Thawing the meat? I hear you gasping! Yep. As a busy mom, I tried it once. No thaw. Just pop that roll of ground meat right in the slow cooker. Golly gee. It works. In this case it is a pound of pork sausage. Even the grease is not a problem if you are getting quality meat. Into the pot it goes, solid as a rock. There are times when you just don't have time to brown the meat first. In this case, since this is a sauce, it does not matter. Truly a miracle for the non morning person like me.
I also hate chopping veggies. I have never owned a really good set of knives. Somehow I still have all my fingers and we managed to eat. But then, I was also very creative at getting vegetables into my little boys long before all those popular cookbooks came out. Sorry, but there really are very few new ideas around. One thing I did was sneak zucchini and carrots into this spaghetti sauce. The guys never fussed. As they got older, the chunks got bigger. Since the flavor was the same, they were fine with it.
This sauce is really packed with veggies, so the carb count is a little higher than some. But like George says, not all carbs are the same, right? These are all the good for you kind. If you are one of the brave, serve this wonderful sauce over shirataki noodles instead of zucchini noodles and that will save some carbs. This is one of the ways I don't mind them at all. If not, it depends on how many carbs you eat per meal and how big a serving you like.
You can play around with the veggies if you like. I have been known to hide yellow squash, spinach, and kale in here too. (I do finely cut the greens though, as they don't chop as well after cooking and no one wants big bunches of green slime clinging to the fork.) This is my basic method though. At the end of the cooking, just grab a potato masher or your handy dandy Pampered Chef "Mix n Chop" gadget. It is great at chopping up the sausage yet still leaving you perfect bites of zucchini and mushrooms. One of my Diner friends is a Pampered Chef consultant, so if you would like to order one, I can hook you up!
Sausage and Chunky Veggie Red Sauce
1 lb bulk sausage
1 cup water
1 large zucchini
4 oz mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced bell pepper
1/4 diced onion
3 tbsp cooking sherry
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 packets stevia
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Place a roll of frozen sausage in the crockpot. Roughly dice the zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper and onion. Add the vegetables to the pot. Pour the tomato sauce and water over all. Add spices and stevia. Cook on low for 8 hours. Use a Mix n Chop or potato masher to blend the meat into the sauce. ( If you don’t want chunks, use a stick blender to puree the sauce.) Serve over your favorite pasta substitute.
Serves 8: 208 calories 12 net carbs (3 fiber)
I love the "bite" of the crushed red pepper in this. I love the mushrooms too. I use baby bellas. This makes a pretty large pot of sauce, so you may be freezing some for future meals. It can be served different ways also. Think about topping scrambled eggs with the sauce, or adding broth and making it a soup. It would be excellent spooned over low carb focaccia bread. (June Diner News has a great one) You could even just spoon it over a generous serving of ricotta cheese.
So there you have it. If you don't subscribe to the Diner News, it is not too late to get the June picnic issue, or you can wait til the first and get my favorite sauces. When you think about it, sauces are the good cook's way at making really special meals out of common meats. They make for a great Triple Play meal plan. Cook some chicken or burgers once and use sauces to make two totally different meals later in the week. Imagine your chicken with Mesquite Barbecue one night, Honey Mustard another, and finally a little cheese and Enchilada Sauce? So smart.
Just one more plea if you are still reading. As many of you know, I am facing some challenges at our alternative school lately. Progress is being made, and I am more than determined to keep the doors open. We were not able to have a full summer session, so it is up to me to find the rent money. With my payment due on the first, I am still a little short. The Paypal funds I get from my book sales will be about 3/4's of my rent this month. This would be a wonderful time to order the News or any back issue bundles. I promise every penny is going to the school. I am hoping to have my Diner system for smaller families done this week, so be watching for that.
I want to share a couple of photos from last week's summer camp so you can see the faces of the kids you would be helping. And a huge thanks for the sweet notes of support and contributions. You guys rock!
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