Maybe it’s just me, but September is kind of kicking my butt. Not just the whole sick kid in the hospital thing, but the rest of what’s happening in life seems to be leaving me exhausted by day’s end.
Apparently while you can prepare for the routine, you can test run getting out the door on time (best thing I did!), talk about it, buy all the fancy calendars and sleep with your planner but you can’t actually understand how busy it’s going to be until you live it. I thought about most everything (except for all the things I didn’t think of), we’re pretty set when it comes to backpacks, clean laundry and bedtimes but I kind of forgot something major.
We have to eat too.
It seems like by the time I get home from work/school stuff there is little time left for dinner and I’m scrambling to get everyone well fed. (read: by “well fed” I mean something nutritious and yummy that didn’t come from a package or a drive thru) Some days it feels near impossible.
That is, until I remembered I have these two best friends living in our house – the slower cooker and her best buddy the freezer. My slow cooker houses HUGE amounts of food and I am able to make 2 sometimes 3 meals at a time in her with minimal work. While I have my old stand by recipes I’ve also discovered SO many great Slow Cooker recipes over on the Life Made Delicious Website!
One of our old stand by favourites is slow cooker spaghetti sauce. This rich, hearty sauce covers SO many bases for us. We eat it served over noodles (or Spaghetti Squash mmmm, squash), it makes a quick lasagne, if we have day old buns lying around it can be a Sloppy joe or add a can of beans and some spices and it’s Chili night!
This batch makes 3 dinners for our family and I love it. After we’ve had our first meal I portion it out into 2 other meals and freeze it. That way on days when I’m running late all I have to do is pull it out of the freezer, heat it up, boil some noodles and we’re good to go!
This is the “Chili Version” of my spaghetti sauce. I couldn’t find my spaghetti photo but I’ll add on in a day or so as I’m in need of a big batch!
OFS Switch it Up Spaghetti Sauce
1lb (450g) Extra Lean Ground Beef*
1lb (450g) Ground Turkey Breast*
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 Large White Onion, diced small
3 Large Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Medium Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Medium Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
4 Large Celery Stalks, chopped
2 cups Button Mushrooms, diced
1 medium Carrot, grated (adds sweetness, I only do it for the chili version)
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Cans 796mL Diced tomatoes in juice (low sodium)
2 Cans 796mL Crushed Tomatoes**
1 tsp Oregano Dried (or fresh to taste if you have it)
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Heat a large frying pan & olive oil on medium/high heat. When hot add both types of meat.
2. Cook until meat is golden brown, seasoning with a little bit of salt & pepper, drain off any fat (easiest way to do this is scoop out meat with a slotted spoon leaving the fat behind to pour into a container for disposal) add to slow cooker.
3. Return pan to heat and allow to get hot again, add onions, peppers, celery, and mushrooms. Saute a few minutes to lock in flavour and add to your slow cooker.
4. Add remaining ingredients to your slow cooker, give it a couple of good stirs, turn on low/medium heat (if you’re cooking all day) or medium/high (if you’d like to cook it in less than 6 hours).
5. Put down spoon, grab car keys and head for Starbucks. Dinner is done.*You can use all of one type of meat. In our house we’re tied on preference. The girls and I love turkey and Corey loves his beef. So we mix it up. **You can substitute tomato sauce for crushed tomatoes if you’d like. We prefer the crushed tomatoes because there is nothing added to them, no sugar or other unwanted ingredients.
I LOVE this recipe. It is an old favourite that gets used very often around here. Making sure to have a few batches of my sauce in the freezer will ensure that come Christmas vacation my family will have happy full tummies and I will still be sane!