Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

slow cooker spaghetti sauce

Nothing beats a good plate of spaghetti and meat sauce.  It’s a comfort food at it’s finest!  Making a big pot of spaghetti sauce is also a great way to feed a crowd.  Delicious and frugal! While this recipe for slow cooker spaghetti sauce calls for peppers, you could throw in any veggies that you’d like to use up.  Such as a lone carrot or mushrooms.  It’s really flexible.

This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe could be made in a big pot, but I prefer the set it and forget it feature of the slow cooker. :) But, you’ll still want to cook up the garlic, onions, beef and sausage before you throw it into the slow cooker. I use this Cuisinart programmable slow cooker, but any slow cooker will do.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup minced Onion
  • 1 tbsp minced Garlic
  • Red and Yellow Peppers (stems and seeds removed)
  • 1 Carrot (optional)
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • 45 oz Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 24 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium.
  2. Crumble and brown ground beef and sausage, along with onion and garlic.
  3. Drain excess fat.
  4. Place meat mixture into slow cooker.
  5. Add remaining ingredients.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

This recipe could possibly make enough for leftovers that you can freeze!  I love grabbing a “pre-made” meal out of the freezer on busy days.  Simply reheat on the stove.

DIY: Lemon Ginger Cold Remedy

Unfortunately, as the weather gets cooler, cold &  flu season also approaches :( But, I’m going to try to be prepared by keeping this recipe on file!

Visit Nifty Thrifty Things for her recipe for a Lemon Ginger Cold Remedy!

Thanks, Mom :)

Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce and Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are here for a visit this week with our two nieces.  In honour of the occasion, I fully intend on having them over for an ice cream sundae party!  At least once, probably twice because I love ice cream.  A lot.  Also because ice cream sundae parties are so much fun with all the topping selections available!  I stopped in at Bulk Barn and picked up a bunch of fun toppings.  Along with the candies and nuts I purchased, I’m going to whip up some slow cooker caramel sauce and homemade hot fudge sauce.  I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce

You’re not going to believe this one, but this slow cooker caramel sauce (or Dulce de Leche) uses only one ingredient! (Two if you add the vanilla)  It’s so so easy to make AND eat :)  Here’s how to make slow cooker caramel sauce:

Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ¾ tsp Vanilla (optional)
Instructions
  1. Transfer condensed milk to three ½ pint mason jars and put on the lids and rings.
  2. Place in slow cooker and cover with water. (About an inch above the jars)
  3. Cook on low for about 8 hours.
  4. Remove from water and allow to cool until the jars are room temperature.
  5. Carefully remove rings and lids.
  6. Add ¼ tsp of vanilla to each jar (optional).
  7. Stir well until sauce is smooth.
  8. To store, replace, lid and ring and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

This recipe is my husband’s personal favorite. He loves hot fudge sauce!  He’s even convinced me on several occasions to get hot fudge instead of my usual caramel when we stop at Dairy Queen.  Here’s how to make homemade hot fudge sauce:

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • ⅛ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate chips by heating them in the microwave for 30 seconds then stirring and microwaving again until chocolate is melted.
  2. Transfer to a sauce pan over low heat and add butter, salt and sugar.
  3. Add cream in small amounts until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Stir frequently until heated, but not boiling.
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

I’ll be sure to post pictures of our ice cream sundae party later on.  I even found some cute ice cream bowls from the dollar store!  Which sauce is going to be your favourite?

Prep 16 Freezer Meals in an Hour

freezer-slow cooker meals

Freezer cooking is a great way to save if you’re on a budget and short on time! Head on over to Midget Momma to see how she prepped 16 freezer slow cooker meals with fresh ingredients in about an hour!

DIY: Italian Seasoning Mix

Italian Seasoning Mix

If your household is a fan of Italian dressing, this Italian Seasoning Mix is going to save you a lot of money over time!  It’s perfect if you’re on a budget and you keep finding yourself buying the expensive bottles at the grocery store.

While this recipe is meant to be mixed up as a liquid dressing, I’m sure sprinkling the spice mix over veggies or meat would be just as wonderful.  We like to use Italian dressing as salad dressing (of course) and even as a marinade for chicken!  Hint: throw some chicken breast into a freezer bag, pour this Italian dressing over top, then seal the bag and toss it into the freezer for a really quick freezer meal! It cooks up well in the slow cooker.

Italian Seasoning Mix
 
Ingredients
  • Dry Mix:
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • ¼ tsp Ground Thyme
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • ¼ tsp Celery Salt
  • 1½ tbsp Salt
  • For dressing:
  • 2 tbsp Dry Mix (above)
  • ¼ cup Cider Vinegar
  • ⅔ cup Oil
  • 2 tbsp Water
Instructions
  1. Combine Dry Mix ingredients and store in airtight container.
  2. To make dressing, combine ingredients in a bottle and shake well.

 

Check out my easy recipe for homemade Ranch mix. Do you have any creative uses for Italian seasoning/dressing?
DIY Italian Seasoning Mix

Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles

iced coffee pops

If you are as much of a coffee fan as I am, you’re going to want to try these Vietnamese coffee popsicles!  I’ve been making a ton of popsicles for Sienna lately, but sometimes I just want an afternoon pick-me-up that appeals to my taste buds.  That’s why these coffee pops are perfect because I gain a bit of energy and I treat myself to a another “cup” of coffee.  Also, these Vietnamese coffee popsicles are the perfect combination of coffee, cream and sugar!

