Mom’s Out of This World Meat Sauce

My mom makes the best meat sauce. I’ve devoured it since I was a kid.  It’s robust, tangy, a bit sweet, and packed with meat.  It tastes great as spaghetti, but also tastes killer in lasagna or baked ziti.

I love pasta, it’s one of my favorite meals. And I positively enjoy experimenting with difference sauces. But when it comes to a good hearty meat sauce, other sauces I’ve tried pale in comparison to my mom’s sauce. People always compliment it. They love how packed with meat her sauce is, but also can’t quite place what makes it so sweet (it’s the bit of sugar, and the sweet sausage).

So, I’ve given up on trying to improve what my mom has already perfected. Sort of. While we use most of the same ingredients (I make mine more Weight Watchers-friendly), we use different preparation methods. My mom still cooks hers on a stove top. I prefer to use a slow cooker. But, that’s just me.

I am a big fan of slow cookers. My crock pot is the perfect fit for my busy work schedule and life style. It just makes things easier for me. The slow cooker allows me to simmer the sauce all day — a must for rich flavorful meat sauce — without having to tend an open flame. Plus, I gain the added benefit of coming home from work or a long all-day hike to open my door to a house filled with the incredible scent of simmering meat sauce. It’s really a big win-win for me. Cooking and serving it in a slow cooker also works out great for potlucks and parties.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering… it’s a hit with kids too. Our kids go nuts over the homemade sauce, although I do have to go a lot easier on the mushrooms when making it for them.

Prepping the items that get browned with the meat.

Prepping the items that get browned with the meat.

I get the ground beef and sausage going before adding the vegetables.

I get the ground beef and sausage going before adding the vegetables.

As soon as there's room in the pan, add he vegetables (except mushrooms).

As soon as there

The meat mixture really does cook down.

The meat mixture really does cook down.

Add all remaining ingredients after adding the meat mixture.

Add all remaining ingredients after adding the meat mixture.

This is what I come home to!

This is what I come home to! The pot will wash clean.

Mom's Meat Sauce

Absolutely delicious!

Mom’s Out of This World Meat Sauce
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 14-16
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 2 packages Italian sausage (hot and sweet)
  • 5 ribs celery
  • 2 bell peppers (or substitute Anaheims)
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 – 29 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 – 6 oz. cans tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 Bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef and sausage with the celery, pepper, onion and garlic. Drain any fat. Add this mixture and all remaining ingredients to a large pot and simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  2. My mom usually makes this the day before serving so that the sauce thickens and the flavors saturate overnight. At the very least, she starts the sauce early in the day and allows it to simmer all day.
Notes
Easily feeds 14-16. Cut in half it provides 7-8 servings.

This quantity feeds an army. That’s because mom and I both always make enough sauce to freeze half of it for a second meal — be it spaghetti or lasagna or ziti. For a single meal, cut the quantities in half.

Colleen’s Lighter Slow Cooker Version of Mom’s Meat Sauce
 
Weight Watchers Info: 6 PointsPlus per serving (when a full 16-serving doubled quantity, or a full 8-serving halved quantity)
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 14-16
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground beef (I use 15% fat or leaner)
  • 2 pounds lean Italian turkey sausage (hot and sweet)
  • 5 ribs celery
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 – 29 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 – 6 oz. cans tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons low-cal sugar substitute
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 Bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef and sausage with the celery, pepper, onion and garlic. Drain any fat. Add this mixture and all remaining ingredients to a slower cooker and cook on low for at least 6 hours.
  2. If you opt to make this full recipe — the quantity that can feed an army — split the sauce up between two slower cookers. This quantity is too much for a single slow cooker.
  3. Can also be done in a large covered pan or pot and simmered on the stove for as little as 1-2 hours.
Notes
Easily feeds 14-16. Cut in half it provides 7-8 servings.

This quantity feeds an army. That’s because mom and I both always make enough sauce to freeze half of it for a second meal — be it spaghetti or lasagna or ziti. For a single meal, cut the quantities in half.

Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves before serving.

Comments

  1. says

    Surprised by the celery, this is a good base recipe. Bell peppers are not too popular in my home, you certainly cannot go wrong with that meat mixture…maybe veal too? Sweet is always best.

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