Dad's Spaghetti Sauce - this is a gorgeous red sauce with bell pepper & mushrooms.

Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce

As many of you know I have been traveling to and fro the past couple of years, from my house to the folks. It ended being a lot more to than fro.

Dad's Spaghetti Sauce - this is a gorgeous red sauce with bell pepper & mushrooms.

Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce

That’s come to an end as the folks have settled into a lovely assisted living center and I’ll be headed home and maybe traveling a bit.

Before I left, I wanted to make sure to make my Dad’s famous Spaghetti Sauce for him. Posting it on my blog is a great way to preserve and share the recipe with you and with family.

Dad's Spaghetti Sauce - this is a gorgeous red sauce with bell pepper & mushrooms.

Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce

While my Dad was very precise in the ingredients he used, I found that I had to fudge a bit here and there, depending on what was at the store, especially with the tomatoes containing herbs and spices.

It was all good, though, so if you make this, feel free to taste along the way and adjust. I couldn’t find the herb & olive oil tomatoes & added a little more Italian Seasoning to make up for it.

This makes a LOT of spaghetti sauce. I wish I would have measured it, but it made enough for a couple of dinners and four or five 12 ounce containers to freeze (it freezes beautifully).

Dad's Spaghetti Sauce - this is a gorgeous red sauce with bell pepper & mushrooms.

Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce

Chuck’s Spaghetti Sauce

  • Servings: large batch
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Fresh stuff:

  • 3 green peppers, diced
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 8 ounce tubs mushrooms, sliced

Canned stuff:

  • 2 28 ounce cans Hy Vee whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 28 ounce cans Dei Fratelli tomato sauce
  • 2 28 ounce cans Dei Fratelli Tomatoes, Herbs & Olive Oil flavor
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans Hunts Diced Diced Tomatoes with Basil, & Oregano
  • 2 12 ounce cans Contadina Tomato Paste


  • 3 pounds 85% ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk (ground) Italian sausage, mild


  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning, home-made or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary


Empty all of the canned stuff plus the herbs into a  big stainless steel or aluminum pot and start cooking the contents, slowly stirring occasionally to avoid burning.

Use a cast iron skillet to fry the meat in order to remove most of the fat which is poured into one of the empty cans for later disposal.  Do about 8 ounces at a time and quit when it is fairly dry but not burned.  Use a slotted spoon to dip out the meat from the frying pan (in order to avoid getting too much fat into the recipe) to put the meat in the pot. (My note: Just use a large skillet and cook all the meat at once; try using a potato masher to break the meat down, then drain in a colander or spoon out the meat, as desired.)

Then it’s time to start the saute’ process with all of the fresh stuff except for the mushrooms which you slice and can toss into the pot.  I slice and dice the onions and green peppers, placing them into the skillet to which I have previously added cooking oil for the saute’ process.  Saute’ just a small portion at a time and then use the slotted spoon to drain fat off the vegetables which then are put in the pot.

Put the cover on the pot and use low to medium heat, but stir every few minutes.  You be the boss of the cooking time, but be very careful to avoid burning or destroying the batch. (My note: I cook, uncovered, at a very low simmer: bubbles just breaking from time to time, stirring every now and then. I like to cook it until it becomes fairly thick. Just be careful not to scorch.)

I could not find all the exact tomato products and it was still outstanding! Of course, feel free to taste and adjust to your own idea of perfection.


I’ll be sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday 191, hosted this week by Judi @ and Antonia @

Dad's Spaghetti Sauce is absolutely fabulous; Dad tinkered and perfected it over 50 some years; full of veggies and a bit of spice - everyone goes crazy for it! #DadsSpaghettiSauce #ChunkySpaghettiSauce #BestSpaghittiSauce

43 thoughts on “Dad’s Spaghetti Sauce

    • Hi Em, and sorry to reply so late – I’ve been (and am still) in the middle of a move. Thanks so much for your sweet comment! I also clicked over to your blog and was particularly interested in the blue light article…I have sleep disturbances and think my electronics are partially at fault!

