You can’t please all of the people all of the time. I have heard this many times throughout my life, and believe it’s true. Take any favorite restaurant that you have been to and liked for years as an example. You might out of the goodness in your heart recommend that restaurant to a friend only to find out later that they didn’t think it was any good. It doesn’t matter that you have been there several times and always had a good meal there. We just don’t all enjoy the same food, movies, books, etc. Good thing there are options in the food world. While some restaurants may say on their menus,”No Substitutions Please”, I encourage substitutions. Take this standby of American, and Italian cuisine, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. In this following recipe I encourage tweaking it. You could take the one pound of ground beef and replace it with:
1/2 pound ground beef, and 1/2 pound Italian Sausage
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound of sliced mushrooms
1 pound ground lamb
You could also take the 1 tablespoon of mixed Italian herbs and replace it with:
1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, and 3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil in the last 5 minutes of cooking
3 tablespoons of fresh minced oregano, and 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
The options are almost endless, and fun to play around with. That is the reason I put ingredient options with many of my recipes. I want you to have fun playing around with a recipe, and tweak to your taste. Many of my main dishes can be vegetarian, vegan or meaty. So please enjoy this classic comfort food by inserting or deleting ingredients until you find what works best for you and let me know how it turned out.
30 Minute Spaghetti With Meat Sauce
1 cup diced onion
2-4 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon oil
1 pound 85% or leaner ground beef
2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon red pepper, optional
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
In a 2 quart pot saute onions and garlic for 5 minutes stirring or until soft on medium heat.
Add ground beef and turn up heat to medium high stirring every 30 seconds or so.
Turn off heat and drain the fat. Return to stove on medium high heat and add the rest of the ingredients. When it starts to simmer turn down heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.
*Ground beef can be omitted, and substituted with ground turkey, ground bison, mushrooms quartered or sliced, or even ground pork.
*Fresh herbs can be used, but be sure to add them towards the last 5 minutes so the delicate flavor doesn’t cook out of them. I like fresh oregano, thyme and basil for this type of recipe using about 2 teaspoons of each basil and oregano, but only 1 teaspoon of thyme.
*Diced green or red bell peppers are a nice addition. Just saute with the onions and garlic.
*This is a quick recipe. Be sure to have your water starting to heat up at the same time you start the sauce. You can cook this longer and more flavor will develop, but it’s plenty good in just 30 minutes.
*2-4 tablespoons of tomato paste can be added for a thicker sauce.