Sunday, September 4, 2011

0 Home made marinara sauce vs Hunt's Traditional Spaghetti Sauce

Okay, this is a very basic recipe that I'm very excited about sharing because once you've made it you can do so much more with it. You'll have extra left over too, so not only can you put it on your spaghetti, but you can use it to make lasagna or a pizza. You can also add ingredients to make other types of sauces.

Now in my recipe I am going to use canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, but you can use fresh tomatoes or tomatoes you've canned yourself. If I get tomatoes cheap during the year, I can them either for recipes like this, or for just eating heated as a side dish. In a future article I'll discuss how to can your own fruits and vegetables.

I like my sauce thick, so I use paste but if you don't like such a thick sauce you can leave it out. I also like a lot of garlic so you might want to use less. When purchasing your canned tomatoes and sauce be sure to read the labels. Remember the goal here is to buy what has the least number of ingredients and steer clear of any that have high fructose corn syrup, corn solids, corn syrup or sugar in them. You would think a can of tomato sauce would just be cooked crushed tomatoes and it should be, but I know of at least one major brand that adds corn syrup to their tomato sauce. You probably won't be able to find any that don't have salt added, if possible buy low sodium.

If you like you can just buy a couple of cans of crushed tomatoes and omit the tomato sauce, but I'm trying to make this recipe something you can put together quickly and it will take a little longer to cook the crushed tomatoes down to a sauce.

If you use fresh tomatoes, heat a pot of boiling water, put the tomatoes in the water for a couple of minutes, remove and put them into ice cold water (and I mean ice cold – drop a couple of ice cubes in the bowl). Once they've cooled down you'll be able to pinch the skin right off of them, then you can chop them up for your sauce. Also, if you're using fresh tomatoes, add about a ½ tsp sugar to the recipe – when it starts to heat you'll notice a bit of pink frothy stuff come to the top of the pot this is excess acid, skin it off with a spoon and throw it away.

Shiratki Tofu Noodles in Marinara Sauce with Mushrooms and Textured Vegetable Protein
Basic Marinara Sauce:
1 28 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 29 oz can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
3-4 cloves garlic - crushed
1 Tbl parsley
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
2 bay leaves
2 Tbl olive oil

In a large pot, saute garlic in olive oil until it begins to get a golden color. Add the tomatoes & tomato sauce, stir well. Add the spices, when the sauce begins to bubble add the tomato paste and stir. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring now and then. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Price for 63 oz of home made sauce: .08 cents an oz or $5.00 for 63 oz
Price for 63 oz of Hunt's Traditional Spaghetti Sauce: 26.5 oz can = $1.89 or .07 cents an oz, total of $4.49 for 63 oz

Ingredients for home made sauce: Tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, bay leaves, oil (salt & citric acid, that's was in the canned tomato products).

Ingredient for Hunt's Traditional Spaghetti Sauce: Tomato Puree, water, high fructose corn syrup, salt, corn syrup, soybean oil, dehydrated onions, sugar, carrot fiber, spices (including soy lecithin), citric acid, natural flavor.

Time to prepare home made sauce: About 5 minutes to open cans and add spices, 30 minutes to heat, 35 minutes total.
Time to prepare Hunt's Sauce: About 15-20 minutes

Well, the comparison results show that Hunt's Traditional Sauce costs about .51 cents less, but I think you'll agree that my sauce recipe tastes better and it's definitely more healthy. Best of all it only took about 15 minutes longer to make and you'll have a lot extra that, in the future, will only take 15 minutes to heat. By the way, the larger the batch the cheaper it is to make – you can buy some really big cans of tomatoes! Freeze the extra sauce in resealable containers or zip lock bags (these takes up less space in the freezer than the containers). Or you can bottle it yourself in canning jars. To me Hunt's Sauce has one of the better tastes and it's cheaper than most prepared sauces, if you were to compare home made to a higher priced brand you'd probably wind up saving money by making your own. Remember to have fun cooking, experiment with different ingredients and tastes!

We've finished making the sauce and we've seen the comparison so now here's the fun part. You've made a basic sauce but you can dress it up a number of ways. Get creative that's part of having fun cooking!  Below are some ideas for you....

Bolognese* – Brown about 1 ½ - 2 pounds ground beef with the garlic breaking up with a spoon, then proceed as directed.

Mushroom Sauce – Prepare as directed but add about ½ – ¾ of a pound of sliced mushrooms about 10 minutes before serving.

Putanesca** - Just before serving add 2 2oz cans of anchovies and a can of sliced black olives.

Fra Diavalo – Add 1 tsp of chili powder and 1 tsp of crushed red peppers.

Scottish Sauce – Add 1 ½ – 2 pounds ground beef, 1 onion (chopped), 2 carrots (sliced), 8 oz of fresh sliced mushrooms.

Sausage – Add about a 1 ½ – 2 pounds of sweet or hot Italian sausage.

Pizza Sauce – Use the tomato paste, maybe even add a second can.

* Vegetarians can use 1 c textured vegetable protein soaked in 2 c water instead of ground beef, drain well before adding to sauce.

** Vegetarians can add a couple of tablespoons of miso paste instead of anchovies.

Oh, I almost forgot! If you're gluten intolerant, diabetic or just trying to loose weight, I found some great noodles from Japan – they're called shirataki noodles. The Japanese have been eating them for a thousand years, so I think if there were any health hazards associated with these noodles we'd know it by know. You might also find them advertised by American companies as “Miracle Noodles”. They're made from an Asian root, similar to a yam or taro root – these noodles when made plain contain no calories, gluten, carbs or fat. Sometimes they are mixed with tofu to make them a bit more like spaghetti even then they are still very healthy – no gluten, no fat, only 20 calories and 3 grams of carbs!

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