Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spaghetti and Sausage Meat Sauce

This is an old family calls it "Depression Era Cooking" and I can remember having it as a child with "Mystery Meats". We always had it on Saturday and mom would throw in any meat that was leftover from the week to use it up. These days we make it with ground beef and sweet Italian sausage, but I have to admit, it was pretty good with chicken, pork, or roast beef as well. This is another recipe that can serve from six to 15 adults, depending on the amount of pasta you cook. Another hallmark of depression era cooking, I've been told, since you never knew if you'd be feeding just your family, or other relatives who couldn't scrape together a meal. Like the black bean chili this is one that can be made in the crockpot (slow cooker) and left to cook all day on low. You can also make it on the stovetop, but it will still need a couple of hours to cook if you do it that way.

Grandmom Mellon's Spaghetti and Sausage Meat Sauce
Serve over pasta

1 29 oz can of Tomato Sauce - $1.49
1 12 oz can of Tomato Paste - $1.09
1 29 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes - $2.09
2 lbs ground beef - $5.98 ($2.99 lb)
1 lb mild or sweet Italian sausage - $3.49
1 tbsp sugar - $0.04
1 tbsp salt - $0.03
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning - $0.84
1 tbsp dried basil - $0.24
3 cloves of garlic (minced) - $0.39
1 medium onion (minced) - $0.89
2 tbsp olive oil - $0.20
1 lb pasta of choice (we usually use rotini) - $1.00
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil, then toss in the onion and garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the onion is clear. Add the ground beef. Brown the beef, then drain.

In your slow cooker (or a large pot on the stove) combine the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and crushed tomatoes. Add the salt, sugar, and spices. Stir in the cooked ground beef mixture. Set slow cooker on high until the sauce starts to bubble, then set it on low, stir occasionally. If cooking on the stove, cook for at least two hours, in slow cooker, leave it to cook until an hour before you plan to serve it.

An hour before serving, remove the casing from the sausage and brown in a large frying pan, using a wooden spoon to break into crumbles. Add the sausage to the sauce in the pot, stirring to mix it in thoroughly. Continue cooking on low for an hour.

Serve over pasta! Makes six to 15 servings. The leftovers make a fabulous lasagne! Just layer lasagne noodles with sauce, mozzarella cheese, and riccota cheese (or as my family prefers, cottage cheese - don't works). I usually get three layers out of my leftover sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until bubbly.

Total estimated recipe cost: $17.77
Per Serving estimated recipe cost:  $2.22 (based on eight servings)

This cost is based on full-price for store brand items. The cost will go up if you choose higher priced brands, and will go down if you hit a good sale. I highly recommend clipping coupons and checking sale flyers before shopping! Prices for spices are estimated on the number of teaspoons/tablespoons in an average spice jar. Price can be significantly reduced by buying spices in bulk!

Shopping List
1 28 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
1 12 oz can tomato paste
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb mild or sweet Italian Sausage
Italian Seasoning
Dried Basil
Olive oil
1 lb box of your choice of pasta

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