Reviving this thread because I had a proud kitchen moment last night.
DH and his friends decided to have a boys' night in and asked if I would make them some spaghetti. In the mood for a challenge, I made the following meal entirely from scratch, with the exception of using dried pasta.
Pasta with spicy roasted-vegetable marinara
Crusty French baguettes
Chocolate Kahlua mousse
Last summer I roasted a small army of vegetables, pureed them with tomatoes, and simmered with garlic and basil to make a basic marinara. I portioned it and stored it in the freezer for a quick marinara sauce. It tastes like marinara but has tons of vitamin-packed healthy vegetable goodness. So last night I caramelized a minced onion, added red and cayenne pepper, lightly sauteed garlic and basil, and then added the marinara and simmered for an hour and a half for the sauce. I made a small batch of ricotta to serve on top of the marinara, to cool it down a bit. The meatballs were half beef and half turkey, seasoned with homemade breadcrumbs, rosemary, and sage, and baked on a wire rack to reduce greasiness.
The French baguettes were simple white loaves baked with a crunchy crust outside and soft fluffy goodness on the inside. (Normally I bake whole-wheat only, so the soft fluffy white bread was a definite treat.) The first loaf was devoured directly out of my hand as I was trying to carry it to the cutting board. The second loaf was savored with butter and ricotta.
The chocolate mousse was made with low-fat milk, and whipped farm-fresh eggs for volume.
The boys declared it the "best meal ever".