Cheater Spaghetti Sauce (and My Favorite Gluten-Free Pasta)

8:16 PM

Have you ever had someone ask for your recipe and you are embarrassed to give it to them? That happens to me when someone asks for my spaghetti sauce recipe. It's so easy a monkey could make it if you open the jars for him.

But y''s good. For some reason all these different flavors come together and create something that tastes like you've slaved over it all day.

One time I made a bolognese sauce from scratch via Giada the Everyday Italian. It took all day and cost a fortune in ingredients. My daughter informed me that I shouldn't mess with my cheater recipe. I had to agree that I didn't like it as much as the sauce that takes me about 15 minutes to put together.

You can make any amount of spaghetti sauce as long as you keep a 1 pound ground beef to 24 ounce jar ratio. I usually do three pounds of meat because I like the combination of these three sauces together. An added bonus is that usually the beef is cheaper per pound when it's bought in packages over three pounds. Find a sale on ground beef, a BOGO on the sauce, and a bulk discount and you have hit the trifecta.

Even a monkey on a budget could do it.

Speaking of budget, when I find a BOGO sale on any of these sauces I stock up. I actually have a spaghetti sauce shelf in my pantry. Each time MoonPie walks out of the pantry I hear him mumbling something about hoarding, but he never complains when it comes to eating it.

This makes a huge pot for the two of us, but the left over sauce freezes well. When ground beef goes on sale I sometimes make two pots in one week just to keep my freezer stocked. That totals a lot of stored meals without a lot of time or money invested.

  • 3 lbs lean ground beef (I used 3.5 lbs if it's 75% lean.)
  • 1 (24-oz) jar Victoria Trading Company Arrabbiata Spicy Marinara sauce (found at Walmart)
  • 1 (24-oz) jar Ragu' Old World Style flavored with meat
  • 1 (24-oz) jar Newman's Own Sockarooni pasta sauce
Brown the ground beef. I brown it in one pound batches because The Everyday Italian told me the meat will steam instead of brown if you crowd the pan. (I listened to you, Giada.) I like to do a very light sprinkling of McCormick's Tuscan Seasoning and crushed red pepper while its browning just to give it a little extra flavors, but that is totally optional.

Drain the fat and put your ground beef in a pot or crockpot. I add the Arrabbiata and the Ragu first and then judge if I need the entire jar of Sockarooni. I like thicker sauce so if it looks like an entire jar will make it too thin, I don't use the whole thing. (Sometimes you never know how much meat is going to be there after the fat cooks out.)

Since all the ingredients are already cooked, the purpose of the slow simmering is just to meld the flavors from the different sauces. You can do this on the stove or in a crock pot. (If it starts bubbling too much in the crock pot I flip it on the warm setting after a couple of hours to hold it until we're ready to eat.)

Even a drunk monkey on a budget can do it. 

We eat ours, of course, over gluten-free pasta. My favorite GF pasta is made by Bionaturae . I buy it by the case from Amazon to save money and to be sure I always have plenty on hand. It is the only GF pasta I've used that survives refrigeration if you have leftovers. Rice ones turn to mush and the corn ones turn into a concrete block. My gluten-eaters can't tell the difference between this and the wheat pasta I used prior to Celiac.

I haven't tested it on the monkey.

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