Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

I would’ve liked to have made this slow cooker tomato sauce using tomatoes from our garden. For some reason, our tomatoes just didn’t produce this year. Usually I have to worry about the raccoons stealing them but not this time. They just didn’t come out. So, Plan B, I picked up a big batch of ripe tomatoes at the grocery store. The end result came out very, very flavorful. Quite honestly, I had my sights set on using this sauce to make pizza sauce, but it’s so good by itself you could easily serve it as-is as tomato soup.
slow-cooker-tomato-sauceI used Roma tomatoes because I like how they taste. You can substitute any good tomato, just make sure they’re good and ripe. Do not use those hard-as-cardboard tomatoes you often find at your grocery store. If you’re lucky enough to be near a farmer’s market, it’s well worth the trip. When tomatoes are at peak you’ll want to make several batches of this slow cooker tomato sauce and freeze it for later.

Also try my roasted tomato sauce.

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 cups
  • 5-6 pounds of Roma tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Honey or sugar (optional)
  1. Rinse tomatoes and cut in half. Place into a large slow cooker.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, oil, bay leaf and parsley.
  3. Lightly grind the basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and pepper flakes using a mortar and pestle. Add to the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the tomatoes have softened, stirring occasionally.
  5. Let cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Working in batches, transfer the tomato mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  7. Transfer the pureed liquid to a strainer and remove the pulp, seeds, etc, leaving the tomato sauce.
  8. If the sauce is too thin you can slowly simmer it in a sauce pan on the stove until thick.
  9. Add honey or sugar to sweeten the sauce if desired.

Italian Sausage Sandwiches Version 3.0

These Italian sausage sandwiches have become somewhat of a tradition in our house around New Year’s and the Superbowl. I make a nice big batch of them and let them slow cook either on the stove or in a slow cooker, ready to eat at any time. Perfect eats for watching football games, specially college bowl games. Spicy sausage with a flavorful tomato sauce loaded with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. All topped (of course) with ooey-gooey cheese.
I’m not sure I’ve ever made my Italian sausage sandwiches exactly the same way each year. Sometimes I go the spicy route, sometimes I use sweet sausages. Sometimes I add more bell peppers, sometimes I just add more mushrooms. It just kind of depends on how I feel that day. If you don’t mind spicy, add more red pepper flake and a good amount of hot sauce.

Also try my other version of Italian sausage sandwiches, all fantastic:version 1.0 and version 2.0.

Italian Sausage Sandwiches Version 3.0
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 sandwiches
  • 4 cups pizza sauce
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • 10 hot Italian sausages, in casings
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium sweet onions, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon (more or less, to taste) red pepper flake
  • 2 loaves French bread
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Place the pizza and tomato sauces into a large pot over medium heat.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat a splash or two of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the sausages, browning on all sides. Transfer browned sausages to the pot of sauce.
  3. Add more oil to the Dutch oven and add all of the vegetables. Saute until just starting to get soft, then transfer to the pot of sauce along with the sausages.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flake.
  5. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Slice the bread in half. I prefer to do this by cutting a 'V' down the top of the bread, making a trench for the sausages and sauce. I find that the bread doesn't split so easily this way. I also remove some of the bread inside just to make more room for the great toppings.
  7. Cut bread into lengths a tad shorter than the sausages.
  8. Add meat and top with sauce and a little bit of the vegetables.
  9. Top with cheese and place on a sheet pan under the oven broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

It was a cold day. The kind of day that screams stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. These slow cooker stuffed cabbage rolls hit the spot and then some. They’re pretty easy to make, couldn’t get any easier to cook, and are the perfect cold-day food. Ground pork and beef get mixed with rice and a few spices to make a tender, flavorful stuffing. The rolls are bathed in a wonderful tomato sauce that reminds you of tomato soup (for a reason, since it contains tomato soup). You can’t eat just one, that’s for sure!
The next time I make slow cooker stuffed cabbage rolls I might add a bit of heat to spice things up a bit. I’m not sure. They’re mighty good as they are. I am sure I’d double the amount of sauce, though. The sauce is mighty darned good.

Also try my roasted cabbage wedges with onion Cajun sauce.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 cabbage rolls
For the cabbage rolls
  • 1 large head of green cabbage
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • Red pepper flake or hot sauce, to taste (optional)
For the sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
  • Red pepper flake or hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Remove the core from the cabbage but keep the leaves intact.
  3. Carefully lower the cabbage into the water. Boil for 2 minutes then remove and let cool slightly before gently removing any softened leaves that will come off without tearing, Return the head to the water and continue boiling/removing leaves until you have 12 nice large leaves.
  4. Chop any remaining cabbage and use it to line the bottom of your slow cooker.
  5. Place the remaining cabbage roll ingredients into a large bowl and combine well.
  6. Working in batches, lay out a cabbage leaf and spoon 1/3 cup of the meat mixture into the middle. Roll the leaf up like a burrito, folding the sides in to seal it as you go. Place into your slow cooker, seam-side down.
  7. Place cooker on low. Add the sauce (see below), cover, and cook for 8 hours.
  8. Let cool 15 minutes before serving with sauce spoon over the tops.
For the sauce
  1. Whisk together all ingredients.