Meat and Hidden Vegetable Sauce
Never did I think I would ever be dealing with a picky eater. Nope never. It just didn’t cross my mind. After all, Zoe welcomed all foods like a champ from the very beginning. She had her moments with rice, eggs and avocado but eventually fell in love with all of them. What’s funny is this sauce will appeal to people who have kids that don’t love veggies. Zoe is the opposite. She loves veggies but what she totally revolts against is meat. Like an all out stand off, she will not eat meat. She has gradually turned into a 99% vegetarian. There are random “mommy may I have some chicken” moments so that’s the 1%.
At her most recent check-up, she got glowing reviews across the board except when it came to her iron levels. My big girl is anemic! ANEMIC! I was devastated. You know when you work so hard at preparing healthy meals and you share recipes with friends to encourage their kids to enjoy things like vegetables. So of course I was shocked. Like to tears shocked (yeah I still blame the post pregnancy hormones). I jumped into immediate action. I sent out alarms via text to the husband informing him of her status and that we are heading to the market. I grabbed all the things on the list of high iron foods. But how was I going to get this girl to eat meat. And just like that this meat and hidden vegetable sauce was born. I’ve actually shared several variations of this recipe with friends but now it was my turn to “hide” the meat portion of this dish.
She loved it! I made enough for a few days worth of lunch and froze some. Now to make a version with chicken, turkey or lamb. We shall see how it goes. For now enjoy this mom & toddler approved meat and hidden vegetable sauce over pasta, rice or as the base for meatballs or easy skillet eggplant parmesan.
- 1 lb. ground sirloin (90/10)
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 8 oz. water
- 8 oz veggie stock
- 1/2 onion small dice,
- 1/2 green pepper small dice
- 1/2 baked sweet potato
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 24 oz. jar tomato puree
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp. raw sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Handful of fresh basil, chopped or 2 tbsp dried basil
- Salt and pepper, optional & to taste
- In a large stockpot, saute onions & green pepper until soft and fragrant in 2 tbsp. of olive oil. About 5 minutes.
- Add meat and garlic and brown until meat has been thoroughly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the tomato paste, tomato puree, stock, water, spinach, sweet potato and seasoning. Stir to mix well.
- Let mixture simmer, uncovered, for 2 or more hours, stirring occasionally.
- Serve as is with pasta or if your child is not found of meat (texture) then purée.
- Recipe yields about 6 cups puréed. Puree 1 1/2 cups of sauce with up to 1/2 water.