Time. It can feel like there’s never enough! Since coming back to work this fall, I have felt more time-crunched than usual. My days are full of wonderful things – a job I like, a family I love and a life I truly enjoy. For this I am so thankful. But, I am always looking for ways to simplify wherever possible so that I don’t feel rushed during the hours my head is away from that inviting pillow (shout out to all you moms reading this – parenting little ones can be tiring!).

When it comes to meals, planning in advance (this meal planner is one of my favourites), doing some food prep on the weekend and batch cooking have been really helpful in getting healthy food on the table. This Hearty Spaghetti Sauce recipe is a great illustration of just that. I made it on the weekend and immediately froze half of it to use later. Of the remaining sauce, I paired some of it with spaghetti squash left from my garden and stuck the rest in my fridge for an easy meal later in the week.

My family really enjoyed this dish. I mostly followed the recipe, but adjusted it to make it my own. I used:

·        Ground Italian sausage; a bit less than the recipe called for. This type of sausage is not in casing, which makes it very easy to add in.

·        Ground pork. The recipe calls for ground beef, but whatever ground meat you have on hand would be fine.

·        Crushed tomatoes instead of plum tomatoes. I have some family members that dislike tomato chunks so this is a great workaround.

·        No salt, 1 tbsp dried parsley instead of fresh and more chili flakes to add flavour.

Other ways you could adapt this recipe would be to substitute a 28 oz (796 ml) can of white beans for one type of meat, add 1 tbsp (15 ml) Italian seasoning or use it in lasagna (you’d need about half of the sauce for this recipe).

Do you have any favourite timesaver recipes? Leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments.


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Written by a Registered Dietitian.

Hearty Spaghetti Sauce
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
10 servings


2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
0.8 lb (375 g) ground Italian sausage, milk, hot or a combination
1 lb (500 g) lean ground pork (any ground meat will work)
1 cup (250 ml) milk
2 28 oz (796 each) cans crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp (15 ml) dried parsley
3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) dried hot red chili flakes (to taste)


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat or in an electric skillet turned to medium. Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic and cook stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add sausage and ground beef. Use a fork to break up meat; stir continuously over medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add milk. Gently boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, parsley and chili flakes.
  5. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the thickness desired.