Friday, May 20, 2011

Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

The biggest complaint I hear when talking to friends about cooking from scratch is the time factor.  "I don't have time", "it takes too long", "I'm tired in the evenings"...well sista, I totally relate.  Even though I am a "stay-at-home" mom now (which I use that term loosely, b/c I never seem to be able to stay at home) I was also a working mom for several years.  I totally get it.  There is never enough time to get everything done you'd like to do in a day.  And for me personally, there is never enough energy!  After about 2:00 in the afternoon, I'm pooped.  I'm hoping that now that I'm exercising again on a more regular basis, that my energy will pick back up.  An oxymoron I know, but I really felt so much better when I was working out several days a week.

But as usual, I digress.  I'm sure I had a point when I started out...oh yeah, cooking from scratch.  First, it does require some planning.  If I don't have anything planned out, or at least some general idea of what I want to fix, then it's hard to do much 'homemade'.  However, with a little planning, and a little internet searching, and some trial and error along the way, you will find that you can prepare healthier, tastier, dishes from fresh ingredients without relying on a box or mix or frozen entree.  Or take out.  For example, I have bought spaghetti sauce in a jar for years.  I always assumed trying to make a homemade spaghetti sauce was way to much trouble when you could open a jar and be done with it.  However, my husband has never been a big fan of jarred sauce.  I've experimented with different sauces, trying to find the "right" one.  He likes a nice thick sauce, (without a lot of chunks of tomato/peppers).  People are picky like that.  Some like a thin sauce, some like thick, some like sweet, some spicy, blah, blah, blah.  Therefore, you may not like this sauce, but we thought it was good.   I call it 'semi-homemade'...oh, well, maybe not - seems like that catchy little phrase is taken (and probably copyrighted).  So, we can say it's.... 'sort of homemade'.  Obviously, you can sub the store-bought canned tomatoes for fresh, or if you have tomotoes put up from last summer. (if so, I'm jealous)
adapted from Nanny's Spaghetti Sauce from allrecipes.com
Ingredients

*We like a meat sauce, so I started out with a pound of lean ground beef, cooked and drained. 
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of small onion, diced
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar *I used one packet of stevia
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes *omitted and added to my plate

Directions

  1. In a large skillet cook the onion and carrot in a little olive oil until it starts to soften (abt 3 minutes?), add garlic and cook for a minute.  The stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, garlic, sugar, vinegar, oregano and red pepper flakes cooked ground beef.  Stir all together and simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes (for the best flavor). Stir frequently to prevent burning.               
*************************
This made a nice thick sauce that had much more flavor than the Heart Healthy Light No Sugar Added sauce I have been using!  It really needed the addition of green pepper....somehow I forgot those, and I had some in the freezer!  I grated my carrot really fine, and made sure I mashed up the chunks of tomato for my hubs and middle child (my oldest will not eat sauce).  Carrot adds a sweetness to the sauce, so keep that in mind if you add sugar. (Carrot also adds some fiber and beta carotene!)

Bottom line, this is an easy sauce to prepare, even on a week night.  Play with it, make it your own, and you will feel good about feeding it to your family. 

Of course, I should not mention that I had Wendy's for dinner.  But hey, it's Friday.  I don't cook much on Fridays :)  (I actually did cook the kids' dinner - fresh fruit and corn and baked chicken nuggets- but they ate earlier in the evening.  Hubs and I ate fast food and ate late.  What a terrible combination!)  I definitely better hit the spin class in the morning.  We'll see - it starts at 8:15! 

hmmm, what's that expression...'do as I say, not as I do?!'

I'm a day late, but I'm linking this up with Think Tank Momma's Share a Spoon!  Thursday's theme was ground beef!

8 comments:

  1. I am not a fan of jarred sauce either. I started making my own sauce earlier this year, with carrot also, but your recipe looks tastier. Thank you for sharing!!!

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  2. i never knew spaghetti could be made from scratch before I got married. I thought prego was the only spaghetti sauce-now I'm a believer in tomato paste and sauce :)

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  3. I think that a lot of people avoid cooking because they think it takes too long. And yeah, there's never enough time...but that's true whether I cook or not, so I'd rather at least be eating good food and not have enough time! This sauce sounds delicious!

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  4. this looks good. i love carrots in a sauce, but Tuna does not. we are getting ready to leave for the wedding. holla!

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  5. I am going to have to try this recipe. I love that instead of sugar you used stevia -- could you tell the difference?

    I do quite a bit of baking from scratch. My youngest has celiac disease so we don't eat gluten -- or at least I cook mainly gluten free dinners. Some commercial spaghetti sauces uses gluten as a thickener so I'm excited to try this recipe.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Once you start making your own spaghetti sauce you will never go back to that jarred stuff. This is similar to my sauce. I add fresh basil and flat leaf parsley. This is so much better for you too. You control the sodium, you don't have all those "mystery" ingredients used to "preserve" the sauce.

    So glad you linked up! I hope lots of folks who have never tried to make their own give this a try!!!

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  7. I'm super embarrassed to admit that I am an Italian who has never made spaghetti sauce. I've just never been into past (I know, crazy) and like you said at the beginning, I'm one of those people who claims to "not have enough time". I make a lot of homemade things, but sauce just hasn't been one of them! One day I will try a sauce, but it's hard since I can't eat garlic or onion. I mean...what's a sauce without those two ingredients?!

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  8. nothing is better then homemade tomato sauce. Yummmm!!!! Your recipe sounds delish!
    Have a great sunday

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