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Why There is Spaghetti Sauce in my Laundry Room

   Ordinarily, I make most meals from scratch. Well, not Cheerios or Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, but – you know what I mean.  Most dinners. This works out beautifully until the occasional day comes my way when I have not planned ahead, have no earthly clue what I’m making for dinner and don’t have time to thaw anything. Enter spaghetti. I try not to abuse the ease of throwing together a spaghetti dinner, but you’ve got to admit, it’s hard to beat  on a mad-scramble night.

So, Saturday, it was just going to be myself and my daughter for dinner; Blue Collar Guy and the boys were off riding motorcycles and being manly men. Thus, it was Spaghetti Night. So, with that thought firmly in mind, I dawdled around the entire afternoon washing sheets, figuring out how to do things on this blog and swinging by Michaels for a photo project I’m planning (which was a dud anyway, since they didn’t have the necessary item).  Sometime as the sun was setting, I decided to put on my water for my no-effort meal. Once the water was rolling in the pot, I looked for the spaghetti sauce I keep on hand for just such an occasion. But! None in here. None in there. None in any cabinet, pantry or fridge.

Prior planning foiled by some child who likes to make pasta or peirogies for him/herself. Said child decimated my store of jarred sauce! Spaghetti did not happen. I cannot believe I’m about to admit this on the web, but we had Ramen noodles instead. Healthy, I know.

Never one to suffer the same error twice, I devised a plan when I went shopping today. It’s the same theory that allows me to enjoy Milano cookies or Lindt Chocolate Truffles for more than twenty seconds after I come home from the store. I’m hiding the spare spaghetti sauce.  That should do the trick. So, I’ve hidden the jars of tomatoey goodness in the laundry room.  God knows, nobody else goes in that room.

There is also the Additional Effort method that I feel compelled to post, if only to justify this blog entry so that it is actually useful to other 25H/M (25-Hour-A-Day-Moms).  You can, of course, make your own sauce and freeze it.  It’s pretty easy and quite delicious.

Additional Effort Spaghetti Sauce

  1. 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  2. 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
  3. half an onion
  4. olive oil
  5. butter
  6. T sugar
  7. t salt, pepper
  8. t dried basil, oregano
  9. ground beef or sausage if desired
  10. T  tomato paste, if you’re willing and Blue Collar Guy begs
If you’re adding in meat, start by browning it in the olive oil (about 2 T, but don’t overthink it).  I take it out and save it for the end once it’s browned. Dice the onion and “sweat” it over medium-low heat. You want it carmelized, not burned. Smash or mince the garlic and toss that in, too. Put the butter in and let it melt; it adds flavor.
Turn down the heat. If you’re caving to Blue Collar Guy’s requests, stir tomato paste in. If you don’t care that much, just pour in the crushed tomatoes.  Season it and let it simmer for hours and hours. If you can’t babysit sauce for hours and hours, you can put it in the crockpot at this point and get on with your life.  You can add back the meat when the sauce has thickened and gotten all delicious and full-bodied.
I should also admit that I’ve made this a sauce a hundred times without letting it cook for hours and hours. It’s still reasonably good, but it’s runnier and tastes a bit more like plain ol’ tomatoes.
When I’m really on the ball, I make this sauce with a big Costco can of crushed tomatoes. You cannot beat that for a bargain; they cost something like $2.47. Then you can freeze servings for use later. But if all that just makes your brain hurt, you can buy jarred sauce. Just make sure you hide a couple jars for Spaghetti Night.
– Danielle