I probably haven’t mentioned this yet, but I had a short stint at extreme couponing this past year. If you saw the episode of the Kardashian’s where Kourtney tries her hand at couponing, my story pretty much went like that. After watching a couple episodes of Extreme Couponing on TLC, I quickly decided that I could totally do this and got really excited at the idea of getting my groceries for close to free and creating a huge stock pile in our garage. I signed up to receive the Sunday paper ($26.00), I bought a huge coupon binder complete with organizational tabs and multiple size pockets ($43.99), made my friends and family save their coupon inserts for me and then started following a bunch of thrifty mom blogs who post regular coupon deals. When I was finally ready to put my coupons to use I headed to the store…. And failed miserably! I was never able to save more than 60% on my grocery bills and ended up with a teeny weeny stock pile of food items, most of which we will never eat.
Hamburger Helper? BARF-O-LA! But I at least I got a good deal on Ragu spaghetti sauce right? WRONG! Turns out my husband HATES canned spaghetti sauce. I swear I learn something new about him every day.
Fortunately, spaghetti sauce is easy to make in the crock pot, and it makes a lot! So you can freeze multiple servings for future meals. I decided to make a veggie sauce so I would be able to add different meats for different meals (ground turkey one night, meatballs the next week, etc.)
I found a great recipe on Food.com which allowed me to easily add my own touches.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion , chopped
2 carrots , peeled and chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper , chopped
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
15 ounces tomato sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1. Cook onions and carrots in oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
2. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add mushrooms and bell pepper and stir. Place vegetables into bottom of 4-5 quart crock pot and add remaining ingredients.
3. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
4. Uncover, stir thoroughly, then leave cover off crock pot and turn heat to high.
5. Cook, uncovered, for 1 more hour to thicken sauce.
6. At this point the sauce can be frozen. Divide into smaller portions and cool in refrigerator.
7. Wrap, label, and freeze the sauce up to 3 months.
8. To thaw and reheat, thaw sauce overnight in refrigerator.
9. Pour into skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 15-20 minutes or until sauce bubbles and is thoroughly heated.
10. You can even cook the pasta until almost tender and combine it with the cooled sauce. Freeze as directed, and thaw as directed. You may need to add 1/4-1/3 cup water when reheating if freezing the pasta in the sauce.
I added ground beef and served over spaghetti noodles and divided the rest into bags to be frozen. This is really a great sauce to have on hand. It could also be used for lasagna, ravioli, tortellini, and much more!