you keep visiting and find things you like.
The Kat is the newest member of the blog roll. Kat the Brat started a blog in July called, Katisms: ramblings of an uberbrat. (There should be some little accent marks over the "u", but I don't have it on my keyboard, so the "u" will have to sit there unadorned.) There's a lot of good pictures--the girl is definitely not camera shy--and she's more than happy to share her spanko journey with us. Right now she's getting ready for the Shadow Lane party out in Vegas. She should have some good stories to tell when she gets back. You can, of course, find the link to her blog over on the right-hand side of the page.
Finally, the Cook is....well....me. The spaghetti and meatballs that I wrote about in my last post, "Taking Stock" never did get made. I got involved with playing, "Half-Life 2" on my Xbox, and the hours just flew by. Next thing I knew, it was way too late to start cooking anything that would require much time, so I dropped the idea of pasta and just found something quick-and-easy to fix.
I'm still in the mood for the pasta, and with Labor Day weekend coming up, I should have time to throw it together. But I'm not going to do spaghetti and meatballs. I'm going to do something that will require a tad more time, but winds up being better tasting--at least, in my opinion. Here's what I do (and you might want to try it yourself sometime. It's pretty darn easy.)
I almost hesitate to call this a "recipe", but I guess it qualifies. You need: 1 onion, about 4 or 5 stalks of celery, two cans of sliced mushrooms (you can buy fresh and cut them up if you want; myself, I'd rather take the easy route), a package of ground Hot Italian Sausage (get the mild or sweet Italian Sausage if you don't like the spiciness of the Hot), a package of spaghetti (7 oz. to a pound) and a jar of spaghetti sauce. For the sauce, I usually go with something like Ragu Roasted Garlic--nothing too elaborate. Again, if you want to go to the trouble of making your own homemade tomato sauce, knock yourself out.
In a big pan on the top of the stove, brown the ground Hot Italian Sausage. Crumble the sausage while it's cooking, much the same way you'd break hamburger down for sloppy joes. While it's browning, chop up the onion and the celery. Keep the pieces bite-sized, like 1/4" or less. When the meat has been browned, you can drain off the fat (or not--it doesn't really matter) and then throw the onion and the celery into the pan and continue cooking. Reduce the heat on the stove top at this time to, oh, medium heat.
Stir everything around in the pan until the onions start to sweat. Don't let them go too long--you don't want them translucent, just.......sweaty. At this point, throw in the mushrooms, stir it around a bit, and then add the jar of spaghetti sauce. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to "simmer", and let it simmer away for about 20 minutes.
While that's simmering, cook up the spaghetti. I'm not going to sit here and say, "First, you boil water." You know how to cook pasta. (If you don't, follow the directions on the box.)
When the pasta is done, drain it (duh!) and you're just about ready. Turn off the heat under the sauce, put some pasta on a plate, covered it with some of the sauce and you're good to go. You could also just throw all of the pasta into the pan with the sauce, stir it up and then dish it up from there. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, serve with garlic bread and the beverage of your choice, and you've got a nice little meal. And all it took was a jar of spaghetti sauce and the willingness to "chunk it up" a little.
Because of the spices in the Hot Italian Sausage, the longer it sits and the spices get a chance to permeate the sauce, the better it tastes. You'll probably have enough to get two or three meals out of this. It's quick and easy--it could probably qualify as a Rachel Ray "30-minute meal"--and I find the results to be rather soul-satisfying. So--enjoy!
Think I could interest the Food Network in a show called, "The Spanking Chef"? :-)