Dinner is Served – Or How I the Survived Arena Shuffle

November 7th, 2011 by Kelly Serjeantson

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Well, it happened. Three kids in hockey, and we spent our first weekend truly shuffling from one arena to the next, stinky gear and all.

I knew this would happen. People are often surprised when I tell them all 3 darlings are playing hockey this year. “Wow, you must be crazy!” is a familiar comment. Well, ya, I am, but not because I have 3 kids in hockey. What I have is 3 kids in SPORTS! Pick any sport and you will find yourself running from practice, to a game, to another practice all the while thinking about the myriad of other, more interesting things you could be doing.

To that, I say,”Whatever.”
I have 3 children. They are involved. They are getting regular exercise. They are learning what it means to work as a team. They are figuring out how to challenge themselves, to do their best and sometimes, (more for one than the others) to accept defeat. These are important life lessons that hopefully will contribute to their overall development into caring, sharing adults.

But enough about that. The most important thing on my mind as we began this weekend of ‘arena shuffle’ was WHAT THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO EAT WHEN WE GET HOME?

Ottawa arenas are sorely lacking in healthy, tasty foods with which to properly nourish young bodies (and this old one too). Fries, Slushies and Salt & Vinegar chips can only take you so far. So, I pack snacks. Fruit, muffins and the occasional power bar. These are fine for on the go, but we needed to eat a proper dinner at some point. Arriving home at 6pm on a Saturday with tired, hungry kids (not to mention us poor parents) is not the time to think about WFD.
So, I took a little time Saturday morning (prior to game 1 of 3!) and whipped up this yummy, fortifying dish of goodness. During a break, where I ran home to take our poor neglected pooch for a quick spin around the block, I popped it into the oven, set the timer and headed back out to watch my oldest attempt to score his 3rd goal of the season.

It’s easy, it pleases everyone, and, best of all, it was hot and ready when we arrived home. While various children showered and put away their gear for the night, I threw a salad together. We sat down and reviewed the day’s events – 2 winning games & “Hardest Worker” award for one boy, a hard-fought but losing battle for the oldest, a fun practice for the girl and cold feet and bad coffee for Mom & Dad. Not a bad day really. Best of all, we shared some laughs, cheered each other on, and did it all as a family. In fact, I can’t think of how I would rather spend a weekend – can you?

Here’s the recipe. It was eaten too quickly to grab a picture, but I have to think that it did contribute to my daughter’s FIRST GOAL EVER IN A GAME the next day, so here’s a picture of the puck ;)

Saturday Night Special

***Special Thanks to my good friend, Karen, for the recipe!!

You’ll need:

1 lb ground beef

1 onion, diced

1 green or red pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 – 5 mushrooms, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Worcestershire  sauce

1 big handful of spaghetti noodles, broken.

1 can condensed tomato soup (**I use 2 cans low sodium soup for creamier dish)

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Grated cheddar cheese, about 2 cups.


Cook the spaghetti, careful not to overcook it.

In a Dutch oven, brown the meat and drain the fat.

Add the veggies, a splash or two of the Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper to taste.

When onions are soft, add the kidney beans and tomato soup. Mix well, then add the cooked spaghetti.

Put all of this in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, sprinkle cheese on top. Cover loosely with foil and you are READY TO GO!


Pop in a 350F oven for 35-40 minutes and ENJOY!


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