Thursday, November 3, 2011

Semi-Homemade: Spaghetti Sauce

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Another oldie but goodie - foolproof spaghetti sauce.
That's right... FOOL. Proof.
If you thought you couldn't, now you can.
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We love spaghetti around here more than The Situation loves himself. It's a quick, easy and wholesome meal to feed our family. There's nothing like made-from-scratch spaghetti sauce, but sometimes we just don't have the time, energy or resources to make that happen. If the thought of using sauce from a jar makes you shudder, then I present you - Spaghetti Sauce, semi-homemade style.

All you need are a few simple ingredients paired with a few spices - and some meat and veggies if you're feeling frisky! This recipe will feed a family of four with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. This sauce is great for freezing, so if you're ambitious (okay, not so much, it takes a few extra minutes to make a few extra batches) making dinner is made even easier. All you've got to do is thaw, heat and serve with pasta.

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Ingredients:

28 oz Tomato Sauce*
28 oz Diced tomatoes*
2 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 Tbs Garlic Powder
1+1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Salt or seasoning salt

*I always make sure to have equal parts sauce and diced tomatoes. I find the consistency of the sauce is better when you stick to this ratio. If you want a less chunky sauce, then you could use all sauce instead of adding any diced tomatoes. As for the diced tomatoes, try getting different varieties of flavors (like the fire roasted in the pic above) to add depth of flavor to your sauce.

Directions:

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My mom picked us up a million Zucchini at this dirt cheap farmers' market she went to so I thought I'd throw one of those in. If you're going to be adding any vegetables, now would be the time to cut them, you know, before you really get started. Other good veggies to try would be mushrooms, bell pepper, eggplant, whatever sounds good to you, really. If you're substituting the spices with their real-life counterpart (i.e. onions and garlic), cut those up now and sauté them with a bit of oil if you're going meatless or with the meat in the next step.

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You can make this sauce Vegan, but since we're carnivores in this house, we like adding meat to our sauce. Here we used 93/7 ground beef, since that's what we had in the freezer, but we've also used ground turkey and chicken with tasty results. If you're using fattier meat (like 80/20 beef) I recommend draining off the grease before continuing to the next step. Remember: if you're also sautéing onions and garlic or crisp veggies (like bell pepper) you'll want to throw them in with the browning meat.

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This is the part where you throw all the ingredients in. If you're going meatless with no veggies then technically this would be the first step.

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Instead of sautéing the zucchini, I throw it in with all the other ingredients. Since it cooks fairly quickly, I didn't want it to get all mushy before the sauce finished cooking. Give it a good stir, then put a lid on and let it simmer away for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. (I think I read somewhere that you're not supposed to use a lid when cooking sauces, but I like to break the rules. I think it makes the sauce taste better and keeps the kitchen clean from any rogue sauce leaping out of the pan and threatening to bake itself onto your stove top.)

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This is where you get the hired help to empty the dishwasher for you so you'll have some clean dishes to eat off of at your disposal. And a gentle reminder to the toddler not to come in the kitchen because, "we don't want to burn our hand on the stove top again, do we?" Yeah. Talk about a Mommy-of-the-Year Award moment.

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If you haven't already, get your pasta water boiling and throw in whatever suits your fancy.

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Once everything is done, throw a little bit of pasta and sauce in a food processor for the baby. If you're childless or just past the baby stage, feel free to skip this step. ;D

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Have your official taste-tester try the spaghetti to make sure it's good and ready...

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IT'S GOOD!


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Eat. Play. Enjoy. Whatever.

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