Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick Pasta Bolognese & Bolognese English Muffin Pizza

Today I share with you two quick and easy weeknight meal ideas.  This bolognese sauce takes about 30 minutes to make…that's right, half an hour!  And you can stretch it out to make a second meal!  My kids and I love having the leftovers toasted over english muffins.  It's like pizza, but a bit healthier.  The sauce has veggies and protein in it and I use much less cheese than would be on a typical pizza.  You get 2 healthy, kid friendly meals in one shot!  What's not to like about that!

I have to admit, I do cheat on this bolognese sauce.  I know some would say that it's not a real sauce if I use a ready-made jarred sauce in it.  Most foodies would stop reading about here because it's just not authentic enough.  But come on, a mom's got to take a couple short-cuts here and again!  Plus, I have to say this comes awfully close to some of the best bolognese sauce I've ever had; and it takes so much less time to make. 

I like to use Rinaldi's Meat Flavored Sauce in this dish for a few different reasons.  First and foremost I like the taste of it.  It is very well-balanced - just the right amounts of salt, sweet, tart - and is a nice round, full-bodied sauce.  The second thing I like about the sauce is that it contains no preservatives or flavor "enhancers" (MSG); its about as wholesome as something in a jar can be so I don't feel too bad serving it to my family.  And third, it is CHEAP!  I stock up on the jars when they are on sale for $.99.  Typically, I would choose to buy an organic brand of sauce for 5 times the cost, but this sauce tastes better and doesn't have the added "junk" that some of other the sauces may contain.

Quick Bolognese Sauce

3 Tb Oil
1/2 c. Onion, finely diced
1/4 c. Carrot, finely diced
1/4 c. Celery, finely diced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/3 lb Ground Beef
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 Tb Thyme
1/2 Tb Basil
1 jar Rinaldi Meat Flavored Sauce
1/4 c. Grated Pecorino Romano

In a large pan, heat oil and sauté onion, carrot, and celery. Once cooked through, add garlic. Cook for a couple minutes, then add beef, salt, pepper, thyme and basil.  Brown beef and break down to as small as possible. Add sauce.  Stir in 1/4 c. water into the jar to completely empty the jar and pour into meat mixture. Simmer to desired consistency.  Stir in the pecorino romano just before serving.  Serve with your favorite pasta.

Bolognese English Muffin Pizza

This one's pretty self explanatory, so I won't get into details.  But basically, I fork-split the english muffins and toast them for a couple minutes in the toaster oven. Then I spoon some of the bolognese sauce over them and sprinkle with either mozzarella or cheddar cheese.  Toast in the toaster oven until the cheese is bubblling.  Enjoy the yummy goodness!

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