I used to make homemade Pasta Sauce with fresh tomatoes and seasonings. Those days are long gone. With everything going on I just can’t seem to find the time so like many busy folks I started to use store bought sauce in a jar. There are many brands and flavors out there, many of them are just fine I guess, but they just aren’t the same as homemade. Well you don’t have to settle for generic pasta sauce. With just a bit of dressing up you can make jar pasta sauce taste like homemade. Yes even the less expensive store brands! All it takes are a few extra ingredients stirred into the sauce as you heat it. No chopping involved, promise!
I make this sauce to use for spaghetti, ziti, and other pasta dishes. You can even use it for pizza, and it’s great for dipping my Stromboli in!
You can make sauce ahead for later use. I usually pour it into mason jars and store in the fridge for about a week or so. For longer storage you can seal it or freeze it in the jars, that way you’ll always have pasta sauce handy!
I like to use fresh herbs from my garden. I always keep small pots of herbs in the kitchen. It’s a very inexpensive way to add fresh herbs when you need them. Just pinch off what you need when you need it. But if you don’t have fresh herbs no worries, just use the spices in you spice rack!
Here’s what you need to dress up your store bought jar of pasta sauce.
1 Jar or Can of Pasta Sauce – Original or Garlic & Onion work best
1 Can Diced Stewed Tomatoes – Italian Style – half drained
1 Tbls. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Oregano (fresh or dried)
1/2 Tsp. Rosemary (fresh or dried)
1/2 Tsp. or 3-4 leaves Basil (fresh or dried)
Place jar pasta sauce in a pot.
Add stewed tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. If you’re using fresh herbs rinse them in water, pat dry with a paper towel, and tear into small pieces before adding to sauce.
Stir to mix well.
Simmer about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep from scorching.
Serve over hot pasta or place in jars for later use.
Store sauce in the fridge for about a week or freeze.
Almost Homemade Pasta Sauce
Dress up store bought jar pasta with a few easy ingredients. It will taste like homemade!
The holiday season is upon us. At my house that means cooking, baking, cleaning, shopping, and all the other chores to get ready for holiday entertaining. Things can get pretty hectic, at times I don’t have a lot of time to cook dinner! To make holiday preparations a bit easier I keep several ready made meal items in my freezer, things that can be heated up or tossed together quickly.
One of my favorite things are homemade meatballs. I like meatballs because I can use them to quickly prepare several different meals including Swedish meatballs, Meatball Soup, and of course Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Another family favorite are Meatball Subs. They’re so easy to make and are very filling. I serve this with a tossed salad and a side of chips, so simple! You can of course use frozen meatballs available from any grocery store, I’m not a big fan and like to make my own to freeze. Here’s my recipe for Homemade Meatballs.
Here’s how to make it, enjoy!
1 large loaf French Bread – Cut to the size you want then halved lengthwise to get 2 pieces
12 Cooked meatballs
1 Jar Pasta Sauce
3/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1. Place frozen meatballs in a heavy saucepan (or you can make them ahead and place them in a crockpot on low for about 4 hours).
2. Cover meatballs with pasta sauce. Simmer on low for about 1 hour or if you need it faster increase the heat and heat until the sauce is bubbling and meat is heated thru.
3. Butter bread and toast in a frying pan until browned.
4. Scoop meatball mixture on one side of the bread and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Sprinkle other side with cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese melts, about 8 minutes.
5. Remove from oven, place second slice of bread on top to make a sandwich and serve.
It makes a hearty meal with a green salad and if you want some chips.
As you know I make at least one or two meatless recipes a week at my house. Last week I made Baked Manicotti. It;s a spinach and cheese filled pasta tube.
It’s quite simple to make and can be made in advance. I made mine in the morning then popped it in the fridge while I ran a few errands then threw in in the oven 20 minutes before dinnertime.
This dish is inexpensive, quick, and really yummy. I served it with a tossed green salad and a slice of toasted garlic bread.
1 box Manicotti pasta
1 lb. bag of frozen chopped spinach – thawed
2 tbls. garlic powder
1 can or jar of pasta sauce (24 oz.)
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1. Prepare Manicotti tubes as directed. Drain and set aside.
