NORTHWOODS COOKS: Saucy tomato recipes

Traditional tomato sauce is a versatile ingredient that can be used to bring a taste of summer to recipes all winter long.
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While looking through an old cookbook, I came across a “Mother Earth News” recipe column from a 1984 newspaper that included this recipe for this canned tomato sauce.

Canned Tomato Sauce

Put 10 or 12 peeled and chopped tomatoes, along with some minced garlic and onions (green peppers are optional) in a slow cooker. Simmer this mixture on low heat all day while at work. When you arrive home, take off the lid and turn to high. By bedtime, the liquid should have cooked down to a nice, thick consistency (check and stir mixture from time to time to make sure it doesn’t burn). Put cooled sauce into containers to freeze. Use this tasty sauce in chili, lasagna, meat loaf, tomato soup, pizza, casseroles or stew. The Spanish rice and Swiss steak recipes from “Mother Earth News” also use the tomato sauce.


Spanish Rice

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped green pepper

1 large clove garlic, minced

1-1/3 cups tomato sauce

1 cup water

1/2 cup quick cooking rice (uncooked)


1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Dash of pepper

In skillet, cook beef, onion, green pepper and garlic until tender, then pour off fat. Add remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a boil. Cover pan and cook over low heat for at least 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Swiss Steak

Round steak

Potatoes cut into wedges


Large onion, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown steak and surround with potato wedges. Put onion slices on top of the meat and potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour on a pint of tomato sauce and bake in a medium oven until potatoes are done.

From, this recipe promises to be a “husband pleaser.”

Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine ground beef, onion, garlic, and green pepper in a large saucepan. Cook and stir until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain grease. Stir diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste into the pan. Season with oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer spaghetti sauce for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

This recipe from is listed as “delicious and sure to please everyone” and recommends using home-canned tomatoes for the best flavor.

Easy Chili

2 pounds ground beef

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 (14.5 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans with liquid

Combine ground beef, onion, and garlic in large stockpot. Cook and stir over medium heat until beef is brown. Drain. Stir in chili powder, salt, oregano, tomatoes, and tomato sauce; break up tomatoes while stirring. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Stir in beans and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Readers are invited to submit four to five of their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to or by mail to the Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. North, Park Rapids, MN 56470 and they may appear in a future issue.

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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