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New to SooN Cooking?

No problem! Some quick background on the concept: I love to cook and realized that I often had to adjust my meal plan to accomodate for for my friends and family with dietary requirements when they joined me for a meal.  More often than not, I didn’t know how to modify my recipe to address their dietary needs which launched me into some deep research and left me with a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt that I was preparing the recipe the right way for my guest.  A concept that I now call Meal Planning FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt]. To combat Meal Planning FUD each of my recipes has eight variations which covers everything from vegetarian to Kosher to gluten-free so that you can cut the Meal Planning FUD out of your life and feel comfortable serving the recipe to a variety of guests. Check out the SooN Cooking About page for the complete details.

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Other Critical Information

This recipe can serve 8-10. It’s my classic SERVE or RESERVE scenario. It is a staple in my home and I easily have 3-4 frozen portions in my freezer at any given time. I’ll serve it with literally any store bought pasta.  If I am making fresh pasta, I usually serve it with Linguine or Gnocchi.  I always finish it with and microplaned Parmigiano Reggiano.

 

Suggested Hardware

Ingredients

  • (2) 28oz cans San Marzano peeled tomatoes*
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 medium white onion chopped (~1 cup)
  • 1 head of fresh garlic minced
  • 1 cup red cooking wine (I use Charles Shaw)
  • Italian Herb Mix: either 2 sprigs each fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary or 2 TBS of either dried Italian herb blend * or Italian Herbs stir-in paste
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt (~10 turns on the grinder)
  • 1 tsp pepper (~10 turns on the grinder)
  • Optional for spice: red pepper flake
  • Optional for garnish: 2 TBS chopped Italian parsley

*for example only — best price will be in your local grocery store

SooN COOKING as a Photo Essay

Prep the garlic and onion

Saute the garlic and onion

brown garlic first

add onion and herbs

Add the meat and distribute evenly.

add sausage, mix evenly

add ground beef and mix evenly

add the can of crushed tomatoes and mix in evenly

add the wine and the can of diced tomatoes and simmer for ~30 minutes

sauce will have a rich red color when complete

Decision Time! Will you SERVE or RESERVE?

Serve with Pasta

Use as a filling in lasagna

Choose your SooN ADVENTURE™

SooN COOKING Original

  1. Prep the garlic, onion and Italian herb mix using the Cuisinart or the chef’s knife and cutting board.
  2. Using high heat, add the garlic, herbs and olive oil to the pot and sauté 2 minutes or until slightly browned stirring with the wooden spoon.
  3. Add the chopped onions and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until you are able to break up the cooked meat into small pieces − about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes to the cusinart and blend until smooth. Then add the sausage and mix in evenly.  [I find this a necessary step for breaking up the meat.  When I have skipped it, the meat comes out too chunky and not evenly distributed in the sauce.]
  6. Turn the heat to medium-low, stir in the remaining ingredients and cover.
  7. Cook for 60 minutes.
  8. Use a tasting spoon to test the sauce against your preferences.
  9. If needed, add more salt/pepper/optional red pepper flake and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Once the sauce is tasting to your personal preference, turn off the heat.

This whole process should have taken about 90 minutes.

SooN COOKING Express

  1. Prep the garlic, onion and Italian herb mix using the Cuisinart or the chef’s knife and cutting board. [To save even more time you could buy everything prechopped/prepped.] Use the Cuisinart to prep the tomatoes and ground sausage. 
  2. Using the sauté feature on your Instant Pot, add the and olive oil, garlic and onion to the pot and sauté 1 minute or until slightly browned stirring with the wooden spoon.
  3. Add the ground beef and wine* then cook until the cooked meat is broken up into small pieces, about 3 minutes.
  4. Now add the remaining ingredients and stir well so that everything is mixed in evenly.
  5. Secure your Instant Pot lid.
  6. Cook on manual high pressure for 15 minutes − it will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure.
  7. If serving with pasta, I typically put the pot of water on to boil right now.
  8. You can use either release option.
  9. Use a tasting spoon to test the sauce against your preferences.  If needed, add more salt/pepper/optional red pepper flake and cook for 2 minutes using the sauté feature.
  10. Once the sauce is tasting to your personal preference, turn off the heat.

