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Best Tomato Sauce 

April 7, 2017

 

This is a super easy tomato sauce recipe I found on the NY Times cooking page. I shared it with a couple friends and apparently they have been making it for years. It comes from the famous Italian cookbook writer Marcella Hazan, so now I am going to have to check out all of her cookbooks.

This sauce has a rich tomato flavor not masked by seasonings and I think it is best to splurge on the more expensive San Marzano tomatoes. Three ingredients and 45 minutes for an amazing sauce…can’t get much better than that (well maybe by adding meatballs you can ūüėČ).

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano are best)
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5 tbsps butter (I often use a little less)
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Combine the tomatoes, onion halves and butter in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt. I typically crush the tomatoes in my hands as I add to saucepan but not required.
  • Place over medium heat and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, breaking up large pieces of tomatoes with the spoon or a potato masher.
  • Discard the onion before tossing with pasta. At this point I will use my immersion blender to pur√©e the sauce, but it’s great chunky too. Use your personal preference here.
  • I often make a large batch and freeze the leftovers.¬†
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Meatballs

April 7, 2017


I have a spaghetti and meatball loving husband and my old recipe wasn’t cutting it anymore so I found this recipe from The Kitchn. I have made them a few times now and each time they come out perfect so figured I better share. They are best served with my new favorite tomato sauce¬†or my second runner up sauce (only because it has more steps).
Meatballs (from The Kitchn)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely minced Italian parsley
  • 1 pound ground meat such as beef, pork, turkey, chicken, or veal, or a mix
  • ‚Ä®1/2 cup finely chopped onion (or grated on a coarse grater) from 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

Directions:

  • Combine the milk and breadcrumbs: Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside while preparing the rest of the meatball mix. The breadcrumbs will absorb the milk and become soggy.
  • Whisk the egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley: Whisk the egg in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper, then whisk in the Parmesan and parsley.
  • Combine the egg and ground meat: Add the meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg into the ground meat.
  • Add the onions and soaked breadcrumbs: Add the onions, garlic, and soaked breadcrumbs to the meat. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Try not to overwork the meat; pinch the meat between your fingers rather than kneading it.
  • Form the meat into meat balls: Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.
  • To roast the meatballs in the oven: Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on a baking sheet. Bake at 400¬įF for 25 to 30 minutes. (Watch closely if cooking meatballs made with lean meat.) The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are browned, and when they register 165¬įF in the middle on an instant read thermometer. Serve immediately.
  • To cook the meatballs in sauce: Bring a marinara sauce or other pasta sauce to a simmer and add as many meatballs as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. The meatballs are done when they’re cooked through and register 165¬įF in the middle on an instant read thermometer. Serve immediately.
  • I often make a double batch and freeze meatballs for later. To do this, prepare the meatballs through the shaping step. Arrange them spaced slightly apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the meatballs to a freezer container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. (Meatballs can be frozen for longer, but tend to develop freezer burn.) Thaw meatballs in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

Shredded Chicken

March 30, 2017


Today I am making a batch of chicken salad and decided to try out a tip I heard a while back…shredding chicken in your stand mixer. Let me tell you, this was hands down the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken! Before I always used my food processor but I am now a convert.

Simply place your fully cooked, warm chicken breasts into your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at the slowest speed until all is shredded. I cut my chicken breasts up into smaller pieces but doubt that was necessary. I definitely think they need to be warm for this to work.

Hope you enjoy this method as much as me!

Sour Cream Pancakes 

September 18, 2016

I have taken a LONG hiatus from new recipes and blogging. Many have asked me for new posts so will try to supply you with a few new recipes in the weeks to come.

Tonight we had breakfast for dinner, mainly because I wanted to make these pancakes. I first made them for our 2015 Christmas morning breakfast and everyone enjoyed them and I sort of forgot about them until now. I will say it makes me a little sad to do a blog post about pancakes, because pancakes were always my Dad’s territory. He made the best pancakes ever, but if you didn’t grow up eating them ¬†you probably wouldn’t like them as they were flat, crispy edges with an over the top sweet brown sugar syrup. I can get close, but mine will never be as good as Dads.

This recipe from the Pioneer Woman is a nice alternative for an easy homemade pancake. It also uses my favorite condiment, sour cream, so that already makes these pancakes delicious in my book.

