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Favourite Pasta Sauce

I batch cook this for the Junior Gingerbreads all the time. Its great with any type of pasta, even a jacket potato at a push. It's a freezer favourite - divided up into containers and frozen its easy to defrost, warm through and you have an instant low maintenance dinner. This isn't an exact science recipe, the balance of meat to vegetables is entirely up to you. Its a great way of using up veggies if they are reaching the end of their use. Lean mince, draining the fat, and microwaving the veggies instead of frying them, lowers the fat considerably. Grated cheese on the top is tasty (raising the fat again). I've probably shared this elsewhere, I cook up a batch of red lentils and freeze in ice cube size portions. Popping a couple into this sauce raises the iron levels, adds more fibre and they are completely hidden.

One packet of lean beef mince
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic (I use a dollop of easy garlic)
Vegetables such as carrots, peppers, courgettes, sweetcorn, peas, french beans - chopped quite finely
Stock cube (low salt or half if for small children)
2 x tins of chopped plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato purée
Glug of olive oil

For a more grown up version add a glug of red wine, splash of Worcester sauce or even a bit of chilli to deepen the seasoning.  Just throwing this out there - I have a friend with a sweet tooth and she adds a little sugar (half a teaspoon) if the tomatoes are too tart to her pasta sauce. Its still healthier than a bought jar of sauce and gets her kids to eat it.

Put the mince into a large pan, separating the strands with a fork so you avoid large lumps of mince. Cook until brown then drain the fat off, leaving the mince in the pan.
Chop the onion, and chosen vegetables. Put in a microwaveable dish, add roughly a cm of water to the bottom of your container and cook in the mic until soft. We like our veggies slightly crunchy.
Add the tomatoes, stock cube, garlic, olive oil and tomato purée to the pan and stir.
Once cooked add the vegetables (and their cooking water) and stir. You might want to add some hot water to loosen the sauce if its too thick. Cook through together until all warmed through.
Decant into small containers, label and once cooled freeze.

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