Raising three children with healthy appetites can sometimes be challenging. Along with my husband and I, our dinners have to be,not just delicious, but available in a large quantity. So how do I manage? Well, I try to make 2-3 dinners a night when I’m cooking. One for that night, and two for freezing. And the things I freeze are not just one-night meals, they usually are big enough for two meals at least. The nights I cook are generally after a big run at the grocery store. When I shop, I look for sales on meats and fish, and then I make my decisions there, as to what I’m going to do for the week. This week, I got the staple lean ground beef, along with some great veggies. Now, although my kids LOVE to eat, they are still normal kids and that means “Mommy, I don’t like broccoli!” is still uttered. So, to avoid the confrontations, one of my favourites is a great pasta sauce that is filled with hidden veggies! It’s very tasty and this quantity will give you enough to freeze (depending on the size of your family):
1 bottle of strained tomato sauce, unseasoned
1 large package of lean ground beef
1-2 cups of pumpkin puree (my special ingredient)
1 package of pre-washed, sliced white mushrooms
1 red pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
salt & pepper for seasoning
– add olive oil to a large pan and heat on high
-once pan is warm enough, add in all the ground beef and cook until the pieces are browned, then set to a low temp.
– add the bottle of tomato sauce, along with about 1/2 the bottle of water (this gets that last bit of sauce out of the bottle and gives you more liquid for the sauce)
– slowly stir and gradually add in all the veggies
– add a pinch of salt and pepper, stir, then cover the pan and keep on low for 45 minutes
From that, you will be able to make at least two large meals with your pasta sauce. My trick here is to then use a hand blender, especially for soups and sauces, and then blend the sauce while it’s hot. Get the sauce to the desired consistency for your family, hiding all the veggies, and TA DA!
If your family is a vegetarian family, just omit the ground beef and the sauce will still be thick enough, thanks to the mushrooms. The great thing with this sauce is that you can really use whatever vegetables you have at home together. Along with the pumpkin puree and additional seasoning, the sauce will be very tasty and adored by little picky eaters!