Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Heritage Cooking -- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

My sweet Mother and Father and little me.

I told my children they would not leave my home without knowing how to make two things: Scrambled eggs from my husband's side of the family and spaghetti sauce from scratch, just like my Mom used to make. In an effort to fill the some of the days of my kids' school breaks I decided to start having a heritage cooking class. My mother made a killer spaghetti sauce. So, I decided to give my son a course in one of my favorites. I could live on spaghetti and actually have at times in my life. I come from a long line of cooks, although it took me a long time to realize I enjoyed cooking also. I love it now and I believe that the cooks in our past had a lot to teach us. They really knew how to stretch a budget and cook from the pantry. So, occasionally I will share a few of our heritage pantry eats.

A quick note about spaghetti sauce. I am a big believer in stocking premade sauce. Hunts sauce is a staple in my pantry. I can easily go through 10 cans a month. However, it is a good idea to play around with making your own sauce using all those canned tomatoes in your storage. Spaghetti sauce is easy but it takes a little finesse, patience and experimentation. I am going to give you my basic recipe but keep in mind that you will need to taste test multiple times and adjust your recipe if you really want to cook up a little Italian love.

The Basics:
1 1/2 quarts of canned tomatoes or 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
1/2 onion chopped fine
1/2 green pepper or 1/2 cup shredded carrots or zuchinni.
2 garlic cloves minced
1 to 2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 to 2 tsp basil
2-3 tsp oregano
1/2 to 3/4 can of tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar (optional) I use this to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. My home canned tomatoes are really acidic and the sugar balances out the acidity.
1 Tb parmesan cheese
1 lb hamburger mix (recipe below)
1 Tb oil
5 or 6 spoons for taste testing.

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Saute onion for a couple minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Don't burn the garlic. Starting with the smaller measurements of each ingredient, add remaining ingredients except for paremsan cheese and hamburger mix. You can add more of the herbs and tomato paste as needed while the sauce cooks. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until desired consistency. Stir and taste occasionally. I like my sauce a little thicker and so I add more tomato paste and tomato sauce. Remember that tomato paste is sweet and the more you add the more you will need to adjust the seasonings. Add the hamburger and cheese during the last 10 minutes of simmering.

Hamburger recipe:
This is my signature ground hamburger recipe and I use it for everything. It makes spaghetti into a wonderful meat sauce. I buy hamburger in bulk and precook batches of taco meat and this savory mix to freeze in convenient freezer quart bags.

1 lb ground beef
1 TB dried minced onions
1 TB montreal steak seasoning
1 TB A1 steak sauce.

Cook ground meat and onions until almost brown. Add seasoning and steak sauce and finish cooking.

Cook up your favorite noodles and enjoy. Adjust to your taste and come up with your own heritage recipe so your kids will call it "Mom's spaghetti sauce."


Megan said...

Yum, Yum! I'm definitely going to have to give this sauce a try. And I love your idea of "heritage" cooking. For Christmas, my sister & sisters-in-law, and I made a cook book for my mom filled with all of our favorite recipes. What made it special was that will filled it with pictures of my mom cooking with her family -- her children, her grandchild, her mother, etc. She LOVED it! Make sure you take pictures of yourself cooking with your kids. They will treasure in years to come!!!

Karynn said...

OK, I am so sick of my same old spaghetti - as are my children - and I am thrilled to try this! Especially the Hamburger mix. I love to throw onions and garlic in mine for flavor, but yours sounds tangy and delish!


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