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Old 02-18-2018, 08:27 PM   #1
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Improving store bought pasta sauce?

Are there any quick and easy ways to spice up store-bought pasta sauce for a weekday dinner?

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Old 02-18-2018, 08:48 PM   #2
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Why? Making sauce from good canned whole tomatoes requires no more effort than spicing up store bought sauce. Plus, you can make it and freeze it, so you have good, fresh sauce readily available whenever you want. Seriously, make some good sauce from scratch, and put meal size portions in the freezer. Then. any busy weeknight, you have good homemade sauce ready to heat and serve.

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Old 02-18-2018, 08:53 PM   #3
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Hi Jerry, and welcome! You could add some chopped sautéed onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic....maybe a little oregano if you like. Be careful with it though, it's strong. Garlic and onion powder also works, if you don't have fresh. Sometimes I also add sliced black olives to a store bought sauce.

You could also add some cooked and crumbled sweet or hot Italian sausage, or some ground beef.

A sprinkling of grated or shredded parmesan just before serving also does wonders. Lots of possibilities!
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
Why? Making sauce from good canned whole tomatoes requires no more effort than spicing up store bought sauce. Plus, you can make it and freeze it, so you have good, fresh sauce readily available whenever you want. Seriously, make some good sauce from scratch, and put meal size portions in the freezer. Then. any busy weeknight, you have good homemade sauce ready to heat and serve.

BTW, welcome to DC. I hope you will stay with us.

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Lots of reasons. It's what Jerry asked for, and maybe a jar of store bought is all he has to work with at the moment. It actually does require quite a bit more time and effort to make a pasta sauce from scratch, and it's possible that Jerry doesn't have the freezer space or other resources to make and store a giant batch of homemade pasta sauce right now.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:17 PM   #5
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Welcome to DC!

I add a can of chopped clams with some of the juice, along with the veggies and seasonings Cheryl mentioned. Nice also with some fennel seed and dried Italian seasoning and maybe a good shake of dried red pepper flakes.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:49 PM   #6
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Are there any quick and easy ways to spice up store-bought pasta sauce for a weekday dinner?
Store bought can certainly be modified to suit your personal taste. I add garlic and black pepper. Sometimes other things. Canned clams, sausage, ground beef, peppers. spicy spices.

It should be noted that not all commercial sauces are equal. Give the one you have a taste and decide what is missing.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:46 PM   #7
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- Fried up onions, garlic, mushrooms and peppers all will make a significant difference ( any combination or just all of them).
-Some times a put a little fennel seeds ( if using the seeds, I usually heat them up a bit with olive oil before adding the sauce / or ground fennel in it ( a little goes a long way)
-A little wine also can do the trick.
-Parm cheese
-Marinated artichoke hearts will give it an extra punch ( i like throwing in black olives along with the artichokes)
-A nice spoon full of pesto
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:07 AM   #8
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It depends on the jar of sauce. Many come with lots of different things already added.

Were you talking about doctoring up a basic, no frills can of tomato sauce? Or how to turn a jar of more developed sauce (garlic and basil, meat sauce, mushroom, wine and herbs, etc.) into a meal?
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:17 AM   #9
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Lots of reasons. It's what Jerry asked for, and maybe a jar of store bought is all he has to work with at the moment. It actually does require quite a bit more time and effort to make a pasta sauce from scratch, and it's possible that Jerry doesn't have the freezer space or other resources to make and store a giant batch of homemade pasta sauce right now.
Honestly, I've made a killer pasta sauce with a can of tomatoes, EVOO, some spices and garlic in a matter of minutes. My reply may not be a direct answer to Jerry's question, but this is a cooking forum, I'm just trying to say that you can cook great food from scratch without spending hours in the kitchen.

I apologize for suggesting "cooking" on a cooking forum.

CD
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:45 AM   #10
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I agree with all of the above but first I would try buying a better brand of pasta sauce!

A couple more thoughts.

Try adding some fat: A pat of butter, heavy cream or as others have mentioned grated cheese.

For a meatier flavor try some bouillon powder or soup base.

Add some frozen vegetables to the sauce. Try chopped broccoli or one of the vegetable blends.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:25 AM   #11
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You can also add meat, chicken or fish to it if it is plain tomato sauce base.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:40 AM   #12
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We only buy jarred pasta sauce for our hurricane supplies. In that situation, improvement is not really on our minds. So, I have no suggestions.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:51 AM   #13
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If you are going to go through all of the trouble of adding things to pasta sauce, you may as well start with a can of diced tomatoes and start from scratch......start with onions, garlic and then add tomatoes and your dried herbs. It will be ready in about the same amount of time your pasta is..just as easy, fresher taste, less sodium, and you can get exactly what you want..
Canned pasta sauces are the work of the devil...
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:45 PM   #14
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Hi Jerry
Welcome to DC.

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Old 02-19-2018, 12:49 PM   #15
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A quick meatless sauce can be thrown together in a half-hour. Oil, onion, garlic, tomato and herbs. Simmer 20 minutes and you're done. It'll take you that long to do a worthwhile doctoring of a jar sauce and it will cost you more. Also, you can make a larger amount and freeze future meals so it takes no time at all.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
Honestly, I've made a killer pasta sauce with a can of tomatoes, EVOO, some spices and garlic in a matter of minutes. My reply may not be a direct answer to Jerry's question, but this is a cooking forum, I'm just trying to say that you can cook great food from scratch without spending hours in the kitchen.

I apologize for suggesting "cooking" on a cooking forum.

CD
For one thing, your original reply came across as sounding somewhat judgmental. I don't see anything wrong in answering the actual question as asked, then maybe making other suggestions.

The way you answered, it came across to me as a put down.
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Old 02-19-2018, 02:37 PM   #17
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I have used canned pasta sauce as a pizza sauce, and also lasagna..it does allow you to skip one step in some dishes...
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:02 PM   #18
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I think that everyone has their own opinions on "store bought pasta sauce".
Which brings to mind what Buckytom and Aunt Bea mentioned.

When we're talking about "store bought pasta sauce", what kind are we referring to?

My first thought goes to $1.00 a can of Hunt's Spaghetti Sauce
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Now, that needs improving, in the ways already stated above ^^

But then there's the higher end, top-shelf stuff (have you ever noticed that Hunt's canned tomato sauce IS on the bottom shelf? )

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I've been buying Trader Joe's Organic Marinara Sauce for years now,
no doctoring necessary. Heat and serve! Add ons are optional (I think that the seasonings of TJ's is spot on for us anyways ), and I do like some Meatballs or Sausages or Braciole or Country Spare Ribs or ....

I gotta be honest here, I haven't made scratch sauce in about 2 years now, I was, but then I didn't have all of my kitchen toys for awhile and just feel out of the habit of making a humongous pot-o-sunday-red-gravy for the freezer.
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
I have used canned pasta sauce as a pizza sauce, and also lasagna..it does allow you to skip one step in some dishes...
I've done the same Rock!

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If I'm making a big batch of Lasagna, one to eat, one to freeze and one to share, I use the $1.00/can Hunt's... Lasagna takes alot of sauce!!
But I do add some more garlic, onions and oregano.
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:20 PM   #20
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I've done the same Rock!

Attachment 29221
If I'm making a big batch of Lasagna, one to eat, one to freeze and one to share, I use the $1.00/can Hunt's... Lasagna takes alot of sauce!!
But I do add some more garlic, onions and oregano.
I like more chunks in my sauce, too..
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