Monday, August 10, 2009

Food Cheats: Just Like Tomato Sauce From Scratch

I hope to make Food Cheats a semi-regular feature here at Our House. There are tons of food sites out there with phenomenal gourmet recipes but truth be told there are times when even the best of us have zero time to give in the kitchen, not to mention that many of the recipes have costly ingredients that aren't always in a family budget. Over the years I have developed more than a few of what I call "food cheats" using ingredients right from my pantry. Most of these cheats are so good people swear they must be "from scratch recipes" or that I slaved all day. Neither of these things are true. Case in point my basic tomato sauce.

1 jar of Prego Fresh Mushroom Italian Sauce
1 28 oz jar of crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can College Inn Light & Fat Free Chicken Broth
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
Meatballs, sausage or other meat optional

In a large saucepan combines all the liquid ingredients, garlic and Parmesan cheese, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer uncovered for about an hour. If I am going to add any meat I do it after the hour mark and let it simmer another hour. The longer you let it simmer, the thicker the sauce gets. And just like most other tomato based sauces, it's better the second day.

I use this sauce in everything from simple noodles and sauce to lasagna to stuffed peppers and even in my stuffed cabbage. It's great for subs, homemade pizza and can't be beat when you make it with meatballs. It tastes like you slaved away when all you really did was throw it all in a pot and leave it alone. I've even made this sauce in a crock pot on low and let it go all day while I was out and about.

I've tried it with other brands of sauce and they just don't cook down as well. However, I've changed out the College Inn broth for homemade chicken stock when I've had some on hand and man alive was it good. Play around with your own favorite brands and I'm sure you'll find one that your family will call a winner and dub you Queen Of All Things Yummy for!


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