Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Easy Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce

This is my go to meat sauce recipe for lasagna, baked ziti, and spaghetti.  I used to enjoy baked ziti at that little plae in the mall food cort, Sbarro's.  It was a meatless sauce and I remember getting it all of the time during my lunch breaks.  I actually had two jobs at the mall - both retail.  My first retail job was at Paul Harris, a women's clothing store managed by one of my high school friend's mom.  I hated it.  I hated it because I had some pretty snooty managers; one of them being a girl I went to high school with.  Don't even get me started on high school mean girls...The second mall job was at Abercrombie and Fitch.  Oh yes.  I was 22 years old and rather enjoyed spending all of my paychecks on new clothes.  It was a vicious cycle.  The great thing was I was a tiny little thing.  I actually fit into  a size 0.  In A&F sizes that was probably really a size 00.  It's been 10 years since and I have managed to move up only a few sizes.  Miraculously!  Every now and then I get the comment, "It will catch up with you when you get older"  or "It will catch up with you once you have kids".  Well, I've been hearing it since I was in high school and I'm 32 years old now.  I've proven the first comment wrong (somewhat) thus far so we will see about the 2nd comment about having babies.  Thank God for Asian mothers.  My mom lets me know how much of a cow I am if I even gain 2 pounds!  So back to the recipe...I try to use healthy ingredients as much as possible.  Don't want it to catch up with me!

Ingredients

About 1 lb of ground beef (93/7) or ground turkey
1 can of died tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
2 small cans of tomato paste
1 small onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 tablespoon of salt
2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon of oregeno
1 teaspoon of basil or 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon of olive oil
  1. Saute onion and garlic in a large saucepan or dutch oven
  2. Add in ground beef and brown on medium high heat
  3. Add in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and paste.  Continually stir.
  4. Add in spices and seasonings
  5. Adjust to taste

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Ingredients

Prepare the above meat sauce
1 package of spaghetti pasta cooke al dente (save about a cup of pasta water)
Parmesan cheese for garnish (I've also used Gruyere and Romano cheese)

1. Boil pasta according to package directions and strain.  Add pasta water in case it gets too dry.  
2. Top with desired amount of meat sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to liking.  

Lasagna

Ingredients

Prepare the above meat sauce
Lasagna noodles (Do not get the ready to boil ones!)
One container of ricotta cheese low fat
1 16 oz package of parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
2 eggs
1 16 oz package of mozzarella cheese

1.  Prepare the meat sauce and pre heat oven to 350 deg
2.  In a small bowl mix together the parmesan cheese, egg, parsley and ricotta cheese.  
3.  In a 13/9 inch baking dish, layer in the following order:  meat sauce, mozzarella, lasagna noodles,        spread the parmesan mixture on top of noodles.  Repeat with top layer being meat sauce.  You will top with mozzarella cheese about 10 minutes before done.  
4.  Bake for 45 minutes

*You can use ground turkey and turkey sausage instead of ground beef.  No limit on the amount of meat either!  

Baked Ziti

Ingredients 

Meat sauce
About 10 slices of deli cut provolone cheese (don't be shy with the cheese!)
1 box of penne or ziti pasta
1 16 oz package of shredded mozzarella 
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
9x12 baking dish (you can really use any baking dish as long as everything fits, I've used a casserole dish, and a round Corning dish too)

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees
2. Boil pasta according to directions 
3. Layer baking dish in the following order with appropriate portions: pasta, meat sauce, provolone cheese, pasta, meat sauce, 1/2 the mozarella, pasta, meat sauce, parmesan cheese. 
4. Bake for 35 min. Top with rest of mozzarella cheese and bake additional 10 min or until cheese is melted. 

A twist: after boiling the pasta, mix pasta, meat sauce, one 16oz container of ricotta cheese.  Bake the same time and top with mozzarella at end (last additional  10 min) no need for provolone or parmesan. 

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