2. Squeeze as much water as you can from the thawed spinach and place in a mixing bowl.
3. Add garlic powder and stir well.
4. Add ricotta cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir to evenly distribute.
5. Add 1/4 of pasta sauce to spinach and cheese mixture. Stir well.
6. Divide spinach mixture equally between the pasta tubes and gently stuff each tube with the mixture.
There’s really no neat way to do this. I tried using a small spoon, but it went too slowly or tore the pasta tube. So far I’ve found the easiest, but not the neatest way to stuff the tubes is with bare fingers.
A bit messy, but it works!.
7. Place stuffed pasta into an oven safe baking pan.
8. Pour remaining pasta sauce over all.
9. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over sauce.
10. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese melts.
If you are making it in advance, cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. Baking time will be a bit longer, another 10 minutes or so or until the filling is warm and the cheese melted.
Serve with salad and hot garlic bread, Bon Apetito!
Prepare Manicotti tubes as directed. Drain and set aside.
Squeeze as much water as you can from the thawed spinach and place in a mixing bowl.
Add garlic powder and stir well.
Add ricotta cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir to evenly distribute.
Add 1/4 of pasta sauce to spinach and cheese mixture. Stir well.
Divide spinach mixture equally between the pasta tubes and gently stuff each tube with the mixture.
There's really no neat way to do this. I tried using a small spoon, but it went too slowly or tore the pasta tube. So far I've found the easiest, but not the neatest way to stuff the tubes is with bare fingers.
A bit messy, but it works!.
Place stuffed pasta into an oven safe baking pan.
Pour remaining pasta sauce over all.
Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over sauce.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese melts.
If you are making it in advance, cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator until you're ready to bake it. Baking time will be a bit longer, another 10 minutes or so or until the filling is warm and the cheese melted.
Serve with salad and hot garlic bread, Bon Apetito!
My grandsons love spaghetti. They will eat it every day if they could.
I’m sure everyone has their own favorite spaghetti recipe using different types of meats and sauces. In our family we enjoy spaghetti with meat balls, meat sauce, or as a casserole.
The casserole version is very easy to prepare, it uses sauce from a jar. It can be made ahead of time and frozen, just pop it in the oven whenever you want to serve it.
I’ve been making Spaghetti Casserole for years. It’s not as “saucy” as regular spaghetti with meat sauce, but it’s still yummy! I add a bottle of Chili Sauce to give it a unique taste, the only problem I’ve had is the bottle of Chili Sauce looks so much like Cocktail Sauce which is usually placed on the same shelf next to it. Many a time I’ve come home with a bottle of Cocktail Sauce instead, meaning an extra run to the market for the right sauce and some shrimp!
Here’s the recipe. Served with a small salad it makes a great dinner when you’re pressed for time.
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. spaghetti
1 bottle Pasta Sauce
1 bottle Chili Sauce
1 tbl. minced garlic
1 tbl. cooking oil
6 slices American cheese
1. Prepare spaghetti as directed on package. Drain hot water and replace with cold water to keep pasta from sticking together. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large deep frying pan. Add garlic and sautee until it turns golden brown.
3. Add ground beef. Cook until meat is browned and crumbly. Drain oil.
4. Add pasta and chili sauce. Stir well and simmer until sauce starts to bubble.
5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in drained pasta.
6. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray and pour pasta mixture into the pan.
Last week I decided to try out my spinach & cheese filling on Jumbo pasta shells. It’s basically the same recipe I use for my Yummy Spinach & Cheese Pasta Rolls, but I used Ricotta Cheese instead of cottage cheese.
The stuffed shells go great with garlic bread or garlic knots.
10 Jumbo Pasta Shells
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach – thawed
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 tbls. garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red peppers
1/2 bottle of Pasta Sauce any flavor
Cook Pasta Shells according to the box directions. Drain and place on clean surface.
Drain thawed spinach – squeeze as much as the water out
Add Ricotta Cheese, 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Powder and Crushed pepper to spinach. Mix well.
Separate spinach mixture into 10 equal portions.
Carefully spoon each portion into each shell
Place stuffed shells into an oven proof baking dish
Pour Pasta Sauce over shells; sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella Cheese
Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Don’t over cook the shell edges will become hard.