Classic Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste

Steps

  1. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands
    1. Afterwards, fill the can about 1/4 to 3/4 way with water; slosh around to capture the tomato juices and bits, and set aside for a moment.
    2. Use more water if you want a lot of sauce, or are finishing meatballs, or want it to simmer for a long time.  Use less water if you don’t have much time
  2. Slice the garlic cloves as fine as you can
  3. Put the pan on medium heat and add the olive oil
  4. When the olive oil starts to shimmer, toss in the garlic and let it sizzle
  5. BEFORE the garlic starts to brown, pour in the tomatoes, followed by the water from the can, and sprinkle on the oregano and pepper flakes.  If you’re using fresh basil, lay it on top.
  6. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  It will get a nice orange-y color to the top.  You can reduce it until there’s no visible water, but no more than that – remove it from the heat if you reach that point!

Notes

  • This recipe is great because it’s tasty and doesn’t take a lot of extra work, but it does take time.  Expect prep plus cooking to be an hour.
  • You really want to use a heavy stainless pan, 12″ or larger.
  • Our local grocery store carries canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, and they are certified D.O.P., but they already have basil added (so we don’t actually put additional basil in).
  • I’ve tried using canned crushed tomatoes but it messes with the texture and flavor.  Crushing them yourself is easy yet so satisfying.
  • Our best experience was making meatballs at the same time, and finishing them off in the sauce.  The sauce picked up some extra flavors that made it sublime.

Source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015987-classic-marinara-sauce

Sausage and Vegetable Roast

This is a kind of suggestion-type recipe, throw in your favorite vegetables and ignore the ones you don’t like (or don’t want to do today).

Ingredients

  • Two medium-sized red potatoes
  • 1 head of broccoli (or cauliflower)
  • 2 bell peppers (use two different colors, for the look)
  • 1/2 pound green beans (a couple of handfuls)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 3/4 pound of sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Steps

  1. Heat up an oven to 400° F
  2. Cut up the potatoes into small (less than 1 inch) pieces. If they’re too big they won’t cook fast enough
  3. Cut up the broccoli, peppers, and asparagus into comfortably-bite-size pieces, and snap the stems off the beans
  4. Slice the sausage into “coins”
  5. Toss veggies, sausage, cheese, and spices into a large bowl with enough olive oil to lightly coat everything (a few tablespoons)
  6. Spread out onto a couple of pans
    1. Everything should be a single layer; doubling up will lead to a mix of burnt and raw bits
  7. Bake for 15 minutes
  8. Flip the veggies and reverse the pans top to bottom
  9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes

Serve with brown rice!

Variations

Swap in a cup of any of the following:

  • butternut squash
  • zucchini
  • sliced carrots
  • a sweet potato
  • turnip
  • radishes
  • sliced jalapeños
  • cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • red onions
  • mushrooms

Last-Minute Chicken

This recipe is shamelessly copied from https://iwashyoudry.com/last-minute-chicken-recipe, which itself copied the recipe from “The Weekday Lunches & Breakfasts Cookbook.”

Ingredients

 

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika OR smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Enough olive oil to coat chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the garlic, onion, paprika, oregano, pepper, salt, and olive oil into a freezer bag
  2. Toss in the chicken
    • Most pre-packaged chicken thighs get folded into themselves, so be sure to spread them out as you put them into the bag so they get evenly coated
  3. Seal up the bag and mix everything thoroughly
  4. Heat up a grill pan over medium-high heat, or a grill, while the chicken steeps in it’s spices
    • If using a grill pan, add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan – but be sure to use a splatter guard
  5. Cook the chicken until not pink throughout, about 5 minutes on the first side and three or four minutes on the other side

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

This is a great side for pretty much any meat dish, especially on a cool fall day.  The smaller, skin-on potatoes are tasty and not nearly as bad for you as a full-size, peeled and boiled starch-bomb white potato.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of small red, white, and/or purple potatoes
    • Lots of supermarkets carry 2- and 3-pound bags of mixed, pre-washed small potatoes, which is really handy if you want more colors
  • Olive oil
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • A couple of shakes of black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley (optional)

Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F
  2. Halve and/or quarter your potatoes; chunks should be roughly between 1 and 3 cubic inches
  3. Toss the chunks into a freezer bag with the remaining ingredients, adding enough olive oil to coat the potatoes, then mix in the bag
  4. Spread the potatoes into a single layer on a pan or baking stone
  5. Bake for an hour, flipping everything over at least once to keep things from scorching

Tuscan Chicken

I took a risk and made this for the first time to serve to my mother-in-law. (hi Joan!)  It came out awesome with a half-hour’s worth of work, including prep.

tuscan chicken as served

I messed up and failed to notice that the peacock design was upside-down. Otherwise, this is one of the best presentations I’ve made for a completed recipe.

By itself it’s very keto-friendly, but it screams to be served with a pasta side.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

We made this in a 14″ cast-iron skillet, which was the perfect size.

