Monday, March 4, 2013

Family of 6... Crockpot Marinara Spaghetti Sauce

Being a family of 6 has been easier than I thought. Deacon has just folded right into our family.  He and Grace hang well together so he is doing well on what already was her schedule.  There has been some
shuffling and reorganizing but overall it has been good (sidebar: I understand that this could change at any minute. We have only been together for 5 months so I expect the floor to drop at some point).

One BIG thing that I wasn't expecting was how much our family eats.  I definitely have had to increase the quantity of food that I make.  I think part of it is the other kids are going through growth spurts but Deacon likes to eat.  All of my kids (except the older boy who will remain nameless) are pretty good eaters.  They like food and food generally likes them.

I have looked for ways to make our food more healthy and also for ways to save money on our grocery budget. I recently read "7" by Jen Hatmaker.  I totally want to do several things in the book (if not try the entire "7" concept but later...).  She helped me re-recognize the products that are in our food, the good stuff and the bad stuff.  I had gotten into a rut of "easy" with some of our foods but on some of the other foods, we were okay.

One thing that I have been doing is making my own spaghetti/marinara sauce.  It was a recipe that I found on Pinterest.  It worked really well the first time and I just finished a second batch yesterday.  I am able to freeze the sauce so each batch gives us quite a bit.  This time I got 5 "jars" out of the batch.  And it only cost $8!  The sweet part about this is that it is made in the crockpot!

Ashley's Crockpot Marinara/Spaghetti Sauce
4 cans - 28oz each tomatoes (can be diced, stewed, whole, crushed)
3 cans - 6 oz tomato paste
1 cup onion - diced (I use frozen diced)
3-4 cloves garlic (I used roasted garlic this time)
3-4 bay leaves (make sure to pull these out when done)
2 tbl dried basil
2 tbl dried oregano
2 tbl sugar
2 tbl balsamic vinegar

Put all ingredients in crockpot. Stir.  Let cook for 8 hours.  Let sauce cool (I put mine in the fridge overnight).  Once sauce is cool, run it through the blender.  (We don't like chunky sauce in our house. If you like it chunky, you can omit this step.) Make sure to pull out your bay leaves before you blend.  Then ladle or pour 2.5 to 3 cups of sauce into a  quart freezer z*ploc bag.  Squeeze out the air then lay them flat in your freezer. When ready to use, set out your sauce for an hour or sauce to let it thaw. Then use like usual.  This recipe will get you 5 almost 3 cup bags.

You can make this your own by adjusting the herbs, sugar, or vinegar.  The prep and finish time is about 20 minutes max.  The crockpot does all the work for you!

Hope you enjoy it!

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