Making your own pasta sauces, chilli etc(15 Posts)
Since having two little ones I really struggle with cooking in general, trying find something everyone likes and I'm just don't have time to be as adventurous as I used to with cooking. I need to find some favourites but also due to health issues I need it to be healthy. I found I'm relying on jarred sauces too much for pasta, pasta bakes, chilli etc and think perhaps I should be making these things myself. I really am short on time and get frustrated that when I have made these things in the past they never taste as nice as some of the jarred versions.
Does anyone have any foolproof recipes that are quick, easy and healthy? Thanks.
This mince is good for a chilli (I don't like beans so usually either stuff peppers of chop them up and cook them in which is quicker)
Spaghetti and meatballs
(For bolognese I just add onions and garlic to fried (and drained) mince, then add a tin of tomatoes, oregano, black pepper and some tomato puree)
Pasta sauces are dead easy.
My basic - one stock cube, some PRE prepared garlic (very lazy is ideal) and a tin of tomatoes, then add some oregano or other dried herbs and simmer for about half an hour, add some water if you are worried it will stick.
You can then make a vegetable version - sauté any veg you want, then add the ingredients above and simmer. A classic base is onion, celery and carrot, then add tomatoes, stock etc. I make a nice chunky sauce with red pepper, mushroom and leek. You can blend if you don't like lumps.
To make spag Bol, brown the mince, add as above, simmer. You can then use it for lasagne, if you can't make a white sauce, you can use cottage cheese instead.
Jarred sauces actually taste vile. Once you start making your own, both the texture and the sweetness are not nice from a jar.
I've got some pasta bake and some chilli recipes too but I'll only put them up if you want them.
I get bags of pre prepared frozen Mediterranean veg and they're great for adding to pasta sauces etc to up the veg content without effort.
I make tomato sauce with onion pasatta tinned tomatoes, herbs & garlic, like the above recipe. Make up a big pot and bottle when hot,it will seal the jar and keep so you've some when you need it.
My pasta sauce is dead easy - tin of tomatoes, liberal squeeze of soy sauce, decent squirt of golden syrup, sweet chilli to taste and a sprinkle of oregano. You could dice an onion and soften it up first of all, if you can be bothered.
It's not exactly haute cuisine, but it's very, very palatable.
Teaspoon each of sugar and salt is the magic ingredient that turns my tomato/pasta sauces from bleugh to delicious. That and cooking on a low heat for a long time.
No need to add sugar, or salt if you use a stock cube
A squeeze of lemon juice also really lifts a pasta sauce. I also add a pinch of cinnamon. Sounds weird but it's gorgeous.
Chucking in some cut up sundried tomatoes always works to sweeten a tomato pasta sauce. A glug of balsamic vinegar at the end is also good. No need for sugar.
Thanks so much for the replies. I guess i should try again with the pasta sauces. Lots of secret ingredient ideas! I was on slimming world once and everyone put sweetener in the sauce, i think its balancing the acidity of tomatoes but i bet sugar would be nicer they showed how much sugar they put in jarred pasta sauces on the documentary last wk and i was amazed!
We do like the homepride tuna pasta bake, was horrible when i tried to do it. Does anyone have any good recipes. Thanks again.
I make tomato sauce from gently fried chopped onion, olive oil, garlic, and tin of tomatoes. (or 2 for 5 adults). To make it more tasty I add veg stock cube, tomato puree and Mediterranean herbs (basil in the summer) and balsamic vinegar.
Sometimes I add coloured peppers with the onions for fun.
For bolognaise, I do the above but with mince after the onions, and beef stock cube.
For chilli, like the bolognaise, but with peppers, add a cheap tin of kidney beans with the tomatoes, and add herbs and spices after the mince (bayleaf, coriander powder, cumin powder and seeds sometimes, oregano, sweet pimeton, chilli powder). If I am making an effort with this, I put red wine in with the tomatoes, and used braising steak pieces instead of mince, and cook in the oven for about 3 hrs.
No sugar - plenty of onions, gently fried until soft and golden will be sweet, along with the tomatoes. Balsamic vinegar/lemon juice/white wine will help bring out the flavour.
I think they put so much sugar in jarred sauces, because fresh ingredients are unreliable for their exact sugar content, so it always tastes the same in every jar. My dinners never taste the same
Making lots at a time and freezing the excess can really help - e.g. when making tomato sauce for pasta a long slow simmer really intensifies the flavour but it's hard to find the time to do that every day. I've started making double quantities of pretty much everything I cook and it's amazing how quickly the freezer fills up. Nigel slater's Real Fast food is great for simple, quick options.
400g tinned tomatoes, 1 red onion - halved, 25g butter (try less if you want but it's not too unhealthy given how much sauce there is). Simmer for 50 mins. Blend if desired. Delish and freezes well. No sweetener required.
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