Sneak peek from my Darn Good Eats cookbook! Prepare yourself for some serious YUM!

Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce (with extra Jodi spice)

I’m going to sneak to all of you…drum roll please…my mom’s famous spaghetti sauce recipe!  It may have morphed a bit over the years, but Mom was the creator of this zesty treat and I’ve just kind of kicked it up a spicy notch. Speaking of spicy notches, if you are the heartburn-getting type you do NOT want to do this. Put the book down. Walk away from the kitchen. Save yourself.

Before we get started, know that you will be making enough spaghetti sauce to feed your family and the family down the street more than once. I simply refuse to make something like this in small batches. Why would anyone waste all this time making enough for one or two meals? That just seems silly to me. So, make sure you have a bunch of food storage containers and space in the fridge—you are going to need it.

Goodies needed from the store:

  • 1½ – 2 pounds of hamburger (doesn’t have to be lean—the more grease, the better)
  • A one-pound package of spicy Italian sausages (you can use turkey sausage if you want to save some calories)
  • 3/4 of a green pepper
  • 3/4 of a medium/large white or yellow onion
  • Three 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • One 28-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • Three 28-ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes (none of that pre-spiced stuff though)
  • Half of one of those tiny cans of tomato paste (the hubby and I always whine about the fact that even those tiny cans are too big. Why can’t they make a half-sized tiny can? Who uses a whole can?)
  • Between 8 – 12 cloves of minced garlic (or a ton of garlic salt)
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • OPTIONAL: A sprinkle of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese never hurts as a nice topping on the spaghetti
  • OPTIONAL: 6 basil leaves, chopped

Putting it all together:

  1. Peel the skin off the sausage, (ewwww!) then slice into half-inch slices.
  2. Brown the sausage until thoroughly cooked and then set aside in a bowl. Don’t throw out the grease. The grease makes the sauce even better.
  3. Cut up the green pepper into large chunks (I always take these chunks out after the sauce has cooked for several hours as I don’t like eating chunks of green pepper–blech!).
  4. Dice the onion into fairly small pieces.
  5. Mince or cut the garlic into to small pieces.
  6. Combine the garlic, green pepper, onion and hamburger in a frying pan and brown all together. Stir often as you don’t want the hamburger to get chunky and stick together. You want it to be pretty crumbly.
  7. Once the hamburger is thoroughly cooked (no pink) dump everything, including the sausage and grease, into an enormous pot. You are going to be making enough for an army! Leftover sauce is the best thing on planet earth.
  8. Add all the tomato stuff and stir.
  9. Add a thin layer of Italian seasoning across the entire top of the sauce. I don’t have a specific measurement here, I just coat the top of the sauce and that usually works.
  10. Add crushed red pepper flakes, to taste—I like it spicy so I probably usually put in a little less than a tablespoon.
  11. Add salt. I crave salt in my sleep so I use a fair amount. If you are a normal person just chuck in a little and as it cooks add more in small amounts until it’s got enough.
  12. Cook on low, stirring frequently, for as many hours as you can take the yummy smell before attacking the pot.
  13. If you like basil you can chuck about 6 chopped leaves into the sauce about an hour before it’s finished cooking. I usually don’t, but my hubby sneaks it in. Stinker! It’s that dang chef part of him that just has to mess with my recipes!

I wrote earlier that a little fresh Parmesan cheese never hurts. I was wrong. This is what happens when non-chefs try to be chefs:


I grated my thumb. Yes, we ate thumb-laced Parmesan cheese on top of our spaghetti. Do yourself and your thumb a favor and just buy the Parmesan at the store that is pre-grated. If you want it to be fancy, you can get the shaved Parmesan in the cheese section of the store. It looks very pretty and is far less bloody atop your awesome spaghetti.

I serve this on regular spaghetti noodles. Nothing fancy. No fettuccine as it’s flat and stupid and should only be used with Alfredo sauce. No angel hair as it’s too thin for the heavy sauce. Just normal spaghetti.

Serve all of this with some yummy, butter-soaked garlic bread (mmmmm…garlic bread…) and you will have an AWESOME dinner that really is pretty easy to make. With that amount of sauce, a family of 4 could live off of it for days and days. Whatever is left over after 3 or 4 days, just freeze. It’s just as good out of the freezer a month from now.


PS: I promised How to Online Date that I’d post this recipe, so here it is! 🙂

57 comments on “Sneak peek from my Darn Good Eats cookbook! Prepare yourself for some serious YUM!

  1. Yum! Sounds good…what is your favorite brand of canned tomatoes? I like to use San Marzano, but haven’t been able to find one that makes that tasty sweet tomato sauce. Love your blog!


    • Hi! Thanks so much for visiting. I’m glad you like the craziness of my blog. 🙂 As for canned tomatoes, I’m pretty flexible. I prefer anything organic, but usually buy what is on sale (except no store brand). We go through so many cans of tomatoes in this house that we’d go broke if I wasn’t a smart shopper. 🙂 Great meeting you!


  2. OoOOO. Well done. Thank you for sharing. Also thank you for looking at and following my blog. Much appreciated. Keep writing, sharing. Fabulous!


