Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Homemade & Fresh! Farmer's Market Spaghetti Sauce

Homemade & Fresh! 
My Farmer's Market Spaghetti Sauce!

I've been wanting to make fresh pasta sauce for my family for what seems like forever!  I was intimidated by it, my husband LOVES his Ragu but I'm trying to cut out as much of the processed food as I can from our family's diet (without him killing me!)  The way to do this in MY family with my dear hubby and with my homeschooling schedule is to keep moderation in mind!  One step at a time is key here!  I use to have the "all or nothing" approach to our meals.  I would have a few days of healthy meals then we'd run late to a martial arts class or from piano or have a doctor's appointment and be forced to stop for fast food.  That one trip would totally throw me off my my game and I'd give up and just go right back to the same old same old. 

It's so important when making these lifestyle changes and transitions to remember everything in moderation!  Life happens, folks!  If I must get fast food on Tuesday, then I'm still doing a better service to my family by serving them unprocessed whole foods on Wednesday and Thursday than by giving up the cause altogether.  This was difficult for me at first.  It seems silly but I felt a bit like a hypocrite, talking up whole food eating and then hitting McDonald's the first time a child was sick.  Then I realized I'm not a hypocrite but HUMAN!  We are human ladies (and gents if you do the cooking and shopping;))

I'm a chicken farming, gardening, landscaping, homeschooling, blogging, taxi-driving, doctors appointment attending, housekeeping, cooking, hugging, loving, praying, dog and cat feeding & cleaning, turtle care giving, sewing, decorating, upcycling, walking, cardiac patient, medical decision making, martial arts and piano helper practicing, party organizing and giving, shopping for the whole house, God loving, Christian wife and mom!  Oh, and in my spare time I also enjoy chatting with my friends, dating my husband, crafting, reading, spending time with my extended family, target practice, walks with my dogs, and pinning on Pinterest!
Come on! What was I thinking?  So I finally gave myself a good smack, pulled my head out of the sand and hit this whole foods eating thing head on!!  That's how it's done sister! <3

So, after trying several recipes from books, blogs, pins, and magazines, I THINK I've come up with a recipe that works for our family.  It's fresh and I purchase all of the vegetables from the LOCAL farmer's market other than my onion which I am super proud to say came from our garden!  Having any part of a recipe or meal come from our little garden excites my kids and gives me a headstart on them liking something! hee hee ;)  I'm HOPING by mid summer all of the veggies will come from our backyard but so far we have an onion or two and strawberries good enough for our chickens.
 Please feel free to use this recipe to make homemade sauce for your family, tweek it, add to it, take away from it, whatever makes it work for you and your family.  It's sustainable and whole foods friendly and buying local not only helps the environment, small mom and pop businesses, and local farms but it also makes it much more nutritious for you and your lovely families!  If you happen to like it enough (I'm humbly stating this TRUST ME ) to want to use it or even blog or pin about it yay! That makes my day but please just note the source :) :) We all need to share the love, right?

Farmer's Market Pasta Sauce

1 green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 cups chopped mushrooms
4 large chopped tomatoes (I like mine really red and ripe from the market)
2 cans (6oz.) tomato paste
1/1/2 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup + 1 tsp. raw, organic honey
3 TBL of parsley
 2 TBL fresh basil (or 1 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 TBL fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp rosemary

Saute veggies with about 3 TBL of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) over medium heat until cooked well.  I usually put my mushrooms in last and put my peppers and onions in a bit before until the onions are soft.  Add your chopped tomatoes and stir and cook about 20-30 min gently until the tomatoes liquify.  I like to continue stirring often.  Add in your tomato paste and water and stir.  Add in the remaining ingredients and stir.  Cover up your sauce and simmer it over lowered heat for about an hour, sometimes if I'm gardening I'll even simmer mine up to two hours but come in and check and stir it. 

For meat sauce,
Brown 1 pound of organic ground turkey (or beef depending on your preference) in a skillet.  Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.  I like good seasoning, it brings the flavors together!  Drain the fat from the meat and add the ground cooked meat to your pot of sauce.  Stir well, cover and heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often.

For spaghetti,
I simply boil whole wheat spaghetti noodles with a bit of EVOO and sea salt according to the package directions, drain, and then serve to my family topped with the sauce and organic parmesean cheese (local if possible.) 

For an entire meal,
I throw this spaghetti with some boiled farmer's market broccolli (add a bit of fresh garlic to your water when boiling the broccolli and it's YUMMY) , some homemade bread, a spinach salad and we are done! Easy, peasy weeknight meal full of healthful flavor and energy!  I LOVE summer ripe tomatoes and this is just one easy way to take advantage of them!

That's it, you're done!  It seems pretty easy, doesn't it?  I know, it surprised me too! The trick for me was simply adjusting the spices and seasoning.  Most all of the recipes I found contained sugar and I wanted to avoid the white, processed sugar but my dear hubby prefers a little underlying sweetness to his sauce.  The honey did just trick for us.  If it's not your perfect sauce, start with the honey and/or salt.

For Later,
This sauce also works deliciously with my homemade lasagna!  I'll post that recipe later this week so while you're at it, double the recipe (it works I do it all of the time) and put 1/2 in a jar for lasagna later in the week or freeze in a freezer bag for a healthy fast food night!!

For the whole foods cooking ideal, fresh herbs are best, especially those grown in your own backyard or on your windowsill.  These are something anyone can grow, even in a city apartment and the flavor can't be beat!  My kids LOVE to go pick herbs for dinner :)

I hope you try it and love it, or at least like it! If you try this recipe leave me some comments below! I'd truly love to hear from you!


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