Recipe Review: Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

I have to be fair and say first and foremost that I’m biased.  My mom makes the best spaghetti sauce.  Period.  There’s no comparison.  Just ask my husband.  He totally agrees with me.  It’s not for everyone – it’s thick and it’s spicy – which is very different depending on what part of the country you’re from.  I grew up on it though so I love it.  My husband obviously didn’t grow up eating it but he adores it.  It’s probably his favorite meal.  So, it’s not entirely fair for me to review another spaghetti sauce recipe because in my eyes, I’ve already had the best.  That being said, I’m still going to go ahead and tell you what I thought about this recipe.

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

Serves 20 (serving size ½ cup)


  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon) (I used pancetta)
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or olive oil) (I used olive oil)
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • ¾ cup celery, chopped fine
  • ¾ cup carrots, chopped fine
  • 2 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 – 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and fresh pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup half and half


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  • I have never heard of putting pancetta, celery, carrots, white wine, or half and half in spaghetti sauce.  I don’t eat pork so I was already sort of wishy-washy to start.
  • This is definitely not my mom’s spaghetti sauce.
  • I had both my husband and my mom try this and they both said ‘meh’ – mom suggested mixing it with a can of vegetable soup and eating it as a soup.  I’m definitely not going to try that personally.
  • This made enough for 3 meals for the Hubs and I (i.e. 6 servings).  I put them all in the freezer and we will eat them on nights when all I have time to do is boil noodles.  I love freezer-ready meals.
  • Don’t misunderstand – this recipe isn’t bad, it’s just different.  I think spaghetti sauce is one of those things that people either love it one way or they hate it another way.  My neighbor makes hers with chicken and sugar.  Yuck!

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Recipe review: Fuss-Free Ravioli and Cheese Bake

As several of you know, I’m a couponer.  When I get coupons for items that don’t go bad quickly (these are called shelf stable in the food industry) I tend to buy them.  Right now, we have at least 8 jars of spaghetti sauce in our pantry.  We don’t eat spaghetti sauce.  At least not like ‘normal’ people would (i.e. as spaghetti).  My mom makes the BEST homemade spaghetti sauce so why eat something generic out of a can when you can have the best??  BUT there are zillions of recipes out there for what to do with a jar of spaghetti sauce.

(photo from Kraft Foods website)

This weekend, we tried the Fuss-Free Ravioli and Cheese Bake from Kraft Foods.  This recipe has actually been sitting in my Recipes to Try box for quite a while.  Here’s what we thought…


  1. Quick
  2. Crazy easy to make (dump a bunch of stuff in a bowl and go)
  3. We had most of the items already on hand (we only had to buy the ravioli)
  4. You could probably sub tortellini or any other filled pasta for the ravioli
  5. You could vary the flavor of the dish by using different kinds of filled pasta (i.e. spinach instead of four cheese)


  1. Didn’t rock my socks.  The dish was ok but not great.  Definitely not what we refer to as ‘company food’  in our house.
  2. The flavor of the ravioli got kind of lost in the intense tomato flavor.  This might be ‘fixable’ if you used another type of pasta (see #5 above).
  3. When you put the cheese only on top, it forms this solid cheese layer which is not the easiest to cut through with a fork.  It also means that only half of your raviolis get cheese on them.  I might try mixing the cheese into the dish instead of just plopping it on top next time.


  1. We actually didn’t deviate from the recipe at all except for the basil.  I didn’t have fresh on hand and didn’t want to purchase it solely for this dish and end up with a lot leftover so we used ½ tsp. dried basil instead.

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Alderberry Hill
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