Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

Hey! How are ya today?

My usual afternoon routine when I get home from work is to walk the dogs, clean up a little bit / do laundry and start making dinner. Yesterday when I got home from work, I thought it would be a good idea to go lay out at the pool, paint my nails and read a magazine instead. It’s never a bad idea to change things up every once in a while, right?

Grapefruit & Granola Nail Polish

And then neither of us felt like cooking so we went out to eat.

I went on a quick run after dinner, which is the first time I’ve run since last week.

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I ended up walking a mile, running a mile and walking the last mile. Pretty good since I was a little rusty. And of course, I watched the Real Housewives of NYC reunion.  It was a good night if I do say so myself!

I’m off to work this morning but before I leave, I wanted to share a pretty simple marinara sauce that I recently made. You may have gotten the gist from some of my previous posts (like baked apples and bulk chicken prep) that I really love my crock pot. If I had to choose 1 kitchen appliance that I could not live without, the slow cooker would be it!

So naturally, when I got a bag full of garden tomatoes from my friend last weekend, I immediately began brainstorming ways to use them up…. in my crock pot. This was my first time making slow cooker marinara sauce. I looked at a handful of recipes using canned tomatoes and tweeked everything a little bit. It turned out great!

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The meal prep was pretty simple- blend the tomatoes up, toss everything in the crock pot and let it simmer all day. Super easy. Here’s the recipe.

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Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb. tomatoes (~9 medium-sized tomatoes)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 C dry wine
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Cut off tops of tomatoes (which leaves ~3.5 lb) and blend them to preferred consistency for marinara sauce. I kept mine kind of chunky.

2. Remove 1/2 C liquid from pureed tomatoes. Save this for later in case you need it.

3. Combine all ingredients together in the slow cooker.

4. Cook on low for 8 hours. (I know slow cookers can be a little different. This recipe produced the perfect consistency in mine, but if you feel likes yours is getting a little dried out then add back in your 1/2 C juice from the tomatoes)

 

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Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce Grapefruit & Granola

This makes a pretty large batch of sauce. We used half for dinner one night (served over meatballs) and froze the other half for later.

Enjoy!

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Taste Testing Form Funnies

Hey there!

Thanks for the feedback about from yesterday’s post. I was excited to share my news but like I said, career changes are very bittersweet.

So yesterday, I ended up leaving work a little early and going to the doctor. He wrote me an Rx and I’m on the mend. Hallelujah! I decided to stop and get a Frappuccino on my way home… they are my guilty pleasure!

Starbucks

I told you yesterday that I had something funny to share from my time in child nutrition. I always tried to get students’ feedback on food products, menu items and whatever else was going on in the cafeteria whenever possible. We sometimes put out suggestion boxes in the cafeteria so students could share their thoughts. Whenever I was thinking about putting a new recipe or food item on the menu, I would  let students sample the item and fill out a taste-testing form.

I quickly learned that students were always willing to give their (sometimes brutally) honest opinions about things. Receiving these forms was kinda like a box of chocolates…. you never knew what you were going to get. Some of them were too entertaining to not hang on to.

The Good:

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The Bad:

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The Ugly:

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The Indifferent:

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And the Suggestion Box Dreamers:

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…6 years. Never got old Smile

P.S. I omitted the lovely artwork of male genitalia that we received in the suggestion boxes. You’re welcome.

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A New Chapter

Hey there!

I have some very exciting but bittersweet news to share with you….

I very recently decided to hang up my apron and accepted a position working in clinical dietetics.

It was very difficult for me to decide to leave my job as a school dietitian. I always thought I would stay in that field for my entire career, and my goal was to work at the state or federal level.

I am just at a point in my life where I am ready for a new challenge. I hope that everyone has worked with me knows how much I loved working in schools for the past 6 years. I will definitely miss menu planning, recipe testing, interacting with students and being with so many wonderful people.

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Working with the free and reduced meal program taught me so much about food insecurity. I experienced many situations that completely broke my heart…

Students wanting to come to school on snow days because they don’t get much food at home.

A child asking to use his birthday money to purchase a hot meal at school.

A mom crying in my office because she barely missed the income requirement for reduced meals and could not afford to feed her child.

I have been through some rough times in my life but I’ve never had to worry about where my next meal would come from.

I believe that we can become better people by understanding the struggles of others. I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned in the past 6 years and hope to carry these lessons with me moving forward.

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Even though it was hard to leave child nutrition and scary to jump into something different, I am excited to be starting a new chapter in my life. I have just started to get my feet wet at my new job and I really love it so far. I’ve left work most days feeling like I truly helped someone, and that is the whole reason I became an RD. While I know it will be challenging for me to reacquaint myself with many clinical concepts, I’m at a good point in my life to take on that challenge.

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I hope that you stick around to follow me on this new journey! It will be interesting to see how I will end up adjusting my eating habits and exercise routine now that my commute has increased and I’m working a hospital schedule. It has been a challenge so far, but I’m hoping I’ll get the hang of things once I get more settled in my new job. I’ll keep you posted on that one Smile

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

P.S.- I have a pretty funny post coming tomorrow as a farewell dedication to school food service.

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