Thursday, October 30, 2014

Surprising Myself

Nothing earth shattering mind you - just the run of the mill, hum drum, "Oh look what Skip can do." kind of stuff.

Having a daughter in college, one in her senior year of HS and paying out over $3,000 a month in insurance and medication fees money is tight.  Damn tight.

And in the words of Mother Hubbard - Skippy's cupboards were bare. Cobweb collecting kind of bare.

Okay, really there just wasn't anything I wanted to make for dinner staring back at me from the fridge or the pantry. We have food - but you know that feeling when you just don't want "that"? That being anything you have when you really want something you don't have?  Yeah, that feeling.

Then I saw a large can of crushed tomatoes.  Hmmmm.....

And I knew I was in the mood for spaghetti with marina sauce.

This was so, so easy and so, so good.

I sauteed one small, diced onion in olive oil - I would have added green peppers too, but Steven threw away the tops to my peppers the other night when he made stuffed peppers for dinner - and after they were translucent I threw in some minced garlic and about a half a pound of hamburger.

Once the hamburger was browned I poured in the crushed tomatoes, and tossed in some dried oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  I decided it was a bit thin so I added two heaping tablespoons of tomato paste and about 1/2 cup of water.

Then I let that bad boy simmer for an hour.

Side note:  My mom used to make homemade sauce when we were growing up. The stuff was amazing, but always made with canned tomatoes.  She was a "city" girl and didn't have access to fresh produce like we do here, so she became accustomed to cooking with canned.  I was blessed with an abundance of garden grown tomatoes from my beloved father in law's garden and spent a large part of the summer making sauces and lasagna with all the stuff we were given.  But I had never attempted sauce with canned tomatoes and have no idea what my mom's recipe included.

This is some good sauce Tadpoles.  And easy!  Impressed the heck out of the family too - always a bonus.  I have always bought canned sauce, until this year [see above] but I am not a fan of the sweet sauces like Prego or Ragu - we would buy Hunt's spaghetti sauce and this made up sauce came close to that, but BETTER.

I realize a lot of you have been doing this for years, but before this summer I had never made my own sauce. And with money so tight I find I have to stretch what I have.  I spend, on average, about $60 per week to feed the three of us - this includes all three meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner, as  Evie and Steven both take their lunches. Thank goodness Steven likes leftovers.

I know this is probably a boring post, but I am quite pleased with myself.  I have never really considered myself a great cook - I am just someone who cooks and bakes a lot.  But that sauce? Is really, really good.

Hope you all have a fabulous Thursday. Smile loudly, life is a gift!
We'll see ya' on the flipside. Love, Janine


Gypsy said...

This is very interesting to me as I have been thinking about making my own sauce. Since I had my gallbladder removed I don't do so well with tomatos, except for heirloom tomatos. I'm not sure if I can still find them, but if I can get them at the farmers' mkt on Saturday I think I will go for it!

ellen abbott said...

we stopped buying prepared spaghetti sauce when Marc was diagnosed with high blood pressure and we realized how much sodium is in the store bought sauce. I froze a butt load of tomatoes this spring/summer when they were available from local growers and he uses canned sauce and paste because we can buy those without salt added.

Anonymous said...

Back before I cooked Janine and Hannah was just a tiny thing and money was tight, I used to be able to buy the big cans of Hunt's pasta sauce for .50 cents a can at the dollar store because the can had a dent in it - I could stretch that can into so many things - pasta, pizza sauce, calzones, minestrone soup, Mexican rice - the list goes on and on. And I do agree that Ragu and Prego is just way to sweet for me.

Glad you loved it!

CWMartin said...

Between your speghetti and Monkey Butt's cold slice of pizza, I'm getting prematurely hungry!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Good for you! I love making my own sauce with fresh herbs from the garden. Only difference is, I add Italian sausage, too, and toos the canned tomatoes into the blender. (My hubby hates chunks of tomato in it... picky, picky, picky!)


SapphireBlue said...

I haven't had a garden in a while, but now I am motivated to do it again. Homemade sauce sounds delicious.

Greenmare said...

Go you! I grew up on home canned vegetables. My moms sauce was awesome. She would start it in the morning, a huge stock pot and several quarts of tomatoes. It cooked all day until it was thick then fresh herbs from her herb garden. The other trick learned from her when making sauce from tinned tomatoes is to add just a tab of honey. It doesn't make it sweet but it takes away any tinned taste. Honey does something with the acid in the tomatoes and makes it "play nice".;

Teresa - Life in the Widow Lane said...

Always made my own sauce and meatballs. My dad loved meatballs and they had to be "substantial" in size... Not those little mini things.

I never wrote things down while I was making the meatballs or the sauce, so I can't leave that recipe behind for my family. It's a little bit of this and a little bit of that. LOL, kind of like my fried chicken recipe that is better than the Colonel's original. 😃