Tuesday, July 8, 2014



Everyone can agree that generally homemade is better than store-bought. For example, store-bought spaghetti sauce is alright. But a homemade sauce with meat and spices is so much better.

However, sometimes it isn't very practical to make something completely from scratch. It would take a lot of work to buy fresh tomatoes, dice them, crush them, and stew them into a sauce. Not to mention, it would be a lot pricier as well.

So why not work smarter and take something (jarred spaghetti sauce) that’s already okay, but make it a lot better?!

That’s the reasoning behind my recipe for Kitchen Staple Spaghetti Sauce. By the time you add spices and Italian sausage, I promise that no one would ever guess your recipe included a jar of Ragu!

This spaghetti sauce recipe really is a staple in my kitchen. I like to make a big batch on Sunday so I have it ready for the rest of the week to mix with noodles or ravioli for a quick (but delicious) meal. 

And the best part about this recipe is that you can’t mess it up! Customize it by omitting or adding the spices you find most appealing. And if you have trouble getting your kids to eat their vegetables, you can even sneak in zucchini pieces or small carrot slices and they won’t even know!

To go along with today’s Kitchen Staple Spaghetti Sauce recipe, I’m including my recipe for Lasagna Roll Ups. When I first started cooking, I tried to make lasagna many different times, but it always turned out “gloopy” and fell apart. So I adapted the traditional lasagna recipe into a roll up recipe.

And it turned out awesome!

In fact, I now prefer these roll ups to regular lasagna because they’re easy to dish out and they’re already perfectly proportioned. They also freeze and re-heat very well. And of course, they taste best with the Kitchen Staple Spaghetti Sauce recipe!


·         1 (16 ounce) roll of ground Italian sausage
·         1 (24 ounce) jar of spaghetti sauce  
·         1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
·         1 tablespoon of minced garlic
·         1 tablespoon of brown sugar
·         1 teaspoon of dried basil
·         1 teaspoon of dried oregano
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 teaspoon black pepper
·         1/4 teaspoon of red pepper

1.       Brown the sausage in a pan on medium heat.
2.       As the sausage starts to brown on one side, flip it over and start to cut it into small pieces either with the end of a metal spatula or food shears.
3.       Continue to cook and cut the sausage until it’s no longer pink.
4.       Line a bowl with paper towels and dump the sausage in the center to drain the grease.
5.       Meanwhile, dump the jar of spaghetti sauce in a large sauce pan.
6.       Add the onion, garlic, brown sugar, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, and red pepper to the sauce pan.
7.       Heat the sauce pan on medium heat and stir to combine.
8.       Add the sausage to the sauce pan and stir again.
9.       Continue to heat the sauce over low heat and continue to stir it periodically for 20 minutes.

The raw Italian sausage uncased and in the pan

As the sausage starts to brown, I cut it into small pieces with food shears

The browned sausage

Draining the grease from the sausage

The jarred spaghetti sauce with spices

Mix all of the spices into the sauce and add the sausage

Mix the sausage into the sauce and let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes so the flavors combine


·         8 lasagna noodles
·         15 ounces of ricotta cheese
·         1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
·         1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
·         1 large egg
·         2 teaspoons salt
·         2 teaspoons pepper
·         2 teaspoons garlic powder
·         3 cups spaghetti sauce

1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2.       Put a large pot of water on the stove top on high heat
3.       When the pot comes to a full boil, add the lasagna noodles and cook for 8 minutes.
4.       Drain the noodles in a colander
5.       Lay the noodles on a flat surface and set aside
6.       Prepare the filling for the roll ups by combining the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 of the parmesan cheese, egg, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl
7.       Mix thoroughly and set aside
8.       Prepare a glass casserole dish by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray, set aside
9.       Lay out one of your lasagna noodles on a plate and place about 4 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese mixture on the noodle.
10.   Spread the filling evenly on the noodle so that it reaches all the way to both edges
11.   Roll the noodle up and place in the prepared casserole dish
12.   Repeat the process with the noodles until all of the ricotta mixture is gone. I am usually able to make about 6 roll ups. You may be able to make a few more though depending on how thick you like the ricotta mixture.
13.   Pour the spaghetti sauce over the roll ups
14.   Cover the dish in foil and bake for 25 minutes
15.   Remove the dish from the oven, take off the foil, and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese
16.   Place back in the oven and bake for 5 more minutes
17.   Remove from oven and serve!

Lay out the cooked and drained noodles on a flat surface

The prepared filling for the roll ups

Spread the filling evenly on the noodles, roll up, and place in baking dish

I am usually able make 6 roll ups

Cover the roll ups on all sides with spaghetti sauce

The roll ups fresh out of the oven

Sprinkle with basil if you like and serve!

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