Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Very Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

One of the first things that I gave up when I became a Food $ense devotee, was store bought spaghetti sauce. I use spaghetti sauce quite a bit, it is my go-to meal whenever something goes amiss or I need a night off, or I really just want to make something that all the kids will eat without fussing at me. 

When I read the ingredients on my store bought sauce, I was so disappointed in all the sugar and preservatives in it. I thought I was buying tomatoes and spices.  I felt a little bit betrayed by the Italian Grandma on the jar. (just kidding, we always buy the cheap stuff in the can!) 

So I set out to make my own spaghetti sauce and it was so easy and successful, I haven't bought the store stuff ever again. 

When I decided to try adding more veggies to the sauce, I also wanted to make it in bigger batches, so that I could put it in the freezer and have a whole bunch on hand.  You guys are going to love this. The sauce is even more amazing that my original sauce, and I stuffed so many veggies in this, and no one said a single word.  They Loved IT!! - Now spaghetti night becomes not only easy and fast, but super super good for you. Need I say, "WIN!!" 

First thing you are going to need is the recipe for my original spaghetti sauce.  Here it is. 

But I am also going to include the recipe here, so that we have it all in one convenient place. 

 Ingredients for Original Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter1 tablespoon olive oil2 cloves minced garlic1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Ro-Tel)2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce2 tablespoons sugar (please adjust to your taste)1/2 teaspoon basil1/2 teaspoon oregano1/2 teaspoon black pepper1/2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (please adjust to your taste)

Ingredients to Add for Very Veggie Sauce: 

1 lb. ground beef, browned
½ small white onion, chopped
2 carrot sticks, peeled and grated

1 small zucchini, grated
1 bell pepper diced into very small cubes
10 white button mushrooms - diced small


In a large skillet  add both your butter and your olive oil, after that has warmed a few seconds, add the garlic and the onion and cook it for a few minutes. When they start to get really fragrant, add your ground beef and cook it until is is browned and cook all the way though. If needed, drain your ground beef and get ready to make your sauce. 

Transfer your ground beef to a large stock pot and add your cans of tomato sauce and your can of diced chilies and tomatoes. 

Then add your spices, and all your chopped veggies. It is good to prep these before hand if you are in a hurry or you can let your sauce simmer gently on the stove while you prep your veggies. 

Once you add your veggies you are going to want to simmer your sauce at least 15 minutes depending on the size of your chopped veggies. You really want them to be tender and not crunchy carrot sticks when you eat your sauce - it should all be "saucy" 

** if you are going to freeze some of this - which I highly recommend - let your sauce cool on the stove for a half hour or so, and then scoop the servings into individual freezer bags to cool down the rest of the way. They will cool much faster if they are separated.  Be sure you label your bags and put dates on them 

The sauce will keep wonderfully for 6 months in your freezer.  or up to 12 months if you have a deep freeze.  

When you are ready to use it, thaw it over night in your fridge, or if you are wanting something quick, put it in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes and then heat up on the stove or in the microwave.