If there is one recipe every frugal parent should have in their repertoire it is Marinara sauce. I can’t think of one child ( or adult) who doesn’t like spaghetti with mounds of sauce and piles of cheese. Not to mention it is one of the healthiest, easiest and most versatile meals to fix for dinner. You can hide a multitude of things in marinara. Vegetables, ground turkey ( just call it beef), or even an overcooked chicken breast can be disguised with a ladle full of this delectable sauce. Store bought sauce is often either very expensive for the good stuff, or full of high fructose corn syrup and a lot of other unidentifiable ingredients for the cheap stuff. Homemade though, is not only very affordable ( this recipe is under $6 and makes 12 cups of sauce), but it is soooo much better too. Fennel seeds and balsamic vinegar are what really makes this sauce. Please don’t leave them out, the sauce won’t be the same. Balsamic can be found pretty cheap, I found my latest bottle at Ross for $4. And Penzey’s Spices is a great resource for quality spices at really good prices.
3 T. olive oil
3 cups ( 3 medium)chopped onion
1 T sugar
3 T ( 6 cloves) minced garlic
2 t. salt
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. crushed fennel seeds
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 – 28 ounce – cans crushed tomatoes
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients ( thru fennel seeds); cook 1 minute. Add balsamic; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a simmer. Cook over low for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Makes 12 cups.
Great for freezing or canning too!