As much as I sometimes like to resort to “convenience meals,” I worry about my family’s health and like to do some cooking from scratch.
After checking the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and reading about the benefits of tomatoes, I learned a few things. Did you know that there is a relationship between consuming tomatoes and tomato products with reduced risk of certain cancers, heart disease, ultraviolet light-induced skin damage, osteoporosis, and other conditions?
Tomatoes are good for your heart, too. They are low in calories, but rich in nutrients like potassium, fiber and the antioxidant lycopene. The lycopene in canned tomatoes, like Hunt’s, is easier for your body to use than from raw tomatoes, and you get seven times more lycopene from canned tomatoes than from the raw version. I thought this was really interesting, since I usually think of fresh being the best.
Because there is a history of heart disease in my husband’s family, when I was asked by Hunt’s and The Motherhood to create a recipe using Hunt’s products, I thought I would dedicate the meal to my husband.
One thing I’ve never tried to make is a homemade spaghetti sauce. I’ve always just grabbed whatever jar of sauce looked the best or what was on sale. But, I thought I would try to make a sauce using Hunt’s tomato products.
Because I’ve never made a sauce before, my friend Ashley from Just Another Mom of 2 shared her recipe with me. I followed her recipe with her notes, except that I used about 1 cup of fresh portabella mushrooms instead of canned.
1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) Hunts diced tomatoes with juice
2-4 cans Hunts tomato paste (I used one large & one small to get my desired consistency) & equal amount water
1 cup red wine
1-2 chopped green bell peppers
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper (all seasonings can be adjusted to taste)
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
First, saute some chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic in some butter or olive oil, about 2 minutes or until you see the onions start to turn translucent. I like to season the ground beef with an Italian seasonings grinder or some similar combination, and then brown the meat. Combine the remaining ingredients in the crockpot; add browned meat and mix well. Cover and cook on low about 7-8 hours.
The result? Delicious! This made enough for a meal for my family of 5, with leftovers for another meal. I’d have a hard time going back to using a jarred sauce after this.