My daughter is ticked that I’m sharing this recipe. I’m not even gonna lie. She totally looked at me with her jaw dropped and her eyes bugged out and said, “But MOM! I thought this was your special recipe and you would just give it to me and Lu when we grew up. Now you’re giving it to the world?!”
Well, baby girl, I don’t know that the whole wide world will see it, but yes. I am sharing it and making it public knowledge, so you’re just going to have to get over your disappointment. Not to worry, though, love. Nobody gets my roast chicken recipe!! Bahahahahaha!!!
So, who’s ready for a gigantic, make-ahead batch of meaty spaghetti sauce made by someone who isn’t even the littlest bit Italian?
Cool! Let’s do this.
What I Love About This Recipe
- Make it once, serve it 4 times! I super-duper love having homemade meat sauce in my freezer.
- It’s super easy to customize just how you like it. Want to change up the type of meat? Fine. Like more oregano and less basil? Go for it. Have crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce? Lovely. You do you and it’ll still work.
- You’re cooking for less than an hour, start to finish, and it tastes amazing.
- My kids prefer it to store-bought sauce. What else can I ask?
What’s in it?
3 lbs. ground meat (ground beef, ground turkey, Italian pork or turkey sausage or a combination thereof)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (105-oz) can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
4 dried bay leaves
4 tsp. dried oregano
2 ½ Tbsp. dried basil
Just as a side note: this time I used 2 lbs lean ground beef and 1 lb ground turkey. My favorite combination is actually half and half with ground beef and Italian sausage.
How do you make it?
In a really large pot, brown the meat until cooked through. Remove the meat from the pot to drain.
Add the olive oil to the hot pan, then the chopped garlic. Sauté until golden, being careful not to burn it. Add in the tomato paste and stir together for a minute.
Carefully, pour in the tomato sauces and add the spices (making them into a silly face before stirring them in is purely optional but ranks high in entertainment value for any little ones who may be “helping” you). Stir together and then add the meat back in. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least 15 minutes.
Serve immediately with hot pasta or prepare for freezing.
This recipe makes about a gallon of spaghetti sauce (quickly does the math in her head…4 quarts is a gallon, right?). So, unless you’re feeding a buttload of hungry teenagers all in one sitting, you’re probably going to want to freeze some of this. Knowing that 4 cups of this sauce pairs perfectly with one pound of pasta, this is what you’ll want to do:
When the sauce is completely cool, you can get it ready for the freezer. Measure out 4 cups of sauce and pour into a quart-size freezer bag. Squeeze out all of the air and seal tightly. Repeat twice more so that you have three quart bags full of sauce. I like to double-bag mine, so I drop these sealed bags into second quart bags. Label and freeze!
Friends, that is all she wrote! I know my actually-Italian friends (Marley, I’m specifically looking at you) will probably laugh at this recipe and scoff at my use of actual measuring spoons. But hey. I’m a mainly-British, partly-Scandinavian, fairly-German Midwesterner who makes a delicious meat sauce. Scoff away, Italians! Just don’t knock it ’til ya try it.
As always, enjoy the printable! — Big Batch Meaty Spaghetti Sauce