Ragu Giveaway

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Ragú.

When I was but a blushing young newlywed, I made my own spaghetti sauce. Now I certainly don’t mean that I grew my own tomatoes and herbs and spent endless hours planting and tending and harvesting my garden so that I could serve my husband the freshest possible tomato sauce, because the fact of the matter is that I’ve never really grown anything successfully. Except for maybe weeds. But those don’t really count, now do they?

I loved going to the grocery store, picking out all my favorite ingredients, then combining tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil and oregano in a big ole pot and letting the heat work its magic. My next door neighbor, Ann, taught me to grate a little carrot in my sauce to add a little sweetness. And don’t tell anybody, but I added a little sugar, too. The sauce could be time-consuming, but it was good. And I figured I’d make my own sauce forever.

After I became a mama, however, I started looking for shortcuts in the kitchen. Making my own spaghetti sauce wasn’t really high on the list anymore, and I’ll never forget the first time I made a spinach and spaghetti casserole with the sauce from a jar. IT WAS A REVELATION. It was simple and delicious and fast, and if you’ve ever tried to cook a meal while keeping one eye on a toddler, you know that fast cooking can be your friend. I was hooked.

A few weeks ago some folks from Ragu asked if they could send me some samples of their new spaghetti sauce. Since we eat spaghetti sauce in one dish or another at least once a week, I happily agreed. Truth be told, I’ve only bought Ragu a handful of times – we have typically preferred Another Brand – but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try, especially when I saw that the new recipe has two servings of vegetables in every half cup. If you’re someone who tries to make sure your little ones eat nutritious meals, you know that those two veggie servings per half cup are SOLID GOLD.

A couple of nights ago I decided to make lasagna with the Ragu sauce. I actually opened a jar of the old recipe and a jar of the new recipe so that I could compare the taste – and do you know what? I really could tell a difference. Since there are twice as many vegetables in the new recipe, the sauce is thicker, and the flavor is great. GREAT.

After the taste test, I assembled all the ingredients on the kitchen counter so that I could take their picture. And also so that I could remember how I made the dish because I wasn’t following a recipe. I’m all cuckoo and devil-may-care that way.

Don’t they look cute?

I browned my ground beef, cooked my noodles (our grocery store was out of the whole wheat lasagna noodles, so I improvised with whole wheat rigatoni) and mixed together the ricotta and cottage cheeses. Then I started layering. And here’s how it looked before I cooked it.

But do you know what’s even better? How it looked right before we ate it.

It was DELICIOUS – a huge hit with the whole family. Our seven year-old practically licked his plate, and it made me feel good that the sauce was chock-full of vegetables. I mixed cottage cheese in with the ricotta and he had no idea (he would not touch cottage cheese under normal circumstances), and I loved that our one dish hit four of the five food groups: dairy, veggies, protein and whole grains. OH, HAPPY DAY.

Here’s the recipe:

Riga-sagna

2 lbs. ground chuck, browned and drained (seasoned to taste)
1 jar Ragu
1 lb. whole wheat rigatoni, cooked
16 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
16 oz. cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup mozzarella cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 375. Combine cooked ground beef with Ragu sauce and let simmer on stove while cooking and assembling other ingredients.

Boil and drain pasta. Set aside.

Combine ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, basil, oregano and eggs – then set aside.

In a 9×13 baking dish, lightly coat the bottom of the dish with sauce. Put a layer of noodles on top, then ricotta mixture, then sauce, then noodles, then ricotta mixture, then sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella over top, then bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

You may have a few noodles left over if you cook the whole box – just FYI.

If you’d like to enter to win a $100 Visa gift card courtesy of BlogHer, leave a comment that answers the following question: what’s your favorite way to use spaghetti sauce when you cook for your family? Old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs? Chicken parmesan? Lasagna? A great family recipe?

For a second entry, you can:
· Tweet about this post with a link to it (and put your tweet URL in a separate comment below)
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· Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.

There are ten other chances to win a $100 gift card, so be sure to check out the BlogHer.com special offers page. And by all means feel free to check out the official rules.

By the way, if you’d like to be one of the first to sample the new Ragu recipe, check out the Ragu Facebook page. They’re giving away some tremendous goodie baskets filled with Ragu sauce, pasta, a colander, a box grater, cookware and all sorts of kitchen gadgets via the Ragu Facebook Sweepstakes.

