Hunt’s Pasta Sauce — 10 Cans, Meals 5 and 6

Now that the crush and rush of the holiday season has passed, I can start catching you back up. 😉

As you may or may not recall, as a result of a great sale a few months ago at Brookshire’s, one of my local grocery options, I stocked up my pantry with 10 cans of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce.

I usually make my own pasta sauce, but I do always like to keep a tin or two of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce in my pantry for a quick, easy meal. For example, I’ve found that it’s just the right amount of sauce for a frozen (or refrigerated) bag of ravioli. It’s also just the right amount of sauce for when I make stuffed shells — I figure I’m already futzing with stuffing the pasta shells, so unless I’m feeling especially like puttering in the kitchen, I usually make it easy on myself and doctor up a can of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce. When we’re making up a big batch of pizzas (such as for a family birthday party), mixing a tin of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce with tomato paste is an easy way to make a yummy pizza sauce for a crowd.

Generally, I choose Hunt’s Pasta Sauce over other brands because even when it’s not on sale, it’s usually more affordable than other brands; I like the flavor of it (‘though I add additional seasonings to it, of course); and in comparison to other sauces, it seems to have the least amount of added sugar.

Hunt’s Pasta Sauce comes in a variety of flavors, but I usually get either the Garlic & Herb or the No-Sugar-Added sauce, although I’ve found that the No-Sugar-Added sauce is thinner and more watery than the others.

Given that, at a $1 a can, the Pasta Sauce is more affordable than an equal amount of tomato sauce, I’m treating the Hunt’s Pasta Sauce as I would a seasoned tomato sauce and trying it in a few different ways.

I made meals 5 and 6 with the Hunt’s Pasta Sauce in the early part of December and they smelled — and tasted! — YUMMY!

For Meal 5, I made a lasagna with sausage sauce to go along with the Sun dried Tomato and Olive bread, tossed salad, and no-sugar carrot cake for my father-in-law’s birthday celebrations. I gave his birthday lasagna a Florentine twist by adding in some spinach. This was the inaugural lasagna in my new, gorgeous, festively red Fiesta lasagna pan!

Have you ever wondered why dishes that have spinach in them are referred to as being “Florentine”? Well, according to Wikipedia:

In 1533, Catherine de’ Medici became queen of France; she so fancied spinach that she insisted it be served at every meal. To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine,” reflecting Catherine’s birth in Florence.

Why, it’s almost enough to make you want to break into a Florentiner March! 😉 (Go on, give this composition by Julius Arnost Wilhelm Fučík a listen while you read the rest of this post — you know you want to! And a little under 6 minutes of military marching band music will do your heart good, and you know it!)

 

The lasagna went over so well that hubby and I only had enough leftover for lunch, but we still had plenty of that yummy Sun dried Tomato and Olive bread, so I made us a quick and easy but tasty Spaghetti with Sausage Sauce the next night for Meal 6.

Both of these meals were as yummy as they smelled. 🙂

Buon appetito!

MEAL 5: Lasagna Florentine with Sausage Sauce (Serves 9 to 12)

Vegetarians: Use a vegetarian sausage substitute in place of the sausage, or add in some more of your favorite veggies!

