Monday, September 2, 2013

Bad Mood Food

Dear Lauren,

One day, we were in a bad mood. Ok, I was in a bad mood. Dad wasn't. He was smiley. And it was because of his smi-ley-ness that I wanted to cook something for him that he'd like. Which would put me in a good mood.

I am his sunshine.

He likes beef. He likes pasta. I always have pasta in the pantry. I had ground beef in the freezer. I didn't want to think. I wanted to follow a recipe, so I did. I can always count on Elise Bauer's recipes at Simply Recipes, the first blog I ever read.

I should call this dish the Bad Mood Cure because my bad mood went away after I ate it. That's my usual state of being. I am a not-in-a-bad-mood-girl.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with Stephanie, my best friend from high school. We were joined at the hip throughout high school, but not much since. She's not on Facebook and neither are you, Lauren. As a matter of fact, you two are alike in a lot of ways. Both very pretty. Both slightly aloof in your face, but not in actuality. I mentioned to Stephanie that I'm on Facebook and am friends with many people that I never even knew in high school but now, "well," I said to her, "you know how I am". And Stephanie put her chin up in the air, closed her eyes and rocked her head from side to side slightly, quickly and in a singsong voice said, "I loooove you!" Haha! Dad was there and he started laughing (in recognition)! Yes, that is so me. I guess it always has been me.

So as I said, no more bad mood! I love everyone again, tra la!

Bad Mood Food
adapted from this recipe at Simply Recipes

olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1 large zucchini, shredded
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon 4/S (you have to try it, or use your own seasoned salt)
6 shakes crushed red pepper flakes
1 large can of whole tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
a handful, more or less, flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked (right now we are actually Cavatappi lovers)

Heat water to boiling and add pasta. Cook according to box instructions. Drain and mix the pasta with the parsley. Set aside until the meat and tomato mixture is ready.

In a cast iron skillet on high heat, add a little olive oil and then add the ground beef. Let the ground beef sit a little before you stir it so it gets nice and browned. Once the ground beef is cooked, remove it from the skillet and set the beef aside.

Turn the heat down to medium high, add a little olive oil to the skillet and add the onions and zucchini. Cook until the onion is translucent, or until it is a little browned, it's up to you. Add the beef back into the skillet. Add the seasoned salt, the red pepper flakes, the tomatoes and the Worcestershire to the skillet and stir, breaking up the tomatoes. Let the mixture heat through while you finish cooking the pasta.

Combine the meat and tomato mixture with the pasta and serve immediately.


P.S. I've made Elise's recipe several times since the bad mood day and the version I am giving you above is our favorite.

P.P.S. Add to the list of bad mood foods: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Rolos. But, I will say that this recipe is much better for you!

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