Transforming Leftover’s – Easy Chunky Italian Meat Sauce with Spaghetti and Poached Eggs

Easy Chunky Italian Meat Sauce with Spaghetti and Poached Eggs

chicken and spaghettiMy family is composed of Italian food fanatics. Don’t get me wrong, Louisiana Gulf Coast Food is at the top of our list with Italian and we adore Mexican food and other ethnic dishes. However Italian dishes like Lasagna and spaghetti are the comfort foods most popular with us because we were raised in a large Italian family. When my children come to visit its Lasagna they want, then boiled crawfish if they are in season. I prefer to eat my main meal at lunch. If I eat heavy at night my food doesn’t have enough time to digest and goes to bed with me to migrate to my stomach and hips. I also think I am my most creative early in the day when my hunger is at its peak. Lunch becomes our main meal and spaghetti is one of our favs, easy to create with a chunk of left over roast beef or pork instead of the usual ground meat, of course you can use ground meat if you have it on hand.

So, do you have a left over chunk of roast beef or pork? What an amazing array of quick meals can be thrown together for a delightful, but new to the taste buds treat. One half a can of this with a pinch of that and wallah, lunch is served. Today we had a luscious example of just that. With a minimum of effort we feasted on Chunky Red Sauce with Spaghetti and poached eggs, which I share with you now.

  • 1 chunk left over roast beef or pork or 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 small onion
  • A few fresh mushrooms or a small can of mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 1 16 – 28-ounce can tomato sauce or small can tomato paste
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 14 ounces chicken stock
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small white or red potato, optional
  • Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4 or more raw eggs
  • Raw spaghetti

Begin by cutting your hunk of roasted beef (or pork) in bite size cubes and set aside. Next, slice or chop one small onion, rough cut a few fresh mushrooms if you have them, or open and drain a can of mushrooms.
Saute your onions and mushrooms with a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan or large deep skillet. When the onions become tender or translucent stir in the paste, if using paste, and allow it to simmer with the seasonings for about two minutes stirring constantly. Add stock, plus at least 4 cups hot water. If using sauce, add your sauce, garlic, stock and hot water.

Bring to a gentle boil. Add meat chunks. Season sauce to taste, with salt and pepper. Go easy on salt, you can always add more later. Bring back to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer for at least ½ hour then add potato and/or parsley and season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer another ½ hour.
NOTE: NEVER put sugar in your sauce. If you have a white or red potato, cut it in chunks and add to sauce the last 30 minutes. That will take care of the acid in the sauce. You want the potato to only cook until tender, not to fall apart in the sauce. Sugar distorts the authentic Italian flavor. If you don’t have potato, add a handful of minced parsley, that will help also. Parsley is an old home remedy for stomach aches so it is good for you in everything, plus it sweetens the breath.

After an hour, check the thickness of the sauce and the tenderness of the meat. If the sauce is watery allow it to lightly boil until thick, stirring frequently and watching it carefully so it doesn’t stick or burn. When it is thickened, season again with salt and pepper as necessary. Take a cup of sauce and add to a small sauce pan that has been sprayed with oil. Add one cup of water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Crack fresh raw eggs, one at a time into the diluted sauce providing at least one per person plus a couple of extras for those who really love eggs. Put a lid on saucepan and allow eggs to cook gently for about 15 minutes. DO NOT allow sauce to boil or eggs will come apart and be a mess. After eggs are cooked to a hard yolk stage turn off burner and let them sit in their sauce until ready to serve.

While eggs cook, boil your spaghetti in a large pot of water according to package directions. I like to add a little sauce. You can use the sauce from eggs or the meat, to the drained spaghetti to keep it from sticking together, or you can serve it plain with a little butter stirred in.

To serve, top each serving of cooked spaghetti with a generous cup of meat, sauce and an egg and accompany with a green salad and crunchy bread on the side. It’s just that easy to prepare a delicious and authentically Italian lunch. No restaurant is going to match this.

My family loves dishes like this and never feels like they are having left over’s because of the total transformation. You can also prepare this recipe for dinner if you prefer. If you don’t have dry roasted meat you can use meat from pot roast rinsed to remove its pot roast flavor. When using ground meat be sure to brown it with the seasonings.

This is a simple guide to fixing true Italian meat sauce. My grandmother was very frugal, as were all homemakers of her time, and used every bit of everything available (nothing was thrown away) to prepare meals. My whole family sincerely believes tomato gravy is better the second time around after the flavors have had a chance to blend, so don’t hesitate to make a large amount and freeze some or serve again at another meal. I always cook in quantity so I don’t have to cook so often. Enjoy!

I invite you to give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. In the meantime, ya’ll have yourself a down home delicious Easter Holiday and be safe.


Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Meatballs


Diary of a Home Cook

Today has been one of those days. I planned ahead what I would cook but I didn’t get it moving for lunch which was my goal. Bob plays racquetball doubles on Saturday mornings and I tackled paperwork on my desk while he was gone. Didn’t get a lot done but at least made a minor dent.

