Now that I don’t eat a single thing that has more ingredients on the label than I have fingers, I am amazed at how much sugar is in EVERYTHING. Since I’m not eating sugar, this means that I’ve had to give up more than a few of my favorite convenience foods. What do I miss the most? Jarred mushroom marinara sauce.
Weird that I would pick pre-made spaghetti sauce? Maybe. But spaghetti with meat sauce was always one of my go-to weeknight comfort food meals. As the pasta cooked, I would brown ground beef with onion, garlic, and spices and then pour on the sauce. Dinner in less than 15 minutes. Even after I stopped eating gluten-laden noodles, I would still top quinoa pasta or spaghetti squash with my meat sauce.
Why, oh why, does marinara sauce need to be loaded with sugar? The answer: it doesn’t. Convenience? This sauce is great for busy weeknights, because I can throw the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and come home to perfectly simmered sauce in the evening.
And don’t let me forget about the pasta. When I went grain-free, gone too was my quinoa spaghetti. So you may be asking, “Why is there fettuccine on your plate, Karen?” It’s actually Shirataki Fettuccine…completely grain-free. I will admit that, at first, I was scared of these noodles in their water-filled plastic bag. But now I’m wondering where these babies have been the last year of my life. Simply drain, cut, season, and heat…done. I leave mine a little on the long side, because I love that I can twirl pasta with a fork and spoon again. To me, comfort food is just as much about the experience as it is the food itself. And I love to play with my food.
I have also topped some coconut bread with this sauce, and my husband put it over salad yesterday. I may or may not have just eaten this straight out of the bowl with a spoon. It’s that good.
Adapted from Hungry Girl: 300 Under 300
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 c. minced yellow onion
1 c. chopped green bell pepper
1 c. shredded carrots
1 c. chopped mushrooms
1 28-oz. can organic crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz. can organic, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 6-oz. can organic tomato paste
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1-2 clove garlic, minced
1 T. minced fresh, or 1 t. dried, oregano
1 T. minced fresh, or 1 t. dried, basil
1 T. minced fresh, or 1 t. dried, rosemary
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
sea salt, to taste
coarsely ground pepper, to taste
Crumble the raw ground beef in the bottom of the crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Top the meat with the vegetables: onion, bell pepper, carrot, and mushroom.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper. Pour the tomato mixture over the meat and vegetables in the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, stirring after at least one hour to further break up the ground beef.
Makes 8-10 servings