he spaghetti sauce my Mom made from the 1960s into the 1980s wasn’t the quick stuff out of the jar. It was “from scratch” with fresh and canned tomatoes, onions, celery, ground beef and herbs. As our family grew, we could consume massive amounts of spaghetti sauce. Everyone wanted seconds. So Mom started making Mystery Spaghetti Sauce. Mystery Spaghetti Sauce was made of everything left in the refrigerator. Yes, I mean everything. As long as it was not spoiled, all the food went into the blender to become spaghetti sauce: milk, mayonnaise, bottled salad dressing (add a little water to the bit in the bottom of the bottle), leftover roast beef, broccoli, lima beans, corn and ketchup. Sometimes there was leftover tuna casserole or macaroni and cheese. Mom would add these ingredients to her basic recipe of fresh and canned tomatoes, and the herbs and spices that only she knew. She blended everything thoroughly and simmered it in the crock pot or slow cooker for hours. That wonderful 20 JANUARY 2010 Carolina Country
By Katie Martin smell would reach every corner of the house. It was a fabulous aroma. We couldn’t wait to eat! Then, we would pester Mom about the contents of the Mystery Spaghetti Sauce. It was always so rich and thick. The taste was unbelievable. Even while we ate it, we wondered what was in it to make it so good. The house rule was that Mom would wait until everyone was through eating before she would tell us. We found it hard to believe there were peas, green beans, hardboiled eggs and even orange juice in the sauce. Mom was smart. She used up all the leftovers in the refrigerator and even added a carrot or two (shredded) to make sure we got our vitamins. Even though we could never really guess the contents, Mystery Spaghetti Sauce was one of our favorite meals. So, if you want to make your own, start with the basic recipe here. Brown all meats, then add the mystery ingredients that make your spaghetti sauce yours. You will learn how to add whatever is still fresh and in your refrigerator. It is the perfect meal year ‘round.
Katie Martin lives in Stokes County.
Basic Spaghetti Sauce ½ stick butter 1½ pounds ground beef (or sausage or no meat at all) 3 medium onions, chopped small 1 clove garlic, chopped small (optional) 2 carrots, grated 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 cups of tomatoes, fresh or canned or both 6 ounces tomato paste 3 tomato paste cans of water 1 teaspoons salt 1½ teaspoons pepper 1½ teaspoons oregano 1½ teaspoons sage 1½ teaspoons celery seed ½ teaspoon thyme ½ teaspoon parsley Melt butter in a large pan, being careful not to let it burn. Brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Slowly add all the ingredients, stirring in between each addition. Move spaghetti sauce to your crock pot if desired. (If you leave it on the stove, you should watch it more closely.) Simmer on low for 3 hours or more. Serve with tossed salad and ad. garlic bread.
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