Christmas Eve Spaghetti

Most of my childhood, this was our Christmas eve dinner.  I continued the tradition, many years bundling five excited children and a crock pot of spaghetti sauce for a long, cold car ride to our best friend’s home on Haystack mountain. Each year the children acted out the Christmas story as the eldest, Kristen, created last minute costumes and organized the chaos. The nativities began with one toddler and two babies between us, and now there are eight wonderful adults/teenagers.  We live thousands of miles apart now and the children are scattering all over the country, but this thick and spicy spaghetti sauce brings us back together, if only in our hearts and bellies.

PC Isaac Leigh

1.5 pounds of hamburger or sausage (or a mixture of the two)

28 ounces diced tomatoes

12 ounces tomato paste

1 diced onion ( I usually double the onion and pepper because I like lots of vegetables)

1 diced green pepper

½ cup red wine

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp chili powder ( I often add a sprinkle of chipotle pepper as well for the smoky spice)

¼ tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning at end of cooking time (can also add with all the other items, just get more flavor if added at the end)

* fresh chopped cilantro or basil are wonderful additions, stirred in right before serving

Brown the meat and add to crockpot along with all other ingredients except Italian seasonings and fresh herbs.   Cook on high for 5-6 hours.  Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese

This recipe fed both our families.  It also freezes well- or you can make a spaghetti pie later in the week (recipe coming soon)

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