Today I am paying a special tribute to a lady that made this blog possible. ¬†Rachael, is amazing and wonderful, but without this lady, I wouldn’t know Rachael.
I’m talking about our Grandma. ¬†Rachael and I are first cousins, and we are so fortunate because we have an amazing grandma. ¬†She taught our moms how to cook, and they taught us, and now we share this with you. ¬†She had so many wonderful talents, and today happens to be her birthday. ¬†She died a year and a half ago (just a few weeks after my baby, and Rachael’s baby were born). ¬†Grandma loved babies, and they LOVED her!
I miss her daily, but when I’m cooking, I feel close to her.
Grandma loved canning, well, maybe she didn’t love canning, but she did a lot of canning. ¬†One of her canning recipes is spaghetti sauce. ¬†I’m sharing this recipe because my mom told me spaghetti was one of Grandma’s favorite foods.
I love this spaghetti sauce for its usefulness and versatility. ¬†Here’s the recipe for the sauce, but keep reading because I’ll share with you 5 different ways to use this sauce in easy dinner options.
Sauce, Ingredients and Directions (for canning)
3/4 bushel tomatoes, skinned and quartered
2 c onion chopped ¬† ¬†¬†2 c green peppers chopped
2 c celery chopped ¬† ¬†2¬†Tbsp dried parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
Bring to a boil and boil for one hour.
2 Tbsp sugar ¬† ¬†3 Tbsp salt ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†4 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp basil ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†1 tsp cumin seed ¬† 2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp allspice ¬† ¬†2 tsp oregano ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp sage ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†2 tsp thyme
Let this simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. ¬†Fill jars, quarts, or pints. ¬†Process the jars as follows: pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes.
I will make a few batches of this sauce in the fall because I use the sauce for these different recipes, which are family favorites.
The first is obviously spaghetti.
To make the canned version a great spaghetti sauce add: 1 packet of spaghetti seasoning (McCormicks, or another brand), 1 can tomato soup, 1 can tomato sauce. ¬†You can add browned ground beef, or cooked meatballs. ¬†Easy, fast, and a favorite among all who have tried it.
When I have leftover spaghetti sauce I will typically add another pint of canned sauce, the other sauce add-ons (soup, tomato sauce, packet), a pound of browned ground beef, and make a lasagna to freeze.
Here’s the directions for my lasagna. ¬†I place a ladle of sauce in the bottom of the pan (this keeps the noodles from sticking). ¬†Add a single layer of noodles, typically 3. ¬†I spread ricotta cheese, or cottage cheese, or even vegan cream cheese (because my husband in lactose intolerant, but¬†loves¬†my lasagna) on the noodles. ¬†Ladle sauce to cover the noodles. ¬†Add a layer of shredded cheese, I use a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan (you can buy vegan of these kinds of cheese). ¬†Repeat the layering: noodles, ricotta (or substitute), sauce, and shredded cheese. ¬†I can layer 4 times in my pan. ¬†Place the pan in the freezer at this point, covered with two layers of foil. ¬†You could also place it right in the oven to bake for dinner. ¬†Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. ¬†If you froze the lasagna, defrost the night before in the fridge, or place in an oven at 200 for an hour, then bake at 350 for one hour.
Chicken parmesan is another way to use this sauce.
Make the sauce the same as spaghetti sauce, but don’t add ground beef. ¬†Instead, place the sauce over any type of pasta. ¬†To make the chicken, dredge boneless, skinless chicken breasts in (1/4 c per 2 breasts) flour, then 1 egg, then (1/2 c per 2 breasts) breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tsp italian seasoning and 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese. ¬†Heat oil in a large skillet, add the breaded chicken. ¬†Fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy. ¬†Place chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. ¬†Add a slice of mozzarella cheese (or any other white cheese), and bake for 5 more minutes. ¬†Serve the chicken over the pasta and sauce.
The sauce can transform from spaghetti sauce to pizza¬†sauce with a couple of herbs.
Use an emulsion blender and blend the sauce, from the can, until it is smooth. ¬†Pour into a medium sauce pan and add: 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp basil, 1 1/2 tsp oregano. ¬†You can add more of these herbs to your preference. ¬†Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn it down to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to achieve the desired thickness. ¬†Spread the sauce on your favorite pizza crust, add your toppings, and enjoy home-made pizza.
Use the leftover pizza sauce as a great marinara sauce for appetizers.
Marinara sauce is a healthier appetizer dipper, depending on what you are dipping. ¬†Of course marinara sauce is great for breadsticks, mozzarella sticks, and chicken fingers. ¬†Marinara is also great for grilled vegetables and can be used as a topper for Italian hamburger sliders.
I hope you enjoy these fast dinners as much as we do!
Thanks again, Grandma for being such an amazing woman, and a great cook!
Today’s Mother’s May highlight is Jana Sperry.
Jana is married to Mike, they have 5 children. ¬†They adopted 3 children. ¬†The last year has been challenging for Jana, but she has met every challenge with grace and a smile. ¬†Her husband, Mike, was diagnosed last year with stage 4 colon cancer, which he bravely fought with chemotherapy and radiation and was given a clean bill of health after a long, hard, painful battle. ¬†A few months ago in a routine scan, just to make sure the cancer was still gone, they discovered that it had metastasized to his lungs. ¬†He is currently undergoing chemotherapy again, and is again, in a lot of pain and extremely tired.
During this year, Jana has been taking care of her family, her husband, and taking online college classes through Brigham Young University-Idaho to complete her Bachelors Degree. ¬†She volunteers several days a week at the local elementary school. ¬†She also worked at a part-time job for about 6 months.
Throughout it all, a smile has remained ever ready on her face. ¬†She has kept a positive attitude and has been a completely supportive and loving wife and mother. ¬†She is amazing and is my hero!