30 Jan
2014
Posted in: projects
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Homemade Marinara Sauce

I love the way our house smells when the slow cooker sits on low for hours with homemade marinara sauce cooking. The combined aroma of rosemary, thyme and basil make the house inviting. I love that moment when you open your door to a house filled with the scent of homemade goodness. It’s like an invisible hug.

Slow cooker marinara sauce

A few years ago, I really took a look at the ingredients in mass-produced spaghetti sauce. Something as simple as tomatoes, herbs and vegetables should be easy to read on a label. Not so much. There was added sugar and words I can’t pronounce. I shouldn’t have been surprised. You really have to search labels to find processed food that hasn’t crossed the line from food to factory item.

Recently I’ve been wading through article after article about the best way to feed my growing family. I want our bodies to be well-nourished, not full of factory-derived filler. It’s been overwhelming for me to delve into this process of healthier eating. Really we’re pretty healthy at our house. Better eaters than most I would wager. There’s possibly (read as definitely) a little too much sugar for me. I’m a work in progress.

I’ve learned to read labels before I put anything in my cart. If I don’t understand what it says, I put it back and search for an alternative. When I started taking stock of what food contained, I was shocked at the extra sugar, dyes and preservatives. I knew they were there but not in the abundance that I found. I used to be the person who would claim she didn’t have enough time to make homemade bread, granola bars, or homemade marinara sauce. Once I started researching recipes, I realized I could find the time. I use my bread machine quite a lot now. There’s always a variety of veggies and fruits to grab for snacks.

I’m not going to pretend that I have an actual recipe for homemade marinara sauce. I’ll share my guidelines. I don’t follow recipe directions very carefully and rarely measure ingredients. I eyeball measurements and taste as I go. The wonderful thing about this sauce is it can be easily altered for your own preferences and what you have at home.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

  1. I start with a 6 pound can of crushed tomatoes from Sam’s Club, plus one 15 oz. can of tomato sauce. Pour all the tomatoes and sauce into a 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Sauté the vegetables of your choice in two tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons chopped garlic. The last time I made this I used 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1 yellow onion, 5 carrots, and 4 celery stalks. I dice the veggies into small pieces and then sauté until the onion is translucent. I’ve also used eggplant, mushrooms, asparagus, leftover pumpkin puree, etc. The combinations are endless.
  3. Put the sautéed vegetables in the slow cooker. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as desired herbs. I like to use fresh herbs, but dried work as well. I use rosemary, thyme, and basil. Again the herbs can be mixed and matched.
  4. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  5. This makes 16 cups (4 quarts) of sauce. I freeze it in 4-cup (1 quart) increments for use as I need it.

 

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