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Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

It’s always a mistake to grocery shop with Mr. Prevention. I get bombarded with comments on prices and how, “It would be sooo much cheaper if I _______________!” Fill in that blank with any number of possibilities. On our most recent grocery shopping extravaganza he made a point to stop in the marinara section to point out that a 3-cup jar of marinara was on sale for $1.

I know better than to turn to the label and point out the preservatives and and undesirable ingredients (because really, why is there HFCS in marinara sauce?). EVEN IF it is only $1. Dare I even suggest that I enjoy cooking from scratch? And obviously I enjoy good food.

I grew up on jarred marinara. Classico’s marinara, to be exact. And, it’s good. But it’s no match for a slow-cooked, meaty marinara made from scratch. No offense, mom. At least it wasn’t Prego! 😉


Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce adapted from The Cooking Nurse and Food.com

1 lb ground beef (I used 97/3)
1 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 (28 oz) cans no salt added diced tomatoes, with juice
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 (8 oz) cans low-sodium tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, pressed
4 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp dried basil
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme


Brown meats and onion in a skillet and drain well. Transfer to your crock pot.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook on low for 8-12 hours. Yield: 10 cups (20 servings, 1/2 cup each).

Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 159 calories; 7.7 g. fat; 27 mg. cholesterol; 374 mg. sodium; 11.6 g. carbohydrate; 2.7 g. fiber; 10.1 g. protein

Result: This was a meaty, rich, and hearty spaghetti sauce. I used low-sodium and no added salt canned products to help reduce the sodium content (with all the canned goods, my sodium intake has been too high!). You can always add salt, so don’t worry about losing flavor. The meat (especially the pork) is so flavorful that the tomatoes will take on the flavor of the meat and spices rather than salt. Delicious and easy! Enjoy!


The second half of the last night’s dinner story has to do with wheatballs — a vegan “meatball” remake. To say they were a fail would be a massive understatement. They smelled great and all of the individual ingredients were all fine by me, but chickpeas + vital wheat gluten + soy sauce + nutritional yeast + wheat bran + garlic + parsley + olive oil = boooooooooonk. Fail. I hate to waste, but after trying them…my gag reflex kicked in.

Firstly, some things just aren’t meant to be made vegan. I’ll add meatballs to that list of vegan no-go’s. Secondly, unless it’s cookie dough, I’m not interested in eating dough. This is likely the reason gnocchi doesn’t interest me, either.

I should’ve taken a picture, but I didn’t. I think I was too sad over wasting food. But I vow to bring you the good, bad, and ugly on my blog. These….were ugly. 🙁 Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce…was good! 😀 You can’t win’em all and I was about due for a major fail.

Question: Jarred spaghetti sauce, or from scratch? Meaty, or meatless?

FYI: Fish consumption is at an all-time high in the world. Love it! 😀

P.S. Happy Birthday, Shirley! Have a wonderful day!


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  1. February 4, 2011 / 7:40 am

    he he he… I just had pasta with the canned marinara yesterday! ๐Ÿ™‚ I usually just use it as a base and spruce it up with my own seasoning and what not. It’s like a compromise…

  2. February 4, 2011 / 8:10 am

    I usually make my own marinara with canned tomatoes as well – much cheaper. I am not a meat adder to my marinara sauce – sometimes I add cooked lentils for that meaty taste!

  3. February 4, 2011 / 8:42 am

    I always make spaghetti sauce from scratch. Super easy and you can throw in a ton of veggies and make it super spicy – just how we like it.

  4. February 4, 2011 / 9:37 am

    I would have never though about doing a sauce in the crockpot, this looks really good!

  5. February 4, 2011 / 9:46 am

    I’m right there w/you with shopping with men! W always wants to buy everything generic-but he’s learned when he’s shopping for me to grab everything organic possible…they learn eventually!

  6. February 4, 2011 / 10:09 am

    The sauce looks amazing!! I much prefer making homemade sauce but more often than not, I turn to the jarred stuff because it’s easier most of the time.

  7. February 4, 2011 / 10:13 am

    Definitely home made sauce…but if I don’t have time or don’t have any homemade in the freezer, I am VERY picky about what I use. I buy Mids marinara ( because lets face it, you can always jazz up a jarred sauce yourself…and besides…canned meat….ewwwwww…lol ) You can probably find Mids….I think its regional…but its not cheap, so when its on sale, I stock up. Prego, Ragu, blech! jars of Sugar….they are just plain gross!! lol

    Trader Joe’s has very decent meatless meatballs. Not sure if they are vegan or not…but toast them in the oven and then toss them onto your pasta and cover in sauce. My husband can’t tell they are meatless…they are that good.

