Saturday, December 20, 2008

Super-Duper All-Purpose Meat Sauce

Face it: much of the time, we're too busy to cook. Between jobs, kids, and dishes, we'd rather spend our precious free time with a good book while we wait for the pizza to come instead of slaving over a hot stove. Next week, I'll show you how you can use a little bit of advance preparation (like on a weekend when you have nothing going on) to yield several almost-instant meals. It's like convenience food without the extra price! Today, you get the recipe for a sauce that acts as the base for a myriad of other recipes, making those other meals quick and easy. As an added bonus, this recipe can be doubled or tripled (or even quadrupled or quintupled if you have a large enough pot), making that great deal on hamburger at the bulk club look even better.
(Sorry for no pictures this week, I'm on vacation!)

  • 2 pounds lean or extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (4 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Put beef in a large skillet or dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat until it starts to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add onions, salt, and pepper and continue to cook until onion is completely cooked, another 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature before putting into two 48-ounce freezer containers. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 3 months. When using, place frozen container in microwave on high for 3 minutes, then stir (or break up) the sauce with a large wooden spoon, and repeat until thawed.

Stay tuned here over next week to see what you can do with this incredibly convenient stuff!

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