The Trick To Perfect Homemade Spaghetti Sauce On A Busy Weeknight

Last updated on May 14, 2011 by Liza Hawkins

I have several posts that talk about how “busy we all are,” so I thought I’d give you a peek into my average weekday. A caveat first….
Things are extra busy right now because my husband is a high school varsity lacrosse coach, which means springtime makes me a “lacrosse widow.”
It’s okay; we’re used to it. And I’m sure YOU are just as busy. Deep breath. Ready?
5:30am – Alarm goes off. Coffee.
5:40am – Laptop. Edit and post blog entry. Catch up on social network feeds.*
6:15am – Two year old wakes up. Snack. Sippy. TV.
7:00am – Six year old wakes up. Dressed. Breakfast. TV.
7:15am – Me – shower and get ready.
7:45am – Out the door.
8:00am – Drive. Work. Drive. Work. Drive. Work.
5:30pm – Home. Sometimes later. Dinner for kids.** Homework – sometimes.
7:00pm – Two year old goes to bed. Bath – sometimes.
7:30pm – Dinner with hubs if it’s not a game night.
8:30pm – Six year old goes to bed. Bath – sometimes.
9:15pm – Blog writing commences. More catching up with social network feeds.
10:30pm – BED (hopefully).

*There are a bazillion things I’m leaving out in between all these times in the interest of not writing a novel. You’re welcome.

**Please note, there’s only about 30-45 minutes to make dinner on an average weeknight, and hubs and I normally eat after the kids. The kids often eat our leftovers for their dinner the following night.

Pasta is a great quick-fix meal for a busy weeknight, we all know this. But, just because the grocery store isle boasts dozens of spaghetti sauce options, it doesn’t mean you have embarrass your pasta by using sauce straight out of the jar.
Seriously. It takes about 15 minutes to doctor up a jar of marinara and make it taste almost like Grandma’s. And, it doesn’t really matter what brand of sauce you start with. I typically buy whatever sauce is on sale at the cheapest price, as long as it’s in a jar. I’m not brave enough to try canned spaghetti sauce, but maybe that’s just me being naive?

Busy Weeknight Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

1 jar spaghetti sauce, any flavor
1 pound ground beef or turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
1/2 1lb box spaghetti
Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they become soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 1 more minute. Add the ground beef or turkey to the onions and garlic, sprinkle with the salt, pepper and basil or Italian seasoning, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Drain.
Return the meat/onion/garlic mixture back to the skillet, add the spaghetti sauce and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let the sauce continue to simmer while you make the spaghetti.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, and then the spaghetti. Keep at a rolling boil according to package instructions for al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes. Drain. Return the spaghetti to the pot.
Add one ladle-ful of the sauce to your pasta, and toss to coat (this keeps your pasta from becoming sticky).
Serve with remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Makes enough for 4.

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

4 Comments on “The Trick To Perfect Homemade Spaghetti Sauce On A Busy Weeknight

  1. So good to meet you at BBCBOS!

    This is a huge favorite in my house. My 2yo won’t eat meat sauce – weird, because she likes meatballs – so she eats plain pasta. But the rest of us adore this. Sooooo easy and sooooo yummy.

    And I love your pictures! Do you use Picnik?

  2. JD – Hey! 🙂 2yo (in my experience) are just plain weird, no matter how you slice it. As for photos, I LOVE Picnik – and the $25 upgrade is totally worth the money. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I am in the process of creating the perfect homemade spaghetti. I am getting close. I never knew about the tip to coat the pasta with a ladle full of sauce to make it not sticky. Thanks for sharing. Your post ignited a pasta craving in me, so it now looks like we are having spaghetti tonight. Visiting from SITS by the way, congrats on your feature day!

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