The Barf Stops Here

31 Days- The Art of Wearing Your Fat Dreams

They made my Ma barf, me barf, and my son barf. Three generations of our gene pool rejecting this canned concoction of a complete pasta meal including meatballs. SpaghettiOs. Oh, come on I am sure everyone has tried these at some point, and if you haven’t, don’t. But the notion of a little pasta dinner in a can did compel me to create the homemade version.

Since I have recently retired my post as a science teacher and girl’s PE coach, I have entered the full time stay at home realm once again. This has freed up some time to cook more often from scratch again. I am really enjoying my time getting back to the basics in the kitchen. Like making a full roasted chicken meal then using the leftovers the next day to pop a chicken pot pie in the oven. I am going to embrace it all this time because now I have something to compare it to- harried evenings of throwing something, anything on the table because I had so much else to do.

I have been given the gift of time, I only hope I don’t waste it.

Homemade SpaghettiOs with Mini Meatballs
1/3 cup Vidalia onion, minced fine
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups good beef stock

1/2 pound ground chuck
1 t. Kosher salt
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 t. dried minced onions- not powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

28 ounces canned peeled ground tomatoes
12 ounces “o” shaped or “abc” mini pastas
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. butter
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot sweat onions in olive oil, stirring often. Once the onions are translucent, stir in garlic and cook for about one minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Meanwhile in a large bowl mix- chuck, salt, egg, bread crumbs, dried minced onions, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese until well blended. Drop by small balls (about the size of a hazelnut) into the boiling broth. Boil 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, pasta, cheese, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Stirring frequently simmer until the pasta is al dente. Pour into 10 wide-mouth (8ounce) mason jars or other containers of choice.

STORAGE– Store in the refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 3 months. Microwave to reheat.

Note- Do not forget that you can use your own choice of pasta whether it be gluten-free or whole wheat, as well as your choice of stock and meat. I used organic stock and free-range beef. Adjust all my recipes according to your choice of ingredients, food intolerances, and nutritional needs.

If given the gift of time, how would you spend it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Missed any Days on this Dream Ride?

Day 1- The Art of Wearing Your Fat Dreams– Introduction
Day 2- “You Should’ve Married Someone Else!”– Who is really responsible for fulfilling our dreams?
Day 3- Mozart Balls Really Do have Nuts- Tips on travelling with food allergies– Overcoming obstacles


  1. Heather (Heather's Dish)
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    hmmm…the gift of time would be probably the most precious one ever. i would spend it loving my family, friends, and doing something to help change the world…so cliche, but it's true!

  2. highplainsdrifters
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    Will Rogers said that if you're going to invest, buy land, because they're not making any more of it. Time, on the other hand, is even more precious, even though on the surface it appears as if it will never run out.

    But if I told you what I'd do if I had more of it, I'd be lying.

  3. vanillasugarblog
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    I wish I could find the abc's pasta!!!

  4. chowbellaroma
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    Canned pastas like spaghetti-o's always gross me out too – but this homemade version looks delicious!

  5. Big Dude
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    Come on – you really didn't like canned spaghetti-o's. I'm shocked. Your homemade ones sound almost as good. Hope you can tell I'm kidding. You've made some interesting posts lately and when I see Bev next week (she's in Florida) I'm going to ask her what her dreams were and still are.

  6. Sheila
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    I actually love canned spaghetti o's but would love a healthy alternative especially to give the kids. BTW, I know Trader Joe's has the o shaped pasta.

    If I had the gift of time I would do my own books on tape for my children and grandchildren (I am certain they could transfer them to a new format at some point). I love how you give your time to your family; it will return to you.

  7. hayley@thetinytwig
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    that has to be the cutest little jar of spaghettios! 🙂

  8. Biz
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    Okay, I still love canned spgahettio's every once in a while – with white bread that's been slightly toasted with real butter.

    I will give your version a try though!

  9. Robin Sue
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Biz- Minus the onions of course;-)

  10. Alene
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

    I haven't thought about spaphetti-O's in years. They were one of my kids favorites. Can't believe they made you barf. I'll have to try your yummy recipe.

  11. Sweet P
    Posted October 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    I made a pot of this on Tuesday for my 2 1/2 year old grandson. He loved it. I packaged up the remaining pasta into serving bowls for him to take to daycare. I tried it and liked it. This will be a keeper recipe in my house.

  12. Linda
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    I believe I found a typo:

    "Meanwhile in a large bowl mix- chuck, salt, egg, dried minced onions, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese until well blended."

    I'm supposed to add the breadcrumbs at this time as well, right?

  13. Robin Sue
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    Linda- yes!! Mix in the bread crumbs. Thank you so much for pointing this out. Will fix!

