I went in to educate a nice woman about her diet at the hospital I work at and left with an education myself. We got to talking and she mentioned how she loves to cook Italian food. She also said her cooking didn’t take off until her forties (that’s me!!).
So then I went into my sob story about how I haven’t been able to find a homemade spaghetti sauce that I like. She proceeded to give me her recipe. I wrote it down furiously but it wasn’t precise — a little bit of this and that — but she did try to give me measurements.
Her recipe calls for cooking the sauce over the stove for three hours. Whenever I hear that I think: slow cooker! So I did my best to adopt her recipe to the slow cooker and it worked great. I asked her permission to post it and she was thrilled. We even hugged goodbye.
My goal was to add homemade meatballs to this but instead, I used the turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s. If you are home, you can add all the ingredients and put it on high for about 3 hours. Drop frozen meatballs in about 30-45 minutes before it is done or try making your own meatballs and adding them at the very beginning (like this recipe).
If you want them to cook longer you can turn it to low for 6-8 hours and do the same with the meatballs, switching it to high to heat them up faster. This is also perfect for feeding a crowd. You can double the recipe to serve about 16. Serve with a salad and some fruit, and you have an easy meal.
But the true test was my little Italian’s reaction (Little D) who couldn’t get enough of it. His favorite meal, “sghetti,” just got better.
- 28 ounce can tomato puree
- 14.5 ounce tomato sauce
- 6 ounce tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1½ teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- Add tomato products to a slow cooker.
- Take one cup of water and pour it into the (emptied) big can of tomatoes, pouring everything into the slow cooker.
- Add garlic, spices, bay leaf, sugar and salt.
- Heat on high for 3 hours or low 6-8 hours. If desired, add frozen meatballs 30 to 45 minutes before it is done cooking.
For more easy recipes and tips on how to serve meals to kids, check out Maryann’s book The Family Dinner Solution: How to Create a Rotation of Dinner Meals Your Family Will Love