Happy Ragu-ing, y’all!

This giveaway is now closed.

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Comments

  1. Our favorite use of pasta sauce is in the goulash recipe my husband got from his mother.
    chainmail(at) iwon(dot)com

  2. There are several ways I use spaghetti sauce: two of our favorites are for meatballs cooked right in Ragu, and a sausage tortilla rollup recipe that my mom made for me growing up, and now I make for my kids (and they, too, practically lick their plates clean).

  3. A favorite cool weather way to use a jar of spaghetti sauce is this: cut up an onion, a bell pepper, garlic, and some itialian sausage links. Dump the sauce over this in a crockpot, and simmer all day. Delish!

  4. I love pasta, pasta with tomato sauce, with cheese with butter. you name it just give me pasta.

  5. A casserole with sausage, whole wheat pasta, cheese and spaghetti sauce.

  6. When I was dating my husband, his roommate used to make this dish he called Spaghetti Pizza. It was SO GOOD. From what I can remember, you made a “crust” of cooked spaghetti noodles, then layered pepperoni, sauce and cheese all over it and baked it in the oven. Oh, yum!!!

  7. I love a hearty lasagna, but I also love manicotti smothered in sauce (and yes, this is all about me-who cares what the family likes:))

  8. I love using spaghetti sauce in spaghetti casserole, which is the easiest recipe ever – mix a can of cream of mushroom soup with a jar of sauce and a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese, add cooked spaghetti, put in a baking dish and top with MORE cheese (cheddar or mozzarella, doesn’t matter) then bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes. It’s always a hit, and makes good leftovers.

  9. I love to make “spaghetti bake” which is pretty much just spaghetti baked with extra cheese on it because who can have too much cheese? Not me!

  10. melisssa burns says:

    Anything in spaghetti sauce is the only thing my whole family will eat. We have a lot of pasta, our favorite being a penne pasta bake i made up myself!

  11. Spaghetti bake with lots of cheese or chicken parmesan.

  12. Fettucine, lots of meat and Ragu – can’t go wrong!

  13. Ragu with some brown sugar sprinkled in, over angel hair, yum!

  14. My best recipe with pasta sauce is to freeze some for later. See, I have 4 kids who just love plain noodles. I make them eat a serving with sauce (and added pureed veg of course), then they can have all the plain noodles they can stuff into their mouths (yes, whole wheat!). A jar of sauce lasts for at least two meals for a family of six.

    So, I put the leftovers in a freezer container and save it for next time!

  15. We love spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic bread to sop it up!

  16. Yeah, just basic spaghetti and meatballs for us. Tho we occasionally put the meatballs and sauce on hoagies for meatball subs – and that’s good too.

  17. This is so not Italian, but I love to make rotini with spaghetti sauce, throw it into a casserole dish, spread light sour cream over the surface, then top it with cheese. It’s creamy and tomatoey and YUMMY.

  18. My entire family loves lasagna. We also use it as sauce on homemade pizza.

  19. regular ole spaghetti is our favorite, but we also love spaghetti sauce as a dipping sauce for fried eggplant!

  20. Bethany Jones says:

    This looks delicious! My son lives on Spaghetti-os and cheerios. Maybe the circular rigatoni shape will get him to try this. I can’t wait to try the new Ragu with extra veggies~! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  21. Skillet Lasagna. Pre-cook 2 cups of either macaroni, bowties (sons’ favorite), or penne and set aside. In a large skillet sprayed w/cooking spray, heat 15 ounces (2 cups) of sauce. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/4 cup mozzarella (can also add 1/4 cup ricotta or sour cream) and any extra spices, stir well. Add pasta and stir well. Top with mozzarella, cover and simmer until cheese melts. QUICK & DELICIOUS!

  22. I have recently started using Ragu (instead of The Other Brand I used to buy) and I really love it! We love ANY pasta, cheese and tomato sauce combo, so they’re all our favorites–yummy, easy and quick!

  23. Mary Jenkins says:

    I use it as a pizza sauce! My hubby loves homemade pizza!
    quitecontrary1977@hotmail.com

  24. My family loves Ragu traditional spagetti sauce at ground italian sausage and ground chuck to make good ole spagetti! Yummo!

  25. My favorite is a toss up between chicken parmesan and chicken cacciatore! They are both so delicious!!

  26. I like to use it as a building block and then throw lots of veggies and cheese and herbs in there with meatballs and let it all simmer together for a while!

