Lin H. wrote: "Don't buy spaghetti sauce in jars or cans since it is easy, thrifty and adaptable to make your own. You know what's going into it, you can do many different meals with the one basic homemade recipe, and the ingredients are easily kept in your home (and preparedness ) pantry."
Lin H.'s Easy Red Spaghetti Sauce
1-2 tbs. olive oil (optional, depending on your meat choice)
1/2 lb. meat (ground beef or pork or venison, bulk sausage, diced smoked sausage, cut bacon, Vienna sausage dices, cut pepperoni slices, diced canned ham; the possibilities are wonderfully various)
1/2 c. diced onions (or 2 tbs. dried onion flakes)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp. dried garlic, rehydrated; or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
1 can (14-16 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 heaping tbs. Italian seasoning (or 2 tsp. each basil and oregano)
1/2 tsp. ea. salt and pepper, or to taste
1 tbs. butter or margarine (optional)
In a large skillet or saucepan crumble and brown meat with onion and garlic till done (if using pre-cooked meats, heat oil then stir-fry meat, onion and garlic till onion is translucent, 5 minutes or so). Drain grease. Add rest of ingredients. Bring to just-boiling at high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings if desired. Makes roughly 4 servings.
Now you're ready for (plan on 12-16 oz. pasta for most of the meals below, to serve 4):
- Spaghetti, of course. Serve over cooked spaghetti or other pasta.
- Lasagne. Layer sauce with lasagne noodles and a cheese mixture and bake.
- Have you tried Cabbage Lasagne? Substitute steamed cabbage shreds for the pasta layer in lasagne. It's delicious.
- Baked ziti/penne. Toss sauce with cooked ziti or penne tubes in a casserole, top with cheese, and bake.
- Stuff manicotti or giant shells with a cheese mixture, pour sauce over and bake.
- You can add vegetable nutrition to any of these dishes. Zucchini rounds, chopped spinach, and peppers (sweet red, green bell, or hot varieties to taste) all adapt well.
- Italian soup. When sauce is done add 2 cans (14-16 oz. ea.) beef broth, 2 c. water, a can of drained beans and diced veggies of choice (zucchini or any squash, peppers, celery, carrots, peas, spinach and cabbage are all good). Simmer till veggies are almost tender and add 1/2 c. uncooked pasta the last 10 minutes.
- Add a cup of half-&-half to your sauce, simmer 10 minutes, and stir in cooked pasta for a creamy "Hamburger Helper type" stovetop dish.
- Spread sauce on unbaked pizza crusts (will make 2-to-3 pizzas), top with diced veggies, sprinkle cheese over and bake.
I hope this can be helpful. Sharing good food with family or friends is a blessing, in good times and bad.
Reader Matt R. Adds: "The only thing I can possibly add to Lin H.'s delicious sounding spaghetti sauce contribution is something I learned from my half-Italian cousin: Canned tomatoes and sauce are acidified for safety and can be pretty 'twangy'... To cut the acid, add very finely chopped carrots to the sauce - about a half cup to Lin's basic recipe should be about right. You can chop them so finely nobody will ever know they are there. Added early and simmered for 15-20 minutes, they add no carrot-y taste but their mild sweetness goes a long way to eliminating the acid and canned taste of the tomatoes. The beta carotene can't hurt either... Once you do this you'll never consider making spaghetti sauce without them."
Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:
Mrs. G. suggested Cooks.com
Cousin Al mentioned that Faith and Survival has a useful collection of dehydrated food recipes.
Do you have a favorite recipe that you have tested extensively? Then please e-mail it to us for posting. Thanks!