Monday, August 22, 2011

Best Ever Meat Sauce and a Few Other Things

{photo from Pioneer Woman}

So today was youngest boy's first day of middle school. His brother's don't start until next week, so he got to pick his favorite breakfast and dinner all by himself. For breakfast he picked his favorite, dirty rice, and for dinner he asked for spaghetti with meat sauce. That is actually a big step as up till now he's preferred his spaghetti plain with cheese. No. Tomatoes. Allowed. He had spaghetti with meat sauce at the Spaghetti Factory on our vacation though (twice), and loved it! So that was his choice for tonight.

I have made this sauce before, so I knew it was good, but what made it spectacular tonight, and helped youngest boy gobble up every bite, was my pureeing the sauce before adding the cooked ground beef. You see, apparently the problem with spaghetti sauce has been the chunks of tomatoes! Pureed sauce=no problem! Especially with lots of yummy chunks of meat.

This recipe makes a lot. Enough for dinner, and plenty left over to freeze for another 2-3 meals. The original recipe is from Pioneer Woman, but I've changed or tweaked a few things.

Best Ever Meat Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 cup Grated Carrots
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil Flakes
  • 1 can (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 1/2 cup  Red Wine
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 cans (28 Ounce) diced Tomatoes
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Throw in oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine. Add both cans of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, red wine, and Worcestershire. Stir. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and using an immersion blender, puree sauce to your liking (can make as smooth or chunky as you like).

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, brown the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Cook a few more minutes to make sure beef is cooked through. When beef is thoroughly cooked, drain off fat and add meat to sauce. Stir, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

Serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

The original recipe called for adding a cup of milk to the sauce. I forgot this step, but loved the sauce without it.

I haven't been much of a cook this summer. Just haven't been in the mood, and haven't had a menu plan, so we kind of flew by the seat of our pants when it came to meal time. So tonight I was pretty proud of myself in making this dinner. Home cooked! From scratch! With a vegetable! How could I loose?! Well apparently I didn't need to make dinner tonight. Just as we were getting ready to eat, middle and youngest boy discovered that the sleepover they were going to tonight involved pizza. They ate a small dinner anyways, but didn't need to. Well at least oldest boy will love it, I thought. Except when I went to pick him up at the pool, he had a plate of hamburgers in his hand from the girls' field hockey team party going on at the pool. Humph. And of course, hubby being a vegetarian won't eat it anyways. On the bright side, I enjoyed it, and there's enough to freeze for several more dinners. Yay!

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