I have adapted this recipe to the preferences of my own family. You may like yours less sweet, less chunky, with more garlic, etc. Feel free to take this recipe and tweak it to your liking. I would suggest adding the spices gradually and tasting as you go in order to come up with the "perfect" sauce. Don't forget to write down how much you added of each thing so that you can make it again!
Makes 2 quarts+ of sauce. Leftover sauce can be frozen for another meal.
29 oz. can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
29 oz. can petite diced tomatoes (or another can of crushed tomatoes if you don't like "chunks" in your sauce)
1 t. salt
1 t. parsley, dried
1 t. oregano, dried
3/4 t. onion powder
1 1/2 t. basil, dried
3/4 t. garlic powder (to taste)
pinch black pepper
2 T. sugar (optional--we like ours a tiny bit sweet)
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T. olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic (more if desired), pressed
2 c. finely chopped veggies of choice (zucchini, mushrooms, onion, red or green peppers, carrots, spinach, etc.)
1. In a large saucepan (at least 3 qt.), heat the oil on med. heat and saute the garlic, onions and veggies just until tender. See note at the bottom for ways of disguising the veggies.
2. Remove the veggies to puree (if doing so) and then add them back to the same pot. Otherwise, add the remaining ingredients to the cooked veggies and simmer on low 30 min. or more. I sometimes leave mine on for hours to simmer and the smell is amazing. Alternately, the cooked veggies can be added to the crockpot with the crushed tomatoes and seasonings and left to cook all day.
Tips for Dealing with Picky Eaters: If your family doesn't like the texture of chunky sauce, you can puree the veggies, along with the can of diced tomatoes, in the blender and then add back to the pot to cook. You may need a bit of water if the veggie puree thickens it up too much.
If you don't mind chunky but they won't eat "green stuff", I recommend using yellow summer squash (looks like zucchini), mushrooms, carrots & red pepper as they blend in better with the tomato based sauce than the green veggies do.