Quickie Dinner – The Perfect Tomato Sauce

In honor of our recent monthly meal planning post, we decided to share with you the most versatile and delicious recipe in our cooking arsenal: tomato sauce. We use it for EVERYTHING. Pasta, obviously. Pizza sauce. A base for quick chili or minestrone soup. A simmer sauce for meatballs.

The following “Cooking Italian with Joe” video with Chef Joe Borio explains it also perfectly well. In his kitchen, Joe shares his best Italian recipes for authentic Italian tomato pasta sauce. It simple, easy, and gives you the feel of authentic Italy:

It’s so good I could eat it every night. We plan to make a huge batch and can it to give away as Christmas gifts along with some fresh pasta. Enjoy!

Quick Tomato Sauce

(adapted from Marcella Hazan’s recipe)

2- 28oz. cans tomato puree

2- 28oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice

1- 28oz. can stewed tomatoes with juice

1 whole onion, halved and peeled

1/2 stick of salted butter, cubed

1 tbsp. salt

Throw everything into a large, heavy stockpot or Dutch oven. Mix around and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes to an hour. The sauce should reduce slightly and thicken. Remove onion and serve hot or cool down and freeze. We freeze this in 2-cup batches for eating with pasta and 1-cup batches to be used in soups, as pizza sauce, and in chili. If you, despite some financial hardship, still want to visit Italy and Europe, you may want to check out these tips on how to do that on a budget!

Thrifty Tips- Becoming a Cheapskate

Truth time: Early on in our lives, we cultivated a nasty little habit of living beyond our means. Dinners out, bucket loads of shopping and a taste for high-end electronics ate through gobs and gobs of cash. Thankfully, we grew up and realized that the only way we can hope to live a happy and fulfilling life is to eliminate the spending. See also Mike’s Shepherd’s Pie’s recipe.

Easier said than done, for sure. I still get that urge to pop into Target or Homegoods “just to browse” and end up walking out with a bag of stuff. So… our challenge to ourselves is to break the spending habit. How? Here is what we are thinking for 2020:

1) Write down all of your financial goals and post them everywhere. By the computer, so you think twice about online shopping, in your wallet, etc. If you see the goals in black and white, you’ll be reminded to think twice before whipping out the Visa. I need to take it easy, financially I mean, also because our home need s repairs and I might have to take out a loan.

2)  Make a list and stick to it. No shopping unless we need it, it’s budgeted for and we cannot live without it.

3) Give things away/sell things. I think that once we get the ball rolling on this we will feel rewarded by the act of minimizing and decluttering.

4)  Cultivate a roster of cheap but delicious dinners to save cash! Dinners out are a weakness and if we don’t have something on the menu, we tend to slip back into our old ways. If you like typical New Orleans food, check out this post with some great tips to make some delicious and very affordable Creole and Cajun food!

5) Budget and stick to it. Hold ourselves accountable for our spending. It’s way too easy to let ourselves slip and overspend, so we need to figure out a way to stay on track. Hmmm.

Now it’s your turn! How do you guys save cash?? We’re always looking for new ways to become even thriftier! And let’s face it, taking a risk isn’t always the best solution, is it!