Spaghetti is a staple in some households. My kids love pasta, but are not big fans of tomato sauce. So, with some tweaking, I have come up with a few simple alternatives to the traditional long noodle, tomato sauce and hamburger spaghetti recipe.
- Be adventurous. Use different noodle colors, shapes or types. There are lots of different kinds of noodles available at Asian markets and health food stores. Our family likes rotini or sometimes spinach spaghetti or even black rice noodles. (These look a little like “worms” which delights my two young boys.) Noodles are also available in shells, macaroni elbows, vermicelli, linguini, fusilli, fettuccine, manicotti, penne, wagon wheels, bowtie, alphabet, farm animals, etc. And, noodles are also made from different grains like corn, quinoa, and rice (including white, black and brown).
- Consider stroganoff instead of spaghetti sauce. Use an alfredo sauce in place of tomato sauce and add hamburger. Or, use my recipe of two cups of sour cream, plus garlic, onion and salt to taste per pound of hamburger. Once your hamburger (or steak strips or stew meat) is cooked, drain and add your sauce ingredients. Cook until bubbly, stirring constantly.
- Exchange your hamburger (or steak or stew meat) for chicken, turkey or pork. It amazes me how the flavor of a dish changes simply by changing one of the basic ingredients. Chicken spaghetti or chicken stroganoff are a great alternative to the norm. Ground turkey or ground pork can add a zing to a meal, too.
- Skip the sauce altogether. My kids have learned to love noodles with hamburger, frozen peas and “shaky cheese” (aka Parmesan) sprinkled on them.
- Skip the pasta. Try rice (There are a ton of varieties of this, too!), mashed potatoes or spaghetti squash instead. During the fall, my family loves spaghetti squash. It is a fun, healthy, flavorful alternative to grains-based pasta.
Be brave. Be adventurous. Try something new. Happy eating!