You’re probably wondering if you’re in the right place.

I know, lately I’ve sort of turned into a sweet baking blog…and while I love making baked goods, my true preference in the kitchen is cooking.

I like that I don’t have to be precise in my measurements when cooking; that I can sort of just throw things in at random, and (usually) have them turn out.  But I’ll be honest: by the time dinner rolls around during our frantic work week, the last thing I want to do is slow down long enough to take photographs (in other words, I’m hungry).

Also, I’ve determined taking decent food pictures when it’s pitch dark outside (darn you, Daylight Savings) is nearly impossible.

This meal, though, is worthy of sharing.  Not only that, but I had it from kitchen to table in under 45 minutes–perfect for a weeknight.

And soooo much better than take-out or something from the freezer section.

Serve it with a side salad and some garlic bread sticks, and you have a fancy, no-fuss meal any night of the week.

Weeknight Bolognese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (this gives your dish some extra flavor, but not a lot of heat--up it if you want it hotter)
  • 1¼ cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 16 ounce small pasta shells
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup half-and-half (I used fat-free)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add ground beef. Cook until the beef has started to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook one more minute. Pour 1 cup of red wine into the skillet and use it to scrape up any brown bits. Add tomatoes, paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. While the meat is simmering, cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions.
  3. While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, half-and-half, and remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add shells to the sauce. Toss with ½ cup Parmesan cheese.

What do you think? Would you like to see more dinner recipes here?

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!