Take-out Tuesday, Tales of the Traveling Tote and Ready Spaghetti

Today is a very special day! It is my first adventure with the Traveling Tote group!


I have been following this group of fellow McKenzie-Childs loving bloggers on their adventures and was beyond thrilled when they asked me to join in the fun with my new tote, “Miss Coquille”!


“Miss Coquille,” {French for shell} got her name from the fact that most of the traveling she will be doing is “back and forthing” from the Alabama gulf coast {Orange Beach}  to the “city” {Birmingham}


The ladies of the Traveling Tote group can make an adventure out of a simple walk through the park, and assured me I would be welcome even if I lacked travels to exotic foreign lands!


Today we are supposed to focus on the men behind the traveling totes, so let me introduce you to my husband, HH, which stands for Hungry Husband.  I nicknamed him that because he is naturally thin and he’s always hungry.  Recently retired, he had a long career as cosmetic dentist, and can fix anything! Being married to him is an adventure in itself, never a dull moment…


He loves the water, his boats and his boys


And sharing his love of trains


HH has learned over the years that it’s best to ask what I want rather than try to surprise me, and now in the age of on line ordering, I just send him the link…and when I found out the McK-Chds bag I wanted was on sale, it went straight to my Christmas wish list  ๐Ÿคž


Come Christmas morning and no big McKenzie Childs package under the tree, I was disappointed but since he had given me other wonderful gifts, I didn’t think much about it…

UNTIL the following weekend!


We were having a delayed gift exchange with my daughter and her family on New Year’s Day, and I spied a suspicious box

HH does most of his own shopping and wrapping, and keeps gifts under a little tree in his Man Cave….mainly because I rarely approve of his wrapping paper, and he tends to use stick on bows  ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

He doesn’t understand that packages must match the decor!


He doesn’t use gift tags, however, and just says he’ll remember who his packages are for…

He handed said suspicious box to DD, and she proceeded to open it.  As she pulled out the tote, she looked confused and said “this looks like something Mom would like!”

Luckily for me it’s not quite her taste and she happily passed it over to me -not to mention that I screeched, “Wait that’s for me!”  ๐Ÿ˜…


So I loaded “Miss Coquille” up with my laptop and other important items and settled her in for her first trip to the coast


We like to relax and just enjoy, after we arrive, so I always bring a cooler full of groceries so we don’t have to shop right away


Luckily we have a simple system for unloading the car


Life is casual at the beach, and when your house is built on stilts, a little help is much appreciated!


My sweet neighbor invented and installed this little “dumb waiter,” and it can lift up to 400 lbs!


We call it the “Magic Bucket,” it’s very handy for groceries, luggage, not to mention stocking up beer and wine  ๐Ÿ˜Š


We made it!


Come on in


Let’s unpack


and enjoy some Ready Spaghetti


A few days before we left I made spaghetti sauce and let it cook all night in the slow cooker

The next day it was quick work to assemble it into a casserole


If you toss your cooked pasta with beaten egg and then mix in sour cream, Greek yogurt or ricotta, it keeps your casserole moist and creamy, even when reheated

Ahh, nothing better than arriving to beautiful weather


AND an already prepared delicious dinner!

Ready Spaghetti

This is a convienient way to serve spaghetti, the ingredients are assembled into a casserole so it can be made ahead of time and baked later. Sour cream is the secret ingredient that keeps this spaghetti moist and delicious, and the sauce can be made in a slow cooker ahead of time.


Meat Sauce

  • 1 jar 24 oz Cabernet marinara sauce
  • 1 jar 24 oz sweet basil marinara sauce
  • 3/4 lb Italian sausage
  • 3/4 lb ground chuck
  • Italian seasoning
  • garlic powder


  • 8 oz thin spaghetti
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 slices provolone
  • 3 oz Parmesan


Meat Sauce

  • Brown meat, season with salt and pepper and drain well on paper towels.
  • Spray or line slow cooker and add sauce. Add meat and season well with 3-4 healthy dashes of Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Simmer 8 hours on low.
  • Store extra sauce in refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze.


  • Cook spaghetti al dente, drain and reserve some pasta water
  • Add some pasta water to beaten egg to temper.
  • Toss hot pasta with egg and stir well. Place in deep 8 x 8 greased casserole dish.
  • Add sour cream and mix well to evenly coat pasta.
  • Cover with ample amount of sauce. Mix sauce into noodles. Top with Provolone slices. Top cheese with more sauce in an even thick layer. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover and refrigerate until baking.
  • Refrigerate any leftover sauce for another use.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until hot throughout. Cut into squares to serve.

Thank you Debbie, Emily, Linda, Patti, Rita, and Sarah for your warm welcome!

Take a peek a meet a few of the other men behind the Traveling Totes!
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths

Patti  with Miss Kenzie, and Miss Taylor @ Pandora’s box

Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply

The travels continue March 1!

Thanks for visitingย with us today!

This recipe is similar to my Spaghetti Cassoulet

You will have about 1/2 jar sauce leftover if you make casserole as directed.  You can increase the amount of spaghetti to 12 oz, use a bit more cheese and sour cream and all of sauce to serve 8

Save extra meat sauce for a pizza, Zucchini Boats on a Orzo Sea, or Crazy Italian Ravioli 

๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ‘œ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ‘œ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ‘œ

I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs:

Celebrate and Decorate,  Rustic and Refined,

Between Naps on the PorchCoastal CharmCooking and Crafting with J&J,  The Scoop,   A Stroll Thru Life 

Tickle My Tastebuds,  The Blended Blog   Full Plate Thursday

 Your Inspired Design   Share it One More Time

36 Responses to “Take-out Tuesday, Tales of the Traveling Tote and Ready Spaghetti”
  1. Welcome, tote-carrying tribe member! What a fun introduction to your tote and your man behind the tote! This is going to be great fun with you, Jenna, and I look forward to hearing from the shores of the south with Miss Coquille. That dumb waiter is genius!
    ps that spaghetti casserole – yum!

