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15 July 2013 @ 01:00 am
Simple Meaty Red Sauce  

This recipe was created by my first husband, Phillip, who was an accomplished cook in his own right.It is intended to be built over breakfast and simmer till dinner this dish is ideal for the crock pot or slow cooker. Further this recipe is very flexible. Check the Tips & Variations for possible additions or substitutions.

While we were at University, Phillip made his red sauce about once a month. I never got tired of it. It was also a regular feature when our classmates gathered at our place for projects and study night. Few things were more popular with our horde of hungry students. Aside from the usual service over a pile of your favorite noodles, this sauce is both a marvelous accompaniment for dipping focaccia or sour dough bread and the prefect base for lasagna.

Simple Meaty Red Sauce                                                                          Feeds 8-10

1-2lb ground meat
Four 15oz cans of spaghetti or tomato sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, fresh or roasted
2-4c of the following fresh tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers or olives
1/4c H2O or flat beer

2T steak sauce or 4 beef bullion cubes
2T basil, dried
1t oregano, dried
1/2t red pepper flakes
1t pepper to taste

Medium sauce pan with lid
Big spoon
Measuring cup
Can opener
Cutting board and knife
Crock pot or slow cooker


  • Set up crock pot in a space suitable for long term cooking & assemble all the components of the sauce.

  • Place the sauce pan over medium heat; add the ground meat and cook till well browned.

  • While the meat is cooking, break down the vegetation.

  • Add the vegetables to the sauce pan when the protein is browned to sweat a bit and absorb the flavor of the meat.

  • While the mixture cooks, open the cans of sauce and pour into the crock.

  • Add the vegetable and meat mixture to the crock as well and then deglaze the saucepan with a bit of the water or beer.

  • Pour the deglazing liquid into the pot and stir until well combined.

  • Add the flavorings, herbs and spices. Mix again.

  • Cover the crock and set it to cook for the longest setting, approximately 10 hours.

  • Serve over your favorite pasta with Parmesan cheese.


  • Meat. You can use just about any kind of ground meat you desire for this recipe. I have used game, beef, pork, sausage, chicken and turkey over the years with good results. I have had vegetarian friends who used TVP successfully. You can also substitute mushrooms for all or half the meat.

  • Vegetables. This is a great recipe for using up the veggies in the crisper or excess tomatoes and peppers from the garden.

  • Herbs. In the past I substituted 2 cubes of green garlic paste for the dried herbs or 1/4c of Italian seasoning. If you lack canned spaghetti sauce substitute three 15oz cans of diced or whole tomatoes and one 4oz can of tomato paste and adjust seasoning to taste.

  • Storage. Like a lot of crock pot recipes I make, this recipe can be doubled and frozen with good results. You’ll never buy commercial red sauce again.

Frugally yours-