  3. This is good! I will be posting MY mother’s spaghetti sauce recipe in a morphed version; no one could take the time,(she literally leaned over the stove several times for stretches during the cooking time), or make it quite like her. And you HAVE to make a big batch of these sauces…it’s compulsory!


    • Big batches are the ONLY way to go!!! I can’t wait to see your mom’s recipe (mine is morphed from my mom’s too!). I love a good sauce recipe and am always looking to mix it up a bit. In case I miss it, please let me know when you post it. I’ll be a Your Mom’s Sauce making fool. 🙂


  4. Thanks,Jodi;I just hope Mom doesn’t come back an haunt me.(Italians are so secretive about their recipes;I am breaking with tradition).Mine’s good, but I can’t do her’s justice. I have a number of good stories to tell that involve Mom’s sauce as well.


    • I’m so glad you are breaking tradition because I am soooo going to make your mom’s recipe! I’m sure she’d be excited to share her awesomeness with the world. 🙂 I look forward to your stories and the recipe. That’s going to be awesome. 🙂


    • Spaghetti rules!!! Give this recipe a try and see if we can convert your hubby. 🙂 The good thing is, since the recipe makes a ton, you can make it for yourself and then put single servings of it in the freezer. That way, when you want some it’s just 3 minutes in the microwave away. 🙂


    • I did not know! But that sure makes sense. Thank you!! 😉 No more wasted tomato paste. 🙂 As for the garlic powder vs. garlic salt, I always go with the garlic salt in this recipe. I tried it with garlic powder once (because I was out of garlic salt) and didn’t like the flavor as much. Most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference, but since I’ve been eating this recipe for a million years I picked up on the difference. 🙂


  5. My daughter and I made something out of the book the other day, but it went wrong. It wasn’t until afterwards that we noticed that the flour was 10 months out of date 😉 We’re going to make it again soon, and my review will be done in the next day or so, We were in fits of giggles at some of the things in it. 😀

    It’s definitely worth the money


    • Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you said that. I did the EXACT same thing the first time I made them. The hubby thinks kitchen staples last forever and when I made the cookie yum yums they were inedible!! So glad I’m not the only one. As you can see by the 2nd pic in the book (the not overcooked pic) they should be full of delicious buttery goodness. They do harden up over time, but they are super good that way. They aren’t supposed to be overly gooey or soft.

      That recipe and the chocolate chip caramel salty treats are soooooo good!!! 🙂 I can’t wait to hear how batch 2 comes out. Also, sooooo glad it’s giving you fits of giggles. I just can’t help but be stupid and sassy when I write. 😉 Thanks so much for the sweetness. I’m so happy you think it’s worth the bucks! 🙂


      • Haha that damn flour 😉

        They don’t taste too bad all things considered 😉 Farrah’s already decided what she wants to make next out of there. Her wanting to cook is a great thing. I just opened the book and found: “Special fixins for a special sammich” and “Making the masterpiece” Brilliance 😀


        • OOOOhhh!! What’s she going to make next? I love hearing that she’s wanting to cook–especially goodies from my book. Yay!!! 🙂 So glad you like my doofieness too. 🙂 The ARE special fixins for a special sammich!! 😉 XO


          • She’s getting all Twilighted out at the moment and isn’t interested in anything cooking related at the moment 😦

            Once I have managed to get my timings back to some thing I can handle (I go to sleep late and get up early so keep falling asleep) I will be able to go through more. I will do the review, I promise 🙂


            • Oh man, I’M GETTING all Twilighted out!!! Oh yeah. They truly are some of the worst films I’ve ever seen, but like an addiction to crack, I am at the mercy of the drug known as Twilight! 😉 Tell your lovely daughter that I’m right there with you.

              As for the review, I’m just ever so grateful you offered, my dear. No pressure at all! I just love ya for even thinking about it. 🙂 You are awesome!


  6. Got your book a couple days ago…it’s awesome! Haven’t made anything yet but flipped through most of the recipes. It’s gotta be the best cookbook ever simply because of the way you talk/write. 😀 And I absolutely love the dragon breathe-o-meter! He is just too cute.


  7. That sauce looks awesome! Any spaghetti sauce that comes from a mom has got to be amazing. Appreciate you stopping by foodforfun for politics and chocolate chip cookies. Am enjoying your blog’s vibe very much.


  8. Oh Jodi, that pasta dish looks delicious. My Grandma was Italian, so I know what I’m talking about when it comes to pasta and sauce:0) Please continue sharing!!!


    • Thank you!!! It really is yummy and different from most sauces. I could live off of it. I’m a bit jealous that you had an Italian grandma-I love the amazing ways and cooking skills of an Italian grandma. 🙂 Have a lovely night!


  9. I couldn’t find your Darn Good Eats book on Goodreads and wanted to add it to my list of “currently reading” books. So I added it. Problem is, I left out the colon, so one of us needs to edit that correctly. Sorry!!!!


  10. This has to be one of the best comfort foods (grated thumb and all 😉 ) I always add lots of crushed rec chilies to my tomato sauce because I’m a chili fiend.

    I always have disasters with my microplane grater – my hands are super scarred 😦


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