This is an awesome recipe for using up the end of the summer produce just at the time when your schedule is starting to get a little hairy. Brown some meat, chop up the veggies and then throw them in slow cooker to simmer and meld as you run errands, pick up kids or try to teach teenagers about the Biblical origins in their school musical.
Here was how it came into being:
Exhibit A: Not only did I get a big bag of tomatoes from my CSA, I also ‘plant-sat’ for my neighbors which resulted in a second bag of tomatoes (Thanks Erica!) AND I knew there were more tomatoes in my future as CSA pickup is today. Couple that with peppers from my garden, I had a ton of fresh produce that I wanted to eat.
Exhibit B: Last night was carb night. Carb night? I am training for a marathon and I have at 20 miler on Friday. One of the joys of marathon training is that two nights before a long run, you have license to indulge on carbs. I don’t take this lightly.
The dilemma: I had to talk at a high school theatre rehearsal at 6:00, prime dinnertime. Normally I would simmer a spaghetti sauce for an hour or so, but this wasn’t going to work.
The solution: The best friend of busy cooks everywhere: the Slow Cooker.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground sirloin, browned and drained
7 cups of fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 green peppers or 5-6 smaller peppers, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 package of white mushrooms, quartered
2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
2 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker.
As you will notice, I had to swap out slow cookers. You will need at least a 5 quart slow cooker to make this recipe with the ingredients listed above.
- Cook on Low for 4 hours OR cook on High for 1 hour and then turn down to Low for 2 hours.
- Serve over a salad or spaghetti noodles or both.
Recipe Review: The pictures truly do not do this justice. I guess that’s what happens when it’s not ready until 8:00 and there is no more natural light! The sauce was amazing. By far, the best sauce I have ever made. This will be our go-to for sauce when we have fresh produce available. The tomatoes cook down and make a very rich and hearty sauce. The carrots were al dente which we liked but if you like them softer, you may want to saute them with the meat.
Recount from Rehearsal: I do have to share my experience at the theatre rehearsal. They are doing a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. If you are familiar with the show, you know there is a children’s chorus. I had forgotten that until I asked for questions during my presentation. A six year old girl asked me if the Bible was about real people and that question was followed up by how does God tell people what to write in the Bible. “Does he show up in person or does he talk in their head?”
Then another six year old, who looked on the verge of tears, asked me how could Rachel have had Benjamin if she died. I guess elementary kids have trouble understanding what dying during childbirth means.
And this, folks, is why I don’t teach elementary school and why we drank wine with dinner last night.