Steps

  1. In a large skillet add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat until no longer pink, maybe 3-5 minutes per side.
  2. Set the chicken aside on a plate, wipe down excess oil from the skillet.
  3. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Whisk or stir over medium high heat until it starts to thicken.  Keep the sauce in motion so it doesn’t caramelize and burn into the pan.
  5. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes; let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Pairs very well with rotini or egg noodles.

Source: https://therecipecritic.com/creamy-tuscan-garlic-chicken/

Super-Quick Teriyaki Chicken

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Everything Else

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish

Steps

  1. Mix the sauce
    1. In a medium bowl, combine:
      • soy sauce
      • vinegar
      • sesame oil
      • honey
      • garlic
      • ginger
      • cornstarch
    2. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  3. Add chicken to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and almost cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour sauce over chicken and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly and chicken is cooked through.

Goes really well with rice and a veggie.

Originally from https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a54003/easy-teriyaki-chicken-recipe/

American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey is Meghan’s comfort food.  It’s quick to cook so I can generally make it on short notice, when I know she’s had a really bad day.

The instructions below are meant for multi-tasking and making everything come together at the right time — an expression of an unplanned dinner made on short notice.  🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of small-shape pasta (elbows, mini-shells, or rotini are all good)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 2-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 15 oz or so, depends on how saucy you like it
  • 1 or 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • olive oil

You’ll also need a large skillet and a 9×13 glass pan to go in the oven.

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Put on a pot of water to boil, and put on a large skillet on the stove with medium-low heat
  3. Dice onion and pepper
  4. When the water is very close to boiling, turn up the skillet to medium heat, add some oil, and throw in the onions and peppers
  5. When the water boils, add the hamburger to the skillet and brown it with the onions and peppers
  6. Put the pasta in the water and cook to al dente; strain.  If the meat isn’t done yet, toss with a little oil to keep it from sticking.
  7. When the meat is brown, drain off the fat and mix in the jar of sauce.  Put back on medium heat until the sauce starts to bubble.
  8. Pour the cooked pasta into the 9×13 pan, and stir in the meat sauce.
  9. Sprinkle (or if you’re like me, shovel) the cheese on top, cover with foil, and cook at 350° for 20 minutes

Breakfast Casserole

breakfast casserole - finished product

Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of frozen hashbrowns (about 1/2 package)
  • 1/2 pound sausage (we like spicy chicken, but pork or another kind is good too)
  • 1 small/medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 bell pepper (any color) (optional)
  • handful of sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 cups mexican cheese
  • black pepper to taste

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. grease a 1-2 quart baking dish
  3. Brown the sausage, onions, and peppers/mushrooms/what-have-you in a skillet over medium heat
  4. Whisk the eggs, milk, garlic powder, and pepper
  5. Spread the hashbrowns into the baking dish
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the hashbrowns
  7. Layer down half the cheese – enough to cover the hashbrowns
  8. Spread out the sausage mixture
  9. Layer down the rest of the cheese – enough to cover everything
  10. Cover with aluminum foil and back for an hour
  11. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the cheese a little

Makes 5-6 servings.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top!

Tortillas

Tortillas are surprisingly easy to make, but it does go a lot faster with two: one to flatten dough while the other cooks the previously-flattened dough.  Each tortilla takes about as long to cook as to roll.

These tortillas are good enough to eat plain.  They store well in a ziploc baggie.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • (up to) 1 cup warm water

Steps:

  1. Preheat a large skillet on medium heat (our stove runs hot so it’s more like medium-low, YMMV)
  2. Mix flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl
  3. Cut in oil with a pastry blender or a fork
  4. Slowly incorporate water, mixing until a soft dough forms
  5. Make 2-inch dough balls – probably ten or twelve
  6. Roll flat with a rolling pin.  The dough should be as close to paper-thin as you can make it (you’ll probably wind up with cardstock).
    • You  won’t need to flour the surface – if the dough is good it won’t stick (except maybe to the rolling pin)
  7. Cook the tortillas one at a time until they start to bubble, then flip and heat until brown spots form.

Credit to https://kbmillers.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/169/

Black Bean Burgers

I love black bean burgers, which means in my house I’m the odd man out.  That used to be ok because I didn’t make them – I would only buy them when we went out so no one else had to put up with them (I happen to love the ones from Blimpies but Subway has a good one too).  That is, until now.

  • 16-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 or a small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  1. Dice the bell pepper and onions
  2. Mash the beans (optionally reserving some to mix back in after mashing).  I find a regular pot and a potato masher work well.
  3. Mix the beans, peppers, and onions together
  4. Mix in the egg, chili powder, and cumin
  5. Mix in a half-cup of bread crumbs
  6. Add more bread crumbs, a little at a time, until the mixture isn’t wet anymore
  7. Form into patties
  8. Fry in a little oil on medium heat, or better yet in hamburger grease, until both sides are toasted.  Serve on a hamburger bun.

Extra patties can be frozen for later.