Sour Cream Pancakes (from the Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 7 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons¬†sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • In a small bowl whisk together eggs and vanilla.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the sour cream until just barely combined, trying not to overmix.
  • Whisk in egg mixture until just combined. It’s ok if the batter is lumpy.
  • Heat a griddle over medium-low heat and use melted butter or cooking spray to prevent sticking. Use about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake, flipping once bubbles appear on surface. Cook on the other side for another minute or two.
  • Serve with your favorite pancake toppings and enjoy!

Here’s my favorite pancake maker at work – love and miss you Dad!

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Baked Spaghetti with Cream Cheese

February 2, 2016

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This recipe is a new spin on the spaghetti pie that was once in our dinner rotation. I found I had everything on hand to make it, so no grocery run required! That makes the recipe even better in my opinion. It is also easy to freeze, either before you bake it or as individual portions with the leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey, italian sausage, etc)
  • 1 28oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 box spaghetti noodles (I used 12 oz box of bucatini – spaghetti with hole in the middle)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 t garlic
  • 1 t italian seasoning
  • 1 t basil
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded (I always use fresh mozzarella now but any will do)

Directions:

  • Brown beef in skillet and drain fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce.
  • Cook pasta according to directions. Once done, drain and add back to pot or a mixing bowl.
  • Add cream cheese, garlic and herbs and stir until the cream cheese is melted and coats the spaghetti. I didn’t want it to be overly¬†coated so I only used 4oz cream cheese, but use more if you prefer.
  • Spray a 13×9 baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on bottom. Add spaghetti mixture and make sure it is evenly distributed. Top with remaining sauce.
  • Top the casserole with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, or until heated throughout and the cheese is melted.

Cheesy Bacon Potatoes

January 31, 2016

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I’ve seen versions of these floating around Pinterest and decided to give them a try tonight. The¬†online versions seemed¬†overly complicated as they wanted you to boil the potatoes after slicing, pat dry and then bake. I decided to try my own way and they turned out pretty tasty. I did think they would be more like a chip we could dip, but with the cheese melted they all stuck together and it was just easier to use a fork.

I used 2 smaller potatoes for just¬†two of us and it was more than enough – I’d say probably 4 servings. For the future, I would estimate serving one small to mid size potato for two people.

Ingredients:

  • Russet potatoes
  • Colby jack cheese, shredded
  • Bacon, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Scrub potatoes clean and slice into approximately 1/8″ slices. I used the thickest setting on my mandoline. I placed my mandoline over a bowl of cold water and sliced directly into the water, but if you can’t do that just put slices into cold water to prevent from browning.
  • Once you have sliced all potatoes, drain from water and pat dry.
  • Place potato slices into a mixing bowl and toss with 1 to 2 teaspoons (or more if needed) olive oil to coat.
  • Cover baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. If foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place slices in a single layer – they can overlap a little. Top with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 10 mintues then remove from oven and flip potatoes. Bake for another 10 minutes on the other side. Depending on the thickness of your potatoes, you may want to adjust this baking time. (You could probably skip the flipping step if desired, just bake longer on the one side)
  • Once the potatoes start to look lightly golden brown, remove from oven and top with shredded cheese and bacon. Bake again for a few minutes, until cheese is hot and bubbly.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or sour cream.

Note: these would probably be ok made in advance if you baked the potato slices and waited to do the last cheese/bacon step until just before you are ready to serve.

Blueberry Crumb Bars

July 15, 2015

photo 1Kris recently went blueberry picking so I figured I needed to bake something new. This is a very easy recipe and tasted great!

Blueberry Crumb Bars ( recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 t salt (I omitted as I used salted butter)
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries (I think I used closer to 6)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 t cornstarch

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  • In mixing¬†bowl, combine 1 cup white sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Blend¬†in butter and egg with a pastry cutter or fork (I took a shortcut and used the food processor). Mixture will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the baking pan in an even layer, saving the other half for the topping.
  • In another bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberries in an even layer over the crust, and then crumble the remaining dough on top.
  • Bake for 45 minutes (mine took 55 min) until top crust is golden colored.
  • Cool completely and cut into squares. I allowed them to chill in the refrigerator first and they cut perfectly.

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