Thursday, August 25, 2011

homemade pasta sauce

Spending the week getting ready for the first day of school *dancing a jig* got my blog schedule messed up.  Oh well, the kids are off and my house is quiet, who needs Calgon when you have school buses.  Just kidding, I love my kids, which is why I try to cook healthy food for them.  And so today I decided to share my recipe for homemade pasta sauce.  Not only is it healthier than jar sauce (no preservatives), it tastes so much better too. 
First you start with the manual labor.  I'm lucky, my Owen is a farmer at heart and loves working outside.  He will run thru (and over) my gardens and plants, lol.  It's a good thing that he can't drive the tractor yet, but give him time!  This is our "antique" tractor.  Yes, it still runs, sometimes, with a lot of coaxing (and smoking).  But I think this was it's last summer.  Time to look for a new "toy" for my hubby.  Ok, back to child labor.

Owen enjoys helping me pick our tomatoes.  But we were coming to the end of our harvest, so the basket was only half full of smaller tomatoes.  I hate the end of summer, but I was getting tired of harvesting and canning, hahaha.  Now for the sauce.  First you start with the meat.  You can use ground beef, but I've also made this with ground pork, turkey, italian sausage, and even breakfast sausage, whatever you have handy.  Brown the meat with lots of
onions and garlic.  I prefer to grate my onions instead of chopping them.  I like the flavor of onions, I just don't like biting into them.  And grating them makes the meat juicier so I do this when making hamburger patties too.  And don't be skimpy with the garlic either.  It is very healthy for you.  I use about 4-5 big cloves for around 1.5 pounds of meat.  While the meat is browning, prepare the tomatoes.  There are different ways of skinning tomatoes, and all of them are messy :~D  I boil a small pot of water, then toss in the tomatoes 2 or 3 at a time.  When the skin starts to split, I toss them into a sink full of cold water.  When they are cool enough to handle, just peel and chop.  But remember, this is the messy step.  Keep paper towels handy, and use a sharp knife to chop the tomatoes.  After the meat is brown, drain off the excess grease and add the tomatoes.  You will probably need to add some tomato paste, but that will depend on how meaty your tomatoes are, and how thick you like your sauce.  Then we move onto the herbs....the flavor of the sauce.  If at all possible, use fresh herbs, they just have more flavor than dried herbs, and the sauce just looks better.  And remember, when using fresh herbs, you will need more than when a recipe calls for dried herbs.  I used to keep my dried herbs in a box above the stove...not very accessible, or good for the herbs.  So my super talented hubby Chuck made me this herb cabinet.  It is attached to the end of my cupboards, and holds all different sizes.  And yes, I keep my herbs in alphabetical order, hahaha.  I could tell you that it makes it easy to find what I'm looking for, but I will admit that I do have some OCD tendencies.  Here is the list of herbs you will need....basil, oregano, parsley, all about 1 tbs dry, or a palmful of fresh.  And marjoram, about 1/2 tablespoon, and 3 teaspoonfuls of sugar.  Then let it simmer while you clean and prepare the pasta.  Or while you spoil your grandchildren.  Owen knows where I keep his favorite drink...strawberry milk.  He will even drag the chair over to try and get the mild down himself.  He loves milk, but only if it's flavored. :~D  UMMMM, don't you wish this was smellavision? (yes, I watch Rachel Ray, heehee).  Now I know that making sauce this way takes longer then opening a jar, but think about long has that jar been hanging around?  God created our food to keep us healthy, and fresh food is so much better for you than processed.  To make sauce this way only takes about 30 minutes and is well worth your time and effort.  Use this time to visit with your children while they do homework, or better yet, teach your children how to cook, and share great memories with them now.  Have a blessed day, and eat healthy.

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