Weekly Meal Plan {No. 9}

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Monday is here again!  The past few days here have felt very fall-ish & I’m loving it!  It feels like perfect weather for being in the kitchen!

Before I get to my plan for the week, I thought I’d share some pictures from our weekend.  Caleb got me a new camera lens for my birthday, so we’ve been have a little fun playing.

Tomatoes

Our tomatoes have been producing like crazy {that is, now that they’ve decided to ripen}!  This lovely bowl here is just one of many sitting around my kitchen.  We’ve canned one big batch of roasted tomato sauce & made a batch of salsa so far.  The rest have simply made their way to the freezer for me to deal with later.

Fall Pumpkins

We’ve been buying pumpkins little by little as they strike our fancy at the farmer’s market each week.  So far, this is the little collection we’ve accumulated.  The big, wart covered one kind of gives me the creeps, grosses me out & yet I love it all at the same time.

Snuggle Time

And of course, I could not resist snapping a picture of this little man snuggling with daddy in the hammock.  Snuggle time is always the best part of the day.

Meal Plan

And on to business….our plan this week…

Suppers

Hot Italian Chicken Sandwiches {I CAN NOT believe I’ve not posted this recipe here yet!  It’s one of our ultimate faves!  I’ll do my best to pay attention to what I’m doing this time & write it down so I can share it here, ASAP!}

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken & Rice

Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes & a veggies

Upside Down Pizza with salads

Snacks

Chips & salsa

Veggies & Dill dip

Have a great week!!


Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

I’m going to share a recipe today that, I know, is drastically out of season.  It certainly seems that it would make more sense to share this later in the Summer.  But, if you’re a gardener like me, you are probably wondering just how many tomato plants to put in your garden this Spring.  This recent revelation in making my own tomato sauce will definitely have me planting a few extra tomato plants this year.

This is the easiest method for saucing tomatoes that I’ve found & the finished product is delicious!  I think after seeing how easy this process is, you too will be making space for more tomato plants in your garden this Spring!

If you don’t garden, that’s okay too!  Check out your local farmer’s market for great deals on garden fresh tomatoes.  Later in the Summer, you can usually find boxes of tomatoes at bargain prices!

So, check out how easy this process is, plant some tomato plants (or make plans to buy out the tomatoes at the farmers market) & come back in a few months to start making your own fresh, from scratch, Roasted Tomato Sauce!

Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce

I like to use Roma tomatoes for saucing.  They contain less water than other varieties so there’s less cooking down to do.  To be clear though, any variety of tomato should work with this method.

Wash & core your tomatoes..

& slice in half…

Spread into a large pan with tall sides. {Tall sides are important!  The first time I did this I used a short-sided pan & I had a HUGE tomato juice mess in my oven, oops!}

You can also use frozen tomatoes, like I have…

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When I’ve used frozen tomatoes, they are just cored.  I don’t worry about them being sliced & they’ve always turned out great!

Place in a 400* oven for 1 hour, stirring & turning the pan once or twice.  When they’re done, they’ll look something like this…

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The skins get kind of blistery & weird looking, that’s what you want.

Let them cool for just a few minutes on the counter.

Using a large spoon, scoop out the tomatoes from the pan into the jar of your blender, leaving most of the juice in the pan.

Blend it up!

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Now, if the sauce is already to the consistency you want it at, you may be done here- move ahead to seasoning the sauce if you’d like, or prepare it for freezing or canning. If you’d like it a little bit thicker, transfer to a stockpot to simmer & reduce down.

Simmer until the sauce has reached the desired consistency.  {By leaving most of the juice in the roasting pan, I’ve never had to simmer my sauce for very long.}

At this point, you can season the sauce with the seasonings of your choice.  Some of our favorites are basil, oregano, parsley etc.  Or, you can leave it plain & add the needed seasonings when you cook with it.

If I’m not using the sauce right away, I transfer it to small freezer containers or glass jars (be sure to leave plenty of head space if using jars).  Allow the sauce to cool down some before placing in the freezer.

This sauce can also be canned.  I’m not a canning expert, so you’ll want to follow the USDA’s guidelines for Home Canning to be sure you do this safely.

Use in place of store-bought, canned tomato sauce in any recipe or use to create your own pasta or pizza sauce!

There you have it!  This is such a simple process.  You don’t have to peel slippery little tomatoes or simmer on the stove top for hours on end!  Just roast them in the oven, blend them up & Voila`!

Come back tomorrow for Spaghetti & Meatballs! Yum!

Updated 9/9/13 with more recent {& better} pictures

Update 8/7/12: Linking to Sundae Scoop Link Party at I Heart Naptime

Update 8/21/12: Linking to Tuesday Talent Show at Chef-in-training