How to Make Mom’s Everything Sauce

Mom’s sauce is awesome. Mom’s sauce isn’t fancy. Mom’s sauce is comfort and home.

See, I ran away from home once.

but my son walking away with his pack-pack.

A picture of my son walking away

I think I was about ten and I’m not sure of the infraction that sent me to my room, but it was definitely unfair. I deserved a better life. I should never be sent to my room.

I threw a couple of stuffed animals, a book or two, maybe some clothes, into my pillow case and climbed out the window. I chose the one on the side of the house, not the front, because I didn’t want my mom to see me. So, I climbed out and dropped a way down (that window was higher because of the hill on which our house sat), along the side of the property to the street, and across the length front of the house. No way she ever would have seen me walking down the street in plain sight…

I walked the half mile or so to the front of the neighborhood and stood there looking at the four lane highway off of which our neighborhood resided. “Well, now what?” I obviously had not planned this very well. I sat on the curb and spent a few minutes thinking where to go or what to do. About that time, my tummy growled. I was hungry. My decision was made. I headed back home, slightly defeated. I climbed back in my window (the one on the front of the house, behind the scraggly bushes that couldn’t have hidden a cat), over the empty flower box, into my room.

I crept to my bedroom door and cracked it open just a smidge, just enough to see if anyone had steam coming out of their ears… and then it hit me. The smell. That heavenly smell. The smell of comfort. The smell of warmth. The smell of love. The smell of home.

I snuck out of my room and into the living room where my mom was reading a book with the tv on. I calmly slunk in and sat down and watched tv. No words were spoken. The world was once again at peace.

This is the recipe for THE sauce I smelled:

Between the asterisk lines is a cut and paste for the recipe she sent me. I added pictures of me cooking it this last time. I’ll tell you my updates afterwards.

****************************************

Spaghetti Sauce

1/2 cup onion

2T olive oil

1 lb ground beef

2 cloves garlic

2-1 lb cans tomatoes (these aren’t 1 lb anymore)

2-8 oz cans tomato sauce

1-3 oz jar mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 1/2 tsp oregano or sage (I use 1 oregano and 1/2 sage)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup water

1 tsp Italian herbs (added this myself)

In large skillet, cook onion in hot oil till almost tender.

In large skillet, cook onion in hot oil till almost tender.

Add meat. A potato masher is one of the easiest ways to break up ground meats.

Add meat. A potato masher is one of the easiest ways to break up ground meats.

Mom taught me this: if the meat is too greasy, use your spatula and a paper towel to soak up the excess grease. Don't pour it down the sink. It will eventually clog the drain.

Mom taught me this: if the meat is too greasy, use your spatula and a paper towel to soak up the excess grease. Don’t pour it down the sink. It will eventually clog the drain.

Add in the garlic. I grate mine. Much easier than mincing by hand.

Add in the garlic. I grate mine. Much easier than mincing by hand.

Add the cans of tomatoes and sauce. In my home now, I use crushed tomatoes, as no one else likes to "see" them in the sauce. Mom used to squish whole tomatoes for her sauce.

Add the cans of tomatoes and sauce. In my home now, I use crushed tomatoes, as no one else likes to “see” them in the sauce. Mom used to squish whole tomatoes for her sauce.

Add in your spices.

Add in your spices.

The Sauce!

The Sauce!

Simmer uncovered 2 hours or longer stirring occasionally.

Remove bay leaf

Serve.

 

I just got tickled. When I wrote down this recipe, and I’ve never

noticed it before, instead of ingredients, I wrote agreements.

*************************************

Can I tell you how much I love my mom? I love her notes in the parentheses, but especially the lines at the end. My mom is gone now and I will never forget her “getting tickled” at noticing her mistake 40 years after the fact.

 

Now, for my “UPDATES”

1) I start by browning sliced baby bella mushrooms and omitting the jar of mushrooms. Then, I add the onion and proceed from there.

2) I like to make it without meat quite often. This is how it turns into “EVERYTHING” sauce. Use it in lasagna, use it for eggplant parmesan for a vegetarian meal, use it on chicken or veal parmesan. Simmer it longer and let it thicken for a fabulous pizza sauce or baked mozzarella cheese stick dipping sauce.

3) I double or triple the batch and freeze it. It freezes exceptionally well and lasts a long time in there, always ready for a homemade meal, even when you are busy.

 

This is my mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe. She wouldn’t mind me sharing at all. She originally clipped this recipe out of a newspaper over 40 years ago. It got transferred to a 5×7 index card and stored in her gray, metal recipe box. I grew up with it. It’s nothing super fancy, just the smells and tastes of my childhood. You know, coming inside from playing and the whole house smelling like this sauce… I remember when I was six or seven, literally eating myself sick over it, I just loved it so much!

If you try this sauce, be sure to leave a note in the comments! I’d love to hear if your kids liked it. My family does.

 

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