Anyone who knows me (and the cooking needs of my son) know that there are not a lot of convenience foods that we can use. But I am happy to say, I have found a few convenience foods Z can tolerate: Jones Sausage, (unsauced) steam-in-the bag frozen rice (my personal favorite is Birds Eye Steamfresh Long Grain White Rice with mixed veggies) and Prego sauce.
Jones sausage has been the go-to meat when we are on the run and I have only MINUTES to prepare dinner. They are nitrate free, MSG free, and gluten free. They are the only breakfast sausage I’ve found that doesn’t bother Z’s tummy. And have I said how delicious they are? They really are amazing. In the KC area where I live, I buy it in the Hy-Vee Health Market frozen food section.
I often make rice in large batches and freeze it in zip lock baggies, but if you are pressed for time or you just don’t want to do that, the unsauced rice in the fozen food section is a real time saver. Also, if you get coupons in your Sunday paper or online, you can often find these for pennies a bag if you pair a coupon with a sale!!!
I did a jig and called anyone who would even remotely care when I found out that Prego makes sauces that are gluten and soy free (please read the labels — I am not sure they are all soy free). Unfortunately, because tomatoes seem to aggravate Z’s yeast diaper rashes, we don’t eat this sauce as often as I would like!
We’ve been trying to rule out a corn intolerance, so I had to rethink and revamp how I made spaghetti sauce for little Z. I used to use store bought canned chili-style or Italian-style tomatoes along with grated veggies and lots of spices, but I still can’t find corn free canned tomatoes (if anyone knows of any, please, let me know!).
I freeze any leftovers in 1 cup portions so that I have an easy and quick meal on hand for Little Z on busy days – all I need to do is boil little Z some noodles. I have been making this for a while, so the measurements are my best guesstimate!
1 12 oz can tomato paste
3-4 tomatoes, or a pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
½ to 1 cup water (depending on how thick you like your sauce)
2 T oregano
2 T Italian seasoning
3 large leaves of fresh basil, minced
1 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – have you figured out that we like spice at our house?)
2 large carrots, peeled and grated (this adds a nice sweetness, and helps increase little Z’s veggie intake!)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 T chopped green onion (optional)
4 oz chopped mushrooms
1-2 T brown sugar (to remove tartness)
salt to taste
In a large saucepan, saute ½ of onion in oil. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, spices, grated carrot, mushrooms, sugar and the other half of the onion and cook on medium heat stirring every few minutes until it begins to bubble. You can add browned ground beef or turkey at this time, if desired. Turn on low heat and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes stirring every few minutes. Salt to taste.