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Oh So Slow Cooked Spaghetti Sauce

The house smells so good right now.

The kids requested spaghetti, and I didn't have any sauce in the house, so I decided to make my own.  I happened to have a giant can (102 oz.) of diced tomatoes on hand so I decided to make a triple batch.  In the summer when my tomato plants are producing, I like to freeze them for use in the cooler weather months.  Here's the recipe I sort of followed, in single-batch quantities.  This is a great recipe to double (or triple), and freeze.

Oh So Slow Cooked Spaghetti Sauce

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef (could use a combination of beef & Italian sausage)
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. minced garlic (like a heaping tablespoon!)
3 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste 
1½  tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil (or use 1 tbsp.-ish of fresh if you have it - 1 tbsp. fresh generally = 1 tsp. dried)
½ tsp. parsley (use fresh flat leaf if you have it - 1 tbsp. fresh generally = 1 tsp. dried)
3 whole bay leaves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
brown sugar, to taste (I used a heaping tablespoon, but we don't do too sweet)
salt, to taste (check how much sodium is in the tomatoes you're using)

In a large skillet, cook the meat and onions until the meat is brown and the onions are tender. Add the minced garlic near the end of this step to prevent it from burning.  Drain off the fat.  Place meat mixture and all other ingredients into a large crock pot.  Cook on high for at least 5-6 hours, or low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste before serving over your favorite pasta noodles.

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