Canned tomatoes in and as The Lifesavers! Food / K-recipes

Batch cooking starts with basic tomato sauce, I think we can all agree on that one. Having a few quarts of it in the freezer or jarred up in the pantry, is reassurance of a quick hot meal in the future. Tomato sauce is versatile, seasonal year round and who doesn’t like something that can help you with quick cooking? And to top it all off, most children gobble up anything doused in it. This guarantee alone is worth a multi-quart stash.

The basic tomato sauce recipe I’ve included is ideal because of its down-and-out simplicity. I mean, four ingredients, folks! Canned tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and salt, that’s it.


1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

6 to 10 large cloves of garlic – peeled

6 units 28-oz cans of tomatoes – diced or whole

2 teaspoons of salt


  • Open the cans of tomatoes and using an immersion blender, purée them until smooth.
  • Finely chop the garlic, or pulse it in a mini-food processor until quite small in size.
  • Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat and add olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the garlic and stir continuously for a minute or two, taking care not to let the garlic turn brown.
  • Add about 1/2 a cup of tomato purée to the pot and stir it into the garlic mixture. Let it cook for a minute and the olive oil will take on a golden color. This will give the sauce a boost of flavor as the tomato sauce caramelizes in the garlic oil.
  • Add the remaining tomato purée and salt. Stir well. Simmer on medium low heat for at least 4 hours till the sauce thickens. Continue cooking if you want a thicker sauce.
  • Taste and adjust salt, if desired. Remember that you will be adding salt to most recipes that you will be using the tomato sauce as base for.
  • Remove from the heat. Cool completely, then portion into zip-lock bags or containers and freeze.

Most canned tomatoes are packed in natural juices and contain no preservatives. They’re picked and packed at the peak of ripeness and are believed to be the ‘freshest’ canned vegetable available. They are cooked rapidly at high temperatures and sterilized in steel cans to keep the nutrients in. By using only the basic ingredients, this tomato sauce is suitable for incorporating into many different cuisines. Well enough to talk of the tomatoes themselves, let’s see what they are good for. I have listed some real quick recipes below.

  • Add 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano to 6 cups sauce
  • Simmer the sauce for an extra hour until it is quite thick
  • Sauté a handful of shrimp in garlic and butter
  • Add tomato sauce, chopped fresh herbs and toss with capellini (thinner than spaghettini) for a simple supper
  • A spoon of tomato sauce generously spread over cooked and breaded chicken cutlets
  • Top with some mozzarella
  • Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling
  • Serve with spaghetti
  • Grill softer vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, eggplant or asparagus
  • Place in a flat dish, top with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella
  • Broil until the cheese is melted

And now a few recipes for whenever your group of friends is coming over:

1. Southwestern baked spaghetti recipe – Serves 6


Tomato sauce

1 pound of spaghetti

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small yellow onion – diced

1 green bell pepper – diced

1 cup of diced mushrooms

1 (4 ounce) can of chopped green chilies

1-1/2 pounds of ground beef

1 packet of hot taco seasoning (use mild if you prefer less heat)

1 (26 ounce) jar of spaghetti sauce

2 cups of shredded Mexican-blend cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Prepare spaghetti according to the directions and set aside

Using a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is warmed, add in onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and green chilies. Cook until the vegetables start to soften and add in the ground beef

Cook the mixture until the ground beef is no longer pink. If the mixture is really greasy, then drain, add back to the pan and move on to the next step. If there is not a lot of grease in the pan then simply skip the draining portion

Sprinkle the mixture with taco seasoning and add in the tomato sauce. Cook until warmed throughout and add in the spaghetti. Toss to combine and spread out in an even layer across the pan

Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned

  1. Tomato fish curry

This lovely fish curry recipe in spicy tomato sauce is delicious when served with simple boiled rice.


Fish fillets 1/2 kg

Capsicum 4 tbsp

Onion Chopped 3 tbsp

Chili sauce 4 tbsp

Tomato puree 4 tbsp

Vinegar 1 tbsp

Salt 1 tsp

Sugar 1 tsp

Oil 1 tbsp

Dry fenugreek leaves (kasurimethi) 1 tbsp

Coriander leaves 3 tbsp

Corn flour 1 tbsp

Cooking Directions:

Shallow fry the fish for two minutes on each side

Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and sauté for 2 minutes until soft

Add capsicum and fry for further 1-2 minutes

Take pan off the flame and add chili sauce, 1/4th cup water and tomato puree

Replace the pan on flame and add vinegar, dry fenugreek leaves, salt, sugar and fish

Dilute the corn flour in a little dash of water and add to the pan, stirring constantly

Remove the pan from the flame after 3-4 minutes

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves

Serve with boiled rice

  1. Stir Fried Herbal Mince

Mince is good for health especially because it has healing properties. This recipe gets its distinct flavor from different herbs. So why not try it in the coming days?


Beef Mince 300 gm

Garlic cloves 5-6 (finely chopped)

Onion 1 (finely chopped)

Black Pepper 1 tsp (crushed)

Tomato Puree ½ cups

Oregano 1/3 tsp

Herbs as required

Mushroom ½ cup (sliced)

Capsicum 1-2 (sliced)

Red Chilies 3-4 (sliced)

Oil 2-3 tbsp

Salt to taste

Cooking Directions:

Heat the oil in a cooking pan then add the garlic cloves and onion and fry

Then add the beef mince and stir fry it

Now add the crushed black pepper, salt, tomato puree. Mix it well and cook

Now add oregano, herbs, capsicum, mushrooms and mix them well

Now add as required water and cook till it’s tender and done

When it’s done take it out in a serving bowl, garnish with sliced red chilies and serve it

So you see, a simple tomato puree can do wonders!!

Contributed by: Waseem Khan.

Fahim is a kluchit member