The Sunday Recipe: Old-fashioned Chili Sauce

Old-fashioned Chili Sauce

This is an old recipe that my mother got from my paternal grandmother. I’ve made it quite a few times over the years and it has evolved a tiny bit. (Recipes tend to do that around here based on what is available.) It’s a lovely, savory relish that my father and aunt were known to eat from a saucer with a slice of bread.

I like it on burgers and I’ve cooked venison in the slow cooker with it for a great main dish. I’ve even used it as a dip with crackers. I have canned it before, but I have also frozen it and that is what I did this time. It makes a great gift for people who don’t need anything, or when you simply don’t know what to buy.

The most onerous part of making this relish is chopping the onions, but it’s worth it. I highly recommend you refrigerate the onions before chopping. (It helps a LOT.) You can use a food processor, a chopper, or make sure there’s a vent fan going while you chop.

Now, I don’t normally use brown sugar, I substitute maple syrup, but I wanted to keep this recipe true to the original flavor because I was mainly making it for family, so I used the brown sugar.


  • 12 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 6 large onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (green or red, or a combination)
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon each ground allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, mustard seed, and celery seed.
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves


  1. Mix everything in a large pot
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook down for about 2 hours, until well thickened.
  4. Can, freeze, or use.

The Sunday Recipe: Simple Marinara Sauce

My husband had a bumper crop of Roma tomatoes in his garden this year so my daughter and I ended up doing three batches of marinara sauce over three days for the freezer, refining our skills as we went. Here is where we ended up.

I based the seasoning on the simple sauce I make from canned unsalted tomato sauce.  I just stir together 1 eight ounce can of unsalted tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of basil, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of oregano, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, and a pinch of sugar. I use that for pizza, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and eggplant recipes.

Now we have a small supply of sauce from home grown tomatoes.

Simple Marinara Sauce


  • 9 to 10 pounds tomatoes (preferably roma)
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • If not using head of garlic, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder (NOT salt)
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Clean and quarter the tomatoes to make sure there are no bad spots inside.
  2. Combine tomatoes, crushed garlic, chopped onion, and water in a large stock pot.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Stir and reduce to a simmer.
  5. Leave lid on and stir every fifteen minutes for the first hour.
  6. Tip the lid so steam escapes and continue to simmer for about 3 hours.
  7. Run the cooked tomato mixture through a food mill with a fairly large whole strainer. You’ll get some seeds but not too many. Can also be pressed through a colander but the food mill is much easier.
  8. Place the tomato sauce in a pot and bring to a simmer.
  9. Cook until desired consistency, about an hour.
  10. Add seasonings and simmer another 15 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool.
  12. Package and freeze until needed.

Makes approximately 12 cups of sauce.