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Monday, January 27, 2014

Munchy Monday: Terrie Lynn's Spaghetti Sauce

My mama was a fabulous cook, among other things. Admittedly, she never got too fancy with her cooking (though I'm sure she would have loved to), but whatever she did cook was GOOD. She could bake, make savory foods, she could do it all, in my opinion. And everything she made came straight from her heart.

My Mama.

In my mom's house she would almost get insulted if you "asked" her if you could have something from the fridge or pantry. She would share anything she had with you, even if that wasn't much. She always wanted people to feel at home, and most of the time, that meant feeding them.

Today's Munchy Monday is a simple stand-by; spaghetti sauce. Like so many recipes on this blog, this isn't exact. I don't have measurements for you or exact cook times, but don't you fret. Your sauce will turn out just fine.

Ingredients


  • Canned tomato paste
  • Mushrooms, sliced- As much as you like, canned or fresh-your preference
  • Ground Beef- 1-2 lbs depending on amount desired
  • Italian Sausage- 1lb (Optional) 
  • Garlic-a whole head, minced
  • Onion- About 1 cup, diced
  • Garlic Powder 
  • Onion Powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Kosher Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Tomato Juice (Optional) 
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Spaghetti 
Before you do anything else, put on some music. Might I suggest some Dean Martin (one of my mom's personal favorites)? It doesn't really matter, just put something on that you enjoy. Cooking is always better with tunes. Now, brown you ground beef and Italian sausage in a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat. I like to throw my onions and garlic in at this point so that they can all cook together and get really friendly. Once browned, brain off any fat and liquid. If you use  Italian sausage, you'll have a lot more fat to drain. Then, open your cans of tomato paste and empty them  into the pot . I usually use about four cans. Then fill the now empty cans with hot water and swirl it around in the can, extracting every last bit of tomato-y goodness. Pour the water into the pot. If you have any tomato juice or V8 handy, pour about a cup into the pot. Now, add your mushrooms. I like a chunky, mushroom-heavy sauce, so I use A LOT, but you use as much as you like. Time to choose your own adventure! 

Now it's time for the spice! Sprinkle in your Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and pepper. Stir your sauce together. It should be sort of chunky until the paste heats up and melts into the water. Now it's time to sit down with a good book, and episode of your favorite tv show on Netflix or call your own mama to have a chat. Let the sauce cook at medium heat until it's nice and bubbly. Give it a stir and turn your heat to medium low or low (depending on your stove) and let it simmer, stirring occasionally. The sauce is better the longer it cooks, so give yourself AT LEAST two hours to let this come together. In this time, the sauce will cook down and thicken up

So saucy! 
Boil yourself some spaghetti, or any pasta you like, and serve this up hot with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. That's it!  I usually serve it with some freshly toasted garlic bread and a green salad, but it's hearty enough for a meal all on it's own. The sauce reheats well and freezes even better, so don't worry if you have extras. Depending on the mood or tone of the evening, you might want to serve this with a bold red wine. We've been drinking and enjoying the Apothic Red Winemaker's Blend this winter and had with our meal tonight. If you looking for a new wine, give it a try!



Now, I know this isn't the fanciest sauce in town. I have cooked "better" pasta sauces in my lifetime, but this sauce is different. Food isn't just about fancy ingredients and techniques. For me, food is about family & friends. The secret ingredient really is love! Everytime I eat this sauce I am flooded with memories of sitting around the table with my mom, dad and brother. Memories of laughing and talking cousins, standing around a bubbling pot in my childhood kitchen. That's the kind of kitchen I want to have and every time I make this recipe I feel like I'm getting a little bit closer. 

My mom, brother, dad and I 
My mom left us five years ago this month. I can't go home and eat her spaghetti ever again, not this side of Heaven, anyway. But I can cook the food she taught me to cook. And, for just one night, she's back with me. Anything that can do that is pretty powerful. Maybe even magic. Terrie Lynn's Magical Spaghetti Sauce. Yeah, I think she would have like that. 

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