Monday, January 17, 2011

Tim's Famous Spaghetti Sauce

Now, I realize everyone and their brother has a recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce.  So, yeah for all of us!  But I grew up with divorced parents, which means, when my parents were cooking, it was after a long day at work and there ain't no time for peeling and roasting tomatoes when you have two small kids telling you how "staaaaarving" they are.

My dad, Tim, always did some unique sprucing up of his spaghetti sauce.  Why am I sharing this?  Not because it's miraculous by any means, but because I have continued to use his "recipe" throughout my entire cooking life and I think it's a good balance between homemade and tolerable on a weeknight.

My dad would start with meat (usually ground beef), add onions and garlic, and then the canned spaghetti sauce from the store.  Then, after it got hot, he added in sliced mushrooms and chopped zucchini.   For himself (not us kids), he often added Tabasco sauce for a little added heat.

I pretty much do the same kind of thing now although usually using ground turkey, sometimes adding in additional veggies like bell peppers or broccoli.  I usually add some Italian seasoning to my meat too (along with the garlic and pre-chopped onions).  Another favorite trick is to add lots of fresh chopped basil or even easier, dump in some pesto (Costco has the best price on pesto by FAR).  I also like to add a little hot pepper flakes or Tabasco but watch this if I'm serving to kids. I NEVER skip the fresh sliced mushrooms and zucchinni - sooooo good!

So feel free to get creative with your spaghetti sauce without feeling like you have to make the whole thing from scratch.  And you just HAVE to try adding the fresh sliced mushrooms and chopped zucchini. :)


  1. The chopped zucchini makes this sauce for me. I can't get enough of it!

  2. I used to buy the canned spaghetti sauce from the store until I discovered Italian San Marzano tomatos. They have such a sweet fresh tomato flavor that there's no need to cook them for hours to cut the acid like our American canned tomatos. I find I can whip up a sauce or pot of chili quickly with them just as they are. You have to shop around because they can be expensive but I found a local store that always has them on sale for 2 of the big cans for $5-6 and it's so worth it. I buy them whole so I can process them any way I want to use them.