When I decided to join the blogosphere (is that one word, a hyphenate? Help me out English peeps) it was because I wanted to share my (let's be honest, not so adventurous) adventures in cooking. I've been at this for a week now and I haven't posted a single thing about cooking. Instead I've let you in on ONE of my dirty little secrets (my inability to walk without falling) and exposed you to some cabin fever/work stress induced moodiness. Well, today we're getting down to brass tax. I'm going to share a couple of recipes and my favorite thing #2! Are you so excited? If you aren't you can fake it, it's not like I'm there to see you!
The first recipe I'm going to share is a family favorite; a sauce that has been perfected over the years and is something for which we often beg my mom to make. If you haven't figured it out by now (I'm sure Leah knows) I'm talking about my mom's AMAZING spaghetti sauce! I won't pretend my is as good as her's, because I've only recently started to make it but it's definitely close. So here it goes.
List of ingredients:
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 package spaghetti seasoning
1 1/2 cups red wine (I use cabernet sauvignon)
2/3 cup water
1 bullion cube
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sugar
sliced mushrooms and olives (optional)
oregano, basil, italian seasoning flakes (to taste)
garlic and onion powder (to taste)
Brown the beef and drain.
Heat water and dissolve bullion cube to make beef stock.
In a large pot over medium heat combine tomato sauce and paste, spaghetti seasoning, bay leaf, sugar, wine and beef stock. Stir together well and begin adding herbs and garlic and onion powders. I never measure them I just go by taste. When you've got the taste you like add in the mushrooms, olives and ground beef and give one final stir. Let it come to a bubble and turn the heat down to just above low and cover. Stir occasionally.
*** A couple of notes
#1 At first the taste will be fairly intense because the alcohol in the wine hasn't cooked off yet; you'll want to check your seasoning after a couple of hours and add more herbs/powder if necessary.
#2 The longer this cooks the better it will taste so don't be afraid to leave it on the stove for most of the day, just remember to stir it from time to time.
#3 The Bens in my life (brother and BF) hate mushrooms and olives so we alternate between traditional and naked (sans mushrooms and olives) sauce. Both versions delicious and while you can't go wrong do yourself a favor and add the veggies. You'll thank me!
#4 If you don't want to use wine replace that liquid with more beef stock. But really, give it a try with the wine at least once. All the alcohol cooks off and the depth of flavor is so amazing.
The second recipe is something I came up with when I found myself face to face with an "oh crap, I NEED to go to the store" situation. It doesn't really have a name per se but for our purposes we'll call it Smothered Fries.
List of ingredients:
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz (or half a block) cream cheese
1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies
1/2 cup milk
1 handful of shredded cheese
Pre-heat your oven to 425 (or whatever temp the fries bake) and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Spread out your fries and pop them in the oven when the oven is ready.
In a sauce pan over medium heat combine cream of chicken and milk. Stir together until soupy.
Dice up the cream cheese and add to the soup mixture; stir together vigorously till melted and combined.
Stir in the mixed veggies and combine. Turn the heat down to medium low and let everything come together. You'll want to stay close so you can stir this together, if you leave it unattended the bottom can begin to burn.
Pull the fries out of the oven, plate them and top with the shredded cheese. Pour on the sauce, watch the cheese melt and then dig in!
*** More notes
#1 You can substitute low fat soup and cream cheese for a healthier version
#2 You can use whatever type of frozen veggies you want
#3 You can season the sauce mix with whatever you want, salt/ pepper and Lawry's seasoned salt are tasty
#4 Plan on going for a run or a long walk after eating this
Alright, who's excited to get cooking!?! I am!!! Since I've made both of these today I think I'll get started on a beef stew.
Enjoy the first day of Spring!!!