Slow Cooker Everyday Challenge: Day 1, Easy Tomato Sauce

This is the first of a what is supposed to be a week’s worth of short, mostly succinct recipe shares, as opposed to my usual rambling attempts at story-telling through food. This weekend, I finally got a slow cooker! I must be the last of my cooking friends to do so, and I’m really not sure what took me so long.  In anticipation, Dave and I have been combing the web for great crockpot recipe ideas to try, and in doing so fell head over heels for our new appliance well before it arrived.

In honor of our shiny new utilitarian toy, Dave proposed we do a week of slow cooking every day. I have conferences  throughout this week, and I got wholloped by the onset of a massive head cold last Friday afternoon, so on the surface, it’s not ideal to try setting myself a daily expectation like that. On the other hand, slow cookers are renowned for their time-saving potential while producing succulent, healthy meals, so at the same time the week couldn’t be more perfect for the experiment.

Given my careless mishaps with on the way to correctly making yogurt last week, for Day One I picked an as-simple-as-it-gets kind of recipe, an easy tomato sauce, with easy being the operative word. Barely more effort than opening a can, truly, and leagues tastier (not to mention healthier, as that’s just a given).  As recipes go, none could be any more “just a guide” than this one. I needed to go grocery shopping, and threw just what I had in it, but this sauce would really have worked no matter what I had thrown at, and in, it. It’s possible I may never make tomato sauce with the exact quantities as are listed here again, but I will most definitely be following the template with regularity. I never thought I could get so giddy over tomato sauce. It was perfectly robust, hearty, and comforting. We mixed in spinach and tuna and had it with whole what and spinach gnocchi. A day later, today, I was able to thin it out ever so slightly and have it as soup for lunch. Sauce as soup might sound a little odd, but it was absolutely delicious, and I’ve still got leftovers.  This challenge is  going to be so much fun.

Simple crock pot tomato sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Approximately a handful each of fresh basil, oregano, and thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  1. In a saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the shallots, onion, and garlic until shallots and onion are translucent, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer onion mixture to crock pot and add all other ingredients. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

*Update: Now I’m getting more in the habit of skipping cans, and much less fussy about peeling and coring tomatoes, I’m substituting approximately two pounds of ripe peeled, cored tomatoes for the cans. No need to process beforehand, just chop.

  1. Mary
    January 31, 2012

    Are you kidding? I lick tomato sauce pans like they are bowls of cake batter…sauce as soup is the best idea ever. Also I like your story-telling through food. Just so you know.

    • Wendy McMillan
      February 1, 2012

      Of course you do, Mary. You’re a kindred spirit! : )

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