In the College Kitchen with Jenna: Make your own pasta sauce

Spaghetti and store-bought marinara is easy and cheap. So is spaghetti and homemade marinara sauce. Therefore, learning to make spaghetti sauce is an easy commitment for you to make as improving yourself before Lenten Season replaces your already forgotten New Year’s resolutions. 

I make my sauce with ground beef usually, but you can certainly replace it with ground venison (deer meat). This is another one of my dishes that you can make do with what you’ve got. If you have a little less meat or a few less of the tomato products, you can always add more water and simmer it longer to thicken it. 


2 tbs. olive oil

½ lg. onion chopped (doesn’t matter which kind, and you can always do one or two smaller onions)

1-2 lbs. hamburger meat

salt & pepper

2 cans whole tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

1 ½  c. water

1 clove garlic (crushed)

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. sugar


In a large pot on medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is clear. Add hamburger meat and season with salt and pepper until browned. Add tomato products and water and stir. Add spices except for sugar and stir. Turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer until meat is cooked (about 20 minutes). Add sugar and cook while you cook noodles according to how you like them.

The great part about this recipe is that once you have everything in the pot, you can leave it on the stove for as long as you like so it’s great for large crowds and entertaining. It costs a bit of money to buy these spices, but they are useful in a lot of recipes and can replace the generic Italian Seasonings in other recipes.

After you have the basics, its just $5 of meat and $2 of canned tomato products to make 5-6 servings—yielding quite a bit for the money. It’s also great for leftovers and even freezing.

As a college student, you should learn to save and plan for rainy days—that should start with food—freeze and save it for when you’re starving and low on cash.