How to Turn Store Bought Pasta Sauce into Delicious Homemade Sauce

Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning store bought pasta sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!

Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning store bought pasta sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!

Making homemade pasta sauce does not have to be difficult. Especially if you “cheat” a little by using store bought jar sauce along with some other fabulous ingredients. That’s how my dad does it and it’s always delicious! I’m here today to give away his secrets so that you can turn a jar of store bought pasta sauce into a mouthwatering “homemade” pasta sauce.

Here’s how to turn jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 jars pasta sauce – I like the “plain” ones with only basil added best.
  • 1 lb cooked ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini – optional, but I like to add because it adds some veggies in “disguise”
  • 1 large carrot – shredded
  • 1 can mushrooms – optional
  • 1/2 an onion – chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil

Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning bought jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook ground beef and chopped onion together in a large pot until meat is cooked through.
  2. Shred zucchini and carrots while beef is cooking.
  3. Add the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, sauce, dressing and spices to the cooked ground beef.
  4. Stir together.
  5. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve over spaghetti noodles (or any pasta you like) or use in other dishes like lasagna. I usually like to freeze half of this batch for later use as a quick and easy meal. Bonus!

Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning bought jar sauce into homemade sauce in 5 easy steps!

Homemade Pasta Sauce
Ingredients
  • 2 jars pasta sauce - I like the "plain" ones with only basil added best
  • 1 lb cooked ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini - optional but I like to add because it adds some veggies in "disguise"
  • 1 large carrot - shredded
  • 1 can mushrooms - optional
  • 1/2 an onion - chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
Instructions
  1. Cook ground beef and chopped onion together in a large pot until meat is cooked through.
  2. Shred zucchini and carrots while beef is cooking.
  3. Add the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, sauce, dressing and spices to the cooked ground beef.
  4. Stir together.
  5. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Smooth, velvety, and lick your lips delicious, this Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce is the perfect topping for ice cream. You’ll never buy store bought hot fudge again! 

Smooth, velvety, and lick your lips delicious, this Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce is the perfect topping for ice cream. You'll never buy store bought hot fudge again!

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 or McDonald’s for an ice cream treat.

This hot fudge sauce is so easy to whip together and once you make, you will never go back to store bought!  You can use it immediately or store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. (Heat it in the microwave before serving).

Here’s how to make homemade hot fudge sauce:

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 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.

Prefer Caramel Sauce? Check out my two ingredient Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce recipe here!

I’ad love to know what flavor of ice cream is your favourite? How about your favourite Sundae topping?

5 Easy and Healthy Breakfasts for Hectic Mornings

On hectic, busy mornings, breakfast doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Here are five quick, easy and healthy alternatives to cereal or toast.

Mornings can be such a crazy, hectic time.

Especially if you’ve got kids that go to school, you have to be at work or any of you have an early morning appointment or activity.  It can be a real struggle to get everyone dressed, fed, packed and out the door to your event/school/work in a timely fashion.

Even on days when we don’t have to be out early, I know it can be SO tempting to pull out the cereal, or make a piece of toast and call it good. Plus, who has time to get creative in the kitchen for breakfast? We want quick, easy AND healthy, but usually compromise on the healthy end of things…

But it’s honestly easier than you think to make healthy breakfasts that are delicious and nutrient rich, keeping tummies fuller, longer.

On hectic, busy mornings, breakfast doesn't have to be unhealthy. Here are five quick, easy and healthy alternatives to cereal or toast.

Here are five easy and healthy breakfasts that are perfect for hectic mornings:

OATMEAL

I used to despise oatmeal. But as I’ve grown older and found recipes I like, oatmeal is one of my favourite things to make for breakfast. I’ve got two recipes that I like to switch up.

homemade instant oatmeal packets

The first being Homemade Instant Oatmeal packets. I love the fact that I can whip up a whole bunch of packets (just like buying them from the store!) in no time and have breakfast on hand for quite a few weeks. My second favourite oatmeal is this Overnight Refrigerator oatmeal.

Both of these oatmeal recipes are very versatile when it comes to adding toppings that you like. I’m a big fan of adding raspberries or strawberries. Nut butters, nuts and seeds would also be great additions.

SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are delicious and so satisfying! Not to mention a breeze to put together. Currently our favourite combination is frozen strawberries, banana, yogurt, protein powder, and either juice or water. Sometims I like to add spinach or kale, or frozen berries, or frozen peaches.

This Tropical Pineapple Peach Slushie might also be a great dairy-free option:

Pineapple and Peach Slushie

What’s your favourite smoothie combination?

