Posted in Cooking

Making Past Sauce

Today, I have a food post for you. Many people don’t know this about me (some just don’t ever seem to remember, others it’s never come up), but I went to culinary school a few years back. I loved it and found a passion for baking while going through the 16 month program. Due to circumstances beyond my control (car accident), I never ended up getting my certificate because I was 40 hours short for my internship. I was let go after the car accident after I called out a few times despite being told they’d work with me. Anyhow… I found a love for cooking. Then, for a long while, I didn’t cook or bake often. My partner at the time was the one who did all the cooking and I just took a back seat. Slowly, I’ve been finding my way back to cooking a little at a time. More recently Matt and I have tried to “kick up” our dinner routine because we were getting a bit bored with it.

Last weekend, we made a trip to Findlay Market. There’s a new pasta place there that makes fresh pastas, sauces, and ravioli. We got two different kinds of pasta, pesto, and ravioli. Last night we planned on trying the tomato basil pasta that we bought with my homemade tomato sauce.

Pasta sauce is one of the easiest things to make, I think, yet I know few people who make their own sauce. It’s one of the things I never really made myself, even after culinary school! So, today, I wanted to share how to make pasta sauce which I started to do after finding the cost of my favorite jarred pastas to be too expensive. I buy the main ingredients from Costco (tomato sauce, tomato paste, and stewed tomatoes/Rotel), which brings the cost down quite a bit and all of the spices I use are all things I keep on hand.


Here’s what I use in my pasta sauce:

1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 4 oz can tomato paste
1 – 10 oz can Ro-tel (tomatoes and green chillies – you can also use stewed tomatoes if you prefer)
Chopped onion
Emrils Origional Essence
Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic
Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb
Black Pepper
Italian Seasoning
Lawry’s Garlic Salt
Slap Ya Mama

My one “secret ingredient” is the Slap Ya Mama. I think it really adds some kick. I like spicy pasta sauce, though.

My Secret Pasta Sauce Ingredient
Secret ingredient: Slap Ya Mama

The first step is to put the Ro-tel (or stewed tomatoes) in a food processor. I love my mini food processor for this!

Rotel in Food Processor

Next, add all the spices to taste. My sauce is probably never the same because I don’t measure anything, but I’ve never been disappointed by it.

Add Seasonings

Now blend it all together!

Give it a whirl


Note: This step can be skipped if you like chunky sauce (or just pulse it a few times rather then blending it well) – I’m not particularly a fan of chunky sauce. You can also use crushed tomatoes instead if you don’t have a food processor.

Add the can of tomato sauce and the can of tomato paste to a medium sized sauce pan, then add the Ro-tel and spice blend and give it all a good stir.

Tomato Sauce & Paste
Tomato sauce and paste

Add in Rotel/spice mix
Add Ro-tel and spice blend

Give it a good stir
Give it a good stir.

Cook on medium low heat for as long as you can. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors blend. Sometimes this means I just heat it through, other times this means I cook it for 30+ minutes, depending on how much time I have and if I’m waiting on Matt to get home or not. Even on the nights it’s just heated through, it’s still quite delicious!

Last night I heated the sauce for about 40 minutes.

Heat on med-low

Cook your noodles and place in a dish…

Cooked Tomato Basil Pasta
We had fresh tomato basil fettuccini. YUM.

Top with sauce and Parmesan…

301/365: YUM - Fresh pasta and sauce
…and enjoy!

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m sometimes surprised how easy certain things are to make. Like pasta sauce! Throw a few cans together, add some spices, heat and enjoy. Plus, when you make it yourself, you never have to worry about the store not carrying your preferred brand anymore. 🙂

(We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled knitting tomorrow, but I think I can safely say – start expecting more food posts here!)


I’m a thirty-something who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Crafting, for me, started young - I can’t even recall a time I wasn’t crafty in some way. My first foray into yarn was doing plastic canvas embroidery and making Barbie doll furniture. Not long after that I learned to crochet from a book my grandmother gave me after asking to learn what she was doing (she crochets, afghans mostly these days). After that, I took up counted cross stitch and then came sewing when I took two fashion design classes in high school. My mom had a sewing machine from my great grandmother and I taught myself to sew from patterns on it. I still use this same sewing machine today! I started knitting in 2004 when a co-worker was pregnant with her first child and I wanted to make something for her. I bought a “learn to knit kit” from Lion Brand for a baby hat and booties set. I did make the baby hat and booties (with very few problems) and ended up gifting them to the co-worker. I wanted to make a blanket, but I wasn’t quite able to get that done in time since it took a lot longer then I’d imagined! It wasn’t until the end of 2004/early 2005 that knitting really took a hold of me. Now I love knitting and almost always have a project with me, even if it’s just something small when I’m out and about. I like a wide range of projects depending on my mood. Sometimes I like a good challenge knit and other times I enjoy a lot of stockinette or garter stitch. I love Ravelry for keeping track of my projects and for finding new things to knit - I feel like I’m always spending time on there! It’s also a great place for getting to know other knitters, crocheters, and various fiber enthusiasts. In the fall of 2008, I purchased a spinning wheel from someone on Craigslist. It’s a Babe Fiber Starter, single treadle wheel and after a bit of trouble getting used to it, I’ve managed to spin up some fiber. In January of 2012, I found someone local that was selling their Lendrum DT and it came to live with me! The Babe now lives with Jen (aka piddleloop) and she’s learning to spin. I’m still trying to find time to spin along with knitting, crocheting (occasionally), and whatever else is going on, but I work it in here and there. I’m sure there’s something I might have left out here, so if there’s anything else you want to know about me, just ask :o)

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