Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fridge Cleaning = Yummy Pasta Dish

Don't you hate when you have small amounts of a bunch of different ingredients in your fridge? You just hate to waste it, but you're not sure what to do with it?

I had a day like this the other day. I had recently opened a jar of organic roasted red peppers for a recipe that only called for a small amount. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back just a few days later and they are growing mold like a petri dish in science lab. They are not exactly inexpensive, so I was bound and determined to save this jar from an untimely demise. I was also determined to save a few other stragglers in the fridge and I needed to come up with a quick dinner for Fred as he was working yet another 15 hour day and I, my twelve.

Fred loves him some red sauce and I never seem to make enough of it for him. While this may not be what he would have normally expected, it ended up being really good. Good enough for him to eat two meals out of it in one day.

Now I was just throwing things in the pot and not accurately measuring, so I will do my best to re-create this "trash-can" sauce for you.

Meaty Red Pepper Spaghetti Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 small onions, diced small
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 oz. cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3/4 of a 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers, approx 4 roasted peppers, peeled and seeded
3/4 cup browned TVP
1 - 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 - 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes

In a 6 qt sauce pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and add garlic and onions. Saute until onions are softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add oregano, thyme, basil, salt and peppers. Saute for another minute until herbs become fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms start releasing their juices, about 2 minutes. Add roasted red peppers and saute for 2 more minutes.Toss in your TVP, crushed and diced tomatoes. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes or more. The more you simmer, the better the flavor (up to 1 hour).

Can be served immediately over your favorite pasta or grain. It is even better the next day.

A couple of notes: feel free to use fresh herbs or adjust the herb amounts to your liking. This is a very rustic and chunky sauce. If you like a smoother sauce, add the tomatoes before the TVP and blend with a stick blender or in your regular blender, then add the TVP. I can totally see this as the sauce in a hearty lasagna.

Tonight there are other ingredients ready to expire, hope I can come up with another winner!


  1. "Trash-can sauce," Ha! That sure sounds delicious. Yeah, I'm obsessive about using things up before they go bad; it makes me so upset to waste food. Usually I just throw leftovers over greens and call it a salad or boil everything up into a soup but this is much more creative, nice job!

  2. I actually saw a beer last night that was called Basura Blaco - Spanish for White Trash. Hilarious.