Spaghetti with Meat Marinara

3 minutes
September 30, 2022
Carole Jones
I am so excited about our new Tuesday series
Kids in the Kitchen!
As a momma to six kiddos, I am excited to share with you my tips, recipes and anecdotes related to bringing out every kid’s culinary potential.
Some of my most FAQs over the past six years have revolved around how I have gotten my kids to actively participate in the kitchen, especially once those teenage years hit!  So to kick off my new series, I will start with my most controversial piece of advice:
Kids in the Kitchen Secret #1 – Pay your kids to do the cooking and baking
Spaghetti with Meat Marinara

Now before some of you get too offended, let me explain.  We do not pay allowance in the Jones household because in our house, your help with chores is just part of being in our family.  However, there is always a “Jobs for Hire” list on the fridge for those who need money.  That list includes an ever increasing list of jobs that have to get done outside of our normal chores, but we never seem to have the time to do 🙂  A while back, I started adding cooking dinner to that list and it is one of the most popular jobs that the kids sign up for quickly.

Since I only go grocery shopping on Thursdays, any child making dinner in the upcoming week has to let me know their menu before then or the chance for making some much desired moolah is gone.  I often have to help them think through their menu a bit (especially the younger ones), but they also have their “specialties” that they are known for as well.

So at least for me, paying my kids to cook and bake is the perfect solution to the following conundrums:

  • My kids need money, and quite a bit of it, because we make them financially responsible for their clothes, their entertainment and helping to save for college.  Amazing how hard kids will work when they really want a new pair of basketball shoes 🙂
  • It is very important to me that my kids leave home with a solid, well rounded set of skills so that they can provide for themselves and their future families.  Nothing eats up a budget faster than eating out or buying prepared foods from the grocery store so I want them to have quite a kitchen repertoire.
  • Most days, my time to make dinner consists of about 5 minutes so having my kids rotate through the dinner prep makes my days quite a bit more sane.
This kid friendly spaghetti recipe is one that I have developed over the years and is definitely one of the most prepared recipes by my children.  They adore it because of how it tastes and because it is so simple to prepare.  The sauce is so good and tastes so much better than anything you can buy from a jar.
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Spaghetti with Meat Marinara

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  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 – 6 ounce cans tomato paste
  • 1/3 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tb italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 pound box spaghetti


1.  Cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the box and drain.
2.  In a large pan heated over high heat, cook the ground beef until no pink remains, adding a bit of salt and pepper to the meat while cooking.
3.  Add the 3 cans of tomato paste and use one of the empty cans to add 5 full cans of water to the pan.  Stir to mix together the paste and the water until a smooth sauce forms.  Add the cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Serve the finished sauce over the cooked pasta.

  • Author: Carole


  • Serving Size: 1/5th
  • Calories: 519
  • Sugar: 16g
  • Sodium: 1352mg
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 63g
  • Fiber: 13g
  • Protein: 32g
  • Cholesterol: 72mg


Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.


Minnesota Prairie Roots
10 years ago

What a great idea. Why didn’t I think of this when my kids were still at home?

I just printed off your recipe. Sounds tasty and easy. My kind or food to prepare.

10 years ago

Thanks Audrey 🙂 I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Creamy Chicken & Rice Bake - My Kitchen Escapades
10 years ago

[…] As I have mentioned before, I hire my kiddos to make dinner but they don’t get paid just to make the food.  They have to pick the recipe, create a shopping list and then come with me to shop for the food that they need.  One of my major goals is for them to be able to get the biggest bang out of their food budgets once they leave home and have to support themselves.  Food costs are out of control and I want them to be rockstars when it comes to creating delicious food from scratch that costs a fraction of all the prepared junk out there. […]

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