Sunday, April 13, 2008

On the Road (part 2) and Sauce Bolognese

We visited another college this weekend, and our trip was a little more successful, foodwise, than the last time. I planned more, in other words.

I made some Bolognese sauce using a recipe I adapted from an old (pre "points") Weight-Watchers cookbook, then mixed it with cooked macaroni and carried it with us. It worked out well, because our trip was longer this time, and we were tired when we got in and didn't feel like searching out an allergy-friendly restaurant. We had booked a room with a refridgerator and microwave, but no stove (and, it turned out, no plates or silverware) so we could heat up the pasta. We used the coffee mugs that did come with the room, and borrowed silverware from the downstairs restaurant. We had also brought some fruit. And oh, yes, the brand of microwave popcorn that Marriott supplies is made with palm, not soy, oil, hooray!

The college had a continental breakfast on the schedule. I ate some macaroni for breakfast, anticipating that they would have commercial products with no ingredient lists (true) but they did have fruit and coffee, which I helped myself to.

We got home in time for a late lunch (and a nap), so, all in all, a successful trip. In case you have to be away from home for lunch, too, bring some soy-free bread and you can buy sandwich meat and baby carrots or chips at any grocery store. I like to make hamburger roll-type sandwich rolls, because you can cut them in half at home and bring them in a gallon-sized ziplok bag.

In case you're interested, my daughter used the college trips to good advantage. Her pre-trip #1 choice ended up being #3; pre-trip #2, #2; and pre-trip #3, #1.

Sauce Bolognese

1 tbsp (or so) olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
a 4-oz can or 4 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped (optional. I added this.)
8 oz. lean ground beef (ground veal in the original)
1/2 cup milk (skimmed was called for; whole or lowfat is fine)
1 28-oz can chopped Italian tomatoes OR tomato puree
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds (use a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder) (optional. I added this.)
1 tsp Italian herb mix (I added this.)
up to 1 tsp salt
dash each black pepper and nutmeg (I forgot this and it tasted fine.)

Heat oil in a saucepan; add onions and saute until translucent. Toward the end of this process, add the garlic. If you add it at the same time as the onions, it gets too brown. Add the celery, carrots and mushrooms and saute about 2 minutes; add beef and cooked, stirring until the meat is crumbly and loses its pink color. Add milk and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and sommer, stirring occasionall, until sauce is thick, about 30 minutes.

Note: You can make this with ground turkey, but it is a little bland, so I usually skip the salt and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of beef bouillon powder (equals 1 -2 cubes).

Enough for 1/2-3/4 lb pasta

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