  8. February 4, 2011 / 12:13 pm

    I agree with you that some things just shouldn’t be made vegan.
    My mom is italian so spaghetti sauce was always homemade. This sauce looks delicious!! I hate to say that I have never made it from scratch myself. My mom should be ashamed. haha.

  9. February 4, 2011 / 12:16 pm

    Im a meatless sauce kinda girl. I’ve never been a fan of beef, and my dad would LOAD his spaghetti sauce with it when I was a kid and make me eat it. He tole me every single time that I would “love it this time, I made it different!” It was always the same, and I never liked it, but he always insisted that I would. Its turned into a joke between us now. I’ll make something he thinks is gross and I’ll insist that he’ll love it because I made it different this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. February 4, 2011 / 1:07 pm

    I hate wasting food too but you’re right…some things just taste better with animal products! My hubby always complains about our grocery bill but I tell him…you DID marry a dietitian…what did you think you were getting in to? haha

  11. February 4, 2011 / 1:28 pm

    You know… I’ve never made marinara from scratch… I know, who am I? I need to give it a whirl though because I’m sure it is worlds better than the jarred variety.

    I can go either way on meat vs. no meat. Sometimes I’m in the mood to have a veggie spaghetti, but sometimes there is nothing better than a meaty spaghetti with loads of parmesan. Right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. February 4, 2011 / 2:25 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed this!

  13. February 4, 2011 / 2:36 pm

    I have never made my own pasta sauce, but I didn’t eat much (hardly any) pasta and tomato sauce growing up. I would love to make this once I get a slow cooker (I know, it’s on the list)!

  14. February 4, 2011 / 4:04 pm

    Mmm, this looks like the perfect sauce to warm me up this winter. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so glad to have found your beautiful blog and look forward to seeing more! ๐Ÿ™‚ – Georgia

  15. February 4, 2011 / 4:25 pm

    I often make spaghetti sauce from scratch, but sometimes there just isn’t time to cook from scratch and then I use a jar. I often make my sauce meatless, but sometimes I do make it with meat, and the guys love me for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    You don’t like gnocchi????? Really???? Good gnocchi are sooo good. Well, at least in my opinion…

    Have a great weekend!

  16. February 4, 2011 / 7:59 pm

    I was wondering what happened to you, so I came to your site. I’m an email subscriber, and for some reason, I haven’t gotten the past several posts! I’ve added you to my blog roll, so maybe I won’t miss anything else ๐Ÿ˜‰ They all look delish! I made and posted about your Beer Cheese Soup the other day!

  17. February 5, 2011 / 2:12 am

    Meaty – and homemade. Not that I make it though ;).

    I can just hear Mr. P shopping. Need to leave him at home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. February 5, 2011 / 9:13 am

    I try to avoid HFCS when I can too, however I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up my beloved ketchup!!

  19. February 5, 2011 / 11:51 am

    I’m all for the home made sauce, doesn’t take too long and I like controlling what goes in as much as possible. DAMN about the failed “balls of ewww”. GRRR. Very frustrating when that happens. I’m sure your next recipe will be MUCH better! No gag reflex needed. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend.

  20. Shirl
    February 5, 2011 / 2:05 pm

    Thanks much, Nik!

  21. Ashton
    February 6, 2011 / 1:10 pm

    If it’s a lighter pasta dish, I make a quick marinara with canned tomatoes, a few spices, and a pinch of sugar. It is so delicious and easy. If it’s a heavier pasta dish, like lasagna, I have a go to recipe from Better Homes and Gardens classic cookbook. I feel like they’re the only two I need! But I’m loving the crock pot lately, I’ll have to try this one.

  22. March 27, 2011 / 9:53 pm

    Thanks for this recipe. I made it a couple weeks ago but am just now getting to post about it. I used spicy italian sausage for the pork since that’s what I had on-hand. And, added a glug or two of red wine for flavor and heart health ;). It was a hit with my husband and shared some with my in-laws. My mother-in-law said she’s adding this to her rotation! Yum!

    • Nicole
      March 28, 2011 / 6:11 am

      Yum! Sounds perfect! Red wine belongs in every red sauce, I concur! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. January 30, 2013 / 11:56 pm

    I like this. It is the best job I ve seen.

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