Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Big Mama's Sugo

When I got married, Kelly said to me, "Can you make my grandmother's pasta sauce?" So I called my mother-in-law and asked for the recipe. She sent me an email and this is what it said: Tomato sauce, water, wine, sugar, garlic.

It took a few years (and some changes of my own) before I perfected it. Now we keep pasta sauce in the freezer, at all times, for any occasion.

3 28-oz cans of tomato sauce
3 28-oz cans of water
1 C red wine (I usually use whatever I have in the house, but Yellow Tail is always dependable)
1 C light brown sugar
1/4 C crushed garlic (I use the garlic that comes in a jar - easier than trying to crush that many cloves)
3 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 hour. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It should reduce by half. Let cool. Remove and discard bay leaves. Divide into freezer-proof containers that are big enough for one meal. Freeze. Remove one at a time, as needed, for spaghetti, lasagna, rigatoni...whatever you want!

It's actually better if you let it freeze before you eat it. This allows the acid in the tomatoes to really combine with the rest of the flavors.

* Cooking note: Because it cooks for so long, the alcohol cooks out of the wine. It's in there for flavor, so it's safe for children and non-drinkers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

When I was not a vegetarian, I loved chili. So, when I stopped eating meat, almost TEN years ago (!!), I had to find a recipe that made me feel like I was still eating one of my favorite meals. Unfortunately, no one really makes a good, hearty chili so I had to figure it out on my own. After three years of trying different things, including the addition of the baked beans (a suggestion from my friend Misty), I have perfected a near-meat chili recipe.

1 16-oz can chili beans
1 16-oz can Rotel tomatoes
1 16-oz can Bush’s vegetarian baked beans
1 12-oz can corn
1 T chili powder
1 t salt
1 t garlic powder
½ t pepper
Cheddar cheese

In a pot, over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients and stir until combined. Let simmer until a skin forms on top, between 20 and 30 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Potato Soup

I created this almost accidentally so I figured I should write it down before it leaves my brain.

Homemade potato soup...yum! It's PERFECT for the frozen tundra our country seems to be under right now. Make this, pour a glass of wine, start a fire, and watch it snow!

One of Kelly's business partners had a bowl of this and said it was really good, so if you don't like it, we'll blame him!

4 T butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 T flour
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 C milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 C vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth, too)
1 can corn
1/2 C cream
Shredded cheddar cheese

In a stock pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about five minutes. Whisk in flour and let thicken, about one minute. Add the potatoes, milk, and vegetable broth and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Mash slightly with a hand masher or fork - just slightly - don't try to make mashed potatoes out of it. Add the corn and the cream and let it simmer for a couple of minutes, just to warm both. Then taste it. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Stir in a handful of cheese and let it melt. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese. You can also add some crumbled bacon to the top.