My parents have always made their own spaghetti sauce. My Mom has her own version and my Dad has his own version. Don’t worry, it’s not a family war, it’s a known fact that my Dad’s version is better. My mom will admit this.
For many years, I too had my own recipe… which was going to the store and buying a jar of sauce. Having my Dad’s sauce was a treat, but in the last few years I’ve realized how easy and not so time consuming it is to make your own sauce… and how it tastes 100% better. So, I’m here to spill the secret recipe.
I like to make a big batch of this and freeze any leftovers I have.
My Dad’s Simple Spaghetti Sauce
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced (or more!)
2 28oz cans of diced tomatoes (organic, plz)
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
1-2 pours of good red wine (A few tablespoons each pour)
2 teaspoons of oregano
2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
Fresh basil if available
salt and pepper to taste
1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan. When it starts to shimmer add the garlic. Cook for a minute or two so that the garlic turns a golden color. Stop before it turns brown!
2. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, red wine, 1 tablespoon sugar and spices. Let this simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes. (NOTE: if you want a thicker sauce, drain the tomatoes and keep the juice for when you make soup or bloody mary mix).
3. Stir the pot often, but try not to let the water that will collect on the lid get into the sauce!
4. After 20 minutes, taste the sauce and see what else it needs. More spices and wine never hurt (I think I need an apron that says that..) if it tastes too acidic add more sugar. Add in fresh basil if you have it here.
5. Cook for 20 more minutes at a tad lower heat, stirring frequently.
6. Use an immersion blender to smooth out the chunks to the consistency you want your sauce to be. I tend to like a balance between smooth and chunky so I do about 15-25 seconds of blending. The blending will break up the basil as well.
7. The sauce is ready to eat, or feel free to continue simmering. The longer it cooks down, the better it tastes.
See? Not hard. You have to chop some garlic, open some cans, shake in some spices and things and stir a few times! This sauce is even better (200%?) if you have tomatoes that you canned your self. You can even use fresh tomatoes that you roast or fresh tomatoes that you chop.
Invite me over!
I have been making this easy summer squash and cherry tomato recipe about once a month for the past two summers and although it’s technically fall you can still find a summer squash and some (or a giant bowl full) of cherry/grape tomatoes at a store or farmers market. Right? Right.
This recipe is simple and can either be a main dish (as I eat it) or a side. It’s a little cheesy and has a crispy breadcrumb crust, so what’s not to like. I make this on days where I only feel like going through a few steps to cook dinner. I’d categorize this as one of our “what we’ve been eating lately” dishes.
Tomato & Squash Crumble
serves 4-6 // adapted from Vegetarian Times
1 small yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
½ lb. small yellow crookneck squash, diced (2 cups)
3 cups cherry tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup grated parmesan or Gruyère cheese
Salt + Pepper
1 ¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Mix breadcrumbs and parsley together. (If you don’t have parsley, you can also use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs… I do this often.)
2. Spray a non-stick skillet with some cooking spray, add a little olive oil if you want and put the heat on medium-high. Add onion, and cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
3. While the onion is cooking, chop the squash into small pieces. Stir in squash, and cook 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic, and cook 2 minutes more, or until tomatoes are warmed through. Season with salt, if desired and add about half of the cheese. Mix and then transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
4. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Spread breadcrumb mixture over cheese. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve hot.
So delicious. So easy.
My Mom left a comment on my latest CSA box that I had all of the ingredients to make ratatouille. I hadn’t even thought of it, but I just got finished making an adapted version of her delicious recipe and IT WAS AWESOME!
1 large eggplant, chopped
¾ large green or red pepper, chopped
¾ large yellow onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T tomato paste
2 med. zucchini, chopped
3 or 4 fresh tomatoes chopped OR 1 can petite diced canned tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese (to top, if you want to make this not vegan)
1. Cut vegetables uniform size.
2. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil under tender. Add tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Let tomato paste get a little hot and bubbly.
3. Add all ingredients except fresh basil. If you don’t have fresh, you can substitute dried basil if you want.
4. Stir over medium to medium low heat and cook covered for about 30 minutes. Stir from time to time. When all vegetables are soft, add the fresh basil. 5-10 leaves, to taste. If you don’t have fresh basil, you have already added the dried basil.
This is good served over brown rice (my favorite) or any type of pasta with a bit of parmesan cheese to un-veganize it. It is usually better the next day, after flavors have blended. AKA ready for you to take in a tupperware for lunch.
This box is a mix of summer and fall and includes: beets, basil, edamame, red kabocha squash, watermelon, leaf lettuce, red grape tomatoes, pepper mix, cabbage, green beans and onions.
Our newsletter let us know this will be the last of the basil, green beans, watermelon and tomatoes as we already had our first frost. Oh well, bring on the squash!
Is your garden and/or CSA box exploding with tomatoes and zucchini like mine? Well, quit googling the words “tomato and zucchini recipe” and make this Summer Vegetable Tian. Don’t worry, I still don’t even know what “tian” means.
Summer Vegetable Tian (adapted from For the Love of Cooking)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion cut in half and dicced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 russet potatoes, or red potatoes, unpeeled
1 yellow squash (I didn’t have this, so I used zucchini)
Sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Dried thyme, marjoram to taste
1/2 cup of freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pam an au gratin baking dish or pie pan of some sort.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread this garlic/onion mixture on the bottom of the Pam’d baking dish.
3. Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash and tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices… or as close as you can get them. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onion/garlic fitting them tightly into a spiral, making only one layer. (I liked to stick the tomato in between the zucchini + potato personally!)
4.Season with sea salt, black pepper, marjoram and dried thyme, to taste then Pam the top.
5. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
6. Uncover and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until browned.
I was scared to make this as it looks complicated, but it’s very easy. The flavors were really good, but next time I make it I might pour the onion/garlic mixture over the top so it is a little less subtle, per Brent’s suggestion.
I googled “what to serve with a vegetable tian” for about 5 minutes and all the internets could think up was chicken. Fail. I was going to make a rice dish of some kind but I decided to go with a little bit of mixed greens w/vinaigrette and a slice of garlic toast. That was just easier; it’s Monday and I felt like hanging out with Maeby/getting a head start on work. By head start on work I obviously mean accidently watching Extreme Couponing with my laptop open.
This is a few days late and this is not the best picture of the wonderful contents of CSA box #15, but Friday I was in a rush (trying to pack for a weekend wedding 4 hours away!), and forgot to pick the box up… twice! I’m glad I remembered.
Contents: butternut squash, onions, broccoli, a watermelon, green beans, lettuce, red tomatoes, tomatoes from our plant (not the CSA box but they snuck in the photo!), red potatoes, heriloom tomatoes, san marzano tomatoes, and garlic.
We are expecting some fall-like evenings this week so I look forward to roasting that squash.
Contents: raspberries, green beans, dill, one zucchini, beets, sugar baby watermelon, leeks, and ruby green tomatoes and an unknown kind of heirloom tomatoes.
I don’t see too many main ingredient items for meals in this weeks box, but you can’t win ’em all. On the other hand, I can’t wait to eat those raspberries.