  • 1 pound bulk turkey sausage or reduced-fat bulk pork sausage
  • Olive or canola oil
  • Red wine (white would likely work, as well)
  • 1/2 to 1 medium to large onion, finely chopped/diced
  • 1 – 2 carrot(s), finely diced/minced
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • 1 can (14 -15 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (26 ounces) Hunt’s pasta sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (or 12 ounces fresh spinach, cooked until wilted and drained/squeezed dry)
  • Approximately 2 cups (15 ounce container) reduced-fat ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 8 to 10 ounces (about 2 cups) grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (do yourself a favor and grate your own!)
  • Grated Parmesan and/or three-cheese Italian blend to taste (optional)
  • Worcestershire sauce (Vegetarians: Leave out or use a vegan substitute)
  • Seasonings to taste: bay leaf(ves), basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, parsley and rosemary (optional))
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
  1. Brown bulk sausage in a large non-stick skillet in a splash of olive or canola oil.
  2. Add in diced onion and minced carrot and sauté for just a bit. Add in minced garlic and sauté. Add in some healthy splashes of wine (I prefer red; I used some Shiraz, because that’s what I had on hand and open) to “deglaze” the pan, and simmer the onion/carrot/garlic mixture for just a bit.
  3. Pour in tinned tomatoes (UNDRAINED), pasta sauce, and tomato paste. (I usually use the smaller 6 ounce can, but sometimes will use the 12 ounce can and just add in some more wine/water/desired liquid to adjust the sauce to the consistency I want at the time.) Stir together.
  4. Add seasonings to taste: a splash of Worcestershire sauce, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, and parsley. I also like a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to give it a hint of “fra diavolo” flavor. Add in a bay leaf or two. I’m lucky enough to have fresh rosemary growing in my herb garden, so I like to lay a snipping or two of rosemary twigs on the sauce to simmer (as with bay leaves, I remove them before we eat). I much prefer fresh rosemary to dried, but you can use dried if you prefer, or you can just leave the rosemary out. Reduce heat to simmer.
  5. SPINACH: You may add the spinach into the sauce and let it simmer with the sauce, OR you can spread the spinach along one of the lasagna layers, which is what I did. Do whichever one you prefer.
  6. While the sauce simmers, cook lasagna noodles to al dente. (Remember, they’ll be baking in the lasagna, too.) Rinse in cold water and drain.
  7. Lightly beat an egg into the ricotta (or cottage) cheese. Season to taste with parsley and coarse ground black pepper and, if desired, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, and garlic powder.
  8. Lightly spray a 13″X9″ (3 quart) baking pan (preferably glass) with cooking spray or oil lightly.
  9. Spread a small amount (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup) sauce along the bottom of the pan.
  10. Gently dry 3 lasagna noodles and lay them side-by-side in the pan. Sprinkle with some grated Parmesan or Italian cheese blend, if desired. Spread about 1/2 of the ricotta (or cottage) cheese mixture along the noodles. Spread a bit less than 1/3 of the sausage sauce on top of the cheese. Sprinkle lightly with some grated Parmesan or Italian cheese blend, if desired. Sprinkle with a bit of the shredded mozzarella.
  11. Gently dry 3 more lasagna noodles and repeat layers, which will use up the remaining ricotta (or cottage) cheese mixture, but NOT the remaining sausage sauce and mozzarella cheese. If the spinach is not included in the sauce, spread along the noodles and then top with the rest of the cheese mixture OR spread the spinach on top of the cheese mixture — your preference.
  12. Gently dry the last 3 lasagna noodles and place side-by-side in pan. Top with remaining sausage sauce, making sure all noodles are covered. Sprinkle with some grated Parmesan and/or Italian cheese blend, if desired.
  13. Cover and bake at 350F until cooked through and bubbly; about 30 to 45 minutes. Uncover, top with remaining grated cheese, and bake about 15 more minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

To make ahead: Assemble lasagna. Keep covered, in refrigerator, for 24 hours, or in freezer for a couple of months. Bake refrigerated lasagna, covered, for 45 minutes or so, then uncover for another 15 to 30 minutes, until done. Bake frozen lasagna, covered, for 45 minutes or so, then uncover and bake for another 40 to 60 minutes, until done.

 

MEAL 6: Spaghetti with Simple Sausage Sauce (Serves 5 to 6 )

I was worried this sauce might be a little too thin if I didn’t add in any tomato paste, but I simply let it simmer for a bit with the saucepan lid cocked — a spatter lid would work, also — and it wasn’t in the least bit watery or runny.

Vegetarians: Use a vegetarian sausage substitute!

  • 1/2 pound ground bulk turkey sausage or reduced-fat pork sausage
  • 1 can (26 ounces) Hunt’s pasta sauce
  • Splash of red wine (white would likely work, too)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 onion, finely chopped/diced
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • 1  carrot, finely chopped/diced (optional) (I used some of the leftover shredded carrot I’d gotten for the carrot cake)
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped/diced (optional)
  • If desired: Sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned) and/or diced green bell pepper (I left those out this time)
  • Worcestershire sauce (Vegetarians — leave out or use a vegan substitute)
  • Seasonings to taste: bay leaf(ves), basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, parsley and rosemary (optional))
  • Desired amount of cooked spaghetti (or other desired pasta)
  • Olive or canola oil
  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat a wee bit of olive or canola oil or lightly “season” the pan. Brown the 1/2 pound of sausage. Add in the minced onion, carrot (if desired), and celery (if desired) (I like to whiz mine up finely in the food processor); cook for a bit, then add in the minced garlic and sauté. Add in some healthy splashes of wine (I prefer red; I used some Shiraz, because that’s what I had on hand and open) to “deglaze” the pan, and simmer the mixture for just a bit. Add in any other vegetables (such as mushrooms or bell pepper).
  2. Stir in the pasta sauce. Add in seasonings and Worcestershire (if using) to taste.
  3. Simmer, with the lid cocked or with a spatter lid, until heated through and sauce is of desired consistency (generally 20 to 30 minutes, although you can simmer for a longer period, if desired).
  4. Serve over cooked spaghetti or with other desired pasta.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
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About MissieLee

I love tasty food prepared in a healthy way with a budget in mind.
This entry was posted in Casserole, Main Dish, Pasta, Pork, Turkey, Vegetarian/Meatless and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hunt’s Pasta Sauce — 10 Cans, Meals 5 and 6

  1. Florentine? Who knew! Great tidbit there 🙂

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