This recipe is so simple, I feel like a cheater posting it. But that’s the way I cook; it’s quickish and healthy, or it’s probably not happening . On this occasion, it was the day after Dave’s birthday, and also Halloween. Having not seen each other the night before, I wanted to make him a yummy meal to celebrate, but I also had only thirty minutes to do it. No, I’m not going to turn into Rachel Ray. But I’m just sayin’, I only had thirty minutes.
The original plan was lasagna, but that was out due to the time constraint. So I was left with a pound of ground beef, sauce, and a pasta-loving boy on the receiving side. I’ve never cooked with ground beef before, so I had to put on my brave big girl hat, and ignore my childhood stigma of ground meat looking like worms. It does people. Admit it to yourself. Yuck.
Once the yuck was all broken up and cooked in a pan though, I started to see the yum potential, and decided a good plan B meal instead of lasagna would be meat sauce! I see: lean beef (healthy protein) and whole wheat pasta (complex carbs) with broccoli mixed in (broccoli: my other boyfriend); he sees: mmmmm. #winning.
Easy Healthy Meat Sauce
- 1 pound of lean ground beef, I think my package was 80/20
- Half an onion, chopped up smallish (also known as finely chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped the way you like your garlic
- Salt & pep
Sautee the above together in a pan on medium heat until all the meat is cooked and onions are translucent. You have to break up the meat as it cooks. Once it’s all browned—no pink left–drain out all the fat from the pan ‘cuz it’s gross.
- A bunch of broccoli—as much as you want.
Steam it using your method of choice. My choice is to microwave it for 3 minutes. Done and done.
Boil water. Cook it.
Step 4 (begin while step 3 is taking forever)
- 1 jar of tomato sauce, I used Giada’s basil tomato—honestly, it tasted like tomato paste, so the rest of the ingredients had to follow to doctor it up
- 1 package of splenda, I know what you’re thinking. GROSSS MEL. This is not where splenda belongs! But did you know that a lot of people put a carrot and/or sugar in their sauce to sweeten it up if the tomatoes aren’t great? They do. But I didn’t have regular sugar, and I didn’t have time to let a carrot go swimming in my sauce all day. So splenda it was. It worked perfectly—probably the key ingredient that saved Giada’s sour sauce.
- Sprinkle of oregano
- A lil’ more salt & pep
Pour the jar of sauce over the meat and toss in the steamed broccoli. If the sauce tastes good on its own, skip the next sentence. If the sauce you used tastes bad (dammit! Why don’t all jarred sauces just taste good?!), you need to rectify the situation. I had to add 1 splenda for sweetness, some oregano, and salt and pepper. Now, turn the heat to somewhere between medium and low, and cover the pan. Let it hang out for 10-15 minutes. The meat will flavor the sauce. Then you’re done.
Put pasta on plates (give him a mountain, give yourself a normal people portion). Pour sauce over pasta. Sprinkle grated cheese if desired. Eat and marvel at the healthy, comfort-food-awesomeness that you just created.
You like-a the sauce?