Grandma’s Secret Recipe

While attending the 2011 Hen House Holiday Celebration, I heard celebrity chef Tyler Florence say, “Figure out what people tell you are good at making and always make it. Perfect the recipe. That’s your signature dish.”

I guess you could say this is one of my best dishes. Probably every one of my serious boyfriends I’ve had sampled this dish at some point in our relationship.

But one of my favorite memories of making this recipe comes from back when I was in college. I was what you could call a “Residence Hall Geek.” By that I mean I was involved in student government as well as working for the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Housing Department at the Harper-Schramm-Smith (HSS) Front Desk. One of the advantages of this position was it allowed you to move into the halls early. Of course, this is so we could work. All my friends were also Residence Hall Geeks so we hung out in the courtyard participating in something called “HOTs” – Hall Orientation Teams. The HOTs volunteers helped students physically move dollies full of stuff into their rooms as well as planned social activities to welcome new students.

Since school didn’t start until Monday, the dining halls were not open for service. Tired of eating microwave cuisine, a bunch of my friends decided to have a BBQ in the quad between HSS. It was so much fun but we still had a little hamburger meat left after the party. I suggested we have a spaghetti feed using the kitchen in the basement of Smith Hall the following night. It was the first time I had ever experimented making this dish to feed so many people. Everybody seemed to have a good time though.

I got this spaghetti sauce recipe from my Great Grandma Reith. I’m lucky enough to have actually got to grow up knowing her – since she lived long into her 90s. My first memories of Grandma Reith involved her making homemade ice cream for every one of my cousins and my childhood family birthday parties. When she passed, I learned her cookbooks were filled with notes of how she liked recipes or how she modified them.

I hope you enjoy the only way I like to eat spaghetti – with Grandma Reith’s homemade spaghetti sauce.

Spaghetti Sauce by Ina Reith

1# of ground beef
2 small cans of tomato paste (I usually use the low sodium kind)
3 c. of water
1tsp. salt
1tsp. sugar
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. oregano

Brown ground beef and drain off grease. Add all emaining ingredients and simmer on low heat. Stir occasionally. When sauce begins to boil, I shut it off and let it sit for about 10 minutes to thicken. Return to low heat and serve over cooked spaghetti or your favorite pasta noodle.

Suggested sides – Garlic bread and a side salad

Tell me what is your signature dish?

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5 responses

  1. I’m often asked to bring Deviled Eggs. But I recently broke my favorite deviled egg plate, so I’ll have to find a new one before the next pot luck. Deviled Eggs are pretty easy and inexpensive and they always disappear.

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