Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Growing up our house was "the house" in the neighborhood that everyone wanted to hang out at. We had a huge basement with a kitchen, a ping pong table and a pool table. Free pool. No quarters necessary. Needless to say, all the guys wanted to be there.
My grandmother and my Mom (we lived in a duplex) would happily provide homemade pizza, munchies and an endless supply of baked goods.
My Gram would often embarras me by loudly yelling down the stairs whenever possible, "Lisa Anne". Never just Lisa, always Lisa Anne. She never just said it, she sang it.
My friends loved spending time at that big old house on Wood Street, a house my father and granfather built back in the early 70's. I was always wishing that we could be hanging out at anyone elses house but mine.
Looking back now I realize how lucky I was to have the kind of family and home that kids felt welcome in. To know that my Mom and Gram would be in the kitchen smiling to greet us as a line of teenagers bounded down the stairs and that my Dad would be in his recliner, tilting the newspaper down just long enough to see who was coming through the door as we whizzed past him in a blur.
My Mom says now "well at least I always knew where you were".
Now all these years later, we have "that" house that all the kids hang out at. We don't have a ping pong or pool table, but we sure do have plenty of food.
If you want to feed a crowd of hungry teenagers, one sure fire way to make a beeline directly to their grumbling bellies is with pasta. Make that pasta taste like a cheeseburger and you have one happy group of kids.
Don't worry it's not overly cheeseburgie. The mustard, pickle and ketchup flavors don't smack you in the face.
Adapted from a recipe at Taste of Home
1 pound penne pasta (or any pasta you like)
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1/8 cup dill pickle relish
1/8 cup Dijon Mustard
¼ cup ketchup
2 teaspoons of seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook the beef, onions and seasoning over medium heat until cooked through. Drain any grease. Add in the tomatoes, relish mustard and ketchup. Heat for an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.