Stretching Spaghetti Meat Sauce

When I was a child I HATED spaghetti with meat sauce. I know right, what kid doesn’t love spaghetti? This kid that’s who. Until I moved away to college I had to cook my own meals and pay my own grocery bills. Suddenly, spaghetti started to look a lot more attractive.

Over time and with some experimentation I found that I definitely have a brand preference when it comes to jarred sauces. {Ragu I place the blame of a childhood of spaghetti hatred squarely on you!} I like Prego. I like the store brand sauce.I like DIY sauce from canned crushed tomatoes. But I don’t like Ragu!

Anyway back to making the ground beef go a little further…

  • Maybe you’re trying to cut back on the amount of meat in your diet.
  • Maybe you’re trying to cut back on the amount of money you spend on groceries.
  • Maybe you’re trying to stretch out the meat in your freezer so you can go one day longer without having to go to the grocery store.

I think the third option most accurately describes me on most days.

I think the best way to stretch spaghetti meat is to add shredded, or diced vegetables. Of course vegetables are good for you and cost a heck of a lot less than beef. I like carrots and onions because they add some sweetness to the sauce.  This is the ratio of meat to vegetable that I usually use, but there are no hard and fast rules here.

This makes 4 heaping portions of very saucy spaghetti:

  • 1/4 lb of ground beef
  • 2-3 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 diced onion. Any kind of onion will do!
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce

Stretching Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Add the shredded carrots and diced onions too in the meat while it’s cooking. The vegetables will soften as the meat cooks. Once the beef is browned and the vegetables soften you can add jarred marinara sauce. Heat through.

Or if you’re also out of jarred marina sauce… Ahem… you can make your own sauce with canned crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, some white wine and dried Italian herbs.

But that’s another recipe for another day.

Once the pasta that you’re using is cooked drain and add to the sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese. Because everything is better with cheese.

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