  14. Olivia
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

    How well does it freeze? Better off fully canning it?

  15. Robin Sue
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Olivia- these freeze very well, I do freeze mine for the kids lunches! Thanks!

  16. Anonymous
    Posted January 6, 2012 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    No space in freezer, but I am thinking I would like to can a bunch of this.

  17. Lona
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    I just made a whack of this tonite and what a reward to see in the fridge! My 4 year old son that has to be the fussiest eater is going to love these. I found whole grain whole wheat bug shaped pasta and used that. The ABC pasta was only in white semolina pasta so I opted for a healthier version. Safeway – I am in Canada – but should still be available in any US Safeway – has a great selection of pastas that would work great for this.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I have also used this idea to make fruit jars for the week out of various chopped fruits and layered in jars.
    I am addicted to Mason jar Meals! Thank you for your genius idea and thank you for sharing it with the reot of us moms looking for a healthy and convenient lifestyle for our children.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

      So happy you are liking the MJM’s! It does feel good to have a fridge full of healthy foods!
      Thanks for letting me know you made this!
      Robin Sue

  18. Jenna
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Just made this today and my picky almost 2 year old gobbled it right up! I plan on freezing the rest in jars Thanks for recipe, it is great to have a quick lunch for him that is still homemade :).

    • Robin Sue
      Posted April 18, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

      Jenna! So glad to hear your 2 yo ate this- also a great way to sneak in some pureed veggies! Yes it freezes great too!
      Robin Sue

  19. Heather
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    I love this idea. Like you I can not stand the taste of the canned pasta meals! I think it is the weird tang of the sauce! My question is you mentioned that it freezes great, what about just canning it and keeping it on the shelf of my pantry? How long will it keep for? Would I can it just like I would for my regular pasta sauces, or different method since there is pasta and meat balls in it? Thanks

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 3, 2012 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

      I don’t can, so I don’t know about how to can these. I freeze them and we go through them like crazy, so the extra work of canning would not be worth it in my house;-)
      Thanks, sorry I could be much of a help!

  20. Misty
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    I just made a great alternative and healthy one too. It tasted almost just like SpaghettiOs, less the strong aluminum-canny taste. I used whole grain thin spaghetti. Put some in a bowl and poured a 1/2 of an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, sprinkled 1 tsp sugar on top, a pinch of garlic powder and then nuked. After heated, sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on top.

    I boiled a big batch of the pasta and put on a container (I always add a bit of olive oil to the noodles to prevent the stickiness and breakage, also I like the extra flavor) , and then will just open small cans of tomato sauce when needed. Was very simple!

    Tastes almost the same less the preservatives and much less sodium. Maybe a healthier, better alternative for kids and less expensive. p.s. I used a box of the fit and light thin whole grain spaghetti (costs a dollar) and the small cans of Aldi tomato sauces were like 29 cents… Talk about a little goes a long way!

  21. Cheri
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    So I tried this recipe today. My son who is 14 LOVES spaghetti o’s, so I always try to have some on hand. I waiting for him to come home with this grandpa so he can try these. If he likes it. Then I’m going to make another batch and keep in the fridge and freeze some! I love the idea of homemade spaghetti o’s. So as I was makeing this recipe, I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients. So I substitutted with what I had on hand. I only had one can of dice tomatoes, so I added a 8 oz can of tomato sauce. I also cheated as I had made a roast in the crock pot the other day and made gravy from the juice, So I added about a cup of that in there. Yum! As I said I can’t wait for my son to try this!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

      Great substitutes! Hope your son likes this recipe!

  22. Posted October 4, 2012 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    Such an adorable idea. How funny that you opened this post with how SpaghettiOs made everyone in your family barf. The moment you mentioned it, I realized that I have a distinct memory of SpaghettiO barf myself. Not the most appetizing opener, but one I connected with :).

  23. Lillian
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    RE canning these: Be very careful. With the meat and pasta, I’m pretty sure your acidity level is low enough that you would need to pressure can (not hot water bath can). In addition, I’m not sure I would cook the pasta at all before canning – or if I did, only very slightly, since the additional heat of canning SHOULD cook the pasta in the sauce. If you fully pre-cook your pasta, once canned it will be a mushy mess.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted October 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

      Thanks Lillian,
      So far I have not canned these. I only store in the fridge up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 3 months. Some day I will learn to can but my kids eat these up so quickly I am not sure it would be worth the extra time.

  24. Benjamin
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Permalink


  25. Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    I’m with you completely. Sam used to love them and just the smell makes me want to barf. But I’m all over the idea of making them in mason jars – excellent idea. One question though — how long did it take you to find the B,R, and K? 🙂

    • Robin Sue
      Posted October 6, 2012 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

      Forever! Can never find the letters you need;-)

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