Crockpot Cooking: Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce

I can’t visit the in-laws without making at least one dish, despite the numerous protests my mother-in-law made this time.  Once I started making it, and told her about the mushrooms, she got a big smile.   They both love mushrooms, so, I thought that adding a pound of mushrooms, some extra seasoning vegetables, along with some fresh tomato sauce would give them something a little healthier and lower-in-sodium sauce than plain jarred sauce.  (I’ve even add sliced or diced yellow squash or zucchini.)  It tasted great when I left them, the sauce just beginning to cook in the slow cooker.   It smelled so good that my daughter requested that I make a batch sometime this week for us at home!  Using Italian sausage has always been a shortcut of mine for adding wonderful, instant flavor as opposed to plain beef.  Sometimes I do just the sausage, sometimes half beef and half sausage.  Your choice.

  • 1 onion
  • 1 green or red pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh pureed tomatoes (or one 14.5ounce can tomato sauce)
  • 1 jar premade tomato sauce (or one 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce; add a few tablespoons Italian seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Chop the vegetables, or place them in the food processor or mini chopper and process  in pulses till evenly chopped.

Saute in a tablespoon of olive oil.  Transfer to slow cooker.

Remove the sausage from casing, and brown in skillet.  Transfer to slow cooker.

Process a few tomatoes in the mini chopper, and add to slow cooker.

Add the balsamic vinegar, sliced mushrooms and premade spaghetti sauce (or canned tomatoes) to the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 4.   (Mine usually sits for about 11 hours!  I need a programmable one.)

Ready to eat or for the freezer!

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Whirl these seasoning vegetables in a processor to speed things up..

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Premade spaghetti sauce, freshly pureed tomatoes, and freshly sliced mushrooms help bring it all together…

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Browning the Italian sausage….

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Combining the elements in the slow cooker…

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Ready for a slow simmer…

Buen Provecho!

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