Hi friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We had our last soccer games of the season and while I am going to be glad to have our weekend back, I am definitely going to miss watching the kids play. My daughter has a natural athletic ability, but my son does not. I hate to say it, but he pretty much stinks. However they both absolutely love the game and my son has no idea he is really as bad as he is. In fact, he thinks he is awesome and one of the best players on the team. As much as I want him to know the truth, I could not bear to burst his bubble this time, although I typically do support transparency in parenting. Let’s not discuss our secret stash of ice cream we have in the freezer that my husband and I like to break into after the kids go to bed! You know you have a hidden stash of treats too, so don’t judge! I think we will stick to violin lessons for E and perhaps some acting or signing. I was recently listening to a podcast that talked about strength based parenting. It was very interesting and discussed how we really should not be spending a whole lot of time trying to build up areas that our children are not so great at. Rather, we should be focusing on and building upon those strengths. I am in the middle of reading a few books and articles and I will be sure to share on an upcoming post.
Since it is Monday, I would like to stick with the typical schedule and share a recipe. I have been cooking a lot lately and had a hard time deciding which recipe to share. As I have discussed in previous posts, I like to keep the weekday meals as simple and routine as possible. While we do not have the same menu each week, we do have a pretty consistent schedule. On very rare occasion, we will switch things up and deviate from the schedule below. A few weeks ago, we had tacos on Monday because my husband was going to be traveling the rest of the week. It utterly confused E and he just could not get the days of the week straight. He was so confused that we were having Taco Tuesday on a Monday. Man, what kind of parents are we anyway? So, moving back to the meal planning schedule, before I go off on another tangent. It typically looks something like this:
Monday – Spaghetti & Meat Sauce (aka Meatball Monday)
Tuesday – Taco Tuesday
Wednesday – Soup or Stew
Thursday – Roast Meat/Chicken
Friday – Burger Night
One of our all time favorite recipes is this meat sauce. As with many of the recipes I come up with, I modified over time to come out just the way we like it. Most of the bolognese recipes contain heavy cream or whole milk, which I try to limit due to sensitive tummies in my house. If you really wanted to, you could add some to this recipe to take to a whole new level. You would just add about half a cup of heavy cream and a half of cup of Parmesan cheese during the last 15 minutes of simmering.
This particular recipe is not a quick fix meal. It is best if it simmers for several hours. I will typically make on a Sunday and let it sit on the stove all day. The plus side is that this recipe makes a ton and you could get at least two meals out of it. We used to break it out into thirds and freeze, but now we use half and freeze the other half. My family has quite the appetite, especially on past night! This guarantees there will be some leftover for lunch the next day. Trust me when I say the extra effort is worth it. I do cheat occasionally and just cook up some Italian sausage and onions and and marinara and it is most definitely noticed. Yes, my family is spoiled and have developed very sophisticated taste buds over the last several years.
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 1 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 cans (each 28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
In a dutch oven, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until soft and translucent, about another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add the ground beef, sausage, salt and pepper and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, bay leaves and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
Simmer for at least 4 hours, but I prefer more like 6. Discard the bay leaves.
Serve over pasta of choice, spaghetti squash or any other type of noodle that your heart desires. Our favorite gluten free pasta is this one, but we also really like einkorn pasta. Einkorn is not gluten free, but is much easier to digest because it is much less processed than the modern wheat. It is also not as nutty or gritty as whole wheat pasta, so it is a win in my family. I try to use spelt and einkorn as much as possible versus the modern flours, because they are much more nutritious.
As with any pasta dish, I top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
I hope you all have a wonderful week. We have a birthday to celebrate this week and I am chaperoning my son’s field trip on Wednesday. It is going to be another great week!