Tomato Sauce Hacks: Money Saving Tips
Today I’m going to let you in on one of my favorite money saving tips–tomato sauce. How can this simple pantry staple save you money? Read on to find out!
Tomato sauce is the most adaptable food item in the kitchen. There is just so much you can do with it.
Think of it as a blank slate upon which you can create many different recipes. Tomato sauce really is very versatile and I’ve been playing around with it for years. It’s one of many tricks I use to stretch my food budget and it saves me a ton off of my grocery bill!
Let me show you how I do it!
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Where to Get it
I buy my tomato sauce at Sam’s Club. It’s the only bulk foods store that is close to me, so that’s where I go. They have the large cans that are 106 oz for about $3. I think that is a steal!
Note: I did a quick search on Costco and they didn’t have any tomato sauce online. I don’t shop there, so that may not be true, but on their website, I couldn’t find it. If you shop at Costco, please let us know in the comments if you can find these large cans there.
I don’t have a full cost analysis for you, but it’s easy to see that for $3 you can replace cans of enchilada sauce, pizza sauce, pasta sauce and tomato soup. I know I can’t buy all of those for $3, especially to feed my large family of big eaters.
Here’s another money saving tip: Tomato sauce freezes beautifully.
I have used everything from freezer bags to freezer containers and it works every time! It’s easy to portion it out into smaller containers and then thaw only what you need. The sauce also lasts for about a week in my fridge, so if you know you’re having pasta on Monday and pizza on Friday, you can just keep it in your fridge for the week! Easy!
How To use it
Here is a Top 5 list of some of the ways I use tomato sauce in my every day cooking:
1. Enchilada sauce
2. Spaghetti/pasta sauce
3. Pizza sauce
5. Canned tomato soup replacer
Homemade enchilada sauce is so much better than store bought! I also like that I can control the spice level for my young or picky children. (It’s also good if you’re breastfeeding and can’t have anything spicy.) Here’s the recipe I use. It’s been adapted from this one.
- 4 Tbl vegetable oil
- 4 Tbl flour
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 16 oz tomato sauce
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 Tbl cumin
- 4 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 min, then add chili powder and cook for 1 more minute.
- Graduallt stire in chicken broth, mixing well with whisk. Stir in tomato sauce and all seasonings.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 min.
Probably my favorite way to use tomato sauce is for pasta sauce. It is super simple to whip up sauce for your favorite pasta dish! I just add these 3 herbs to plain tomato sauce: basil, oregano, garlic powder.
Yes, that’s it!
Just pour however much sauce you need into your pan, turn it on to heat it through, add those herbs, and voila! Instant pasta sauce! I have also added dried onion and bay leaves in the past. It’s up to you, it’s your creation!
I warm the sauce and herbs in a pan on the stove while my pasta is cooking, but you can also put the sauce in the microwave and stir in the herbs after it’s warmed up. Don’t forget the salt and pepper!
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- Add herbs into warm tomato sauce. Stir and enjoy!
Pizza sauce is yet another way to to magically transform tomato sauce.
Whenever I make homemade pizza, I just pour the sauce directly onto the crust, sprinkle the same herbs from the pasta sauce recipe over the top and that’s it! My pizza crust is very thick and hearty, so it doesn’t matter that the sauce is so thin. It penetrates the crust and moistens it in a good way.
However, if you prefer the very thick pizza sauce consistency, just add a small can of tomato paste to your sauce and it’ll thicken up beautifully!
My tried and true chili recipe calls for both tomato juice and sauce. Just one more way to use it! I double this recipe for my big group of hungry children and teenagers.
Here’s the recipe!
- 2 lbs hamburger
- 1 46 oz can tomato juice
- 1 29 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 c chopped onion
- 1/2 c chopped celery
- 1/4 c chili powder
- 2 Tbl cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 15 oz cans red beans, rinsed and drained
- Brown hamburger, onions and celery together in large pot.
- Add all other ingredients and bring to boil.
- Simmer for at least one hour.
- You can also throw everything in the crock pot and cook all day. Brown hamburger first.
I have used tomato sauce for a tomato soup replacer for years now. I try to not buy anything that’s too processed, so cream of something soup–in fact ALL canned soups are not on my grocery list.
I’ve found other ways to replace the cream of something soups, but the tomato soup was always elusive. It has a nice, creamy consistency and just the right amount of tomato flavor, so it’s difficult to replicate if you’re using it in a recipe (not as actual tomato soup). So one day, I just threw in a ladle full of tomato sauce to see what would happen, and it worked great!
Here’s one recipe that calls for tomato soup and I substitute tomato sauce instead.
Tomato sauce is an invaluable addition to my pantry. I could not be without it. I hope this has helped you in your quest to save money, stretch your dollar and provide easy, healthy meals for your family.
What is a money-saving tip you have found in the kitchen? Comment below! We would love to hear your ideas!