This sauce is Magnifico! Seriously…I can not even begin to describe how delicious this sauce is. It is Rich! Thick! Robust! Flavorful! You can almost hear the gondolier serenading you, as you lazily float down a canal in Venice.
Oh my, and it is so easy to make and ever so Versatile!
Since we have spaghetti for dinner every other week and we go through a lot of tomato sauce in other flavorful dishes in between, I wanted to make lots of spaghetti sauce for the freezer. I have two 5 qt. Hamilton Beach slow cookers that I love, that are simple and basic, which is just the way I like it. If I get enough tomatoes together again, I’ll be making a double batch. This sauce is that Good!
If you don’t have a bunch of fresh tomatoes available, you can also substitute a #10 can of tomato sauce. I know Wal-Mart sells the cans for less than $5. That’s still a decent price for this much sauce.
Slow Cooker Freezer Spaghetti Sauce
Recipe for ONE 5 qt slow cooker
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced onion (I used a little more here)
- 25 medium tomatoes, washed and quartered. No need to remove skins! Process all of the tomatoes, onion and peppers through a blender or food processor, including the skins. I processed a couple of cups at a time.
For easy reference, the Glad Ware container below holds 13 cups, which is slightly more than what you will be adding to a 5 qt slow cooker.
I went ahead and cut up all of my ripe tomatoes. Put any leftover cut-up tomatoes in a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag to save for another sauce making time.
(There is usually some tomato juice left in the bottom of the bowl that I add to a container I have in the freezer marked for soup broth)
Fill the slow cooker HALFWAY full with the prepared tomatoes. Do not be alarmed that the pureed tomatoes are pink when pouring into the slow cooker. They will turn back to red.
Then add and stir in the following ingredients…
- 1 heaping tablespoon dried Basil
- 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic (I use minced garlic in a jar)
- 2 heaping tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 heaping tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons or LESS dried red pepper flakes (2 tsp makes it pretty spicy, but not HOT. Can omit if desired)
- 1 heaping tablespoon dried Oregano
- 4-6 small cans tomato paste, amount used depends on desired thickness
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cups sugar
Once the seasoning and other ingredients are stirred in well, stir in more of the prepared tomatoes a little at a time until the slow cooker is filled to about 1″ below the top.
Cook on HIGH for 2 – 3 hours, or LOW for 4 – 5 hours.
Afterwards, I removed the crock from the slow cooker and set it on a folded towel to cool enough to put in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Once the sauce was cool enough to put in bags, I measured 2 cups into each labeled and dated Ziploc quart freezer bag. The last couple of bags, I only put one cup in each and labeled those pizza sauce. For reference, a standard size jar of sauce is 24 oz, which is 3 cups, so you may want to add more sauce to your freezer bags, if you typically use a whole jar..
I placed all of the bags flat on baking sheets and carefully placed the trays in the freezer, stacking no more than two trays high if needed. When the bags are frozen flat, they will stack neatly or stand up in an orderly fashion. They also thaw out quicker!
Quick tip here: Putting foods that are not completely cool in the freezer, causes ice crystals to form in the bags.
Yield is roughly 8 bags of 2 cups of sauce.
Ways to use this sauce:
- Make a meat spaghetti sauce by adding hamburger with peppers and onions from the freezer, served over spaghetti noodles
- Use in lasagna
- As pizza sauce
- Add to chili
- Add to cooked rice for Spanish rice
- As marinara dipping sauce
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Spread on top of meatloaf
Let me know what you think!