Yes, in an ideal world I’d make my own tomato sauce from scratch, peeling and crushing tomatoes and cooking them down and then jarring the sauce I made from them for use throughout the winter, but my world doesn’t always (usually? ever?) proceed in any semblance of an ideal way (and I wouldn’t change a thing!), so let’s get real.
As a working mom, sometimes semi-homemade is the only way to go. Especially on a busy weeknight. And semi-homemade doesn’t have to mean compromising freshness or healthfulness. Tomato-based sauces are a perfect semi-homemade, weeknight canvas. There are really healthy sauces on the market that you can dress up infinite ways. I’ve said before and I stand by it – tomato sauces are one of the best places to hide veggies if you need to hide them so your kiddos will eat them. I don’t need to hide the veggies so much anymore, but keep that in mind if you do! HIDE ALL THE VEGGIES! The other thing that’s great about a sauce like this one is that it’s quick as all get-out. Seriously fast. Come home late and you can still pull this out without extending bedtime into the wee hours. And, best bonus ever, 5 INGREDIENTS! And I bet you have most, if not all of them in your house already. Here you go.
WHAT YOU NEED
* 1lb ground beef (use turkey, chicken, pork, veal – whatever you prefer or have on-hand)
* 8oz mushrooms (button, baby bella, again, whatever you prefer or already have), rough chopped
* 1T minced garlic
* 1 large (~30oz) can basic, low-sodium tomato sauce without additional seasonings (I like Trader Joe’s best)
* 1T Italian seasoning
* (not one of the 5 ingredients): pasta of choice, cooked according to package instructions
WHAT TO DO
Heat a large nonstick pot over medium heat, then add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking it up constantly as you go.
Add the garlic and stir well for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, and stir to combine.
Cook 2 minutes. Add the sauce and Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until your pasta is ready.
Seriously – you could be done here. But the longer you simmer it the more potent the flavors become. So I recommend putting your pasta water on to boil only once you reach this simmer step.
Top with grated or shaved parmesan and serve with a fresh side salad, and you’re good to go. A whole meal in 20 minutes (or more if you wanna keep simmering!). And a table full of happy bellies. Semi-homemade For The Win!