Tasty Tuesday–Marinara Sauce

I have a confession to make. I’ve bought canned/jarred spaghetti sauce for years, but I don’t really like it. It doesn’t matter which kind we tried, I always thought it was too sweet, and didn’t have enough flavor. So I decided to try making my own. I already make excellent bolognese sauce (which takes all day to cook, so it’s not a an everyday occurrence)…how hard could it be? After tinkering with recipes a bit, I came up something I (and everyone else in the house) really like! Oh, and did I mention that the recipe is super easy? I call that a culinary victory!

  • 29 oz. stewed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh parsley (or 4 tsp. dried)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • One large white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine

In a blender or food processor, combine the first eight ingredients and blend until smooth.

In a large skillet, sauté onion with salt in olive oil until soft. Deglaze the pan with wine. Add tomato sauce and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve on your favorite pasta.

Tasty Tuesday–Our Favorite Cookies, with a Twist

I’ve shared our favorite cookie recipe before…now it’s time to take a look at our new twist on it!

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 cups of your favorite baking chips
  • sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the baking chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets (cookies should be about 3 inches apart). Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven.. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Tasty Tuesday–Blueberry Sauce

If you’re looking for the perfect addition to waffles, pancakes, ice cream, or anything else you think needs a fruit topping, this blueberry sauce is for you!

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

Combine water and cornstarch in a small saucepan and whisk until smooth. Stir in sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in blueberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries burst, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

I’ve also made this recipe with strawberries, and it’s just as delicious. Instead of waiting for the berries to burst, gently smash the strawberries as the sauce cooks.

Tasty Tuesday–Rosemary Lime Chicken

Time for a new recipe! I made this a few weeks ago, and it was an even bigger hit than chicken piccata, which everybody here loves, so it’s definitely going in the permanent collection!

  • 2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin medallions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp. capers

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge in flour. Heat large skillet over medium and melt 2 Tbsp. butter with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Pan fry chicken until brown and cooked through, about three to four minutes per side, and keep warm. Replace butter and olive oil about halfway through, and finish cooking chicken.

After all the chicken is cooked, deglaze pan with wine. Add lime juice, lime slices, rosemary, capers, and salt and pepper, and simmer for several minutes. Pour over chicken and serve with rice.

Tasty Tuesday–Lime-Chicken Soup

I tried a new soup recipe last week, but being me, I had to tinker with it the first time I made it. The end result was delicious, and it was a pretty popular dinner, so I know I’ll be making it again!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or a combination of the two)
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 jalapeños, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 4 avocados, cut in cubes
  • Queso fresco, crumbled

Place chicken in stock pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Cool enough to chop.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add cumin and stir well, heating for about a minute. Add onion, 1 cup cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, and lime juice; sprinkle with salt. Sauté until tender, about five minutes.

Stir in chicken broth and chicken; heat through.

Serve with remaining cilantro, avocado, and queso fresco.

Tasty Tuesday–Stromboli

This is one of our family’s favorite recipes, and Turkey’s go-to when he picks his birthday dinner.

  • 3 loaves Rhodes bread dough, thawed
  • Dried basil
  • 20 slices deli ham
  • 24 slices deli Genoa salami
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Split bread dough in two equal portions. Roll each out in a rectangle, about 15×10 inches. Sprinkle each with basil, then top each with half of the ham, salami, and mozzarella. Roll each from the long side; pinch closed. Place each seam side down on a baking sheet; rub with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until bread is golden-brown. Let stand five minutes before slicing.

Tasty Tuesday–Soup!

One of my favorite things about the cool weather that arrives with fall is the addition of soups to our dinner menus. Sure, you can make soup during the summer, but it’s just not the same when it’s hot outside, right? There’s something really comforting about a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day! Here’s a look at some of our favorite soup recipes:

 

Tasty Tuesday–Fajitas

Would you believe I’ve never tried to make fajitas before last weekend? I wanted to try something new, though, so I made chicken and steak varieties, and messed around with the recipe a bit until I got the spices right. Everyone loved them, so I think it was a success!

  • 6-8 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
  • 3 tsp. kosher salt, plus additional to taste
  • 3 tsp. dried oregano
  • 4 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or flank steak, cut into thin strips
  • 3 bell peppers, thinly sliced (I like to use a variety of colors)
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced

Make marinade: In large bowl, combine 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, lemon or lime juice, 3 tsp. kosher salt, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Toss with chicken or steak and refrigerate for 3-5 hours.

In large skillet, saute peppers and onions with remaining oil and salt to taste on medium heat until tender. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

In same skillet, saute chicken or steak for five to six minutes until cooked through (do this in batches so you don’t crowd the pan). Discard remaining marinade. Add peppers and onions to pan with meat and heat through.

Serve on tortillas with favorite toppings such as rice, lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, and avocado.

Tasty Tuesday–Ideas for Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is one of my favorite times of year! My children have come to expect me to tell the story of why Oktoberfest starts in September and to make all their favorite Oktoberfest treats. Here are the recipes I’ve shared over the years…pretty much just sides and desserts for some reason, but those are the most delicious kinds of recipes, right?

  • Homemade Pretzels–This is one of favorite recipes, not just for Oktoberfest, but in general, because everyone gets involved in helping shape the pretzels…we’ve had a lot of fun coming up with unique shapes over the years!
  • Cheddar and Beer Fondue–If you’re looking for a dip for pretzels (or brats, crusty bread, and baby gherkins), this is the recipe you want.
  • Spaetzle–I can make over a dozen batches of this recipe in a single week, because it’s one that everybody loves, and it goes with pretty much anything.
  • Apple Strudel–Technically, this is an Austrian recipe, but it’s still an Oktoberfest favorite around here!
  • Black Forest Cherry Torte–This is one of our all-time favorite cakes…I’ve made it not just for Oktoberfest, but for birthday, too!

What are your favorite Oktoberfest foods?

Tasty Tuesday–Our Favorite Spaetzle

It’s that time of year again…Oktoberfest! I’m looking forward to cooking some of our favorite German foods in the coming weeks, but none is more appreciated than homemade spaetzle…well, other than Black Forest Cherry Torte! Here’s the recipe I use…it makes a lot, so you might want to halve it if you don’t like spaetzle as much as we do (or if you don’t have seven members in your family!). I use a little less nutmeg than many recipes call for, because I find it a bit overpowering, but feel free to adjust to your tastes.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch fresh ground pepper (white is traditional, but I use black)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley,  chopped
  • Shredded Gruyère cheese (optional)
  • Sauerkraut (optional)

Mix together flour, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Beat eggs well, and add alternately with the milk to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Working over pot of water, press dough through spaetzle maker or colander with large holes, dropping into water. Cook four to six minutes. Drain well.

Sauté cooked spaetzle in butter. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley on top. For an extra-special treat, add some shredded Gruyère cheese and sauerkraut while sautéing the spaetzle.