One of the comments from the USD 435's Parents as Teachers Pasta Party on 4/20/15 was "Homemade sauce is way better than canned." I agree! The  recipe from the cookbook Good and Cheap, by Leanne Brown, is simple and quite adaptable to personal tastes. For the party, we increased the quantity to serve 50 + made a few adjustments and changes which I've outlined below.
Also, we cooked mostly WHOLE GRAIN SPAGHETTI, mixed with some regular spaghetti (about 2/3 whole grain to 1/3 regular) . . . if you are trying to transition your family from regular to whole wheat, this is a great way to do it.
The sauce is meat free but we figured that there were quite a few meat lovers in our group, so Barry came early and cooked the meat additions — for 50, he sautéed 2 finely chopped onions and 2 diced green peppers; then he added 4 lbs. of ground chuck and 1 lb. of ground pork and cooked it until it was nicely browned. Then he added a couple of bay leaves, salt and pepper, quite a bit of Italian seasoning and 2 diced zucchini (this is a great way to add more vegetables to your diet and most didn't even realize they were in the sauce!).  He simmered this for about 30 minutes and then we eventually added the BEST TOMATO SAUCE to the meat mixture. As families went though the buffet, they could select either meat sauce or plain tomato sauce.
The rest of the menu included: Garden salad (a blend of spinach, baby kale, Chinese cabbage, head lettuce, romaine, finely sliced red cabbage, shredded carrots and quartered grape tomatoes) + warm garlic bread.
A BIG thanks to volunteers: Barry, Kohl's associates, National Honor Society students, Kelly and Denise. It was a FUN evening and your help was invaluable!
By the way, this event was made possible by our grant from the Community Foundation of  Dickinson County. It is the second of five cooking sessions based on the cookbook Good and Cheap, by Leanne Brown.
We made Cornmeal Crusted Veggies from Ms. Brown's cookbook during the first cooking session. 
Barry and Brandon (a National Honor Student from AHS) cooking up a batch of sauce.
Volunteers Denise, Kelleye + Sarah cooking up batches of sauce. 
Barry and a Kohl's volunteer washing up the dishes.
BEST TOMATO SAUCE with a few of our additions
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 1/4 cup onions (our addition)
3 clove garlic, finely chopped
16 oz. can tomatoes, crushed or diced (I actually purchased cans of both + some tomato sauce and mixed them all together when preparing the large quantity of sauce)
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes 
About 2 to 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning (our addition)
About 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (our addition; it cuts the acid in the tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add the olive oil to a saucepan on medium heat. 
  2. Add the onions and sauté until almost tender and translucent; add the garlic about the last 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, mix and cook until warmed through.
  4. Add the chili flakes, Italian seasoning, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Simmer sauce for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Check taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
    PAT families going through the buffet.
    PAT families enjoying their pasta meal. 

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