There aren’t tons of upsides to having surgery, but one of the upsides after I got home from the hospital was having a huge vat of spaghetti sauce in the fridge. My cousin Macrae brought it over so my mom and I had good, healthy food already prepared while I recuperated, and we made good use of it.
The sauce is loaded with vegetables and lean meat, has tons of flavors, and is thick and satisfying. I’ve now eaten it as part of four meals. The first time was over whole wheat spaghetti (which I forgot to photograph). I’ve also had it over a spinach salad…
…over peeled and cubed butternut squash…
…and over pan-seared brussel sprouts and onions (with a tablespoon of parmesan cheese on top):
Then, one day, I wanted a quick, healthy snack and didn’t have time to make pasta or prep veggies, so I heated up a bowl of it and ate it by itself. It’s that good! And, there’s still more left, waiting for me in my freezer!
I asked Macrae to share her recipe, and she happily obliged. Like me, Macrae isn’t afraid to play around with recipes, so she ended up modifying a recipe she found online. Here’s what Macrae has to say about the sauce:
For me, the biggest thing about this recipe is that I have tried A LOT of pasta sauce recipes (from cookbooks, family and friends, the internet) and this is the best one that I’ve come across. It’s from AllRecipes.com… I doctored it a little bit, but not much. It also freezes well; in fact, it tastes better after sitting in the freezer and letting all the flavors gel!
You can find the original recipe here, but the recipe below features Macrae’s modifications, with some additional notes from Macrae. (Note that I’ve already adjusted the numbers to reflect Macrae’s notes and modifications, so if you want to make it like Macrae does, don’t change any measurements.)
MACRAE’S SPAGHETTI SAUCE:
- 2 pounds lean, organic ground beef. (The original recipe calls for 1 pound, plus sausage and pepperoni, but that’s “a bit too much meat for me. I just used 2 pounds of lean, organic ground beef and left out the pepperoni and sausage.”)
- 4 green bell peppers, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 8 carrots, diced
- 8 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 (8 ounce) cans sliced mushrooms (“I quadrupled the bell peppers, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, if not more. Basically, I wanted to see more veggies than meat, and that’s the ratio I was going for. In my opinion, you can’t add too many veggies.” I AGREE!)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 3 tablespoon minced garlic (“For the garlic, my measurement was just ‘a lot.’ I love garlic and always add a ton to my recipes. So, I think the garlic is personal preference, but for this sauce I added three times the amount called for and it tasted fine.”)
- 1 cup beef broth (The original recipe also calls for 3 cubes beef bouillon, but “I’ve also never made it with the beef bouillon cubes, because I didn’t have them on hand, and it tasted fine without them.”)
Herbs and Spices (“I doubled all of the spices, EXCEPT the red pepper flakes and sugar. But you could probably double these too for a little bit more ‘sweet and heat.’”)
- 6 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons dried oregano
- 3 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
In a large stockpot cook the ground beef, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain into a large colander to drain grease.
To the large saucepot, add the mushrooms, tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, black pepper, sugar, and beef broth and stir well. Pour the meat mixture into the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours.
Macrae’s final words: Buon Appetito!
My final words: Be ready, because this recipe makes a TON of sauce. The original recipe says it makes 16 cups, and that’s before Macrae’s quadrupling of the veggies.
I don’t know yet how I’ll use the remaining sauce in my freezer, but I love knowing there’s a healthy, delicious meal waiting in there for me when I want it!
Keep it up, David!