Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce


I am so thankful that my mother made notes on this recipe; I had no idea that she had done so until I found the recipe card. When she taught me to make spaghetti sauce (at the tender age of 7), the instruction was completely hands-on. There was no written recipe of any kind. I was taught what the sauce should look like, what it should taste like, and what the consistency should be. These are difficult things to quantify. I have not made this recipe in at least five or six years, and while I recall the procedure pretty well, notes – especially those pertaining to seasoning – are very helpful in the reconstruction.

My mother used to make a double batch of this spaghetti sauce for canning, freezing, and so on. She would cook it in a huge turkey roaster pan over two burners of the stove, and the entire house would take on the aroma. The recipe here is for a single batch, which will fit in a large skillet. However, if you would like to double (or even triple!) the amount, go right ahead. It preserves beautifully, and also makes a very good meat lasagna.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 8 ounces water (use the tomato sauce can to measure, for convenience)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar



In a large skillet, sauté the celery and onion in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes clear.


Add the meat to the skillet, and brown.


Add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt, and stir well.


Add the stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.


Add the water, and stir well.


Reduce the heat to low, and allow the sauce to simmer for 2-3 hours, adding liquid as needed.


Add the oregano and sugar, and stir well.

Allow the sauce to simmer for at least another 20 minutes, or longer if desired.

Serve over hot spaghetti noodles, and top with Parmesan cheese.


Serves 4-6.

Click here for a print-friendly version.


3 thoughts on “Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce

    1. Glad you like! The cards are an essential part of the experience for me. :) Some of them are becoming old and fragile, which is part of why I photograph them for my blog posts. I feel that there’s a sense of tactile history to these things, and they really help tell the story.

      And that sounds like a really great dinner. Go for it!

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