I love making food for my family. To me – it is the quintessential labour of love – you make something delicious and healthy from scratch to nourish and feed them with. I pick a day to shop for ingredients and then another full day to make huge batches of food, and then I freeze them so we can have them throughout the week. That way, I’m not exhausted at the end of the day by the whole process.
My cooking method is far from precise. That’s why I’m not much of a baker since baking all goes down to an exact science. I follow a recipe as a guide versus an exact template. But for all intents and purposes of this post, I will try to include measurements for those needing to be accurate. I also used ground poultry for my daughter’s ragu versus ground beef/pork just so it’s a little bit leaner, but she does also like it otherwise (my husband makes a meat sauce that she enjoys as well)
Pasta (short like penne/rigatoni or long like linguini, fetuccini or spaghetti)
For Ragu (poultry meat sauce)
** I put all the ingredients in the food processor because it saves time chopping and they’re all cut up into smaller pieces; less worry about choking for the little ones.
2 tbsp. Olive oil
chicken or veggie broth (I use my own for low sodium)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1-2 cans of crushed tomatoes
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced (less or more depending on your like/distaste for garlic)
1-2 onions depending on size, minced
3 carrots, minced
3 sticks of celery, minced
one head of broccoli, minced
(sometimes I also include bunch of spinach, cut or torn up finely, and some mushrooms, minced)
pepper and salt
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until they sweat and are transparent.
Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add broth little by little while letting the sauce boil to cook all the ingredients together. Add some pepper and salt to taste. Keep stirring pot as you let the sauce boil for 30 minutes; turn down heat to low-medium. (Disclaimer: I let the sauce boil for about 45 minutes to an hour, but 30 minutes will do if you are pressed for time). Let the sauce cool before putting it in the freezer. I use mason jars with the plastic lids and Ziploc bags to freeze the sauce. When using mason jars, never fill to the brim of the jar; make sure to leave about an inch room as the sauce will need to expand. This will prevent the jar from cracking in the freezer. And no one wants a cracked/broken jar because the food in it won’t be any good to anybody.
Thaw appropriately in the fridge overnight or longer when you are ready to use it.
The best part of this is that I can control the amount of sodium that my daughter eats with this recipe and she is also getting some hidden vegetables in there. In all fairness, she does love veggies, and all she really into is “Mmmm… nummee passs-ta!” translation: “Yummy pasta!”