  1. Sounds wonderful, Mollie. I’ve never used bell peppers in mine, but think I may give it a go sometime. I think it will round out the flavors. I also like how he uses beef and sausage. I just started putting sausage in mine. I don’t think I could ever make it with plain ground beef again…lol!

  2. A Dad who cooks! your lucky mom! This looks so so rich and savory– so many spice flavors tossed in! And I’m all for leftovers to freeze– thanks for sending out the family recipe. hugs!

  3. I am sure I would love this version, Mollie. Filipinos usually grew up with a sweet-style spaghetti sauce and made adjustments to my Mom’s recipe as well. I wish I have a plate of this right now. My tummy is pretty hangry right now.😁 Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week ahead.😘

  4. I’m getting into freezer meals and big-batch cooking now that I’m in a wheelchair and some days it’s hard for me to cook at all. This sauce sounds very similar to my “not quite homemade” sauce (basically jarred sauce combined with fresh ingredients). I think I’ll be giving this one a try to put up in the freezer.

    • Kena, I can see why you’d want to do that – it must be difficult. My heart goes out to you. It is nice to have a stash of things in the freezer, from simple heat in the microwave to meals like this. I went through a long period of time when I was ill and unable to cook much so on my good days when I did cook, I’d try to double and freeze. I had to rely on packaged foods sometimes and I remember thinking that poorer nutrition wasn’t helping, if you know what I mean. This was a HUGE pot, so you might want to cut it in half or do two pots so it’s easier to handle, if that’s an issue for you. 🙂 Have I ever doctored sauces in my day, btw!! That was a staple when I was growing up.

  5. There must be wonderful memories and family stories attached to that sauce. As others have written, our blogs are records to preserve them. Love the big batch for freezing, I do the same with chili. Hope your parents enjoy their new home and you can get a break (I have enjoyed all the meals you cooked for them).

  6. I hope they are very happy there! It is so sweet to honor your dad like this! I love all of the herbs and spices, your dad has a delicious spaghetti sauce recipe. Thank you for bringing this special recipe to Fiesta Friday this week Mollie!

  7. I love using my blog to preserve my family’s recipes. The internet is forever, which should always be the whole point of sharing. Your dad’s sauce sounds great Mollie, thanks!

    • Thanks, Jess. I do have my Grandma’s and my Mom’s recipe boxes but the funny thing is, a lot of the favorite meals weren’t written down on cards. Luckily I was old enough and cooked enough when I was a teenager that I remember most of them.

  8. Mollie, I hope your folks will be happy with their new living arrangements. Thanks so much for sharing your dad’s recipe. It really does sound delicious, and I love that it can be frozen as well. Have a great weekend further.

    • They’re in a beautiful place and I honestly kind of wish I could live there, too, lol!! All the activities and trips are amazing. 🙂 Their dog, Cody, a golden retriever has become famous there, already, and is helping to ease the transition. 🙂

  9. That’s what our blogs are for; to record and share family recipes for all to enjoy. I loved my Dad’s cooking too and will treasure those few recipes I leave to my family. His spaghetti sauce sounds good – we need a hardy meal this time of the year. Happy FF Mollie and thanks for sharing “Chuck’s” recipe.

  10. Your dad makes spaghetti sauce. Impressive. My dad only knows how to cook ONE dish, a white bean soup/stew with smoked pork hocks.

    That DOES sound like a lot of sauce but all very delicious. I happened to have made pasta/spaghetti sauce yesterday but only used 2 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes (seasoned with herbs and spices) which I doctored up. I baked fresh bread though which was the goal of the afternoon’s cooking. 🙂

  11. That sauce sounds delicious Mollie. It does make a lot but having the leftovers is great for quick and easy meals. Love all the herbs and the specific brands. Sounds like Dad knows what he is doing and what works best!! Have a great Saturday!

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