Tag Archives: weeknight dinner

Spaghetti Bake with Balsamic Glaze

Spaghetti is the ultimate easy dinner; delicious, loved by all, and you can easily sneak in some extra vegetables for the littles. Sometimes you just need to jazz it up, though, and what better way to do that than to top it with mozzarella, bake until bubbly, then drizzle with sweet and tangy balsamic glaze? I made this recipe by default (as per usual), but it was so delicious I decided to document. I’m telling you, it is like the Italian comfort food love child of spaghetti and lasagna: cheesy, saucy, delicious! I hope you give it a try – I’m willing to bet it will be a family favorite!

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Spaghetti Bake with Balsamic Glaze


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 8 oz of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of dried parsley
  • 1.5 tsp of dried basil
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 jar sugar free marinara
  • 1/2 lb of whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti
  • 2 cups (packed down) of fresh spinach
  • 8 oz of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Balsamic Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup of raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add mushrooms, onion, and bay leaves – cooking until tender.
  3. While cooking, boil salted water in a large pot – preparing to cook your spaghetti.
  4. Add ground meat to vegetables, crumbling while it cooks.
  5. Season with salt and spices, and continue to cook.
  6. Drain excess fat if necessary, and remove bay leaves.
  7. Once water is boiling, add your spaghetti noodles and cook according to package directions, using the minimum amount of time for cooking – the noodles will continue to cook in the oven.
  8. While noodles cook, preheat your oven to 375 F.
  9. Once noodles are cooked, drain and return to pot.
  10. Add cooked meat and vegetables, pasta sauce, and fresh spinach to the noodles; stir to combine well.
  11. Evenly spread spaghetti in a 9×13 pan, and top with mozzarella slices.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is browning and sauce is bubbling.
  13. While spaghetti is baking, make your balsamic glaze by combining honey and balsamic vinegar in a small pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer until thickened.
  14. Serve spaghetti bake hot with a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  15. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a week.

For more pasta recipes, try my Zoodles with Meat Sauce or my Baked Ziti with Sausage. I hope this quick yet fancier version of spaghetti can become a family favorite for you! Indulge in some cheesy, saucy pasta…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Vegetable Fried Rice

Do you have a staple, go-to, easy dish you frequently fix for your family? Vegetable fried rice is one of ours! It’s a quick, simple, and delicious way to eat plenty of veggies while taking a break from meat. Plus it’s healthier than any take-out you can get! We typically try to eat 1-2 vegetarian/plant based meals per week because it’s good for the tummy and the budget! You can eat it as a side dish – it would go great paired with my Sweet and Sour Broccoli – or solo for a light, vegetarian dinner. If you want to take a break from eating too much meat, but find yourself scratching your head for ideas, I hope you try out this delicious and veggie-heavy dish!

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Vegetable Fried Rice


Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice (cooked according to package)
  • 1 lb of frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 knobs of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp of coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat sesame oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic, cooking until tender and fragrant (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Add in ginger and sesame seeds, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Turn heat to medium-high and add frozen stir fry vegetables.
  5. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once vegetables are tender (but still vibrant in color, not mushy!), add cooked rice.
  7. Add in seasonings and coconut aminos, stirring to coat everything.
  8. Create a hole in middle of the pot and add beaten eggs.
  9. As the eggs start to cook, slowly scramble them, then mix into the rice.
  10. Serve hot topped with chopped scallions and extra coconut aminos.
  11. Store leftovers covered in fridge for 7-10 days.

I hope you give this easy vegetarian dish a try! For more plant based dinner ideas, check out my Baked Falafel and my Slow Cooker Potato and Kale Soup. Eat your vegetables…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Salmon Burgers

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You’ve probably heard before that fish is a healthy protein you should be eating more of. Fish, salmon specifically, has lots of omega-3s, AKA healthy fats (plus B vitamins, selenium, and more) which are good for the brain; that fact alone makes me want to make more fish, especially for my two-year-old and her growing brain. There are a couple of issues with serving salmon to my family, though: I’m the only one in my family who truly enjoys salmon, but my husband tolerates salmon…if it’s super fresh and wild caught. That is a wonderfully delicious splurge every now and then, but we can’t afford to spend nearly $20 a pound every week on fish.

I realized to resolve the issues of feeding my family salmon, I simply needed to create a delicious salmon dish while remaining budget conscious. It sounds impossible, but it’s not! This recipe uses exponentially cheaper canned salmon, which is then mixed with spices, and pan fried to crispy perfection! Served with a lettuce “bun” and your favorite burger toppings, it is a quick, tasty, and cheap weeknight meal that will satisfy taste buds and tummies alike!

Salmon Burgers

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz canned, in water, salmon (I used StarKist boneless, skinless), drained, rinsed, and dried
  •  1/2 cup of oat flour (you could also use almond flour to keep it paleo)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade version here)
  • 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Enough olive or avocado oil to pan sear
  • Romaine or butter lettuce for “buns”
  • Desired burger condiments, such as sugar free ketchup, mayo, ranch, and fresh chopped veggies

Directions:

  • Heat a large, oiled skillet over medium heat
  • Combine all ingredients (excluding lettuce and condiments) in a medium mixing bowl
  • Form the salmon mixture into patties
  • Cook, covered 3-4 minutes per side
  • Serve on lettuce “buns” with desired condiments
  • Leftovers will keep, covered, in fridge – reheat on the stove

A burger always needs his best pal fries, so be sure to make my Oven Baked Fries to go alongside your burgers! While this recipe is about savings, if you happened to splurge and make my Sheet Pan Salmon, you could also use leftover meat in this recipe! For other budget friendly meals, check out my Roasted Chicken with CarrotsChicken Salad Stuffed Avocados, and One Pan Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas. Feed your family well while staying on budget…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

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