I wanted to make a huge pot of spaghetti sauce and I had a hankerin’ for stuffed peppers. I decided to do both.

Spaghetti sauce may be the easiest thing in the world to make. I’m surprised at how many people never make it and at how popular jarred sauce is. I mean… the jarred sauce tastes… jarred. Yet, when you look at the shelf-upon-shelf of sauces at the grocery store, I am clearly in the minority.

Folks speak of the convenience of jarred sauce. I make big batches of sauce and freeze it in convenient containers. And I don’t have to think about the sugar, sodium, dehydrated onions, and lord knows what else they have put in the stuff. I like being able to pronounce the things I eat.

For this batch of sauce, I had ground beef and Italian sausage, so I used some of each and saved a bit of each for the pepper filling.

The sauce was onions, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, olive oil, red wine, ground beef, Italian sausage, Greek oregano, basil, rosemary, tomato paste, ground tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, and pepper.

This was a wintertime simmer sauce. As soon as fresh tomatoes are on the vine, and fresh herbs in the garden, a sauce can be made in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

The peppers were a bit less traditional. I cooked up some whole-grain rice and then added minced onion, minced garlic, minced celery, and minced carrot, and mixed it with the beef and sausage. S&P and some Italian seasoning finished them off. I didn’t use any binders, bread crumbs, egg… none of that stuff. I put a bit of sauce in the bottom of the dish and into the 350° oven they went – covered – for about 40 minutes. Off came the cover and on went some grated cheese.

Victor had leftover peppers for lunch and six containers of sauce went into the freezer.

Take that, Ragu!