  27. Jennifer says:

    Baked spaghetti!

  28. My favorite is to make after school mini pizza snacks! Basic but delicious and very appreciated by my trio of busy children.

  29. Our latest favourite use for spaghetti sauce is Meatball Subs. We make home made meatballs and we grill a big sub bun with garlic plus and butter and then add the meatballs, drown in spaghetti sauce and add mozza and grill a bit longer! YUMMY!

    I look forward to trying the new Ragu sauce.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  30. Fanannie says:

    For good old fashioned spaghetti. If I get REALLY daring, a prepackaged frozen meatball or 6 might get added, but let’s not get crazy now! :)

  31. Jeannett says:

    My little ones love mini pizzas I make using english muffins and whatever toppings their little hearts desire.

  32. Just as classic spaghetti for me! At dinner we tend to add fresh turkey to it as well. But I also quite often cook up some noodles and heat up some sauce (sauce from a jar – yay!) and have it for lunch with no extras added. Well, maybe a little Parmesan added. :)

  33. I love plain old spaghetti with meat sauce. I prefer baked spaghetti because of all the extra cheese, but it’s not mu husband’s favorite. We usually add meat and green peppers to our jarred sauce instead of buying something with “meat flavor.” It makes a difference!

  34. I always used jarred spaghetti sauce when I make spaghetti. I add a canned petite diced tomatoes, a jar of sliced mushrooms, and some Italian seasoning, garlic, and basil. So good! I’ll be sure to look for the new Ragu sauce next time!

  35. I doctor up my Ragu with some ground venison. Yum!

  36. I usually go for plain old spaghetti, but I have also been using spaghetti sauce over boneless, skinless chicken breast and onion/mushroom/green peppers. Top with some melted mozzarella and sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese….YUM.

  37. My favorite way to eat spaghetti sauce is on spaghetti – but I LOVE dipping pizza and garlic bread in it too. YUM-O!

  38. Mary Helen says:

    Chicken Parmesan and Baked Ziti!!! I am going to try the new Ragu sauce. It sounds delicious!

  39. I make a recipe called Lazy Lasagna. You cook the noodle of your choice, mix in your sauce, some cottage cheese, parmesan, etc. Pour this into a casserole and top with a generous amount of mozzarella & bake!

  40. We like good old fashioned spaghetti and meat sauce.

  41. Manicotti!!

  42. We’re an old fashioned spaghetti family.

  43. When I was a teenager, I’d put a little spaghetti sauce on a tortilla, sprinkle a little garlic powder, add mozzarella…and pop it in the toaster. YUM! That sounds good about now.

  44. Just give me plan on spaghetti with a nice salad and garlic bread!

  45. DH is a little fussy about his pasta… and when I say a little fussy, basically spaghetti and lasagna are the only pasta foods he’ll heat. So spaghetti and lasagna are our faves!

  46. we do pasta so many ways.

    spaghetti, lasagna, we also will take the left-over sauce (if there is any!) and spread it on a pizza crust!

  47. I am an spaghetti with sauce with ground beef in it kinda of girl. Completely delicious!

  48. chris anne says:

    make pizza with whole wheat pitas, jar of tomatoe sauce, tukey pepperoni and mozzeralla, yum!

  49. We are all about spaghetti at our house!

  50. Good ‘ole spaghetti works for us!

  51. Melissa B. says:

    I guess this sounds plain, but I like cooking up some ravioli, rinsing out the pan, heating up some tomato sauce, and pouring it over the pasta. It’s really simple and easy, but it’s pretty tasty too.

  52. I just made a spaghetti pizza bake last night with Ragu. It was a big hit with the entire family!

  53. Just plain ole spaghetti. It’s the easiest, fastest thing to cook up!

  54. We love to make homemade pizza at our house. SO GOOD.

  55. We like to KISS- keep it simple, stupid. Frozen cheese tortellini with Ragu. Yum!

  56. We add ground beef to Ragu and eat it with whole wheat spaghetti.

  57. Chicken Cacciatore! Cook chicken thighs down in the jarred sauce with sliced red bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions – it’s heavenly.

  58. We love Spaghetti!!!!

  59. I must admit…simple is the way to go for me. Pasta with sauce…delicious!

  60. I love using Ragu with ready made meatball and wheat angelhair pasta. The kids call it one of their top five. Gotta love an easy meal!

