Some nights I just want a quick dinner. One that doesn’t take a long time or a whole lot of brain power to put on the table. If you read my previous post you know that I am on a mission to eat better. In an effort to share my mission with my family I’ve been calculating the calories for some of our favorite family dishes. I’ve found one we all love that is only 40 calories per serving, is easy, and freezes well! It also happens to be delicious and cost effective!
It’s my homemade spaghetti sauce! Be honest now- who doesn’t love spaghetti? Now this recipe is only for the sauce not the pasta. So the calories spent on pasta will depend on what kind of pasta you serve it with. You could even skip the pasta and do spaghetti squash or eggplant instead! This is also my secret weapon for getting my picky eaters to eat their vegetables. I mean it seriously checks all of the “mom” boxes for me:
- Kid approved
- Easy make ahead
- Freezer friendly
What else could you ask for?
Without further ado here it is:
*** I make this in a large pot and I make enough for 4 dinners. If you want to scale it back you can just cut everything in half. Then you’ll have enough for dinner tonight and enough to freeze for dinner next week.
Homemade red spaghetti sauce
3 large cans of peeled tomatoes (Stewed works too. I like getting the Nina brand at Costco. It’s just right for this recipe.)
2 1/2-3 cups of chopped carrots ( I use this instead of sugar. For a sweeter sauce add more carrots.)
2 1/2-3 cups of chopped celery ( celery has a peppery flavor again add as little or as much as suits you.)
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 Tbsp of minced garlic
2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning mix
2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
I give the veggies a rough chop so that later my immersion blender will have an easier job. I add everything to the pot. Give it a stir and set it on a medium/ high stove top.
Bring it to a boil then turn it down to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour or until the vegetables are tender. (Some times I let it cook longer. There is just something about foods cooked low and slow. )
Once the vegetables are tender I use my immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth. All of those yummy healthy veggies are hidden in the sauce! You can thank me later! Haha! If you don’t have an immersion blender you can transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth – just be careful because hot things and blenders have a history of disaster. So please use caution but it can be done.
This is when I taste it to see if it needs salt or pepper. Honestly though I don’t usually add very much because I add salt to my pasta water and then put a ladle or two of the pasta water in the sauce before I serve. But to each his own.
So at this point the sauce is done. I fill three containers with 3 cups each of the sauce and let them cool on the counter. Once they are cool I move them to the fridge to completely cool and then on to the freezer. Now each container is enough for my family’s dinner- so I’ve made enough sauce for 4 dinners with a half cup of sauce for each serving.
Still in the pot is enough sauce for tonight’s dinner. I’ll boil the pasta in a separate pot. Add frozen meatballs to the sauce; placing it back on the heat to cook the meatballs. Once the pasta is done I will ladle some of the salty pasta water into the spaghetti sauce. I’ll drain the pasta and add a drizzle of olive oil, then toss and serve.
The kids all approve of this recipe and will usually ask for seconds. Which is unheard of for my picky eaters! I hope you will try this out and let me know how it fared at your family table.
P.S. To reheat the frozen sauce – run hot water over the outside of the sealed container of frozen sauce. This will loosen it from the sides. Empty contents into a medium/ large sauce pan. Heat on medium/low turning or stirring it every so often to keep it from burning. Once the sauce is simmering it is ready unless you are adding something to it such as meatballs, ground beef, mushrooms…..etc.
Enjoy! And B. E. Healthy.