  2. Mary says:

    Jenna, I know Miss Coquille will be enjoying her many weekends toting goodies to and from the coast! I’m in awe of the dumb waiter system! Your neighbor should patent it~ it would be a hit at all beach or mountain houses to save hauling and toting up multiple flights of stairs. Happy & Safe Travels to you and Miss Coquille ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jodi says:

    Everything about this is just lovely. You are blessed my dear. ๐Ÿ˜‰โค

  4. Welcome Jenna! I am so happy you and Miss Coquille (love her name) have joined our little group. Everyone will enjoy your tales coming from Birmingham and Orange Beach. I can’t wait for another of our get togethers over lunch so Miss coquille and my Miss Courtney can meet. HH pulled a good one on you waiting until your second Christmas to give you your tote! He has a great sense of humor. I see you’ve found out how wonderful and roomy the totes are for travel, they hold a lot! Love you genus dumb waiter, I can’t tell you the times we’ve needed one while at the beach. Your spaghetti looks delish, smart to prepare before you leave. Sorry I didn’t get to join in on the fun today but I will see you March 1. So happy you have your new tote now………

    • thanks Emily, and yes he made me sweat a little over the tote! Luckily, my family is used to getting the wrong gifts, he really needs to up his wrapping game and get some tags! I guess that would take all the fun out of it though… we can’t live without the magic bucket!! I am looking forward to many more adventures with you all and the totes, it is indeed my favorite bag ever!

  5. Kitty says:

    What a sweet hubby to surprise you with your belated Christmas gift of Miss Coquille, Jenna! I’m sure you will have lots of fun adventures to share. Thanks for the Ready Spaghetti recipe!

  6. Hi Jenna and Welcome to our wonderful tribe of toters!! Miss Coquille looks quite excited on her maiden voyage in the magic bucket lift! I’ll be looking forward to hearing more about her travels and what she is toting! Your grandkids are adorable and that pic of HH and the littlest one at the train set is just perfect. And that spaghetti looks delicious even now at breakfast time! So glad you are joining us Jenna, and I hope we will all be meeting later this year! Linda

  7. Hi Jenna – WELCOME!! Your first post was fantastic!! I love the story of how you received your tote!! And I agree with you that packages should coordinate with the decor (aren’t we silly?) You beach home looks so inviting and relaxing – I look forward to more trips there with Miss Coquille!!

  8. Rhonda says:

    Just unsure what “cabernet marinara sauce” is? Is that a brand or particular flavor? If not a brand, what brand is it?

  9. Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

    The magic bucket is pure genius. Love it so much and your new bag looks pretty sporty getting a lift. I don’t know why, but I’ve been crazy for baked spaghetti lately. My family doesn’t like it as much as I do, but since I’m the cook. . . ha!

  10. Well, you are the perfect new member of this group with your wit and talent. Your neighbor has a great idea. My husband does the pulley thing with our attic stairs and lifting things up. If I show him this he’ll be wanting to do that when we vacation at St. George Island. Those stairs are killers hauling everything in. I don’t have to do the up and down anymore since I got shin splints that took a month to get over one time.
    Funny story about your delayed gift but it added to your first tote story. I look forward to more adventures. Spaghetti casserole was a good idea to be made ahead.

  11. Jenna, you are the perfect addition to the group. I always enjoy their tales and fun…! The dumb waiter is genius…I have several friends who would buy one for their beach condos! I served baked spaghetti for Sunday lunch. HH sounds just like Butch, does his own shopping and wrapping!

  12. Kim Burdette says:

    Love, love, love it all!

  13. Kim says:

    I love that magic bucket! Your neighbor is a genius. Your new bag is wonderful, and I love the laptop case, too. I enjoyed the story of your Christmas surprise. Men! Ha!

  14. debra cantales says:

    Jenna, a very warm welcome to you and โ€œMiss Coquilleโ€! Miss Aurora said she likes palm trees and is jealous of Miss Coquille being all warm and sunny ๐Ÿ™‚ That magic bucket is great and it reminds me of my first job out of college where we we had offices in an old brick house and it had a dumb waiter. Love your art work on the laptop case! I just printed the “Ready Spaghetti” recipe for camp this spring.

    • Thank You Debra! We love our magic bucket! I hope you enjoy the spaghetti as much as we do, it is such an easy way to serve spaghetti and I love to prepare meals ahead of time so I don’t have much to do at dinner time ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Good husband to follow your list (they don’t, always!) and add the tote to your life! I’ll look forward to all your adventures!

  16. Karen says:

    I’m going enjoy your traveling tote posts to the coast and back. I know you will make good use of Miss Coquille. Nice story about how your husband surprised you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Sandy B. says:

    Hi Jenna!
    I think I’m going to try the ready spaghetti for tomorrows game….looks yummy!
    Do you remember the color name for your front door. Beautiful & looks close to what we’ve been hoping for.

    • I hope you love the spaghetti Sandy! I ate it 3 nights in a row last time I made it ๐Ÿ™‚ I painted the door 2 years ago, and don’t remember the name, but the paint is Behr and I got it at Home Depot, I used the interior exterior Premium Plus and it is dreamy paint, great coverage and it still looks freshly painted

  18. JESS44903 says:

    That spaghetti looks amazing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

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