Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kitchen Tip #3: How to Make Your Own Spaghetti Sauce

Just FYI: I don't always make my own barbecue sauce, granola, and spaghetti sauce. I'm not "Super Mom" or "Miss Health Food Woman" as some people think. I keep store-bought versions on hand in a pinch. And we always have something sweet in the house, even if it's a half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer.

However, I have found that I really enjoy making my own foods from scratch because of:

(1) the health benefits to my family (I know exactly what is in our food because I put it in there.)

(2) the flexibility it affords (I can make granola with whatever ingredients I want. I can make our barbecue sauce as sweet or tangy as I want. And, I can make the spaghetti sauce as spicy or mild as I want.)

(3) the price. (Without a doubt, I can make a batch of spaghetti sauce (approximately 12 cups) that will yield roughly 4 meals (4-6 servings per meal). That is a lot of sauce, I know, but if you freeze it, then you have ready-made pasta sauce whenever your family wants it. Think lunches for the kids or on the weekends.)

On average, I spend less than $3.00 to make 1 batch of sauce, which is roughly 96 oz. That equates to about $0.03 per ounce.

If you buy a 24 oz. jar of Prego, which is on sale at Publix this week for $2.07, that equates to roughly $0.09 per ounce.

So, it is three times cheaper to make your own sauce than to buy it at the store.

All right, so if you're still reading and somewhat interested in a super SIMPLE and DELICIOUS and ECONOMICAL and HEALTHY way to make your own pasta sauce, here's my tried and true recipe:


1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped, or 2.5 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed or diced tomatoes (or 1 can of each), undrained
3-4 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
8 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. dried Italian seasoning
1 T. dried basil
1 T. salt
1 t. crushed red pepper (If your family doesn't like hot foods, you might omit this.)
1 t. black pepper


1. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
2. Saute onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Be careful as garlic will burn.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring often. Allow to simmer about 2 hours. This slow cooking allows the spices to permeate the tomatoes and makes for a super rich and flavorful sauce.
6. Divide into recipe portions. I use 3 cups of sauce for about 1/2 a box of spaghetti. The remaining 9 cups I freeze in 3 cup portions for future meals.

This is a picture of some spaghetti I made a few weeks ago that I took out of the freezer for a quick lunch today. Perhaps not the best shot, but trust me: it was delicious!
Bon Appetit!

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