The jar stuff, though, just never quite comes close to being Mom's. Now, I've seen that Sandra Lee on the Food Network jazz up the jar stuff with some spices and a can of tomato sauce, sometimes some fresh tomatoes. I've tried that. It's still not Mom's.
I'd been looking for a quick and easy spaghetti sauce recipe that would be good, healthy and easy to make, using stuff I had in my fridge. It didn't have to be Mom's (because I already knew how to make that) but it did need to be something I could throw together and adapt to a variety of recipes.
This one is it. I've made it several times, and hands down, love it. I've frozen it, reheated -- still great.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup carrots, minced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced (or 1 tablespoon dried)
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh, minced)
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook until onions are translucent (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add carrots and thyme, cook another 5-6 minutes. Squish tomatoes either with potato masher or hands, then add with remaining ingredients to saucepan and reduce sauce to a simmer and cook for one hour.
I served this over linguini in the picture here because we were out of spaghetti :-) but I've served it with chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, spaghetti, lasagna, you name it. Just double or reduce as needed for the recipe. Most people have all these ingredients on hand. You can keep the 28-ounce cans of tomatoes in your cabinet all the time, and make this whenever you need it. This is chunkier, and better than anything else you'll buy in a jar.
A tip: I hate chopping. I grind up the onions in the Braun hand blender (I swear, I don't know how I'd exist without that thing), then the garlic, then the carrots (not all together, because they aren't cooked together. And I do the garlic on its own because that has to be chopped finer than the onions). If your kids aren't fans of carrots, mince them SUPER fine and they'll never see them in this sauce.