EGG TOAST

My husband’s most common breakfast request is egg toast. It’s a notch up from plain scrambled eggs or plain toast. 🙂 To make it, I simply scramble up some eggs with some milk and a touch of salt and pepper. Then I divide the eggs between some whole grain toast, then top it all with some shredded cheese.

On hectic, busy mornings, breakfast doesn't have to be unhealthy. Here are five quick, easy and healthy alternatives to cereal or toast.

FRENCH TOAST

Not the quickest breakfast on the list, but it’s still quite easy to put together! Plus, this french toast is perfect for freezing leftovers, then popping in the toaster. We like to top ours with butter, real maple syrup and sometimes fruit and whipping cream. French toast is also a hit with me because of the egg mixture it’s coated in, giving it more protein than pancakes or waffles.

Easy French Toast

FRUIT SALAD WITH GREEK YOGURT

If I could just eat fruit for breakfast, I would! I love, love a big bowl of fruit salad. But to give it more protein, thus making us fuller for longer, I serve it with some Greek yogurt. I can’t quite do plain Greek yogurt yet, so I usually buy vanilla flavoured yogurt.  As for the fruit salad, I just cut up what fruit we have on hand. Which is usually apples, strawberries, bananas, oranges and sometimes berries or mango.

What are your quick and easy healthy breakfast ideas?

Peanut Chicken Pasta

This Peanut Chicken Pasta is a favourite of ours for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner. It’s a hit with everyone!

I realized the other day that I haven’t made one of our favourite dinners in a while so I thought I’d do it up, then give you the recipe! It’s perfect for my peanut butter loving husband and daughter. I happen to love it too because it’s tasty and I feel like it’s fairly healthy. Plus, it’s easy, that’s my motto in life I think. Especially when it comes to cooking. 😉

I hope you enjoy one of our family’s favourite dinners, Peanut Chicken Pasta:

Peanut Chicken Pasta
Ingredients
  • 2 Chicken Breasts diced
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Cup chicken bouillon or broth
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes optional
  • 1 green or red pepper
  • Pasta of your choice or rice
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta or rice.
  2. Cook chicken in a skillet.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, honey, soy sauce, peanut butter, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and optional hot pepper flakes.
  4. Pour mixture into skillet with chicken, stirring constantly until thickened.
  5. Add green pepper until heated.
  6. Serve over hot pasta or rice.

 

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

These Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins are packed with healthful ingredients like zucchini, whole wheat flour, apple sauce and make a great on-the-go snack.

These Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins are packed with healthful ingredients like zucchini, whole wheat flour, apple sauce and make a great on-the-go snack.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

The best zucchini chocolate chip muffins ever! Moist, sweet, packed with shredded zucchini, perfect spices, chocolate chips and all sorts of healthful ingredients!  I like to make these into mini muffins because I find my daughter enjoys them more that way. 🙂 Plus, you can’t actually taste the zucchini so she’s getting a vegetable that she wouldn’t normally eat.

These muffins will be perfect when zucchini growing season is upon us. Use up that bounty!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
If you want to make mini muffins, fill about 36 mini muffin liners with batter. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 13 - 15 minutes.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Oil
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Shredded Zucchini
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, oil, apple sauce, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, egg, vanilla, milk and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  4. Stir until just moistened.
  5. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips..
  6. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

For this Chicken Broccoli Alfredo meal, you take some chicken, broccoli, Alfredo sauce, and bacon bits, toss it all into a freezer bag. That’s it. Then to cook it, throw it in the slow cooker for a super simple, family pleasing dinner!

For this Chicken Broccoli Alfredo meal, you take some chicken, broccoli, Alfredo sauce, and bacon bits, toss it all into a freezer bag. That's it. Then to cook it, throw it in the slow cooker for a super simple, family pleasing dinner!

This Chicken Broccoli Alfredo is easy, easy, easy! Easy to put together, and easy to cook! My favourite kind of meal. 🙂 It’s a family-friendly meal that goes from the freezer to the slow cooker, making dinnertime a breeze. The recipe calls for a bag of frozen broccoli, but I find a bag of broccoli and cauliflower is just as good! It’s delicious served over pasta or rice.

Here’s how to make Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo:

Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
These ingredients make enough for one meal that feeds about 4 people.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 jars of Alfredo sauce
  • 1 bag of Frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 Green Pepper diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup real bacon
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag.
Freezing and Serving Directions:
  1. Freeze in a freezer bag for 3 months in a refrigerator freezer or 6 months in a deep freezer.
  2. To serve, defrost in fridge then place contents into slow cooker.
  3. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
  4. Serve over pasta (with parmesan cheese if you like), with a salad and/or veggies.