Thursday, December 18, 2008

Simple Tomato Sauce Recipe

On busy nights when I need to get a quick dinner together for the boys I often rely on this simple tomato sauce recipe I learned in my professional baking class. The instructor made the sauce in front of us as we kneaded our pasta dough. By the end of the night we had homemade pasta with this lovely marinara to munch on before leaving.


Simple Tomato Sauce
(enough for 1 lb of pasta)
1/2 - 1 Onion, diced
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
pinch of red chile flakes
1 garlic clove minced
5-10 fresh basil leaves
1 28oz can of imported Italian Plum Tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and saute until tender (5-7 minutes). Chop the basil leaves into little strips. Open the can of tomatoes and use the sharp edge of the lid to cut up the tomatoes in the can. Add the garlic and chile flakes. Stir for one minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and basil. Break the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Bring to a boil and then turn down to lowest heat setting. Cook for about 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
Use as is, chunky, or cool for a few minutes and puree in a blender for a smooth sauce (more kid friendly).
Variations: Add more garlic or chile flakes to your taste. Add a 1/2 C of red wine when you add the tomatoes for a more rich sauce.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Easy Chicken Mole

This year I offered to host the Tin Va lunch. This is a gathering of ladies I dance with every week at the Spectrum clubs around the South Bay of Los Angeles. I've been taking these classes for over two years and have made quite a few friends. Last year another classmate graciously invited us into her home for lunch with the dancing ladies. This year was my turn.

I wanted to make Mole of some sort. I love Mexican Mole sauce, but I have done it from scratch a few times and it takes at least two days to do it right and not go insane. I didn't have two days to give to this dish.

Luckily I hosted another party over the weekend and they became my Guinea Pigs. I made it on Saturday night and it was a hit. My husband said it was good and that was good enough for me.

It WAS good, and a great easy crowd pleaser. I can't help but feeling guilty, it is SO easy!

Here is the recipe I used:

Of course nothing compares to the real deal and now I'm inspired to to spend a few days making something only half my family will touch. I'm thankful the sauce freezes well... I can make it last!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

We visited my family in Virginia over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a small gathering of eight for what turned out to be an early Thanksgiving dinner (lunch). As usual, my roasted turkey cooked quicker than I had anticipated and we were ready to sit down by 1:00pm.

I kept the menu basic and to the point. Everyone loved it. Here was the menu with links to the recipes that inspired my cooking this year.

Fresh Cranberry Salsa
Tortillas Chips

Brined and Roasted Maple Turkey
Homemade Gravy
Cornbread and Sausage Dressing
Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root
Roasted Cranberries
Green Bean Casserole
Baked Yams with Marshmallows
French Rolls and Butter