Here is a great recipe for summer and really for the craziness that fall brings as well.
Have you ever tried making your own marinara sauce in the crock pot? It just requires tossing in a few ingredients, set it to low for 6 hours and you will have a ton of yummy marinara to pop in the freezer for quick dinners.
I like this recipe because you can customize it to the flavors you like and you will know precisely what is going into your food. This is perfect for clean eating diets because there is nothing but goodness going into the slow cooker.
Plus this recipe is so adaptable- it is a great way to use up stray veggies in your fridge. I like to put lots of veggies in this recipe that my family might not otherwise eat so that is one more bonus.
Now this can be adapted to any flavors you like but here is a basic recipe that I use. There are several ingredients listed and please note you really don’t need to buy a bunch of stuff. As long as you have garlic, the tomato products, and Italian seasonings (oregano, basil etc..) you are pretty much there. I like to cram extra veggies in so I added several other things I had on hand.
In the past I have added mushrooms, red peppers, eggplant, broccoli– the sauce has turned out to be delicious every time and best of all I don’t hear one person complain at the dinner table. (Booyah!)
- 2 cans Peeled Tomatoes or Diced Tomatoes (28 oz each)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Fresh or Dried Basil Leaves
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or fresh if you prefer)
- ½ cup diced green pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup diced carrots
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 bay leaf
- Add 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes or diced tomatoes to a crock pot.
- If you use whole peeled try to mush them up a bit with your hands.
- Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Add 4 to 6 cloves of minced garlic (according to your taste)
- Add onion, celery, carrots and green pepper
- Mix in red pepper flakes, one bay leaf and oregano.
- Roughly chop or tear fresh basil leaves and season well with salt and pepper;.
- Let simmer on low for about 6 hours.
- Discard the bay leaf.
- Remove sauce from heat and add to a food processor until you get the consistency you like.
- Serve immediately or pop in the freezer.
So you should get a ton of sauce from this recipe and you can pop it into a freezer bag (fill it and lay flat until the sauce is cool and then stack in the freezer) or I prefer the little plastic Ball Jar freezer cups.
Pull this out for a quick meal- pasta, Calzones, spread it on french bread with cheese for a fast lunch, homemade pizzas, use it as a dipper for garlic bread, serve with roasted eggplant or try this simple roasted Eggplant sandwich.
This is perfect if you need to drop off a meal to a new mom or a sick friend. Just add a great box of pasta, a hunk of Parmesan cheese, fresh bread from the bakery and a simple green salad. You have a meal that is comforting and easy for the person to put together and looks like you put in a lot of effort.
Here is what my yield was for the recipe above. I am going to guess roughly (4) 12oz jars or so of sauce. I keep a mason jar in the fridge for dinners this week and then the freezer jars in different sizes for meals later.
A lot of people swear by San Marzano tomatoes but I just used the salted variety from Trader Joes. These are only $1.49 each and all the other ingredients I actually had on hand. So this is a very inexpensive recipe for the quality you will get!
You should get about 4 mason jars of pasta sauce. Sometimes I cut the recipe in half and I get 2 full jars from that.
A few notes:
- The carrots will add a sweetness to your sauce so be careful with how much you add. I have done an entire cup of carrots in the past and found the sauce a little sweet.
- The tomato paste will thicken your sauce so if it appears to be too thin for your taste, add a little more tomato paste.
And here are a few other recipes you might enjoy:
Homemade Almond Butter— this is a staple in our house. Healthy and a million times better then the stuff you buy at the store.