Turn Jar Pasta Sauce into Homemade Sauce

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

Expecting company for dinner? Impress your guests and be a kitchen superstar by turning bought jar 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.

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.

 

Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe for the ultimate comfort food, Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd’s Pie is one of our family’s favourite. Ground beef and veggies smothered in a tasty gravy, topped with delicious mashed potatoes. Yum yum!

Now this is a recipe to bookmark! This easy freezer friendly Shepherd's Pie is a delicious mix of potatoes, veggies and meat smothered in gravy.

This freezer-friendly Shepherd’s Pie is one of those easy to prepare comfort foods. It’s a simple meal that uses ingredients that you usually have on hand. It’s perfect for the freezer to cook another day, or you can make it ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook it for dinner. This recipe includes the use of beef gravy or Shepherd’s Pie gravy, which adds a delicious touch of flavour to the Shepherd’s Pie and keeps it moist and tender.

Here’s how to make Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd’s Pie:

Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd's Pie
These ingredients make enough for two 8x8 baking pans that will feed about 4 people each.
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 bag mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • About 10 medium potatoes
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 package Shepherd's Pie gravy mix prepared as per instructions
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut potatoes.
  2. Cook in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes, drain.
  3. Add butter, milk and mash then set aside.
  4. In a large pan, add ground beef, onion, and garlic and cook until browned.
  5. Add bag of frozen mixed vegetables, heat through.
  6. In the meantime prepare gravy mix as per instructions.
  7. Stir gravy into meat and vegetable mix.
  8. Transfer to freezer safe baking dish.
  9. Top with mashed potato mix and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, if desired.
Freezing and Serving Directions
  1. Once assembled, cover freezer safe baking dish really well. Place in freezer.
  2. To serve, defrost, then preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

Maple Pineapple Slow Cooker Ham

I’ve got another Fill the Freezer February recipe post for you! This time it’s for a delicious maple pineapple ham that can be made in the slow cooker. I actually changed this recipe up a bit from the one available in the Fill the Freezer February pack. I wanted to use what I had on hand and so I omitted the brown sugar (mine was rock hard) and used some canned pineapple instead. This actually makes me happier, because I feel like there’s less sugar that way!

I’ve made a very similar version to this several times in the past and it’s always a hit with everyone. I whipped up two batches of freezer mashed potatoes to serve with this.

Here’s how to make Maple Pineapple Slow Cooker Ham:

Maple Pineapple Slow Cooker Ham
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 Small can of Pineapple with Juice
  • 1 Pre-Cooked ham
Instructions
  1. Place Dijon mustard, maple syrup and pineapple and juice into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Place ham into a large freezer bag.
  3. Pour sauce over top of the ham.
  4. Seal Bag. Freeze.
To Serve:
  1. Place ham and sauce in a slow cooker. (Can still be frozen)
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours.

 

Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells (Fill the Freezer February)

First up in my Fill The Freezer February task, is these delicious Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells! (I sincerely hope my photography skills only improve with each meal I make…my apologies.) These are so delicious and are actually quite simple to put together! They were a hit with everyone in my family and I need to make another batch because I planned to make two for the freezer, but only one made it there! I served these with a caesar salad and some carrot sticks.

I also love my KitchenAid mixer so I try to do as much as I can with it in the kitchen and these proved that I can create the whole “stuffing” part with the mixer. Including shredding the chicken! That is a win in my books, especially when I’m working with a stiffer food thing. (Saves my wrists.)

These Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells could be quite versatile. I think they’d be great with spinach added, as much pesto as you’d like and I’m sure most variety of cheeses would be wonderful. You could even try adding a bit of tomato sauce.

Here’s how to make freezer friendly Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells:

Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells
This recipe makes enough for two pans of stuffed shells that will feed about four people each.
Ingredients
  • 1 box of jumbo pasta shells
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups fresh grated Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese + extra for topping
  • 6 Tbsp prepared pesto homemade or store bought
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta shells only until al dente. (The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked.)
  2. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the extra cheese for the topping.
  4. Fill the pasta shells with the filling.
  5. Freezing and Serving Directions
  6. Place stuffed shells in an aluminum baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle the extra cheese over shells.
  8. Cover well.
  9. To serve, defrost, then preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!