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Rachael | Set the Table

Hello! 

Welcome to Set the Table! My name is Rachael and I'm here to help you set your table with beautiful, healthy, delicious food your family and friends will love. More importantly, I'm here to encourage you to welcome everyone to your table. Talk. Listen. Laugh. Eat. Be kind. 

Weeknight Marinara with Cinnamon & Mint

Weeknight Marinara with Cinnamon & Mint

weeknight marinara with cinnamon & mint

It's beginning to feel like we have settled into our new school year routine. It's not a perfect routine, but I have been able to carve out time to take care of myself, which is kind of a big deal. I don't mean taking a nap (even though that would be lovely), or watching my favorite Netflix show (also...lovely). I mean moving my body and building muscles that I forgot existed and taking control of this thing that has grown and nourished two children. Because, clearly, it hasn't done enough already! Getting into the habit of moving my body has been truly life-changing and I hope I can keep it going. Check out this post on my Mom Stuff page for more on that topic.

But while you're here on my food blog page, let's chat about marinara sauce with cinnamon and mint, OK?

weeknight marinara with cinnamon & mint

I'm a sucker for a slow simmered red sauce. I love the entire process from chopping the ingredients to waiting several hours as everything slowly bubbles away in a big pot on the stove. And then there's the eating part of the program: intense, comforting flavors fill every bite and as each sauce-covered noodle wraps around the fork, stress momentarily vanishes.

But what if I want that on a weeknight? And what if I don't want to undo all the good calorie-burning work I just did during the day?

This, friends. This sauce is the answer. And I'll tell you why: lean ground turkey, garlic, onions, carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, CINNAMON AND MINT. There are so many amazing things happening in this sauce. The cinnamon gives it a sweet, warm depth of flavor and the mint adds an unexpected hit of freshness.

And don't forget the noodles! You can use whatever you like, but we tend toward the whole wheat spaghetti variety.

weeknight marinara with cinnamon & mint

"But Rachael, I don't have TIME to make this!"

I hear you. I really do. But you DO have time! This sauce takes 30 minutes total. It can take more if you want, but you won't need more than half an hour, folks! Rejoice and eat!

Weeknight Marinara with Cinnamon & Mint

Makes 6 generous servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (I used the concentrated kind in a tube)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes, unsalted
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • fresh mint, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti, cooked
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Make a well in the center of the onion mixture and add the ground turkey. Let it sit and brown for a moment before breaking it up with a wooden spoon and browning it all over. (It's ok to stir it into the onion mixture.)
  3. Add the cinnamon and oregano. When the meat is all browned, make another well and add the tomato paste. Let it cook in the well for about 1 minute before working it into the rest of the ingredients. Add the soy sauce and stir it in as well.
  4. Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the chicken broth to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Return to the pot periodically to break up the tomatoes as the sauce cooks. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. While the sauce cooks, boil your pasta in salted water until al dente.
  6. Serve the pasta in bowls topped with the sauce and some chopped mint.
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