Monday, December 22, 2008

our favorite spaghetti sauce

I know, everyone has a spaghetti recipe. This is mine. Jonathan and I actually worked a lot to get a recipe that we really, really like. This is the one that I made at my parents house last year and my brother commented, wow, Kris is a really good cook.

1 bulb garlic
1 red pepper
1tbsp olive oil
1lb lean ground beef
1 small onion
2 tbsp italian seasoning (or sub in 1 tbsp basil, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp parsley flakes)
1 can pasta sauce (generic)
1 can tomatoes
1/4 cup red cooking wine
1 tbsp beef boulion

Preheat oven to 350*. Seed red pepper and cut into chunks. Take skins off all garlic cloves on you bulb. Reserve 1 clove to use later. On a sheet of aluminum foil, place your red pepper and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up into a little package and cook in your oven for about 40 minutes, or until contents are soft. (you'll be able to smell when it's ready).
In a large saucepot over low-medium heat, saute ground beef with onion and seasonings. Drain the grease off when there is no pink left in the beef. Return mixture to pot. Add pasta sauce and stir everything together. Take the tomatoes and squish them one by one into small chunks into your sauce (it's messy, but it's fun). Add cooking wine and beef stock. Stir.
Take your pepper/garlic package out of the oven. Carefully open up (don't burn yourself with the steam) and place everything into a food processor, or a small bowl if you have a hand blender. (Make sure all the oil drains in too). Blend contents into a puree and add to your sauce. Stir. Add more seasonings if you wish. Just before serving, press your reserved garlic clove into your sauce.
Serve over whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


It's been a sit inside and eat soul food kind of week. This fit in nicely.

2 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup dry oats
1/4 cup ketchup or BBQ sauce
1 tbsp dry parsley flakes
1 tsp dry basil flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup kechup or BBQ sauce (yes, a second 1/4 cup)

Heat oven to 350*.
Combine all ingredients (except the 2nd 1/4 cup or ketchup) into a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
Put mixture into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Pat down to form a loaf. Spread the remaining ketchup on the top of the loaf.
Bake for 1 hour.


I have loved to cook since I was a little girl. I'd love to say that I come from a long line of fabulous cooks, but that's not true. My nana is a fabulous baker. My mom does a wonderful job of cooking good home food, but she's be the first to admit she'd rather not. (In fact, when we visit, I kinda float back into the role of the house cook while we're there).
I first started to experiment with food when I was a pre-teen. I gathered up my mom's cookbooks and started to read. I decided at the grand old age of about 11 that I would indeed make a 4 course meal to serve to my family and our closest family friends. And I did. I know now that the food I chose probably didn't compliment each other, but I enjoyed the experience all the same.
Cookbooks have since been the way I learned the basics of cooking. My mom's old 5 Roses cookbook had the staples I used to ground myself in. It was replaced by my Betty Crocker cookbook we recieved as a wedding gift.
My husband had worked in restaurants for a few years so he taught me how to adapt and flavour recipes to our own taste.
I've added an amazon link to my own favorite cookbooks. These are the ones that I actually use, not ones that you buy and sit on your shelf collecting dust (I have a number of those too). Eat, Shrink and Be Merry and the Betty Crocker cookbook are the two that I use the most, but all are in rotation in my kitchen.
If you are new to cooking, I'd recommend buying a good staple cookbook to start. I like to read recipe books to get ideas. Some of my best recipes are ones that I've made up by taking an idea from here and there and putting it all together.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Simple Salad

We had a potluck this week and I signed up for salad duty, figuring that I could work with what I had in the house already. Here's what I came up with:

6 cups organic field greens salad mix
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sugared walnuts*see below
1/4 - 1/2 cup poppy seed dressing (I like Renee's) - to your own liking

Mix everything together just before serving.

Sugared Walnuts

1/2 cup walnut pieces or halves
2 tbsp margarnine, melted
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnimon

Heat oven to 300*. Coat walnuts with melted margarine by shaking together in a ziplock bag. Spread walnuts into a jelly-roll or loaf pan. Sprinkle sugar and cinnimon onto walnuts. Mix together. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes to toast.