Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spaghetti Sauce


5 pounds Ground Beef (I Used Ground Round)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Large Yellow Onions, Diced
2 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
6 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 cup White Wine (or Low Sodium Beef Broth If You Prefer)
2 cans 28 Ounce Crushed Tomatoes
1 can (14 Ounce) Crushed Tomatoes
1 can (small, 4-ounce) Tomato Paste
1 jar Good Storebought Marinara Sauce (can Use Another Jar If You Like The Sauce To Be More Saucy Than Meaty)
1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
4 whole Bay Leaves
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Finely Minced Fresh Parsley (or 3 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes), More To Taste
1 whole Rind From One Wedge Parmesan (optional)
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
2 pounds Spaghetti, Cooked Al Dente And Tossed With Olive Oil
Extra Minced Parsley, For Serving
Extra Parmesan Cheese, For Serving

Preparation Instructions

IMPORTANT: This recipe can easily be halved! I just like to make a ton so I can freeze it.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until totally browned. Remove meat from pot with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Set aside.

Discard any grease in pot, but do not clean the pot. Drizzle in olive oil. When it is heated, throw in the diced onion and diced bell pepper. Stir it around for 1 1/2 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble up and reduce for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and marinara sauce. Stir to combine, then add oregano, thyme, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper (if using). Stir, then add cooked ground beef and stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little water or some low-sodium broth if it needs more liquid

After an hour, add the minced parsley and the rind from a wedge of Parmesan (or grated Parmesan if you prefer--or both!) Stir to combine, then put the lid back on and allow it to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Serve a big bowl of oiled noodles and spaghetti sauce so guests can serve themselves. Top each serving with minced parsley and grated Parmesan (or Parmesan shavings) and serve with a big piece of garlic-cheese bread.

From pioneer woman--love this recipe
I usually half it and it makes enough for two spaghetti dinners for our little fam or give it to someone frozen with a package of noodles.

Korean Beef

Korean Beef

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced
Rice, cooked

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions.

Jess made this for us--we all loved it!!!

Easy Garlic Chicken

About This Recipe
"A quick, easy chicken recipe for days when you don't want to spend time in the kitchen. Even finicky people will eat it. Goes great with traditional potatoes or rice. As it bakes, the garlic and sugar will melt into a sweet glaze. Customize with your favorite herbs or spices. After many comments, I have reduced the temperature at which to cook the chicken. I have also added instructions to wrap your baking sheet or casserole dish in aluminum foil for easier clean-up."


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
additional herbs and spices, as desired


Preheat oven to 450°F Line a baking dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil.
In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender.
Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Add additional herbs and spices as desired.
Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken.

Meatballs Stroganoff

I'm giving you fair warning, this is NOT a 'measure everything out' recipe. Instead, its one of those things you throw together after work on a busy day because it works and its delicious and your kids love it, and its super fast.

Frozen Italian style meatballs (1/2 oz each)
generally, enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Depends on who is home.
Extra virgin olive oil
1+ Tbsp - just enough to brown up the meatballs.
2 cups beef broth
use more for more meatballs... just go with this recipe. Don't over think it.
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
dried herbs (probably at least 1 - 1 1/2 tsp each) - parsley, oregano, basil
it will look like a lot of seasoning, but in the end, it will be great!
1 cup sour cream
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese (optional)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
or a slurry of whole milk + a bit of corn starch
Wide egg noodles
enough for whomever is there
optional garnishes - fresh oregano leaves, Italian seasoning

Written Method:

I start off with our favorite brand of frozen Italian style meatballs (my kids LOVE the Rosina brand). I brown them in a little olive oil in a black iron skillet. This is where you get all the good flavors - from the fond (the brown bits that stick on the bottom) that gets stuck in the skillet. [I don't think this would work as well in a non-stick skillet b/c it releases too much of that goodness.]

After they are browned up nicely, deglaze the pan with about 2 cups of beef broth (I like Swanson's brand). Bring to a boil. Season generously with salt and pepper, dried herbs (parsley, oregano, basil). When it starts reducing, add about 2/3 cup sour cream (I use Daisy light) and about a cup of heavy whipping cream. These will make the sauce creamy and silky and also act as a thickener.

Meanwhile, boil water in a separate pot and add the wide egg noodles (I use No Yolks). Boil until they are still just a bit al dente, drain briefly and add to the simmering sauce. They will finish cooking in the sauce and also soak up a lot of that goodness.

The result is a nice, creamy sauce - slightly tangy from the sour cream, a little herbaceous from the nice green herbs, a little beefy from the stock. Yum! Loved this recipe! Will definitely be making it again!

Turkey Meatloaf with glaze


Units: US | Metric
2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
3/4 cup catsup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1 Melt butter in a skillet.
2 Cook onion and garlic in melted butter for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 Place mixture in a large bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
4 Combine turkey, bread crumbs, egg, 1/4 cup of the catsup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper with onion mixture.
5 Press meatloaf into an 8x4-inch loaf pan.
6 Spread remaining catsup on top.
7 Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. (Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees.)
8 Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Glaze (from Jess)

1/4 C water
1/3 C honey
about 1 cup tomato soup undiluted

put this on for the last 20 minutes or so

Friday, February 21, 2014

Root Beer

2 cups sugar
1 oz. of root beer extract (found in spice section of select grocery stores)
1 gallon of cold water
2 lbs. of dry ice (it’s best to buy the dry ice on the day you plan to use it)

**Use a plastic container & never put a lid on it.

Start by pouring one gallon of water in a large container (or plastic cauldron), followed by two cups of sugar and one ounce of root beer extract.
Once the sugar is dissolved, add two pounds of dry ice, broken into smaller pieces. The bubbling mixture will become carbonated and ready to serve when all the dry ice has fully vaporized.  

Add ice cream for a special root beer float that kids of all ages will love.