Sep 12, 2012

Balsamic Marinara Sauce and Life with Two Kids

If your garden is like my garden, you have a ton of tomatoes. Our tomato harvest came just in time for the delivery of our second son, James. In the midst of cuddling and loving on my new little guy, I realized my tomatoes were desperate to be picked and eaten.
With family in town to greet James and help out, I had a few extra hands to help me make marinara sauce with the tomatoes from the garden. Boy, did it turn out good. Plus, you can basically throw all the ingredients into a pot and let them simmer away. I got the recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Budget Bytes. I love it because all of the recipes are affordable to make and delicious. Score! So, here we go.
Credits to mother-in-law, Bev for helping me out with the prep-work.
I followed the basic recipe, but also added zucchini, ground cooked turkey and fresh tomatoes instead of canned. And for time sake, I didn't peel the tomatoes beforehand. I just cut em up and threw em in the pot. Easy. The recipe is for a slow-cooker, but since I was home and tending to the kids anyway, I just simmered it on the stove for about 2 hours and it turned out fabulous.
We started by shredding the zucchini.
Chop chop the tomatoes.
In with the basil.
Balsamic Marinara Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 28 oz Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Med Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 lb Extra Lean Ground Turkey
Chop onions and mince garlic. Add olive oil to simmer pot on medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic a bit, then add tomatoes. Stir to combine, then add spices. Mix well, cover and set to low heat so that the mixture simmers. Cook for approximately 1-2 hours, or until desired consistency is reached. In a separate pan, cook ground turkey until done and add to sauce.
This was a great meal to enjoy with family. With two kids, I now appreciate more than ever healthy food that is easily prepared. My family enjoyed the taste and I felt good knowing that my ingredients were fresh and nutritous. That said, not everyone has a garden, so it's nice to know that even conventional produce at the grocery store offers health benefits. Simply feeding your family more fruits and vegetables is a great way to improve overall health.


  1. Oh I wish I'd had this recipe when MY tomatoes were plentiful (also happened right when Xander was born... but I guess I wasn't as industrious as you!). I love that there's zucchini in it... will be trying soon! So nice to see your posts again... hugs to you and the boys! :)

  2. Well I planted tomatoes late, so technically yours were more on time than mine! Say hi to your little ones for us...we miss you!!