Every once in a while recipe magic happens. And by recipe magic I mean your entire family absolutely loves what you’ve put in front of them for dinner. By entire family I mean Scott and Elle. Honestly, I’ll eat anything, especially if I cook it.
The recipe magic in this case is for a meaty spaghetti sauce that produces enough to feed an army. If you were here for my Operation Crock Pot or 10 Things in my Freezer posts then you’ve heard me mention our love for this spaghetti sauce. The original recipe is from Betty Crocker. The original is very good but I’ve made some changes over the dozen or so times I’ve made it.
Before you continue, note that this makes a TON of sauce. Depending on how much we eat the first night of cooking, I usually have enough leftover for FOUR 24 oz jars. 24 oz jar is comparable to a regular store-bought jar of sauce.
2 lb ground beef (I like 93/7%)
12 oz ground Italian sausage*
1 onion, chopped (usually just a medium one)
6 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 fresh tomato, chopped**
3 cans (15 oz each) tomato sauce
2 cans (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves***
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. In the biggest skillet you have (seriously), brown the meat with the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. I use a little bit of olive oil and saute up the onion and garlic first, but proceed how you normally like. Drain thoroughly.
2. Add meat mixture to Slow Cooker and add remaining ingredients.*** Stir to combine.
3. Cook on low setting for 8-9 hours.
*We use mild Italian sausage for Elle but I prefer spicier. Usually I’ll add a bit more spice when reheating the sauce after I’ve already dished up Elle’s portion.
**Or you could add half a can or diced tomatoes. Or a whole can. I found if I added an entire 15 oz can of diced tomatoes in addition to the 28 oz can the sauce was too liquidy for our taste. Sometimes I’ll drain the can and just add the tomato chunks if I don’t have anything fresh on hand. Tomayto Tomahto.
***And sometimes a few shakes of the Italian herbs bottle. You can always add more seasoning next time you reheat the sauce.
To Freeze the Sauce:
1. Cool the sauce and refrigerate overnight.
2. Ladle into freezable containers (I use Ball Pint and a Half jars with plastic storage caps) but you could also do gallon size bags and freeze the bags flat to stack them). I use a large mouth funnel for pouring.
3. Tap out/smooth out as many of the air bubbles as possible
There is nothing better than being able to pull out a jar of sauce from the freezer, defrost it, and have homemade dinner on the table with only having to cook noodles and heat up the sauce. This meal is requested so frequently at our house that I have to be careful how quickly my stock dwindles!
What’s your favorite thing to make in bulk and freeze?
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