A trip to the grocery store on a tight budget is never easy but there are certain foods that are always affordable. Pasta is one of them. For about a dollar you can get a pound of pasta that can easily feed a hungry family of 5 or 6 for two meals if it's doctored up a bit. One of the simplest and more delicious ways to serve it it is with a spaghetti sauce. I know for some Spaghetti Night is a 'once a week' meal.

I have a most delicious recipe for a spaghetti mix that I got from a dear co-worker at one of my old jobs. I keep it hanging on the inside of my cupboard even though it's only used a few times a year - I always know exactly where it's at.

Spaghetti Sauce Mix

1/4 c cornstarch
3 T sugar
1/4 c dried parsley flakes
1/4 c dried minced onion
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 T Italian seasoning

Mix 1 heaping tablespoon of spice mixture to each 8 ounces of tomato sauce. Heat and simmer 20 minutes. Now... you know I'm going to play with your food. Change it, make it yours. The original recipe called for 1/4 c sugar but I thought it was too sweet so I cut it down to 3 T. If you want it sweeter, use a little more. Also, I like to mix it with tomato sauce and petite diced tomatoes, or even fresh and/or frozen tomatoes from my garden. I'm also going to tell you a secret to making a store bought sauce your own; buy the jar of sauce but as it's simmering, add 2-3 T of this mix to it and then some browned ground beef or turkey or tiny meatballs. You'll love the homemade flavor it gives to a store bought sauce!

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