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Posts Tagged ‘tomato sauce’

An incredibly fast and spicy main dish.

Let me introduce you to ‘Spicy Beef Pasta’.

I had a minor dilemma today, namely the leftover ground beef sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.

One of the biggest benefits of not relying on recipes, and instead cooking using your senses, is that you can improvise based on the ingredients you have on hand. Its easy to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for recipes which use your leftovers, but that isn’t necessary.

With this recipe, the main ingredients are quite basic, what really completes this recipe, as with most recipes, are the spices.

Time to Make: 20 minutes if you have leftover cooked ground beef, add another 10-15 minutes if you have to cook the meat.

Serves: 1, as written

Ingredients:

  • about 50 g (2 oz) cooked ground beef
  • about 50 g (2oz) dry pasta – your favourite kind should do just fine; I used rotini
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • splash of soy sauce
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • spices: a pinch each of thyme, marjoram, sage, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder
  • about 1/8 tsp paprika

What to Do:

  1. Start by cooking the meat.
  2. While its cooking, boil your pasta of choice.
  3. Don’t cook the pasta fully, or it will end up mushy and overcooked. Drain it when its still a minute or two from al dente.
  4. Combine the pasta and cooked meat in the same pot you just cooked the pasta in. Over medium heat, add about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
  5. Stir in a splash of soy sauce and a splash of worcestershire sauce. A ‘splash’ is a poorly defined quantity, I know, but exact measurements are too limiting. If you’re unsure how much to use, start with just a few drops of each, and then taste and adjust.
  6. Add your spices. I usually pour a tiny portion into the palm of my hand and sprinkle it into the cooking pot and adjust as necessary. I knew mine was done when it started smelling like ribs with barbecue sauce.

Modifications:

The beef could easily be replaced with other ground meats. If you use ground chicken or ground turkey, you may need more worcestershire sauce to add to the ‘meaty’ flavour, as well as a bit of oil to bring out the flavours. Pine nuts or slivered almonds would also complement this recipe, if you have some on hand. Raisins, likewise, would create an interesting dish. Feel free to use rice instead of pasta. Cooked spinach or green beans would also be interesting.

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A stuffed pepper sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Stuffed peppers are simple to make. The basic recipe is a green pepper stuffed with ground meat, rice, and tomato sauce. Modify the amount of meat and rice, depending on how large your peppers are. I try to choose large ones, with flat bottoms. The flat bottom is important because it needs to sit upright in a baking dish, and not topple over, letting the filling fall out.

Green peppers are usually used because of their mild flavour, but you could try yellow, red, or orange peppers as well. No peppers? Make stuffed tomatoes instead.

Time to Make: 40 minutes to cook the rice, and an additional hour to bake the pepper. (You could use instant rice to save 40 minutes)

Serves: 1, as written, adjust to suit your needs

Ingredients:

  • a green pepper
  • 130 g / 4.5 oz ground beef (that’s the raw weight, and just an approximation)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice (dry)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • dried parsley
  • oregano
  • 1/8 cup water (approximately, to add some moisture)

What to Do:

  1. Boil the rice. While the rice is cooking, brown the ground beef.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 F/ 180 C.
  3. Wash the pepper, and remove its stem, centre, and seeds. Don’t remove the bottom or the filling will escape.

    Remove the stem, centre, and seeds, while taking great care not to harm the bottom.

  4. Mix the rice, cooked beef, and other ingredients. This is where you can experiment a bit. Add enough worcestershire sauce and spices to make it smell good. The exact quantities depend on you. Stuff the mixture into the pepper.
  5. Bake the pepper in an oven safe baking dish for 1 hour. Every 15-20 minutes, baste the pepper with the juices from the filling.
  6. (Optional) You can now sprinkle the peppers with crumbled feta, parmesan, mozzarella, or another cheese that you like.

Modifications

You can do a lot to this basic stuffed pepper recipe to make it more exciting. Use macaroni or couscous instead of rice, chicken, shrimp, or lentils instead of beef, or use a cream based sauce instead of tomato sauce.

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