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!)