Family Recipe: Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

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I’m always on a mission to add more fruits and veggies into our diet. My pasta sauce recipe is full of veggies: Onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini, celery, fresh tomatoes.

And because I love meaty sauce, I can’t forget the 80/20 ground chuck!

I served it last night with both whole wheat pasta and Italian squash that I ran through the spiralizer (I have this one).

The kids aren’t too big on zoodles, but that’s ok. We paired our meal with a green salad (cucumber slices for the kids), and garlic bread (a family favorite).

 

Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs ground chuck or your favorite ground beef (don’t use super lean beef)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. each chopped or diced: carrots, celery, bell peppers (I used red)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes 
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 t. Shallot pepper seasoning
  • 2 T. Italian Seasoning
  • 4 large zucchinis, spiralized, ends diced and reserved for sauce

 

Directions

  1. Brown meat in olive oil over low, breaking up meat as it cooks.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cook until soft and onions are translucent.
  3. Add garlic, cook until fragrant.
  4. Add fresh and canned tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  5. De-glaze pan with wine, add seasoning, and small pieces of zucchinis leftover from spiralizing.
  6. Cook on low for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. To cook zucchini spirals, steam for 6-8 minutes, drain and serve right away!

 

This sauce freezes well too and gets better overnight in the fridge.  You can also use this sauce to make lasagna.

Weekly Meal Plan

stemarie_1650skitchen

AHHHHH!!! The last day of school is Wednesday.  Summer school doesn’t start for the big kid for 2 weeks. I’m going to have to ramp up my frugality to 11! Here is my article about keeping kids fed over the summer, and my article on free lunches this summer for kiddos. 

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Chicken meatballs & Cheesy cauli-rice.
  • Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner (Waffles, bacon, and melon)
  • Wednesday: Frittata and fruit salad
  • Thursday: Nugget Night! This was such a hit last week, we’re doing it again! The big kid is a vegetarian, so I make him Chick’n nuggets, and the rest of us have chicken nuggets or another variety of meatless nuggets. The Buffalo Chick’n nuggets are popular among the grown-ups. I serve carrot sticks, and apple slices on the side.
  • Friday: Date Night (dinner out)
  • Saturday: Birthday party leftovers! Bitty’s 4th birthday party is Saturday and we’ll have pizza, cake, and fruit leftover.
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I’m done with college! Now I’m back to all of my frugal habits, I’m no longer even more pressed for time. I’m stoked to be able to get back into my groove of cooking healthy food, exercising, and keeping up with the kiddos!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

This weeks meal planning goal is to eat up what we’ve got in the pantry. I’m finishing the pantry inventory this morning after my coffee. I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Chicken Soup (using the roasted chicken I made the other night)
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti (I’ve been buying this kind because it’s high in protein) with bolognese sauce, steamed veggies
  • Wednesday: Madras Lentils, riced cauliflower
  • Thursday: Nugget Night! The big kid is a vegetarian, so I make him Chick’n nuggets, and the rest of us have chicken nuggets or another variety of meatless nuggets. The Buffalo Chick’n nuggets are popular among the grown-ups. I serve carrot sticks, and apple slices on the side.
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza Night- I’ll be making a few extra crusts to toss into the freezer.
  • Saturday: Burgers- We’ve got a bunch of meatless burgers floating around the freezer. The kids will probably have the Veggie Burgers from the 99 Cent Store (Chef Ernesto- they are like potato cakes with other veggies in them- they are super good with cheese and salsa) or grilled cheese. Served with applesauce- we have tons of it.
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

Oh, and I’m making cookies this week! These cookies to be precise!

Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

The kids and I are going camping this weekend, so I’m only meal planning through Thursday! We’ll be going to a Society for Creative Anachronism Event, Potrero War. The kids are looking forward to playing with friends, making s’mores, doing crafts, and the big kid is really looking forward to participating in Thrown Weapons with his Grandpa.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

This weeks meal planning goal is to eat up what we’ve got on hand that will spoil first. I’m not going to the grocery store to buy anything but milk and butter (oh no, we’re almost out!).

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Leftover homemade pizza and strawberries
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti (I’ve been buying this kind because it’s high in protein) with red sauce loaded with veggies
  • Wednesday: Madras Lentils, white rice, and steamed veggies
  • Thursday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup (I’ve got a couple batches of soup in the freezer, so I’ll grab one and defrost it the night before. It’ll probably be Veggie Tuscan Soup).

Meal Plan Monday 11/5/18

stemarie_1650skitchen

I’m back home from Wow Summit, and I had 4 bags full of goodies- most of it was food- no lie! So this week is going to be incorporating a lot of the new foods into our lives and seeing how we like them.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for the grown ups, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

Monday: DIY Ramen Night with ramen kits I got from Wow Summit. One is Forbidden Rice Ramen, and the other is Red Miso Ramen. We’ll add poached eggs, bean sprouts, scallions and Asian veggie patties from Aldi’s. I love DIY Ramen nights- it’s a great way to have a yummy, filling vegetarian (or even Vegan) meal. I’ll be writing more about how you can do your own DIY Ramen bar at a dinner party soon.

Tuesday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches and soup, watermelon slices

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner! probably egg scrambles with bacon, veggies, cheese, and whole wheat toast (or whatever bread I have in the freezer)

Thursday: Fruit salad bar (I have a lot of fruit right now- it’s time to make a huge fruit salad), yogurt or cottage cheese, and granola.

Friday: Steak. I really want a steak right now, so I’m planning on pan seared steak with caramelized onions, and a red wine pan demiglace. Roasted veggies, twice baked potatoes, green salad, and popovers. This is a super simple, inexpensive dinner- Less than $20 for a steak dinner for three (Big kid doesn’t eat meat).  I will write about making a rocking steak dinner on the cheap soon.

Saturday: DIY Pizza night

Sunday: Leftovers

 

Talk Back: What are you craving for dinner this week?

Versatile Chicken Meatball Recipe!

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This recipe is dead simple! We don’t eat a lot of red meat, and I’m not a huge fan of ground turkey, so I was hoping to find some way to concoct an awesome meatball recipe.

After some trial and error (ok- it was one batch that was weird and dry), and tastings with various sauces, and here is the final tasty result!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chicken (I use Foster Farms)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 small onion diced small
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped small
  • 1 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 2 T. olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients, except the olive oil.
  2. Once all of the ingredients are combines, shape the meat mixture into small balls. Place small balls on a plate or cookie sheet and place in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes, until firm.
  3. Once firm, fry in olive oil in batches until cooked through.
  4. Meatballs can be topped with a favorite sauce and served right away, or store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to a month.

This recipe makes between 12-20 meatballs depending on how big (or small) you make the meatballs.

These meatballs are great with BBQ sauce, spaghetti sauce, even as Swedish meatballs!

Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I spent a bunch of time late last week cleaning out the pantry, fridge, and freezer and worked up a list of meals that we can have over the next ten days.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

Monday: Bean, Rice, and Cheese bowls, watermelon slices

Tuesday:Chicken meatballs (I’ll post my recipe later this week-it’s super simple) with BBQ sauce, herbed cauliflower rice, green salad

Wednesday: Stuffed Peppers, roasted brocolli, popovers (with lots of butter)

Thursday: Homemade Ramen (complete with veggies and poached eggs)

Friday: Veggie Burgers, fruit salad, butternut squash

Saturday: DIY Pizza night

Sunday: Leftovers