I recently read that if you want to make better decisions, decide before you have to. I believe that to be true. I notice when I plan what to eat for dinner ahead of time, I save time and eat better meals.
Take last Sunday. I included spaghetti on my weekly meal plan, and set aside time in the afternoon to prepare a marinara sauce.
These two decisions made my following Thursday night spaghetti dinner a cinch to pull together.
Now I could have just as easily bought a jarred sauce for my spaghetti dinner. But by making it from scratch I learned a valuable nugget of cooking knowledge about how to choose herbs for a marinara sauce.
It was the first time I used dried thyme in a pasta sauce and noticed it gave it a distinct flavor that would taste excellent on chicken Parmesan or lasagna rolls. With that said, I would have preferred dried basil, rather than thyme, for my spaghetti dinner.
A new piece of culinary knowledge for the cooking toolbox going forward, and a homemade marinara sauce for the week ahead – not bad for 30 minutes of cooking on the weekend!
1 can (28 oz / 786 ml) diced or whole tomatoes / $1.17
11/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil / $0.12
1/2 small onion, finely chopped / $0.25
1 clove garlic, minced / $0.01
1 dried bay leaf (optional) / $0.01
1/2 tsp dried oregano / $0.03
1/4 tsp dried thyme or dried basil / $0.02
Pinch or two red pepper flakes / $0.01
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional) / $0.10
salt and pepper / $0.01
- Pour canned tomatoes with liquid in a blender or food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften, about 4 or 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, to allow flavors to combine, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before storing, serving on pasta or chicken parmesan.
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Thanks for stopping in at the cafe. Cheers!