When my brother was visiting over Christmas, he kept raving about his Aeropress coffee maker that he had purchased.  I finally, not too long ago, broke down and bought one for myself.  It really does make great coffee!  I used the Aeropress for this recipe, but you could also use a French press or brew a really strong pot in your regular coffee maker.

Iced Coffee Pops
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 300ml of cooled strong Coffee
Instructions
  1. If you want to make this using the Aeropress, use 3 scoops of ground coffee and fill up to the 3 line before pressing. Then add water to raise to 10 oz.
  2. Combine the coffee with the sweetened condensed milk and mix well.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly into the molds and insert sticks.
  4. Place in freezer for 3-5 hours.

As for the Popsicle molds, I’ve been loving some I picked up from the dollar store.  But I also am starting to love these silicon ice pop molds for a less messy alternative for Sienna. I also have this freezer pop maker that’s great for making bigger popsicles.

I hop you enjoy these Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles as much as I do!

Simple Snack: Apple Sandwiches

Simple Snack Apple Sandwiches

Summer calls for delicious simple snacks.  Okay fine, I’m not opposed to simple snacks all year long. After all, simple is one of my meal prep motto’s so if I think it’s going to take too much time, I move on.  Or even if it has too many ingredients that I don’t keep on hand.

These apple sandwiches fall under the category of simple, delicious and budget-friendly.  They’re a hit with both me and Sienna.  (Though for Sienna, I just do one slice of apple with the peanut butter and granola on top to make an open face sandwich.)  While we use peanut butter, I think these would be delicious with almond butter, apple butter or any kind of nut butter!  As for the granola, I like to always have a batch of this homemade granola on hand.  And for the apple corer, I really like this Cuisipro apple corer.

Here’s how to create Apple Sandwiches:

Apple Sandwiches
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Apples
  • 2-3 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 3 tbsp Granola
  • handful Raisins
Instructions
  1. Remove cores from apples and cut into ¼-1/2" thick slices
  2. Spread apple slice with peanut butter.
  3. Top with granola and raisins.
  4. Place another apple slice on top and gently press together.
  5. Repeat with remaining apple slices.

What is one of your favourite go-to simple snacks?

50 Perfect Popsicle Recipes

50-Perfect-Popsicle-Recipes

I have grand plans to make all sorts or yummy popsicles this summer.  So when I came across this list of 50+ Perfect Popsicle Recipes on A Night Owl, I couldn’t resist sharing with you! If you’re on a budget, homemade popsicles are a delicious alternative to the expensive store bought brands.

Do you have any favourite Popsicle recipes to share in the comments?

30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 Hours

30-Freezer-Meals1

Visit Who Needs a Cape to find a list of 30 Summer Freezer meals that they made up in just three hours!

How do you simplify summer meals?

10 Tasty Ways to Use Beans

Beans are a great way to help keep your grocery budget on track.  Here are 10 tasty (not boring) ways to use beans.

I’ve been starting to use more beans around here because not only does a certain little person love them, they help stretch the grocery budget!  I also love the fact that they’re filling and nutritious.  Buying canned beans can be economical, but if you purchase dry beans in bulk, that’s even more economical.

While beans can be boring, they can also be super tasty.  I’ve rounded up 10 tasty ways to use beans that you’re sure to enjoy! <–Click to Tweet.

In Smoothies

Sounds weird right?  But you’ve got to check out this recipe for Cocoa Bean smoothie from Tasting Table.

Make Bean Dip

One of our favourite ways to enjoy beans is to make bean dip by layering refried beans, cream cheese, salsa and cheddar cheese in a baking dish.  We then bake it at 350 until the cheese is all melted and bubbly.  Here’s a recipe for refried beans. You could also try this Black bean dip, looks tasty!

In Chili and Soups

Beans are a great addition to chili and soups.  Try out my recipe for Turkey Chili.  You could omit the turkey and add another bean variety to make it really cost effective.  This minestrone soup looks delicious!

In Taco Meat

Add beans to your taco meat to help it go further.  Black beans are a great addition.

In Dessert

I’m sure you must know about Black Bean brownies?  While I have yet to try them myself, I’ve heard others rave about black bean brownies!

Make Baked Beans

We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the recipe for slow cooker baked beans found over at 100 Days of Real Food.  It makes a big batch so I always freeze the leftovers.

In Bean Salad

Confession: growing up, I would always pass over the bean salad. It was just not appealing to me (aka: gross).  But now that I’m much older and wiser ;), I think I could get on board with eating some bean salad!  I’m going to try this recipe first.

In Burritos

One of our favorite ways to use beans is in these Black Bean and Salsa Burritos.  That reminds me, we haven’t made these in a while! Time to add them to the menu.

In Pasta Sauce

Did you know you can create a delicious alfredo sauce using white beans?  You can!  Just follow this recipe: White bean alfredo sauce.

Black Bean Burgers

Celebrate Meatless Monday and BBQ season with this recipe for Black Bean Veggie Burgers.  They sound mighty tasty.

In Hummus

I was on the hunt for a delicious homemade hummus, so I created this one!  Though, I’m not entirely sure chickpeas are considered a bean.  They’re a legume and so are beans so I’m going with it.

Do you have any tasty ways to use beans?  Recipe links in the comments are always welcome!