This morning, I pulled an unmarked 2-cup container from my freezer, not knowing whether it was spaghetti sauce or chili. It was defrosted by the time I got home from work tonight, and it’s… spaghetti sauce! Hooray!  (If it had been my rockstar chili, I would have been sad. With four kinds of beans plus roasted corn, it’s so far from paleo…)

So my word of advice to anyone who’s trying to make eating healthy easier:  Prepare lots of stuff and freeze some in meal-sized portions. But be ABSOLUTELY certain to label it first.

And now, since you’ve been so kind as to read through that silly intro, I offer you the official Garden Gnome’s made-from-scratch spaghetti sauce recipe. Looks a bit complicated, but it’s pretty simple.  All it takes is some chopping, the occasional stir, and the restraint not to eat it directly out of the pot.

2 Lb Ground Beef
1 Flat Onion, Diced
1 Green Pepper, Diced
2 C Celery, Cleaned and Diced
2 T Chopped Garlic
1 Qt Whole, Peeled Tomatoes
1 Lg Can Tomato Sauce
1 Lg Can Diced Tomatoes (Again, the seasoned ones)
Sm Can Tomato Paste
16 Oz Fresh Mushrooms, Cleaned and Sliced
Salt, Pepper to Taste
2 TBSP combination of Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary
(You can go heavier if you want… depends on your preferences)

Instructions:   In large pot, add diced onion, peppers, and celery over medium flame (not to caramelize, just to soften). Add ground beef, brown and stir. Add chopped garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add whole and diced tomatoes, sauce, and herbs. Add salt, pepper. Stir through. Increase heat to high, cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste to thicken. Cook covered for 30 minutes on medium heat.

Note: It’s always better the next day, since the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Freezes well, and is good on anything… a spoon, spaghetti squash, as a base for ratatouilli (add other colored peppers, eggplant, more mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash), as a sauce over chicken, veal, shellfish, you name it!  Enjoy!


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