A dear friend is facing very scary surgery in the near future. And, because every person I've ever sent a get well card to has died before they received the card, I'm usually a bit stuck about expressing my concern but not killing them off. So, I'm embarking on what any good southerner does . . . I'm cooking up a storm so I can stock their freezer with quick and easy meals for my friend and his family to eat during recovery.
This afternoon, I put together my meat sauce for pasta. As many of you have figured out, I subscribe to the "throw together" method of cooking. I'll try to remember what I did.
I browned up 2 lbs ground beef - I bought the best they had at the store - which was in the butcher case and was 93% lean. (I browned the beef in two batches and separately from the sausage)
I browned 1 lb butcher made hot italian sausage. I put the browned meat in the colander to drain the fat off.
I chopped up one medium sweet onion and three cloves of garlic. I sauteed them in the same pan as I browned the meat. I picked four sprigs of thyme and oregano from the garden. I pulled all the thyme leaves off the stems and threw them in with the veg. I put the oregano sprigs in as is. I put the veg and meat together in a large dutch oven. I added in probably a tablespoon of worchestershire sauce, a tablespoon or more of pepper relish, and a large can of crushed tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, and a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes. Oh yeah, I also tore in probably 6 large basil leaves from the garden too.
As for seasoning, I used probably 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp red pepper flake, and 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon.
I let it all cook for a couple of hours, stirring about every 30 minutes. I like the meat to be very very tender. If you want to use dried herbage - I'd say a tsp of oregano, thyme, and basil. Or more - what ever you like. Oh - and, pick out the oregano sprigs out before packaging up the sauce.
I like to package up food in two cup containers for couples - and add up by the additional family members.