You know those inexpensive pasta sauces? While they’re indispensable for making quick spaghetti dinners, these sauces are useful for so much more than pasta. Here are several ideas that think outside the pasta box. Not a noodle in sight.
Easy Creamy Tomato Soup — In a saucepan, lightly saute 1/2 cup fresh basil (minced) in 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil. Add one (24-ounce) can of pasta sauce, 2 cups water and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Yields 4 servings. This soup told me it’s lonely without its best friend. So please make a grilled cheese sandwich, too.
Sloppy Joes — Brown 1 1/2 pounds ground beef with one (16-ounce) bag frozen pepper and onion blend. Add 2 cups pasta sauce, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Divide the mixture between 4 to 6 hamburger buns.
Tomato Butter — In a food processor or mixing bowl with a hand mixer, blend 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter, 1/4 cup pasta sauce and 1/4 cup chopped parsley or basil. Use plastic wrap to roll the compound butter into a log; refrigerate. Slather on fresh baked breads, fish, chicken, cooked vegetables or rice.
ITALIAN POT ROAST
Yield: 4 to 8 servings
Total Time: 2 to 3 hours, 15 minutes
Here’s a great recipe for those times when you can linger in the kitchen and enjoy your home leisurely filling with the aroma of a slow-cooked roast.
What You’ll Need:
3 to 5 pounds chuck roast
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
3 celery ribs, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 – 6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 (24 ounce) can pasta sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian style diced tomatoes
Mashed potatoes or polenta for serving, optional
Chopped parsley, optional garnish
In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over the roast. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown well on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Then add the wine, scraping all the lovely, browned bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook until it reduces a little, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta sauce and canned tomato and stir to combine. Then return the roast to the pot and cover. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours, until fork tender.
When finished cooking, transfer the meat to a chopping board and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. If the sauce isn’t thick enough for your liking, you can continue boiling over medium-high heat, uncovered, until it reduces enough to reach your desired thickness. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cut the roast into gorgeous big chunks and return to the sauce to serve.
Some of these recipes don’t use the entire can of sauce. You can easily freeze extra sauce for future fun recipes by placing the sauce in ice cube trays or muffin tins, then freeze and store in plastic freezer bags.
So next time you’re feeling a little saucy, remember life is about exploring all the pasta-bilities, even those beyond pasta.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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