We both had hair appointments in the afternoon so it bounced my cooking back to the late afternoon. I generally cook according to my tastebuds and what they are craving at the time. My mistake was in asking Bob which he preferred, because I know his love for meatballs and spaghetti, and that won out over my preference of fusion tacos. More about those later. I just wasn’t in the mood for spaghetti and don’t like meatballs so I made both, meatballs and meat sauce. It was easy and went quickly so all is good. You are really going to like the flavor and ease of this meal and hopefully you will try it or something similar soon.
After we got back from our hairdresser, I finally got around to going into the kitchen to cook and things just fell into place. I had 1 ¼ pounds good Angus ground chuck and prechopped onions in the frig, boy am I getting lazy. I ultimately used one 4-quart saucepan, 1 everyday pan and one small skillet plus a pot for the spaghetti. It took me only 30 minutes to have my meatsauce with meatballs and red gravy simmering.
First I put the 4-quart pot on the burner on high, added one 14.5-ounce can chicken broth, 4 cups water and two 8-ounce cans tomato sauce, and brought it to a boil. When it began to boil I turned the heat to low and put a lid on it so it would simmer while I started on the seasonings.
One third of my ground meat went into a large bowl with a small amount of salt and pepper, some garlic powder, about ¼ cup bread crumbs, a tablespoon of minced onion, a couple of tablespoons water and one whole egg. The fun of meatballs is getting your hands in there to squoosh it all together. I put my everyday pan on the stove, added about ¼ inch oil and turned the burner on high. While it heated I formed my meat mixture into six balls. When the oil was rippling, hot, I turned the burner down to medium, added the meatballs and browned them on all sides. When browned, I removed them to a shallow bowl to add to the sauce later.
Using the oil from the meatballs I put 1 cup chopped onions and the remaining ground meat into the everyday pan that was still over medium heat. They began to brown nicely incorporating the drippings from the meatballs. At this point I seasoned the pan with a little salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, and added one 6-ounce can tomato paste and stirred well. I continued to stir no more than 2 more minutes, didn’t want the garlic to burn. When the meat and onions were tender and the paste was well blended they were added to the sauce pot simmering on another burner. As an afterthought I added one 4 ounce can sliced black olives, rinsed. I love black olives and mushrooms in my spaghetti sauce but had neglected to purchase mushrooms so moved forward without them.
I adjusted my amount of liquid in the pot so that it would not thicken too much and partially covered the bubbling mixture allowing it to cook down and blend the flavors. It was already tasting rather yummy. The sauce took 30 minutes to prepare and I was well on my way to a delicious meal. The meatballs were introduced to the sauce and all gently simmered another 30 minutes.
The beauty of being a cook without recipes kind of cook is that you can get in your kitchen and add a dash of this and a pinch of that, and produce an artistic creation that speaks to your personality and tastebuds. It’s the difference between buying a dress off of the rack and designing and sewing it yourself. There is a satisfaction that comes only from knowing that it is all yours. I truly encourage those of you who only cook with recipes to take the leap and spread your wings to encompass the delights of creating a fantastically flavorful meal all on your own. That doesn’t mean you have to re-invent the wheel, use a recipe as a springboard and go from there. It is very freeing and most times a lot of fun. Don’t expect to be a cooking channel chef on your first try…the first time I made ravioli from scratch I had to scrape them off the counter because I didn’t know to put sufficient flour under the dough. That is a fond memory on my learning curve.
Back to the meal of the moment. In my small skillet I combined 1 cup sauce and 1 cup water and brought it to a gentle simmer. When the temperature was right I slowly cracked 5 eggs, one at a time, into the diluted sauce. The skillet was then partially covered with a small lid and allowed to continue to cook over low heat for the remainder of the time the sauce was simmering. These Italian poached eggs are some kind of good eating, a wonderful addition to your meal and worth checking out.
On another burner I put my pasta water on to boil. When it came to a rapid boil I put in ½ of a ounce box of spaghetti, turned the heat down to maintain a nice rolling boil and cooked the spaghetti for 9 minutes. After 5 minutes I salted my spaghetti and let it finish cooking. Once drained I sauced it just enough to keep it from sticking together and we were in business.
Bob had wandered into the kitchen and saw my concert unfolding, grabbed a bowl and within the space of not more than 5 minutes put together a great tomato and lettuce salad with his own home made oil and vinegar salad dressing. I affectionately refer to him as my sous chef and love to share my kitchen with him.
One hour start to finish we were setting the table and had a marvelous meal before us. Everything was easy and quick and loaded with flavor. We ate our fill and still have a bowl left over for another meal plus about 2 cups of meat sauce for an impromptu spaghetti meal another day.
One side comment for those of you watching your weight or happen to be pre-diabetic or diabetic. I use Dreamfields pasta that is specially engineered to cut the carbs. It is delicious. You would not know the difference from other pasta unless you saw the box, and it allows me to enjoy all my favorite dishes without pushing the limits on my carbohydrate intake. I don’t market for the company but I do highly recommend the product. It’s a game maker.
That was what we had for dinner tonight. Simple, satisfying and down home delicious. What was on your menu today?
Don’t forget to get your loved ones a nice Valentine and maybe a special treat.
Ya’ll have a down home delicious day today; we sure did.

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Ya’ll have a down home delicious day now and come back to see us again soon!

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza