August 15, 2013

Freezer Meal Series ~ Spaghetti Sauce

I have always wanted to grow my own herbs and vegetables in hopes of making my own spaghetti sauce and salsa's. Every year I plant a garden filled with different types of tomatos, peppers, onions, and a variety of herbs but never enough for more than a salad with dinner.
This year I was certain we had nailed it.  We dug a larger bed for the garden, mixed in manure from a local farm instead of the dirt you can get from the hardware stores, did a soil test kit, and added peat moss to the manure.  The summer has been mild, and we have had our fair share of rain so the plants have required minimal watering. Everything seemed to be in line for a great harvest, but for some reason we have ended up with cucumbers and a few tomato's.
So... we weren't able to harvest enough vegetables to use in our spaghetti sauce.  I searched the internet to find a recipe that looked like something we would enjoy. Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman shares her recipe, and goes into detail on each step.  The tomatoes she uses are canned, so we didn't have to buy a bunch of tomatoes and prepare them for the sauce.  I really like that she notes which ingredients are optional, and which ingredients can be changed out with something else.
Anyone that knows me, knows I do not like lots of vegetables in my sauce.  The hubbie was SHOCKED to see me chopping away at the onions and green peppers.  I even threw in a can of diced tomatoes, since I know he loves them.
The Pampered Chef Food Chopper and Mix 'N Chop made cooking so much easier. I originally began chopping the onions up, but my eyes were watering terribly. The Food Chopper worked like a charm!  The Mix 'N Chopl worked great to really crumble up the beef. Perfect for cooking up 5 lbs at one time!
Once the sauce was done, using a big ladle, I scooped about 4-5 spoons into each bag. This made a total of 5 bags, and a nice amount for one box of pasta.  Since the bags can slide around easily, I set them in a cake pan in the freezer. Once they are frozen I will just remove them from the pan.  If you have room on the door, that would be another way to keep hold of them.
One other suggestion too, add a description and the date to each bag. This will help you out greatly, especially if you plan to make and freeze other recipes.
We used the sauce for dinner at my brother's birthday celebration.  Everyone LOVED the sauce, from the littlest to the adults.  This will now be my "Go-To" recipe for all my spaghetti sauce.

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