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Garden Fresh Slow-Cooker Marinara

Use the season’s bounty of fresh tomatoes to make versatile and flavorful Garden Fresh Slow-Cooker Marinara.

Most summers, gardeners everywhere have an over abundance of juicy, ripe tomatoes. What better way use all of those red gems than in a garden fresh marinara sauce?

After your prep work, this sauce cooks all day in a slow cooker. By the time dinner rolls around you have a rich marinara sauce ready to top your favorite pastas, pizzas, casseroles and more.

Garden Fresh Slow-Cooker Marinara

Makes 8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 hours

Note: See sidebar for how to peel tomatoes.

6 lbs. fresh tomatoes, peeled
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 whole bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried basil
½ Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste

1. Place peeled tomatoes in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
2. Place diced onion and minced garlic into the slow cooker. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, basil, oregano, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup water. Stir until well combined.
3. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

No Garden? No problem!

Make a trip to your local farmers’ market to pick up fresh tomatoes, or substitute two (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes in place of the 6 lbs. of fresh tomatoes.

Garden Fresh Slow-Cooker Marinara Storage Tips

• Sauce will keep in a sealed container or zip-top freezer bag (remove excess air) for up to four months.
• Clean extra tomatoes and pop into a zip-top freezer bag. Frozen tomatoes will burst and make peeling your next batch of marinara even easier!
• Fill an ice cube tray with tomato sauce; when frozen, place in a zip-top freezer bag. They’re handy to flavor sauces, soups, egg dishes and mini pizzas.

Cooking U: How to Peel a Tomato

1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Have another large bowl full of ice water nearby.
2. Use a paring knife to remove the stems.
3. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently place the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds. Carefully remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and immediately place into the bowl of ice water.
4. Remove the tomatoes from the ice water. Using your hands, peel away the skin.

Written and photographed by Kristen Doyle, dineanddish.net

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