  61. We like spaghetti & lasagna both!

  62. Christie C says:

    We love baked ziti…our favorite thing to make with sauce

  63. Lasagna all the way!

  64. CARRIE WHITE says:

    We love pasta in our house! I sometimes add sausage or hamburger and occasionally I chop up a few tiny tomatoes in it and toss in some additional oregano or basil and put some green peppers and mushrooms in it. whitecarrie69@yahoo.com

  65. Michelle says:

    We make eggplant Parmesan. We use the sauce on spaghetti too.

  66. I like to use spaghetti sauce as the base sauce for my stuffed shells. yum!

  67. I make one pot spaghetti. Yum! And since the noodles boil in the sauce there’s only one pot to clean.

  68. We are kind of boring and eat regular spaghetti, but if you make it right, it’s really good :)

  69. I would say we like to use it on ravioli! :)

  70. Vicki M. says:

    My mother-in-law’s lasagna recipe uses a large jar of Ragu sauce. We love it!

  71. Debbie Bellows says:

    i love hamburger meat in my spaghetti sauce
    serve it up over Spaghetti! Garlic bread on the side! yummy

  72. Debbie Bellows says:
  73. I usually go with the basic spaghetti recipe with meatballs
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  74. tweet
    http://twitter.com/ChelleB36/status/26510401973
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  75. My husband is King of making all things lasagna!

  76. Denise Y says:

    Love to make chicken Parmesan

  77. Stephanie R says:

    Traditional spaghetti with ground meat and bell peppers is our fave way to use pasta sauce!

  78. We like quick and easy in our family … spaghetti with meat! and of course we use spaghetti sauce from a can – mostly because my husband can cook an type of pasta with spaghetti sauce and I get a night off!

  79. A pasta bake casserole.

    Pasta+
    a mixture of spinach, garlic & chicken (ready to eat chicken) sauteed in olive oil+
    mozzarella cheese+
    Spaghetti sauce
    More cheese on top and bake.

    Winner, winner pasta dinner b/c it has the spinach all hidden in there with the sauce that counts as a vegetable and the fiber from the whole grain pasta and the dairy from the cheese. Can I get an amen up in here? :)

  80. We love to do Build YOur Own strombolis, with Ragu sauce!

  81. I prefer lasagna but my family likes plain old spaghetti with meat sauce. Your dish looked delicious!

  82. Pretty much love spaghetti and yes, I made my own sauce until I discovered that can linings have BPA in them. :( Now I buy glass jarred sauce, but I’m not sure it’s as good. :( Still working on “fixing” it the way I like it!

  83. ed sauce Spaghetti with already cooked bacon and peas. What a great giveaway! Thanks for a chance to win!
    kmassman gmail

  84. Our favorite way to use spaghetti sauce is in a spaghetti casserole, all one dish baked together. Simple!

  85. We like meatball sandwiches!!

  86. We love baked ziti!

  87. kl jasus says:

    thanks for the great recipe…i’m going to try it but with leftover sausage.

    our favorite pasta sauce meal is generally spaghetti and meatballs!

    raggammuffin@gmail.com

  88. our favorite use is lasagna!

  89. I love to make pasta for lunch with spaghetti sauce!!

  90. Making pizza with the kids!

  91. My family loves my spaghetti. But we also love cheese tortellini in creamy tomato sauce, lasagne, baked pasta dishes and pretty much anything with pasta and either tomato based sauces or creamy sauces. =D

  92. I have a really good recipe for Baked Tortellini that I use a jar of marinara for. It’s really good!

  93. We love good old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs as well as a yummy pasta and veggie soup made with spaghetti sauce.

  94. Brenda B says:

    I use Ragu to make reg spaghetti and also to make lasagna. All the time!!!

  95. We have used Ragu for 13 years and love it! My family’s favorite use in baked ziti. Yum!
    ljatwood at gmail dot com

  96. I’m not gonna sugar coat it, I’m a terrible cook. But that looked yummy and easy! Thanks BooMama! No more boring spaghetti!

  97. We love Ziti and Lasagna, yummy! :)

  98. it is old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs for me. also bread dipped in sauce.
    songyueyu at gmail

  99. YUM. I will have to try it. I found the easiest peasiest meatball recipe on a blog I love a year or so ago and this giveaway post reminds me I have not made them in a while! That’s definitely my fave way to use the sauce!