September 7, 2006
Top: avocado tossed with lime and lightly salted; mandarin oranges
Bottom: spaghetti* garnished with red bell pepper confetti and spinach sakura flowers
Side: meat sauce for the spaghetti
(Everything is Totoro today, down to the utensils set, which includes chopsticks, a knife, and a spoon.)
What do you do when you're craving a big plate of spaghetti, but you don't have the time to make up a nice meat sauce from scratch? Why, you jazz up some store-bought sauce of course!
My family has always made spaghetti sauce like this, so I thought everyone else did too. It was only later in life, after dining out more often (also a rarity during childhood) and encountering people whose moms had always cooked up big batches of sauce from scratch, that I realized there was a whole world of pasta sauces out there for me to discover ("Pesto? What the heck is pesto? Alfredo? You can make pasta sauce without tomatoes?"). I guess we just didn't know any better. But every now and then, as happened last night, I get a craving for the meat sauce that I used to eat as a kid. Since my part-Italiano hubs was out of town, I was able to indulge my craving without offending any staunch supporters of made-from-scratch sauce. :)
P.S. The RSS feed, which features the 10 most recent bento, now has pictures! Not sure why the heck I couldn't figure out how to do that to begin with. :P
JAZZED-UP JARRED MEAT SAUCE
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced (I used yellow)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt, to taste
1 jar of store-bought pasta sauce (I used Amy's Garlic Mushroom)
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Push the vegetables to the sides of the pot and add the ground beef to the center. Cook the beef, using a spatula or wooden spoon to break up any large chunks.
- Once the beef has evenly browned, add the jar of pasta sauce and stir well. Add the crushed red pepper and salt to taste. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes -- or whatever time is needed for you to boil up some pasta!
* Use gluten-free products
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