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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Posted by Sandra on September 28, 2009

I’ve had so many questions about this sauce, so I thought I’d post pics and explain better!

Take 6-10 tomatos, any kind; cut in half to make “cups”.  Place on cookie sheet coated with olive oil.  Slice a large onion (or two, depending on your tastes!) and top the tomatos with the slices.  Slice or chop garlic cloves and sprinkle on top. 

At this point, depending on what I’m going to use the sauce for, I’ll slice a couple of green or red peppers, some jalepeno peppers, or similar spicy peppers to taste.  For the example below, I have an orange pepper and two jalepenos because I’m making chili.  I remove the seeds but sprinkle them over the whole pan for taste.

Then liberally salt (I prefer Kosher salt), some pepper, and basil if you like.  Fresh is always best, but the pics below show dried.  Drizzle olive oil over everything.

Bake at about 325 or so for an hour, then crank the heat to 450 for about 20 minutes.  We want the tomatos and vegetables to be really roasted!

Let cool for 30 minutes or so, then puree in a food processor or blender to desired consistency. 

I use this for a base for spaghetti sauce, chili, salsa, or anything requiring tomato sauce.  I make big enough batches that I can freeze part of it for use later.


Unroasted tomatos, onions, garlic, and peppers

Unroasted tomatos, onions, garlic, and peppers


After roasting

After roasting


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I’m a convert…

Posted by Sandra on June 24, 2009

To Alton Brown’s tomato sauce.  His recipe is on his site, I play around with recipes to make them my own.  But you simply must try this!

Take 8 or 10 tomatos, any kind, and cut them in half.  Use your pinky to scoop out some of the seeds and goop, place on a cookie sheet like cups.  Dice up an onion or two, and some garlic, and sprinkle on top.  Add some salt and pepper and some basil, then drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Bake at 325 for an hour, then turn up the heat to 400 for about 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool a little bit, then puree in the food processor or blender.

Best base EVAH for pasta sauce, salsa, chili, or anything you use a tomato sauce for.  Smoky, rich, dark, flavorful. 

I decided to start making it in batches and freezing, to use as a base for my meals.  LOVELY!

roasted tomato sauce

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Homemade pasta…

Posted by Sandra on February 25, 2009

There is simply nothing more delicious…

Homemade, handrolled, hand cut egg noodles

Homemade, handrolled, hand cut egg noodles

If you’ve never attempted making simple egg noodles, you really should.  It’s not as daunting as it appears – you don’t need any fancy machines, no drying racks, no special equipment.  Flour, eggs, water, and a rolling pin.  I cut mine with a pizza cutter. 

I find myself making these more and more – so much better than the dried pasta chips you get at the store!  Just a little bit of time, and a great idea of what to do with them when you’re done.  They freeze fantastic, and a bundle of noodles made from your heart makes a great gift too.  Give it a shot!

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »


Posted by Sandra on February 22, 2009

A hearty breakfast to get them going!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Shredded potatos (I make mine the night before in the food processor, then soak overnight in cold salt water in the refrigerator, but you can make them that morning too!), eggs, bacon or other meat of your choice, any vegetables and spices you like, and grated cheese.  The beauty of “Garbage” is that you can clean out the leftovers and put it all in! 

How much will you need?  Depends.  For my family of six (including a teenage boy!), I use about 5 medium potatos, 6-8 eggs, a small onion, two cloves of garlic, a pound of bacon, and two or three cups of cheese.  Depends on how much “garbage” is put in – I know by filling my large griddle, I have six hearty meals.  My favorite spices for this meal are seasoned salt, basil, oregano, S&P, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Depends on my mood.

I prefer to cut or slice up the bacon before I fry it (and then drain it on papertowels):g2

Brown the potatos in a little bit of the leftover bacon grease.  I also put grated onions and garlic in front to roast a bit, before mixing them into the finished potatos:

Browned potatos
Browned potatos

Now the fun begins.  Toss on the garbage!  I add bacon or sausage, sometimes if I have leftover meatloaf or steak or chicken it goes in either in place of the bacon or with it.  Diced tomatos, onions, peppers, mushrooms, whatever your heart desires.  Toss it all on top and stir a bit:

Garbage in!

