I don't like to buy the "cheap stuff" when I comes to pasta sauce, but I am often too busy to make my own. I have started slow cooking my own semi-homemade sauce in an attempt to stretch the family budget.
In the slow cooker I start with ground meat (This time it is buffalo from our CSA, but I have used grass fed beef, venison or turkey) and cook it right in the slow cooker. Once it is done I add one jar of sauce, one can of diced tomatoes, one can of tomato sauce, minced onion, a pinch or two of garlic powder and veggies on hand. (Today I had sliced mushrooms, but I have used diced green pepper, carrot, or real onion if I have one.) This cooks all day and when I am ready I just boil the pasta and serve. I priced the whole dish out and here is how it breaks down for us:
1 jar organic pasta sauce $2.99 (with coupon)
1 can organic diced tomatoes $1.19 (on the closeout - they changed the label)
1 can organic tomato sauce $1.10 (by the case at Costco)
Leftover mushrooms $1.49
This $6.77 added to $3.00 worth of pasta (including a small batch of GF) and $.89 reduced Italian bread feeds our family for $10.66 and that includes lunch for hubby and Kid #1 the next day!!