January 25, 2018

Meat Sauce

It's been too long
Sometimes food is like a warm blanket. Comforting, calming, and if you leave it out long enough, fuzzy. It's important to remind ourselves every now and again that life is good, and everything will be ok. Sometimes we need to do this because our favorite TV show got cancelled. Sometimes it's because we worked a 90+ hour work week in which we weren't allowed, even once, to slap people across the face no matter how much they deserved it. Regardless, a good way to relax and calm the demons chattering away in your head is with a delicious home-cooked meal. Which you may not have the time or energy to make because of your insane work schedule. Fortunately, there's an easy and delicious sauce you can make during your free time one night at 3 in the morning that you can add to pretty much anything later to form a delicious meal. You know, hypothetically.


1 lb. Ground Beef
1 standard-issue Onion
2 Green Peppers
2 Carrots
1 TBSP Tomato Paste
1 24 oz. jar of Marinara Sauce (Sure, you could totally make your own tomato-based sauce for this recipe, and it'll be totally delicious. But the entire point here is to make something simple, easy, and likely from things you have lying around. So use any decent-quality store-bought marinara)
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

The first thing you're going to need to do is find the will to do anything at all. Sure, it's easy once you've got the sauce started. Then you can smell delicious food that's totally worth hanging around for. But before that, all you've got is the hope of future deliciousness, which can make it hard to motivate yourself to actually get started and not just collapse into a bed until an alarm clock somehow survives its daily task of waking you up. The best advice I can offer is that if any of you invent time travel in the future, travel back to now and reassure yourself that the payoff will be huge and totally worth it. Once you've got that taken care of, it's time to brown your meat. Heat up a pan over medium-high heat, and toss in your beef along with a standard-human's pinch of salt. It should sizzle when you do. If you don't hear a sizzle you either didn't let your pan heat up, or in your tired and delirious state you accidentally threw something else in there instead of beef. Once your beef is in the pan, break it up into little bits with a wooden spoon. You want as much beef surface area touching the hot metal pan as possible. Once your beef's will and body are irrevocably broken, stir it occasionally, allowing it time to actually brown. Then pour everything out of your pan into a bowl for safe-keeping. Throw a little bit of oil in the pan to coat it, return it to the heat and then toss in your onion, carrots, and green pepper, all of which you've undoubtedly prepared by chopping in to bite-sized chunks during this time, along with another standard-human's pinch of salt.

You could use this sauce to make a dish hearty and delicious
Or you can just slorp it straight out of the bowl. Options.
As liquid cooks out of your onion, scrape the bottom of your pan with your wooden spoon to work out any crusty brown bits from your meat and bring their inherent deliciousness into the flavor party you're creating. After about 2 minutes of cooking your vegetables, toss your meat back in to the pan along with your garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne, and tomato paste. Stir all of this nonsense together until the tomato paste starts to smell less like a tin can, and more like a lot of deliciousness. If you're sense of smell isn't the strongest, let it cook for about a minute and a half. Then add in your marinara, stir to combine, and bring the whole thing to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and let the flavors all get to know each other for a while. But it's 3:30 in the morning and we want to just sleep, so we can't let it sit for too long. I'd say bare minimum 5 minutes, probably not more than 4 hours. In any case, the end result will be a delicious, hearty, meaty sauce that satiates your body and soul and gives you the will to fight another day in to submission. You can throw it on pasta, roll it in puff-pastry and bake it, throw it on nachos. You've got a lot of consumption options, is the point I'm trying to make. Have fun, enjoy, and remember that if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed this week: don't bother me because I'm trying to finally get some sleep.

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