Now pour the slightly beaten eggs over the top:


Stir a bit to ensure the eggs are cooked, then sprinkle the cheese of your choice over the top (we prefer Cheddar):


Melt the cheese completely and serve.  This is great too when you have company over.  A very easy meal, and can be catered to everyone’s likes.  For example, my husband likes mushrooms, so I’ll take a portion out and finish it in a separate smaller pan with the mushrooms added.  Great weekend breakfast or brunch!  We sometimes eat it for dinner as well.

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

A different recipe, fun for the kids too!

Posted by Sandra on February 17, 2009

And easy on Mom!

Everyone seemed to like my cornucopia recipe, and I love cooking with bread/pie crust/dough (I’m a carb addict, which explains why my waistline is not 24″, eh?), so tonight I played around with some ideas and made this:

 Take a pizza dough (I made mine from scratch, but you can purchase them) and flatten it out to about 12″ x about 16″ or so.  I doubled this, which is why there are two in the picture, but the description is for making one.

Taco Roll

Taco Roll

Taco Roll

 I cooked a pound of hamburger, drained it, and added a cup of beef broth, a pureed onion, and a package of taco seasoning.  I boiled then simmered until the liquid was reduced.  Remove this from the heat and let it cool.

I spread about a cup or so of cheddar cheese on the uncooked dough – a good artery-clogging layer for a fun dinner – then spread the meat evenly over that.  Leave about an inch all around.

Fold over the ends about 2″, then roll the whole thing into a log – think “burrito” on a grander scale.  I slit the top a couple of times to let steam escape, placed on a cookie sheet, and put into a preheated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until the pizza dough was browned and it was yummy looking!

Sliced on an Angle

Sliced on an Angle

I shredded some lettuce and had sour cream and taco sauce at the ready.  If you like, diced tomatos and onions could be a great garnish too (and I forgot to take a pic before I dug into it… lol).

Garnished with Lettuce, Sour Cream, and Hot Sauce

Garnished with Lettuce, Sour Cream, and Hot Sauce

It was DELICIOUS and all the kids scarfed it up!  It’s much easier than the description lends it to be, really it is!  There would be an endless amount of ideas for things you could put in the roll – different vegetables, different seasonings other than taco, you name it, whatever floats your boat.  Enjoy!


Need the pizza crust recipe?  Here it is:

  • 2.5 to 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package regular or quick active dry yeast (2.25 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 degrees)

Mix 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.  Add three tablespoons oil and the water.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently.  Stir in enough remaining flour until dough is soft and leaves sides of bowl.  Place dough on lightly floured surface, knead five to eight minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.  *pizza dough recipe courtesy of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Peanut Butter Pasta… a sure hit with the kids…

Posted by Sandra on February 14, 2009

Yup.  Peanut butter pasta.  That’s what my kids call it.  So easy, and fairly not-too-bad-for-you.  *grin*

So boil some pasta, any kind will do.  While that’s cooking, pick out a meat – chicken, pork, sausage, steak, doesn’t matter here either.  I dice it small, cook it up.  Then I add some carrots, peas, onions, whatever I have on hand that sounds good.  Usually the carrots and peas are the best, in my opinion.  Cook ’em til they’re tender.  Dump the drained pasta in, and now comes the good part.

I soften about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of peanut butter in the microwave (depending on how much pasta/meat/veggie mix I made), add about 1/4 cup soy sauce, about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and if you have them on hand, about a tablespoon or so of sesame seeds.  Mix that together well, then stir the mix into the pasta meat mixture.  This actually makes sort of a “thai” peanut sauce that’s quite good.

This is one of my kids’ favorite meals – and it really is very fast, very inexpensive, and very very tasty!!!  Just thought I’d share!

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Love dates?

Posted by Sandra on December 31, 2008

My gift to my mom and my sister this year was Date Bar in a Jar.  Now, for those who were fortunate enough to enjoy Betty Crocker’s Date Bar Mix a few years back (they no longer make it), this recipe is as close as it gets.  BC used to have this great boxed mix that we loved sooo much, my mother used to send it to me by the case when I lived in Alaska and couldn’t buy it there.  This stuff is addicting, delicious, and easy to make. 

