My family enjoys quick and easy meals on busy nights. Sometimes we are running from school, to home, to soccer, to home and then to band or girl scouts.
There are days that are schedules feel more like a marathon than a busy family. I try really hard to not over commit myself or my kids but it just happens.
On these nights I am looking for fast, healthy meals. I could open a jar of premade spaghetti sauce and call it good.
I have several reason's why I don't do this. Personally, I don't like super sweet marinara sauce and I feel like the pre sauces that you get in the store are overly sweet. I also don't like paying the higher prices for a good marinara sauce. Some jars are upwards of $10.00 a bottle.
I find it takes me about 10 minutes to put the ingredients together for a homemade batch of marinara vs. the few minutes to twist the lid of a jar and microwave.
When I have more time, I will let it simmer on the stove so that the flavors can develop into a thick marinara. I will admit, with time, I sometimes warm it up knowing it will be better the next day but my family is hungry and they need to eat sooner than later.
As the Mom and cook in the family sometimes I have to overlook a bit of gourmet embellishments for the sake of a simple, healthy dish.
In the summer, I enjoy julienned zucchini sticks in place of noodles. I have always found that zucchini and tomatoes pair well together and in this case the sauce and vegetable take center stage. We add a bit of freshly grated parmesan too.
This sauce can easily be turned into a yummy and delicious meat variety by adding hamburger, veal or sausage or a combination of all three. I have also used it in lasagna and with my eggplant parmesan recipe.
Recipe: Homemade Marinara Sauce
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce (15 oz or close to it)
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1/4 cup of onion, diced small
2 tablespoons of olive oil, for sautéing + 2 tablespoons for sauce
1 tablespoon of fresh basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 -1 teaspoon of kosher salt ( start with less and add more as needed)
In a small saute pan add 2 T. of oil and saute onion and garlic together until onion is clear.
In a medium size pot, on medium heat, add the remaining ingredients. Add the sauteed onion and garlic.
Let simmer, with small bubbles popping on surface of sauce, for 15 minutes. The sauce will get thicker the longer you simmer it. I usually shoot for an hour if I have the time.
Taste your sauce to see if more salt is needed. This is an important step because the right amount of salt makes this really shine.