It's all about balancing time and reading labels. You could make a large batch of homemade marinara sauce and freeze or can it. This would be ideal. But when you're running late to pick up the kids from daycare and they're screaming the whole way home and your partner is sick and all you want is to put some spaghetti on the table before you have to run to Jane and Johnny's piano recital, you just need to go to the store, turn some jars around, and find the least offensive jarred spaghetti sauce you can.
So you get a jar of spaghetti sauce with recognizable ingredients. It costs a little more than the brand you used to buy. That's fine -- you're paying for convenience. But the next time rolls around and you get another jar. Maybe two. Month after month you keep buying these jars at the store. They're almost $4 each.
But then look at the alternative. You buy a bushel of tomatoes, fresh basil, onions, and garlic at the farmer's market. Take an afternoon, maybe involve the kids, and make your own spaghetti sauce. Season it just the way your family likes it. Portion it out into freezer bags. It works out that for the same amount of sauce you'd get in a jar for $4, you put into your own bag for around $1 or less. And if you get the tomatoes out of your own garden? It's pennies per serving. Is it worth more to you to save time or money?
Psst... you can also make spaghetti sauce in the crock pot.
Today's recipe on the meal plan makes use of the leftover shrimp from Monday's recipe and puts it in pasta with alfredo sauce. This is real alfredo sauce, people. You know that while glop that comes in jars at the store? Not real. Not even close. I think that stuff might actually be some sort of industrial lubricant.
Get cooking! And don't forget to start your beans so they're ready for Friday (and beyond!).
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/85934826@N00/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0