an army wife's guide to life

food and homemaking goodness

(Almost) No-Cook Pizza Sauce

I love garlic. If you know me at all, you know that already. I always have it in my kitchen, and if you’ve read any of this blog, you know I use garlic cloves and garlic powder in pretty much every recipe, and this one isn’t an exception. This could be a no-cook sauce, if you’re short on time, but I love the toasted garlic part of it, it’s great. Now, this sauce makes enough for quite a few pizzas, even if you like a saucy pizza like I do, and it stores great in the fridge. It does get a little weird when you bring it back out of the fridge, and it’s better if you leave it out for a few hours before so it get back to a normalish temperature, but once you stir it and it gets cooked, you can’t tell the difference.

Here’s what you need:

  1. 3-5 large cloves garlic
  2. 1 (12 oz) can tomato sauce
  3. 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  4. A few tablespoons olive oil
  5. Salt&Pepper
  6. Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder

Here’s what you do (and it’s so simple, that there’s no reason to skip the cooking part):

  • Peel the cloves of garlic and put them into a small saucepan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Turn the stove on meduim-low heat and let them roast slowly, until they’re just starting to look a little burnt.
  • Once they’ve cooked, remove them from the heat and add them, and the rest of the ingredients to a blender, and blend until everything is melded together. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

This is seriously simple and takes all of five minutes to make and lasts through several weeks of constant pizza eating.

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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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Roasted Balsamic Broccoli with Onions, Garlic and Bacon

This is one of those recipes that can either be a side dish or a main course for one person. For me, it was that main course option, because cooking for one person is kind of miserable for me. But this was a dish that was worth the effort I put into it and I ended up enjoying eating more than I usually would. This was originally going to be a side for Bruschetta Chicken, but since it was just me, I nixed the chicken (at least for today).

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This recipe is ridiculously simple, here’s what you’ll need:

→ 3 small heads of fresh broccoli, cut into florets

→ 1 medium onion, halved and sliced

→ 3 cloves of garlic, minced

→ 1/2 package of bacon

→ about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

→ salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder

 

Step 1

Do Not preheat your oven. I’m serious, don’t do it. Do not skip ahead to see where the oven will be heated to, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go directly to jail if you peek. Seriously. Don’t do it. Instead, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and put a roasting rack (or a cookie rack) over it. Line that rack with bacon. Then put the bacon in the cold oven. I’m serious. Put the oven on 400º and set the timer for 20-25 mintues (25-30 for thick bacon). You will thank me for this when you realize you now have bacon jerky that’s perfectly cooked.

Step 2

While the bacon is becoming perfect, chop your veggies. Then wait, because you’ll have time left before the bacon comes out and you probably don’t want to stand in the kitchen smelling the perfection while you wait for dinner. Go browse Pinterest, or better yet, pin this just for fun.

Step 3

When the bacon has reached perfection, remove it to your cutting board with tongs, and remove the rack from the pan. Don’t get ride of the lovely bacon drippings, don’t touch any of that. Instead, line the bottom of the pan with the onions and garlic, and then layer the broccoli over that. This is also where I added the balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. The vinegar will smell a little strong, even while it’s cooking, but it come out so, so sweet, so use a little more than you think you’d like.

Step 4

Slice the bacon. Try not to eat all of it before it you add it back to the pan. Sprinkle it over the mixture, if you have any left.

Step 5

Bake for another 15-20 minutes in your now-preheated oven. The broccoli should be a really deep greed with slightly brown edges and there shouldn’t be anything slightly burnt smelling, like mine was (I put it in for 25 minutes, oops).

Easy, right? There might be a bit of chopping involved  and a lot of self control, but this is a side dish (or main dish) that pretty much puts itself together. Now, if you wanted to cut down a bit on the fattiness of this dish (or you’re just not into bacon), you can omit it and drizzle olive oil along with the vinegar. It would still be really good, but the fat in it really was good. It wasn’t overly greasy, the broccoli does a good job of soaking it up, and the bacon was just a really delicious addition to it.

 

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Cheese Steak Calzones

Just a recipe today.

What you’ll need:

  1. 1 medium onion
  2. 1 lb beef (I used ground, but you can use some kind of steak as well)
  3. Butter…yes, butter
  4. 3 cloves garlic
  5. Worcestershire sauce
  6. Brown Mustard
  7. Tomato Paste
  8. Red Pepper (I used the canned roasted type)
  9. Mozzarella Cheese
  10. 1 Recipe of your favorite Pizza Crust or the store bought type
  11. 1 egg (optional)

Start by melting the butter in a small frying pan, and slicing the onion in half then into thing slices. Go ahead and start the onions on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until they’re starting to turn brown and delicious.

In another, larger frying pan add olive oil and let it heat, while mincing the garlic. Add the garlic and let it cook until it starts to soften. Add the meat and brown it with the garlic. Once it’s browned, add Worcestershire sauce, mustard and tomato paste, to taste. (I used just enough Worcestershire to coat the bottom of the pan, and about a tablespoon each other the mustard and tomato paste.)

Once the onions are nicely caramelized, add them to the beef and let the mixture start to simmer, letting the liquid start to cook down and thicken. This is also when you want to add the red pepper. I used a can of roasted red peppers, and maybe about 2 or 3 large chinks, which you’ll wanna mice finely and add to the mixture.

While the meat mixture is cooking down, preheat the oven and prepare your dough (or make it, if you have a quick dough to make).

Put one layer of Mozzarella on the rolled out dough before using a slotted spoon to put the meat mixture on one side of the dough (you won’t use the whole pound, and if you do, you’re doing it wrong). Put another layer of cheese on top of the meat, just for kicks (and for cheese lovers).

Fold the dough closed and seal the edges closed, folding them over generally works best. If you want a nice, shiny crust, whisk one egg in a bowl and use a pastry brush to give a light coating on the outside of it, but you don’t have to do that. Just bake according to the directions that come with the crust.

Then enjoy. I served it with ketchup and mustard as the condiments, just like you would with the sandwich. It’s as easy as that.  This fed the two of us, but it can easily feed more. I used less than half of the meat mixture on this calzone, you could easily make so many more on this, or just have really yummy leftovers of the filling.

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Gazpacho

This is a post with no pictures…I meant to take them, but I didn’t, and it’s a complete original, too. I actually wrote down what I was putting in it and how much, just for y’all. I started at the grocery store, knowing that I wanted to make a gazpacho to go with a dinner, so I picked up a few tomatoes and a cucumber and left it at that. Without further ado, my gazpacho recipe:

3 large tomatoes (about 1.5 lbs)

1 cucumber, peeled

8 oz of tomato sauce

8 oz water

3 cloves garlic

dash of cayenne pepper

salt & pepper to taste

red wine vinegar to taste

about 10 drops of lime juice

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Roughly chop the tomato and cucumber and blend with olive oil until smooth, in batches if necessary (if you want a chunky soup, reserve some of the tomato and cucumber and chop them smaller)
  2. Add garlic, tomato sauce and water and blend until mixed
  3. This is where I ran out of room in my blender, so I poured it all into a serving bowl and added everything else, to taste.
  4. Let chill in the fridge at least an hour before serving.

I made the mistake of over-seasoning a little bit, though, so I would recommend stopping just before you feel like it’s seasoned enough. Especially with the vinegar. I like things a little more of the sour/salty side, but take my advice, stop before you think it’s done. Once you put it in the fridge, the flavors will build on themselves and get stronger. After it’s been in the fridge for a while, taste it and adjust the seasoning to be more exact for you.

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