Weeknight Bolognese {Quick & Easy Recipe}


Hello, everyone! I am back with another quick and easy weeknight meal. I don’t know about y’all, but the sports have taken over! My big kids had soccer tournaments recently and we literally spent an entire weekend at the soccer fields.

I’ve been all about doing easy meals ALL. WEEK. LONG. during the soccer seasons. There is time for slower, more intricate meals when we are all cooped up in the house for winter!

Bolognese is one of my favorite “slow” meals and it is so worth the time spent on it. But sometimes it’s nice to have that same flavor of the slow cooked sauce without all the time spent. That is where Weeknight Bolognese comes in. You get to amp up a jar of spaghetti sauce with vegetables and more spices, so it appears you are a world class chef who made this wonderful sauce painstakingly from scratch. There were hours spent slaving over this sauce. So many tears went into making it. But really what happened is that you beefed up (pun intended) a jar of spaghetti sauce! No one will ever know (as long as you throw away that jar)!

The ingredients list looks overwhelming, but really just gather your spices and measure them out into a bowl while your beef cooks.

If you don’t have oregano, thyme, and basil on hand, substitute a few teaspoons of Italian seasoning. Also one of my favorite investments that just makes me feel so fancy is buying one of those cool cheese graters that Olive Garden has. The ones that have the little crank. Yeah, you can buy those. And it’ll change your whole life!

Weeknight Bolognese Recipe


What you need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can (14 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 jar (24 oz.) marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pasta of your choosing


  1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. Save 1/2 cup pasta water before draining. Drain pasta and toss with a little olive oil or butter to keep from sticking.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add meat, onion, carrots, and celery. Then cook until meat has browned, crumbling as you go.
  4. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Then drain any grease, if needed.
  5. Add remaining ingredients up to the heavy cream (don’t add it yet). Then bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, reduce heat to low to simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.
  7. Then add heavy cream and simmer for 5 more minutes to heat through. If sauce is too thick for your liking, add a bit of the pasta water.
  8. Serve Bolognese over the top of your pasta with parsley and Parmesan.

Recipe from Carlsbad Cravings.

As always, let me know if you try this recipe! It’s one of my favorites and I love to hear when others love a recipe I have tried and shared.

Before you leave, make sure you visit some of my fellow contributors’ posts. Since it’s autumn, there are some pumpkin recipes that I think need some well-deserved attention. Lyssa shared these Crunchy Pumpkin Quinoa Energy Bites which are perfect for all the sports going on right now, and Carly shared Three Easy Fall Recipes with pumpkin that includes two savory dishes — yum!


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