This whole process should take less than an hour.

*Wine: Alcohol must be cooked prior to putting the Instant Pot lid on as the pressure and cooking process won’t make it possible for the alcohol to burn off.

SooN COOKING VEGETARIAN

Substitute a total of 2 pounds mixed mushrooms for the meat and follow the steps in either The SooN COOKING ORIGINAL or The SooN COOKING EXPRESS recipes.

Not familiar with a Vegetarian diet? Learn more here.

SooN COOKING KOSHER

Make sure to use Kosher certified products when serving this dish to someone who keeps Kosher. Most sausage is made with pork which is not Kosher.  You could either use chicken sausage or additional ground beef in its place.  Once you make this change, both The SooN COOKING ORIGINAL or The SooN COOKING EXPRESS will be Kosher.

Also please remember not to serve the meat sauce with any parmesan or other dairy products as it is forbidden to mix meat with dairy in the Kosher diet.

Not familiar with a Kosher diet? Learn more here.

SooN COOKING HALAL

Make sure to use Halal certified products when serving this dish to someone who follows a Halal diet. As a reminder, pork in not Halal and most sausage is made with pork.  You could either use chicken sausage or additional ground beef in its place.  Once you make this change, both The SooN COOKING ORIGINAL or The SooN COOKING EXPRESS will be Halal.

Not familiar with a Halal diet? Learn more here.

SooN COOKING Celiac

Both the SooN COOKING ORIGINAL and the SooN COOKING EXPRESS are celiac.

You would need to pair with gluten-free pasta, gnocchi or creamy parmesan polenta when serving to someone with Celiac.

Not familiar with a Celiac diet? Learn more here.

SooN COOKING for One

Make the following substitions to the ingredients and then follow the directions in SooN COOKING Original or SooN COOKING Express:

  • (1) 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes*
  • 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1/4 medium white onion chopped (~1/4 cup)
  • 1 TBS garlic cloves minced (~4-6 cloves cut fresh or use the equivalent in frozen or fresh prepack)
  • 1/4 cup red cooking wine (I use Charles Shaw)
  • Italian Herb Mix: either 1 sprig each fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary or 1 tsp of either dried Italian herb blend* or Italian Herbs stir-in paste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (~5 turns on the grinder)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (~5 turns on the grinder)
  • Optional for spice: red pepper flake
  • Optional for garnish: 1 tsp chopped Italian parsley

*for example only — best price will be in your local grocery store

 

SooN COOKING for Kids

Pasta is generally the #1 meal request from my children.  They would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let them. 

Some of their friends have not liked my meat sauce and in this case I served them plain pasta with fruit or fresh mozzerella.

Behind the Scenes

the SooN COOKING origin story

Dear SooN Cooks of the Internet,

Like most American homes with children in it — pasta was in the regular dinner rotation in my childhood home.  It wasn’t until I had a friend over for dinner whose Grandparents immigrated from Italy [both sides!] that I learned we were doing it all wrong in my family.

The discovery went a little something like this:

[After seeing the box of spaghetti and jar of Prego on the kitchen counter.]

Me: We are having PASTA for dinner!!! Do you want to join us?

Friend: Yes, I love pasta!  But what’s this? [Holding up the Prego]

Me: It’s the sauce.

Friend: From a jar?

Me: What does your pasta sauce come it?

Friend: My mom makes it.  I’ve never had pasta sauce from a jar — is it good?

Me: This one’s my favorite!

It probably won’t come as a shock to learn she wasn’t a big fan of the Prego.  She was polite and never said that outright — but you could tell by how she pushed her food around and kept saying, “I’ve never had sauce from a jar before.”

Now that I know how to make my own sauce, I understand my childhood friend’s perspective.

I started making my own pasta sauce in Italy after watching some Italians do it from scratch.  It seemed simple enough and I tested a few different methods while I lived in Rome.  It’s over ten years later and I have landed on this winning combination.

I’d love to know what you think [or it you served it to any Italians + their reaction] in the comments section!

Happy SooN COOKING,

 

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