an army wife's guide to life

food and homemaking goodness

My Quickest Pasta Sauce Recipe

This is not my grandmother’s sauce.
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And i put that in bold, because, in my family, that’s a huge no no. This is my sauce, the sauce I make when I’m pressed for time or just don’t feel like starting to cook in the morning but I want pasta. This is different. It’s not as tasty because it hasn’t simmered for hours, but it’s still good. And it’s more than good enough to share. This is one of those recipes where you can dress it up however you like, just remember to taste often and season well.

What you’re gonna need:

  • 1 lb (or less) of ground meat. I usually use ground beef, but Italian sausage out of the case is delicious, too.
  • 1 (28 oz) can, crushed tomatoes w/ basil. That was the only kind they have in my grocery store and I haven’t wished there was anything else.
  • 1 (12 oz) can, tomato sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder
  • Salt&Pepper

Super simple, and the meat is totally optional. I’ve made it without before and it was delicious just like that, too. Basically all you’re gonna do is brown the meat with the garlic (or cook the garlic in a little olive oil if you’re omitting the meat), add your canned goods, then fill the crushed tomato can with water (slowly, so it doesn’t get weird and foamy) and add that to the pan as well. Season with Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Onion and Garlic Powder to taste and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. That’s it. Leave it longer if you have time, but 15 minutes should do the trick for getting it ready. Then just serve it over your favorite pasta. Simple and delicious.

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Garlicky Tomato Candy :)

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Ok, so first of all, I’m sorry about the quality of the pics…my camera is sans batteries right now and I’ve been too lazy/forgetful to buy more. So here’s an instagram pic instead.

Second, this isn’t really candy, but it’s as delicious as candy for those of us who love savory a little more than sweet. And I’m firmly one of those people. Savory wins about 99% of the time. You can ask my mother, I ate spaghetti for dessert once.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. This is a super simple recipe, the biggest thing you really need is time. And patience. And the self control to resist the smells coming from your kitchen.

Ingredients are as follows:

  1. Tomatoes. I used cherry tomatoes. You can use any quantity, I’m not even gonna tell you how much to make. You can use any size, anything, you just need tomatoes, as much as you think you’ll need.
  2. Garlic. I used about 5 cloves. You can use less, or more, or whatever.
  3. Olive oil (or, you know, pam or something to keep everything from sticking).
  4. Balsamic vinegar.
  5. Onion Powder.
  6. Salt and Pepper (cuz, duh.).

First, you’re gonna preheat your oven to 250°. The aim of this game in nice and slow and easy.

Second, cut up your tomatoes. I sliced mine in half cuz they were tiny, but you can do slices if they’re bigger. Put them on a baking sheet, preferably lined with tin foil, cuz, you know, less cleanup.

Then mince your garlic. Make it as fine as possible, and toss it over your tomatoes. Season with Salt and Pepper and Onion Powder, not a lot, just a sprinkle of each. Next comes the olive oil, just sprinkle it over the top, so the tomatoes have something to cook in. Lastly, add the balsamic vinegar, just a bit, splash it over the top until you’ve got a modest amount of coverage.

Bake for 1 hour and check on the progress. Mine took about 1 hour 15 minutes, but yours could take longer…or shorter depending on how done you want them.

They’re delicious by themselves, but I added them to Alfredo sauce. If you are adding them to a sauce, reserve the oil and chop it all up really finely. It’s freaking delicious!

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Making Canned Alfredo Sauce your own

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It’s been a while, I know, but I’ve been busy and not making anything all that interesting lately. I’ve been in a blah mood food wise (honestly, I’ve been more excited about getting Mexican food, lol). Also, this isn’t any kind of sponsored post, I just really like Bertolli brand. (I’m putting that in for future reference when this blog is awesome and has a ton of followers…not that I’m counting on it).

This is one of my favorite things to do, though, when I don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into dinner. You can use whatever brand, but this is my favorite, and I still can’t make sauce like I can buy yet…that’s a work in progress. Here’s a list of simple dinner ideas using canned sauce:

  1. Chicken and Pasta. But everyone adds chicken, don’t they? Still, if I didn’t add it, I’d feel weird.
  2. Broccoli and Pasta. I love this. It’s so good.
  3. Pour it over fresh, steamed cauliflower. It could be as a side dish or add some meat in with that, too and make it a one pot sort of meal. If you haven’t worked with fresh cauliflower, you don’t know what you’re missing.
  4. With Tortellini or Ravioli. Especially the meat filled kind to make you feel like you’re getting everything in one place.
  5. Make it spicy! This is my favorite, one, too. Add spicy Italian sausage or a ton of crushed red pepper to the sauce when you’re heating it up.
  6. Add tomatoes.
  7. Add sun-dried or oven roasted tomatoes.
  8. Add Mushrooms.
  9. Add Extra Garlic…or roasted garlic…or garlic powder…mmmm, garlic…garlic is good
  10. Add Sausage. Cased or uncased. Any Italian variety is good and I really wanna see how diced Andouille is in the sauce. Cajun Pasta is usually pretty good.
  11. Make Lasagna. Or stuffed shells. Or manicotti.
  12. Add veggies. Zucchini, eggplant, spaghetti squash, whatever else sounds good.

I’ve found that pretty much anything you do with Alfredo sauce turns out pretty good. Just follow my tasting guidelines and you should be fine. That advice is, of course, add a little, taste it and keep adding until it’s perfect. If you aren’t sampling as you go, you’re doing it wrong. Tonight, for example (and the whole inspiration for this post), I’m doing homemade oven roasted tomatoes and meat tortellini. I’ll probably add a little spice with some crushed red peppers. And, as always, a little extra salt and pepper.

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