Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Favorite Pasta Sauce

This has got to be my favorite sauces of all times. I used to have it almost every Thursday growing up and had to do some bartering with my little Italian grandma for the recipe. I made this again this past Sunday for our first wedding anniversary and my husband loved it, even took leftovers to work with him. If my hubby likes it, your hubby will like it, I promise! :)

Amazing Pasta Sauce

For best results allow sauce to simmer for one to two hours. Also the olive oil, bay leaves and brown sugar are a must! I highly recommend doubling the recipe and freezing half for a later use. This makes a thicker sauce that really sticks to the pasta noodles.

1/4 cup butter
3 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves 
1/4 cup white wine (optional - but oh so good)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Saute onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add everything else and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
3. Remove bay leaves before serving
4. Serve over pasta
5. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Leftovers can be frozen and used in future meals. 

As you can see I served my pasta with meatballs. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Opa! Greek Salsa Chicken

I'm a lover of all things Greek but I'm particularly fond of Greek food...yum! Whenever we go out to eat and I have the chance to find a great Greek restaurant I'm always ordering Chicken Souvlaki or a Greek Salad. The only thing different about today is I'm going tackle Greek food myself. I thawed my chicken breasts overnight and wanted to try something a little different this time around so why not allow my wonderful family to experience the food I've become so fond of.

Greek Salsa
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup red onion, small diced
1/4 cup Homemade Greek Salad Dressing (Recipe Below)

Greek Salad Dressing
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp Greek Seasoning (I use Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Greek Seasoning)

Measure all ingredients in small jar with lid and shake - it's just that simple.


Preheat oven to 400°

In a medium sized bowl, combine feta, tomatoes, olives,onion and parsley. Pour 1/4 cup of Greek Salad Dressing over salsa, toss gently. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

For Chicken Breasts - sprinkle both sides with Greek Seasoning (I used Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Greek Seasoning), black pepper, and a little kosher salt and pan fry 2-3 minutes on both sides.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray and place chicken breasts in a single layer and bake for 20-30 minutes or until juices run clear.

Prepare your side while chicken is baking - I made Couscous using chicken broth instead of water and I loved it.

When chicken is completely baked, plate each chicken breast and spoon Greek Salsa over each piece.

We had Couscous with just a splash of Greek Salad Dressing as a side. When the chicken was gone - we mixed the remainder of the salsa over the Couscous and it was amazing!

Greek Salad Dressing slightly adapted from Simply Scratch

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Taco Mac & Cheese

Say so long to plain ol' mac & cheese...it's time to give your favorite comfort food some spicy kick with this Taco Mac & Cheese.

I was so over the typical kraft mac and cheese and have to find something to add to it. The hubs gets home late sometime so we wanted something fast and filling so that's how this recipe came about. We no longer use packed taco seasoning so I will share my seasoning blend with you so that's an added bonus for you today.

Taco Mac & Cheese was a BIG hit with this hubs while I only ate a 1/2 cup and a huge salad, I did enjoy the spicy kick to this non-traditional Mac & Cheese dish.

Taco Mac & Cheese

1 box kraft macaroni & cheese deluxe (original cheese)
1 medium green pepper, diced fairly small
1 medium onion, diced fairly small
1 can Hunts diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, drained
1 lb. 90% lean ground beef
2 1/2 TBSP Taco Seasoning (Recipe Below)

In a large pot, cook the macaroni according to the pasta package directions.{I add in a pinch of salt and dash of olive oil when cooking pasta.}
Once cooked… drain, and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the chopped onion and green peppers.

Drain excess fat.

Return the ground beef mixture to the skillet. Add in diced tomatoes and 1 TBSP taco seasoning.

Simmer approx. 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to form and the flavors to mingle.

Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and mix to combine.

Squeeze the creamy cheesy pouch over the top of the mixture plus the remaining Taco Seasoning while still warm in the skillet, stir and allow cheese to melt completely before serving…

Enjoy… I know we sure did!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
1 tsp black pepper

1. In small bowl, mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. (Or you can mix it together in the container you are going to store it in–just give it a shake!)
2. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of this mixture plus 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water to one pound of cooked meat (of your choice). Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until there is very little liquid left in the pan.
3. Serve with your favorite taco topping! I recommend lots of sour cream, fresh salsa, guacamole, lettuce, cheese and tomato.

When you are finished, pour into an airtight container and store in a cool, dark cupboard.