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Savory Meat Base

Yield 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

How to Make It

  1. Cook first 4 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; stir until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain mixture; return to Dutch oven.

  2. Stir in marinara sauce, salt, and pepper; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Spoon about 4 cups each of mixture into 2 heavy-duty zip-top plastic bags; freeze until ready to use.

  3. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce: Heat 1 package (4 cups) Savory Meat Base, thawed, in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon dried basil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Serve over 12 ounces hot cooked spaghetti with a tossed green salad and garlic bread. Makes 6 servings.

  4. Sloppy Joes: Heat 1 package (4 cups) Savory Meat Base, thawed, in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns with potato chips and fresh fruit. Makes 6 servings.

  5. Easy Beef and Macaroni: Heat 1 package (4 cups) Savory Meat Base, thawed, in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons paprika, and 1 bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in 4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni; cook 5 more minutes. Top with sour cream and sliced green onions. Makes 6 servings.