Saturday, February 13, 2010

Spruced Up Spaghetti Sauce

A Guest Blog by Susan Elliott

The typical cook for a day eat for a month menu involves a lot of preparation and little to nothing more than defrosting and heating at meal time. This is not that type of recipe. However, preparing key ingredients in bulk, like a fabulous pasta sauce, will allow you to have a fantastic meal without a lot of work at meal time.

Spruced Up Spaghetti Sauce

Let’s be honest, store bought spaghetti sauce is store bought spaghetti sauce. It doesn’t matter the brand or the ingredients. Store bought spaghetti sauce is often just repackaged sauce that sells anywhere from .99 cents to over four dollars.
I have a secret that I have been doing for years, and something that I saw with my own eyes done by a chef friend of mine. Buy the cheapest spaghetti sauce and add ingredients to make it your own.

Cooking spaghetti sauce from scratch is extremely time consuming, but using store bought sauce for a base cuts down on hours of cooking time. The following recipe makes enough sauce for at least four meals for a family of five and can be frozen for later use.

Diced onion
Diced bell pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 lbs Italian breakfast sausage
3 lbs ground chuck
6 cans premade spaghetti sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons Italian seasoning

Dice the onion and bell pepper into small bite size pieces. Place the vegetables into a heated skillet with about three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of minced garlic. Cook the onions and bell pepper until they are soft.

Add ground sausage and ground chuck. Brown evenly. If desired, add salt and pepper.
Drain the meat, but retain the vegetables and minced garlic. Place the meat, onions and bell pepper into a large stock pot. Add six cans of spaghetti sauce, 2 cans of diced tomatoes and mix thoroughly. Add the balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning.

Cook on low to medium heat for about one hour.

Allow the spaghetti sauce to cool completely.

Write the words spaghetti sauce and the date on four one-quart size freezer bags. Divide the sauce between the freezer bags. Place the bags into the freezer. Make sure that the bags are laid flat. They should keep for up to six months in the freezer.

Remove a bag of spaghetti sauce from the freezer on the morning of the day you plan to serve spaghetti. That evening boil the water for your spaghetti, and place the defrosted spaghetti sauce into a stock pot. Heat the sauce thoroughly and add to your cooked noodles.

In our household, we place the cooked noodles into a dish and ladle the spaghetti sauce onto the top of the noodles. If desired add parmesan or mozzarella cheese to the top of your spaghetti.

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