This recipe is pure comfort food for my family. I remember coming home from school and smelling such a wonderful aroma that filled the living room and trailed into the kitchen. And who could be creating such a mouth-watering concoction? Ah yes, there she stood in the kitchen welcoming me back from school...the lovely and talented Chef Mom. My mom is a great cook. In fact, she's so good I have no doubt she would impress some of the world's best chefs with her take on fusing eastern and western cuisine. But the reason why she's the best according to my taste buds is the fact that she can whip up a tasty going-for-seconds meal in no time with little amount of money. My dad calls her "thrifty" and until this day her recipes keep my family budget under control but without sacrificing flavor.
This is our family's take on Meat Sauce for spaghetti and rice. This recipe is seriously savory the next day with a warm bowl of rice. I've added some veggies for this recipe because I like chunky sauce with a colorful presentation.
What's in your pantry and fridge:
1 Lb of Ground Beef
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Lg Yellow/White Onion
1 Small can of mushrooms or get them fresh
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes or get them fresh
4-5 bulbs of Garlic
1 Jar of Spaghetti Sauce like Prego/Ragu...you know the deal
1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
2 small Beef Bouillon cubes
1-2 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp of Salt (I used Kosher)
1/2 Tsp of Pepper
Pots, Pans and Misc:
1 Large Pot with lid
1 Strainer to drain excess fat
- First let's prep the food. I diced all my bell peppers, carrots and onions and set them aside. If you have fresh mushrooms, go ahead and slice them according to your preference.
- When it comes to garlic my family uses a mortar and pestle to peel garlic and pound garlic. We get the most of it's juices and flavors this way. It's an asian take on how we press garlic. Once your garlic is pounded, pressed, chopped or processed...set aside.
- In the large pot start browning your beef. Once the beef is browned, strain and take out the beef and set aside.
- In the same large pot, add the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and after a couple seconds, add the onions. You don't want the garlic to brown and get bitter. Stir garlic and onions till the onions get a little tender.
- Add the diced bell pepper and carrots. Stir fry this combo till the carrot gets tender.
- Add the beef to the pot. Then add the spices: salt, pepper, italian seasoning, chili powder, beef bouillons and bay leaves. Mix the seasonings until it's all around the beef/veggie mixture.
- Add diced tomatoes, mushroom and jar of spaghetti sauce. Give the pot a good stir until everything is covered in goodness. Cover the pot with and let simmer over medium-low heat. While it's simmering, occasionally stir the sauce. I usually give my pot a good simmer for about 30-45 minutes.
- Towards the end if you like your sauce a little sweet, add about a tablespoon of sugar. Stir the sugar into the sauce and let simmer some more for about 5-10 minutes.
- Serve meat sauce on your favorite carb...pasta or rice. Enjoy!
The moral of the story is: Don't be afraid of how you really like to eat your food...there is always someone out there who shares the same quirkiness you do.