Now, I’m not dogging on Prego Spaghetti sauce, but once you start making your own sauce–you will NEVER go back to sauce in a jar. I have several bottles in my food storage, but those are only for emergencies 🙂 Nothing gets better than a big vat of spaghetti sauce cooking on your stove–the smell is to die for! It really isn’t hard once you give it a try. I make up a HUGE batch every 3 months or so and then freeze the sauce in ziploc bags or Tupperware containers. Having homemade spaghetti sauce makes dinners a breeze. I love to make lasagna, spaghetti, meatball sandwiches, chicken parmesan, manicotti, etc. with my sauce. You can make homemade french bread (recipe in past post) and just dip in the sauce as an appetizer–it is awesome! So….here is how you can make your own gourmet spaghetti sauce in your own home (this beats Olive Gardens any day!!)

How do I know when I need to make a batch of my sauce??….I cleaned out my freezer and found a MASSIVE amount of Italian Sausage. When it goes on sale, I stock up! (That’s probably not a surprise to anyone) By the way, Tennessee Pride and Jimmy Dean sausage is the ONLY brand of sausage I will buy. My garden is also bursting with peppers, zucchini, tomatoes & other vegetables. Throw them in your sauce! This recipe is great because it uses several vegetables and your family will never know–it’s a great way to sneak vegetables into your children’s diets.
Homemade Marinara Sauce
Ingredients
  1. 4 lb. ground Italian sausage (spicy is optional)
  2. 1 8 oz. pkg. mushrooms, sliced
  3. 3 large fresh garlic cloves
  4. 1/3 c. salt (or more depending on taste)
  5. 1 T. pepper
  6. Red pepper flakes (optional—to taste)
  7. 1 1/2 lb. mini carrots finely blended/diced
  8. 1 bunch celery finely blended/diced
  9. 3 medium white onions/diced
  10. Other vegetables-optional (zucchini, peppers, etc.)
  11. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  12. 5 T. basil
  13. 2 T. sugar
  14. 30 cans of stewed tomatoes (15oz.), with juices (whole) or frozen/fresh tomatoes from your garden
  15. 4 cans tomato paste for thickening
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Instructions
  1. Use food processor to dice carrots, onions and celery (and any other vegetables) into small chunks. Sauté all above ingredients (carrots, onions, celery, sausage, mushrooms & spices) in large saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add tomatoes including juice from can. For a smooth red sauce, puree all tomatoes and ingredients together in blender (or use blender/wand-- they work great!). Or, for meatier sauce, puree tomatoes only, and leave other ingredients in chunks. Allow sauce to simmer 2-5 hours on low with out the lid, sauce should reduce about one third. Add basil right before serving. Taste to make sure sauce does not need any more salt, sugar or seasoning. Simmer on stove or in roaster pan until thick. Let sauce cool and then freeze sauce in Tupperware’s or freezer bags for later meals.
Notes
  1. Makes 18 qts. (can 1/2 recipe for a smaller batch)
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**One of my favorite tricks…if you have extra tomatoes in your garden and don’t want to can them, FREEZE them! Rinse them off, cut out the core and place in freezer bags (don’t remove skin). Keep in your freezer until you are ready to use in later recipes, for homemade red sauce, chili, etc.