Meet My Meat Sauce

meat sauce

What the heck kind of “meat” is that, right?

Oh… you are all too clever for me.  You got me!  These are vegetables, of course.  But this is actually how I start my meat spaghetti sauce–with a slew of whatever seasonal veggies I have around that I can chop, saute and toss in.  Apparently celery, carrots and bell pepper are some current farmers market pics.

This is, in my humble opinion, the easiest way to get more vegetables into my family’s diet: I just put’m there!

Whenever I cook, I add more of whatever vegetables the recipe calls for, I add additional vegetables that I have around, and I add vegetables–period–whenever I can find a place for them.

When cooking a meat sauce, the vegetables take longer to cook than the meat, so if you’re winging it (like me!) you’ll want to start these colorful friends with a few tablespoons of olive oil, onion and garlic first.  After they begin to soften, grab your meat, herbs and spices and have at it.

Winging it is not without risks.  Once, years ago, when I was getting to know my crock pot during a particularly wet an chilly winter, I had the great idea to add fresh beets to my beef and vegetable stew.  I came home hours later to find a house that smelled like heaven, but a pot that looked like warm and steamy Pepto-bismal.  With chunks. 😦

I’m not a huge presentation girl, but the appearance of my simmering fuchsia pot  was so off-putting that Mike and I couldn’t even choke it down.  I’m grimacing as I write about it even now.

So, whatever.  Lesson learned.  Beets go on the side.

If you’re nervous to add uncalled for ingredients for fear you’re going to mess up dinner, try adding a little bit at first or  make a second pot on the side the first time.  It’s worth it when you see how many vegetables you can get into your family by just slippin’em in here and there.

Have a great Easter weekend–and by the way, I think my Cole slaw would go great with a baked ham!