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PGF: Spicy Meat Sauce

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A spicy tomato sauce that is ready to eat in under 20 minutes! Serve with GF pasta, wheat pasta, or spiralized vegetable noodles!

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I have a lot of fond memories of making this pasta sauce with my sister. As children we both enjoyed cooking but just could not manage to do it together. It always ended up with the two of us in a huge fight, stomping off to our rooms. For years we just avoided being in the kitchen together! Once we hit college age we managed to put our bad cooking experiences behind us and started working together in the kitchen. We developed a groove. I did all the work with raw meat and Lauren was in charge of all of the stirring. I often did cutting, she did measuring. Once we knew what we each liked and wanted to do in the kitchen working together was much easier! {Funny, as I type this I realize how similar this is to marriage. Figuring out HOW to work together is key!}

This spicy meat sauce was a favorite recipe for us to make together. I would add things to the pan and Lauren would stir it up. We had our jobs and it all worked out!

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What flavors inspired our meat sauce? Anything and everything spicy! Crushed red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic . . . basically everything spicy that we could find in the cupboard. We’d shake in some spices, taste test, adjust seasonings, taste test, adjust seasonings, taste test . .. . you get the idea.

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Everyone we served the Spicy Meat Sauce to loved it! When I found out I had celiac disease, this was a familiar meal that was easily modified to meet my needs. I prepared the meat sauce as usual, but replaced regular pasta with gluten free pasta.

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In 10 years, this Spicy Meat Sauce recipe hasn’t changed, but what I’ve served it over has. Before getting my celiac diagnosis 8 years ago I was crazy about pasta! Now, things are different. Often, I prepare this sauce with a pot of GF pasta and a pot of wheat pasta to make the meal Portionally Gluten Free (PGF). Gluten free spaghetti is expensive, but regular pasta is less than a dollar a box! That way I get to eat something safe for me, and my husband can chow down on pasta and sauce without breaking the bank. Making a PGF pasta dinner is surprisingly easy. I boil two pots of water. The GF pasta gets cooked in one pot and the wheat pasta in the other. I use separate stirring spoons for each pan. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and plate the GF pasta, followed by the wheat pasta (I highly recommend sing separate strainers for wheat and GF pasta. Read more about PGF specifics here).

Lately, I’ve been trying out this sauce with vegetable noodles. As a somewhat new spiralizer owner I’ve been making every veggie I can think of into noodles. Served with zucchini noodles, the meal becomes surprisingly analogous to the taste of regular pasta and sauce. Sweet potatoes noodles are a fun compliment for this spicy sauce. Add a little feta cheese for some saltiness and you’ll be in healthy pasta heaven!

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PGF: Spicy Meat Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp mexican seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 shakes cayenne pepper
Directions
  1. Put the beef/turkey in a non stick skillet (or regular skillet, with an added 1 tbs olive oil) over medium high heat. Brown the meat, breaking it into small chunks using a spoon/fork/spatula as it cooks.
  2. When most of the meat is brown, add the onions and garlic. Continue cooking until no pink remains.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and spices and stir.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes up to 15 or 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with pasta (gluten free, or whatever works for your diet) or vegetable noodles. For a PGF meal, prepare gluten free and wheat pasta in separate pots using separate stirring utensils and strainers. Serve the GF pasta, topped with sauce before serving the wheat pasta topped with sauce.
Serve this with
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Black Bean Quesadillas with Spicy Yogurt Sauce

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These tasty quesadillas are easy to transport, very filling, and totally appetizing hot or cold. They are perfect for an on-the-go snack or lunch, and a quick vegetarian dinner option, too!

This is a really busy time of year for everyone. It seems to be parties, church events, and travel keeping me busy this year. A couple years ago I was on the road for work every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is not so simple for people on a gluten free diet to stop by the drive thru for lunch in the midst of shopping for Christmas gifts or eat your fills worth at a holiday party. There is more planning required.

I love these quesadillas for busy days. Once you’ve made the black bean mixture and the sauce it takes just a couple of minutes to cook them. Since they are self contained, kind of like a tortilla sandwich, they travel so easily. You don’t need to remember to bring a fork with you, or even need to heat these up in the microwave. Sometimes I cook the whole batch of these all at one time and keep them on hand in the fridge for a really quick and easy meal to bring with me when I will be out all day. Other times, I make the bean mixture ahead of time and then cook 3 or 4 tortillas worth of quesadillas at a time.

Black Bean Quesadillas

Have I mentioned how filling these are? Something about black beans always fills me up really quickly – anyone else experience that? I find that feeling full is GREAT when I am at a party or somewhere else with tons of food that I cannot eat. It helps me not feel so bad about missing out on all of that great food!

The quesadillas are good on their own, but even more excellent with this spicy dipping sauce. As a former Taco Bell employee I am very familiar with the different sauce. The Baja sauce is my favorite, but their quesadilla sauce is a close second. When I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it. I made a few modifications (mainly swapping out the sour cream for greek yogurt), and ended up with a healthier version of that yummy Taco Bell Quesadilla sauce. Yum!

Next time you need to bring a meal with you give this a try! A few of these quesadillas packed up with a dollop of this spicy sauce will keep you full and satisfied!

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P.S. My eBook is now available on Kindle! You can also purchase it for $1 off the Kindle price here. Check it out for your holiday baking!

Black Bean Quesadilla with Spicy Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients (makes 12 quesadillas and 1/2 c of sauce)

 

For the Spicy Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbs jalapeno, roughly chopped (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 shakes cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Quesadillas

  • 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small onions, finely chopped (about 1/2 c)
  • 1/3 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1/2 c shredded mexican cheese blend
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • salt
 
  1. In a blender or food processor combine all of the sauce ingredients and mix until smooth and well combined.
  2. In a medium sized bowl mix the first eight quesadilla ingredients.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When it is warm, spray with cooking spray and place a tortilla flat in the pan. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Flip the tortillas over using a spatula. Scoop about two tablespoons of the bean mixture onto on half of the tortilla. The amount of mixture you use for each tortilla may be more or less, depending on how large your tortillas are. Using the spatula, fold the tortilla in half over top of the bean mixture and preww the top down with a spatula.
  4. Let the quesadilla cook for a minute or two, until the bottom is brown (just light the edge up a little bit with a spatula to check), then flip and let the other side brown.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining tortillas.
  6. Serve with the spicy yogurt sauce.
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