So, I made them the jars and attached the following note.  For those interested in reproducing the recipe, it’s in the note, you just have to pick it out… 😀

 I am “Date Bar in a Jar”!   Glad to meet you!!

You don’t need much to make me complete – just a cup of butter or margarine (I don’t like vegetable oil spreads, though) and a cup and a half of water!   That’s all!

First, use my big bag called “Date Bar Mix”.   This is 3 cups of chopped dates and about 1/3 cup of sugar.   Put me in a pan with the water and cook me on medium heat for about 10 minutes – you have to stir me a lot though!   After I’ve gotten nice and tender, cool me off a little.   Now I really like being blended a little more right now – in a food process or a blender – but it’s not necessary.   ‘sup to you.

Now, take my other bag that looks like it has a cup of brown sugar in it.   Surprise!   That’s all I am!   You’re going to mix me with the softened butter that I talked about before.   Then pour in the rest of my jar.   That means you’re pouring in about 2 cups of oats, 1 ¾ cups of flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of baking soda.   Mix me until I’m crumbly… yummy!

Now put half of the oats mixture in a 13×9 pan that you already greased with shortening or cooking spray.   Spread the cooled date mix onto that, then put the rest of the oat mix on top.   Press me everso slightly.   Now I’m ready to get hot and tasty at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes…

Now eat me.


ENJOY!  I’m off to try to upload the Christmas pics to show off…

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lunch on the GPRWZIRTQ

Posted by Sandra on August 17, 2008

What was that again?

Yes, you read it right.  Lunch on the gprwzirtq.  This is apparently the language I speak sometimes, when talking to the boys.

Hubby was gone for a few hours so I was getting ready to make everyone lunch.  We were outside, playing some tetherball, splashing in the baby pool, jumping on the trampoline, so I thought a picnic in the backyard sounded fun.  So I asked the boys if they’d like me to make hamburgers on the gprwzirtq.

They looked at me, clearly confused as to what their dear, fragile, confused mother was saying.

In response to the blank stares, I said, again, do you want me to put some burgers on the gprwzirtq?????

They looked at each other and said, “Wha?  You know how to do that?”  While both were really thinking, Mom has finally lost her mind. 

The grill, people.  These two little people have apparently been victims of a horrible disservice done by their parents.  Stereotyping.  Since they’ve never seen me grill, they clearly thought I couldn’t possibly know how to use it.  I mean, I’m a GIRL, after all!!!  This is a big scary Complex Piece of Outdoor Equipment, designed for manly men (said with a gutteral growl and lots of Tim-Allen-esque “oh oh oh oh’s”)!


This might explain why they think Daddy doesn’t know how to use the Hoover, eh?  😉

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Yummy veggies EVERYWHERE!

Posted by Sandra on July 22, 2008

I am officially hooked on hiding these vegetables.  Tonight, a delicious cheese manicotti is on the menu.  I have simmered my beef and sausage with tomato sauce and spices, and have added my pureed paste of carrots, onions, peas, and garlic… and no one will be the wiser… yummmmmyyy!

Hiding the carrots and peas has been the easiest so far.  Also, hiding squash in mashed potatos.  My mommy said I can hide radishes in there too, but I haven’t tried that yet.  Green and red peppers in meatloaf, cauliflower in gravies, you name it… I think I have mastered it before the boys come home this weekend!

If anyone is a fan of Gordon Ramsay, you’ll note that he makes his gravy with pureed carrots, potatos, celery, and onions – cooked in the pan that the meat came in, strained and made into gravy.  The starchiness of the vegetables act as a natural thickener and add wonderful flavor to the gravy.  It works!

Sooo… now it appears I don’t have to deal with the “Justus eats peas, but not carrots, Brett eats carrots, but not corn, Autumn won’t eat anything orange this month, Hubby eats corn, but only on the cob” stuff… we love our veggies here, but out of six, there’s always one or two that doesn’t like a particular one, so I’m catering to different tastes…. well now they’re ALLLLLLL gonna eat everything, and not even know it.  😀

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »