Veggie-Packed Meat Sauce, 3 Ways

I’ve been away for the last few days visiting my parents on beautiful Vancouver Island. So to make up for depriving you of recipes, here is a 3-way. Now don’t get too excited, it’s probably not what you’re thinking! This is a recipe you can use in 3 different meals so it saves you time and money.

Veggie-Packed Meat Sauce
Serve over whole-wheat pasta for an easy and healthy dinner.

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 kg extra lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 stalk of broccoli crowns, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 700ml jar pasta sauce
1/2 cup water or broth
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chili sauce (Heinz)
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion, ground beef and garlic. Cook until meat has browned and onion is soft. Add carrot, celery, broccoli and green pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Serve over pasta and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if desired.

My boys love spaghetti, so I served this sauce over whole wheat spaghetti noodles and it was a big hit. It was very tasty and I liked that it had a lot of veggies in it. It’s a really flexible recipe that you can adapt to whatever veggies you happen to have on hand. Shredded or diced zucchini would probably be good in this too but I didn’t have any. So please experiment with different veggies and find what you like best.

Sloppy Joes
Serve veggie-packed meat sauce in toasted whole wheat hoagie or hamburger buns.

I thought the boys would like these because it seemed like a kid-friendly meal and they liked the sauce so much over pasta, but no such luck here. Tony and I loved them, especially with the side of yam fries and chipotle dip (which I will share in another post). The kids….not so much. I don’t get it, they were yummy but maybe they just didn’t like the sloppiness of them.

Pizza Puff Casserole
Bake the veggie-packed meatsauce with cheesy and puffy dough topping.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup flour
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan

In a small mixer bowl, beat milk, melted butter, oil and eggs for 1 minute. Add the flour and beat 2 minutes more. Put enough of the veggie-packed meat sauce to fill up a 9×13″ casserole dish about half-way. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with the batter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in 400F oven for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This was amazingly good, but yet again the boys wanted nothing to do with it for some unknown reason. Tony liked it a lot though and asked where this recipe came from. The truth is I don’t know the source. I found a recipe for pizza puff casserole written on a scrap of paper when I was organizing my recipe box, and I thought my veggie meat sauce would work nicely with it. Turns out it did, or so Tony and I thought anyway. Cole didn’t even try it so his opinion doesn’t count here. Bennett did try a few bites but wouldn’t finish. That is strange for him but I guess it just wasn’t his thing. The only thing I’d suggest is to heat up the meat sauce first. I find the topping was still a bit doughy in the centre even though the top was crispy. I think it was because I put the sauce in cold so the dough didn’t cook as evenly. Still super yummy though.

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Welcome! I’m Megan.

My kids like to whine, especially when it comes to the food they eat, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to make tasty and healthy meals for them. Follow along as I share family-friendly recipes and reviews from my picky family members, who I lovingly call “The Whine Critics.” Read More…

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