I love using my slow cooker…love it. I love being able to throw everything together at a time that is convenient for me, so that when I want something to be ready, there is no rushing around and hurrying to get things ready right before we want it because, inevitably, right before we want some food or meal ready, there is a diaper blowout or a kid who needs to be cleaned or fed or someone who calls on the phone or simply some time needed to be spent to relax one-on-one with mom and kiddo, reading a book. In any case, I also love that food in the crockpot can wait around on the “warm” setting until we are totally ready for it. Plus, once I get everything in there, I don’t have to “keep an eye” on it but can walk away and forget about it…since that’s what happens sometimes anyway, anyhow I’m cooking it…
So, I love the idea of making things from scratch instead of buying them prepared from the store, but that is not always the pragmatic way or necessarily cost-saving, especially when considering the cost of time, but the crockpot makes it all work in some cases – the crockpot and the food processor! We had been given a bucket load of fresh tomatoes and produce from my Honey’s folks’ garden and wanted to put them to use before leaving on vaca, plus we can always use spaghetti sauce!
First, I quartered the large tomatoes and wiped out the juicy seeds with finger/spoon.
Then, I threw everything into the crockpot:
2-3 TBL olive oil along bottom and sides of pot
- quartered and seeded big tomatoes (no need to peel)
- a whole bunch of cherry tomatoes (plus a few leftover grape tomatoes I had bought)
- a sliced squash (fresh produce that would’ve gotten wasted otherwise)
- 1/2 bag of frozen, chopped onion
- zested garlic cloves
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, & oregano in pinches and dashes
- dash of salt and 1 TBL sugar (optional)
Cook on HI for 3-4 hrs or Low 6 hours (I compromised with 3 hrs on HI plus 5 hrs on LOW or until I was ready to let it cool in order to be processed in the next step)
Let cool to room temperature before scooping about 3/4 of the mixture into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Now, divide unprocessed mixture between three freezer bags (labeled with the date, and really divide into whatever serving sizes best suits you). Scoop the processed sauce, by thirds, into the three bags. Lastly, roll up and carefully seal (or lay flat, depending on the available space in your freezer). Voila!
*Since then, I’ve used one of the bags by defrosting in fridge overnight to cook with it into an “Upside Down Pizza” recipe – my Honey thought it made the best version of the dish yet – yum!