Tag Archives: crushed tomatoes

Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce (Crock Pot)

I am very passionate about my sauce ! My Italian Grandma and Mom taught me well 🙂 I have been making my own since I was 16 and over the years developed a recipe that is LOVED and CRAVED by many. That recipe included cooking sausage and meatballs in the sauce – and that gives it a very rich flavor. But it also adds calories. So in my quest to keep things lower cal, I’ve been trying a few batches of sauce without meat and this one is really, really good. It comes quite close to my regular recipe !

I’ve added beef bouillon to make up for some of the lost flavor from the meat, I’ve added roasted garlic which gives a great depth of flavor (much different than dropping in raw or sautéed garlic) and I make sure to use tomato paste. Tomato paste is to tomatoes what lemonade concentrate is to lemonade – – it is highly concentrated and adds a different flavor than any other tomato product out there. And finally I add 2 secret ingredients – shhhhhhh ! Fennel and anise seeds add the flavor you would get if you cooked sausage in the sauce. It is the finishing touch that so many sauces are missing. You only get the slightest hint of taste of the seeds in the finished product. But let me tell you, without them, the sauce is just not the same.

If you’ve never tried sauce before – try !! This one starts from canned products, not raw tomatoes – so it is NOT labor intensive. And even a bad batch of homemade is better than a jar of Ragu 😉 It’s what makes a pasta meal special, so do it up !

Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce
Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce

12 servings
58 calories per serving

8 cloves roasted garlic, minced
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
¾ c water
1 T oil
2 t basil flakes
6 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 t oregano flakes
½ t red pepper flakes
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ t whole anise seeds
1 t whole fennel seeds
2 packets or 2 cubes beef bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot, cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours.

You can also put this in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes or simmer stove top for 2-3 hours.

The length of time does make a different – the sauce tastes much richer when simmered for hours than a quick sauce (which have their place in some recipes, but don’t equal a traditional slowly simmered sauce).

Freeze your extra portions and next time it’s pasta night, just defrost in the frig over night and quickly reheat in a sauce pan.

Let me know how you like it ! 🙂

Sausage and Lentil Soup

Talk about a satisfying soup ! This one has meat, spice, veggies, cheese and 3 DIFFERENT CARBS! Lentils, rice and tortellini. Oh how good 🙂

Sausage and Lentil Soup
Sausage and Lentil Soup

13 servings
275 calories per serving

20 oz. turkey Italian sausage with casings removed
13 c water
1 c chopped carrots
2 c chopped celery
½ c diced green bell pepper
2 t onion powder
¾ t oregano flakes
1 t garlic powder
1 t basil flakes
2 t chicken boullion
½ t seasoned salt
¼ t pepper
2 c dried lentils, rinsed
½ c dry rice
22 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
2 ½ c cheese tortellini (refrigerated)
Salt and pepper to taste

Crumble the sausage and cook in a skillet until done (keep crumbling as you cook it). In a large soup pan mix water, vegetables and spices then add lentils and rice and bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in tomato sauce, bring to a boil again and add the tortellini and sausage and cook 4 minutes or until tortellini are done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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