Monday, November 7, 2011

Meatless Monday: Crockpot Tomato Sauce

I had quite the busy last four days, which is why this post is a little late. Lily and I went to the zoo with her Aunt Kim and cousin Rhys on Thursday, caught up on chores and work on Friday, went to NYC with the grandparents on Saturday, then Lily slept over the grandparents’ house Saturday night and got back late Sunday afternoon then went grocery shopping with Mom and Dad. In between, I caught up on chores I normally have trouble doing with Lily around, like giving Ogum a desperately needed trim and FINALLY finishing painting Lily’s room (see pics below). By Sunday night I was spent!

It was Paul's idea to do the split colors like this

Lily loves ducks (and Elmo as you can see by the book she insisted on carrying around with her)

"I'm walking in the spiderwebs..."

"Honk, honk!"

Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is pretty easy, the only really active part being peeling, seeding and chopping up the tomatoes. When I first made this in my Crockpot, it was because I had recently acquired a huge batch of organic, farm-raised and picked tomatoes from Paul’s dad who works on a farm (part of the way he spends his “retirement”). I got bright red, yellow, orange and green tomatoes, more than enough to make the sauce with, the rest went into salads. The yellow and orange were so sweet (“Like candy!” according to Paul’s dad), and the red were perfect for this sauce! I just threw the green ones into the sauce as well because I am not a big fan of them alone (although I know many people enjoy fried green tomatoes). To be honest, I rarely eat fresh tomatoes because the acidity bothers my stomach. I usually will only eat plum or cherry tomatoes very thinly sliced on sandwiches or mixed up in a salad or with fresh mozzarella. But, when it comes to sauces, soups and beans, tomatoes really make them amazing!

Some of the lovely organic tomatoes from the farm
Crockpot Tomato Sauce


1 lb ripe tomatoes, preferably plum
6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh basil
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

First, peel the skin off the tomatoes with a small, sharp knife; then seed the tomatoes and if they’re soft enough mash up into chunks, otherwise dice. Set aside. In a small frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil with the salt and pepper for about 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat then add contents of the pan along with all the other ingredients to your slow cooker. Set to low and cook for up to 12 hours, minimum 6 hours. The longer you cook it the better it will taste, but in my experience, 6 hours of cooking will still taste great if you can’t wait that long!

Taste the sauce once an hour as it cooks and add more seasonings according to taste as you go. If it’s too acidic, add more sugar. Some other seasonings you can add are red pepper flake to spice it up, thyme to soften it, and cinnamon to warm it up and make it a bit less traditional if that’s what you’re into. This recipe is a basic, classic tomato sauce recipe, perfect for anything you need sauce for, but I think it tastes best smothering spaghetti!!!

Lily loves tomato sauce. Most kids do, I think. I actually was not a big fan as a kid, and now I know it’s because of the acidity. My parents just thought I was being picky and made me eat it anyway, or else cave and give me my fuselli with butter and cheese. The picky eater in my house is my husband, but even he can appreciate a homemade, slow-cooked pasta sauce.

For babies 9-12 months, puree ½ cup pasta with a little olive oil and a few spoonfuls of sauce then top with grated Parmesan.

Tomatoes- despite their acidity that my stomach disagrees with –are quite good for you. For one thing, they are loaded with the antioxidant lycopene and vitamins A, C and K with are strongly present in all red or orange-colored produce. They provide cardio-vascular support, strengthen bones and some studies show they are beneficial in protecting against cancer, especially prostate cancer.

So, next time you have time to spend at home and get a hankering for some home-style Italian pasta, give this recipe a try if you have a slow cooker or big pot and bring Italy to the dinner table. (This would be a great recipe to bookmark for a snowy day when you’re stuck inside!)

1 comment:

  1. I love the baby's room!! The color splitting looks great! So pretty!! Thanks for the recipe, I just got a new slow cooker, and I've yet to use it, this may be the recipe I break it in with! Love the pics of your daughter, she is a cutie!! I love that age!! Enjoy!!


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