Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I have prepared many spaghetti with meat sauce recipes in my 32 years of marriage. This one is my current one and with good reason. It’s delicious!

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)


1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4  teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

8 ounce can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

hot prepared whole wheat spaghetti pasta*

freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

freshly chopped parsley (optional)


In a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground meat, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks, until it is no longer pink.

Drain any excess grease.

Stir in the tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat, constantly stirring, for about a minute, until the mixture smells fragrant.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce. Stir to combine.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti noodles. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.


*I am very pleased with the Great Value Whole Wheat Pasta except the spaghetti. Our family struggles with the taste of whole wheat spaghetti when paired with a tomato-based sauce. Instead of resorting to white pasta, or some sort of hybrid, we found the brand Jovial that uses Einkorn whole wheat flour to be delicious. I stock up on it when Vitacost offers a 20% off of a $50 food purchase.

“The Books”

My husband and I have moved 20 times in 32 years of marriage. To say that our grown children or we have struggled to call any place “home” is an understatement. For those of you who have frequently moved as a family, you understand what I’m saying.

When my boys were young, and finances were tight, I often said the two things that were non-negotiables were nutritious food and good books. And back before there was something called a “Kindle,” there were only two types of books, paperback or hardbound. To last through three boys, I decided to buy hardbacks.

Those hardbound children’s books that I felt were as necessary as nutritious food for my sons developing minds are stored in plastic tubs and are on shelves in a spare room in our home.

As we (my husband and I) have done some serious spring cleaning and organizing the last couple of months, we gazed at all those tubs of hardbound children and junior books again. We thought of a great place we could donate them to. My heart ached as I considered parting with them; I didn’t want to be selfish, but at the same time, I felt such an emotional attachment to those books!

I thought I would talk to my (now grown) sons and that they would give me the push needed to do what I felt like was the right thing and donate them. I asked each one of them what I should do with the books. They looked at me with such strained faces and said please don’t donate this series, that book, they each had a laundry list of what they couldn’t part with.

I thought about this occurrence that seems to happen each time I talk about donating them, and finally, I realized that those books are one of the few constants that we have had in all the homes and communities that were a part of our lives. Those tubs full of children’s books represent “home.” They represent our son’s childhoods, our time spent together homeschooling, and me reading the same stories over and over with each child.

Yes, they represent our home but even more so, the heart of our home. Those books aren’t going anywhere, they simply can’t!