Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
I've decided to share one of my lazy day recipes today. I don't like to cook much, but I do like to eat well, so over the years I've collected a number of easy but tasty recipes. This is one I made up myself, and its been very well received. This makes quite a lot of sauce and freezes well. It can easily be doubled if your crockpot is big enough. I serve it over whole grain pasta, with a big salad.
Here's what you need:
1 pound Italian sausage
1 medium to large onion, chopped
small amount of olive oil
2 29 oz cans of crushed or diced tomatoes (I prefer crushed or a can of each)
1 29 oz can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic (or 2 to 3 times that much fresh garlic)
1 and 1/2 tsp each of dried basil, oregano and salt
3/4 tsp dried thyme
Brown sausage and onion in hot olive oil until sausage is browned and onion is soft. Drain well and add to crockpot. Stir in all other ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 7 hours. Discard bay leaves before serving.
Variations and Notes:
I add a 1/2 tsp of dried fennel seeds if I have them, but not everyone likes the pronounced licorice taste of it, so I only add it if it's just my family.
If you want a blander sauce you could use ground beef or turkey instead of Italian sausage, and maybe cut back a bit ont he herbs and other seasonings. If you like your food quite spicy, add some dried crushed red pepper flakes, (up to one tsp). It's been my experience that a little crushed red pepper goes a long ways!
If you want to use fresh herbs, you will need two to three times the amount of dried herbs. You can use two 15 oz cans of tomato product in place of each 29 oz can.
I've never tried this next one, but I would think that 2 or three tsp of commercial Italian seasoning could substitute for the oregano, basil and thyme.
I sometimes add a shredded carrot or some shredded zucchini to the sauce to give my family a few more veggies in their diets. Mushrooms and green peppers, (I'd cook the green pepper with the onions and sausage), would also be good, but the picky eaters around here won't eat them.