Category Archives: Sauces

A Welcome Back Recipe: An Ode to Mom and Dad, Meatballs with Marinara

i_2013010312371990Hi there. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, huh?  That doesn’t mean that I’ve gone off the grid or anything. In fact, I’ve been doing just what my blog is about: helping family. Continue reading A Welcome Back Recipe: An Ode to Mom and Dad, Meatballs with Marinara


Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. I mean really, what’s not to love, the fruits and veggies are wonderfully vibrant and flavorful, the weather is awesome and I don’t have to rush out of the house everyday to work. But, I also look forward to the cooler temps of the fall when it’s socially acceptable to fill my plate with a pile of carbs and gobble it all up.

This sauce is a speedy sauce that you can whip up in a matter of minutes to put a quick dinner of pasta on the table, and it’s delicious. Thanks, Jamie Oliver! Continue reading Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Middle Eastern-ish Grilled Kabobs

It’s that time of year where everyone is throwing stuff on the grill. Whether you’re born to BBQ, or not this is a pretty simple marinade that I recreated after watching an episode of Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives a while back.

I thought that the addition of cinnamon to a basic herb marinade sounded delightful, and after I tested it out I realized why the place was featured on the show. It’s delicious. The sublty of the spice makes you wonder what it is, since it’s not one of those totally in-your-face types of spices. Most of the time I just marinate steaks in it, but here I’ve cut up the steaks into smaller bites to create kabobs. How very summery of me, huh? This marinade works well with both beef and chicken, although I prefer it with the beef.

1 1/2 pounds boneless Rib Eye (or your favorite cut of meat), cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks

One onion quartered

1/4 cup your favorite olive oil

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro roughly chopped

2 red peppers, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares

8 ounces of whole mushrooms


1. The night before you plan to serve the meat, in a gallon-sized ziplock bag combine the cut up steaks, olive oil, cinnamon, onion and cilantro. Seal the bag and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

2. When you are about 30 minutes from serving the meal, pull the meat out of the refrigerator and start to create the kabobs by alternating the veggies with the meat on a skewer. here I used metal skewers which I recommend for more even cooking and stability. If you must resort to bamboo skewers, which are sold everywhere, make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading the meat and veggies.

3. Next, get your grill nice and hot so you can get a good crust on the meat and seal in the juices. Also, make sure to oil your grate before putting the kabobs on the grill to prevent sticking.

4. Cook the kabobs on the grill for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Serves: 4-5

Banana Caramel Sauce

I’ve been wracking my brain on how to use up my bananas once again. I’m kind of tired of the banana bread idea, and I was thinking about making some sort of jam. But then again I’m not all too sure that would turn out well. Considering that my hubby drinks a lot of banana milkshakes as it is, I thought this might be a good extension of that. And since I’m not really a fan of bananas in dessert, this was a stretch for me.

So I scoured the web in search of what I was looking for and lo and behold I found a recipe from Emeril for Bananas Foster, the New Orleans classic (that I’ve never tried because of the aforementioned condition). and that’s when I decided that this banana dessert idea might just include enough butter and sugar for me to enjoy it. And f course since the kiddos were going to partake in this yummy treat I ditched the liquor and replaced it with vanilla. Although, FYI, the liquor does cook off, it’s just that the flavor that it  leaves behind is not one that I think kids would enjoy. Hey, guess what? It was honestly pretty good. Again, I think this is due to my love of butter, I’m not totally converted yet.

Shopping List:

2 bananas sliced into 1/2 inch chunks

1/2 cup of brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup of toasted walnuts

pinch of salt


1. In a small sauce pot over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar. The sugar will begin to look glossy and no longer granulated.

2. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and bananas. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, depending on the ripeness your bananas. You want them to be fragrant and slightly mushy.

3. Let the sauce cool 1-2 minutes and then pour 1/4 cup over some quality ice cream, or stir into some vanilla yogurt for a wonderfully decadent, but super simple dessert.

Adapted from: The Essence of Emeril

Serves: 4

Simple Technique: Marinara Sauce

My first memories of cooking are with my Grandma.

We would walk into her home on Sunday, and the smell of garlic would fill your nostrils; it would make your mouth water the moment you entered the door. We would find her rolling out dough to make the Sicilian style pizza, and she would enlist my help.

It is only fitting that I post this recipe today since her 96th birthday would have been tomorrow. As I been delving into this adventure in food blogging I think of those recipes that remind me of her often. Thanks Grandma for tempting my palate.

The basics of any Italian, family meal is in the marinara sauce. There’s no need to buy that jarred stuff. Sauce is not a complex thing. It’s pretty simple, in fact. When you make your own you can control the flavor and the quality. And of course, when you make a batch it smells like love.

Shopping List:

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

2 smashed garlic cloves

28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes in puree

29 oz. can of tomato puree

1 tablespoon Italian herbs

½ tsp. kosher salt


1. Place all ingredients in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer covered on low heat for 20-30 minutes for flavors to develop.

Makes 8 cups. Store in 2 cup portions in freezer safe zippered bags.

Chili Crusted Scallops with Peach Remoulade


Chili-crusted Scallops with Peach Remoulade

In my “experiment with flavor” (which I have subjected my family to) I have attempted to introduce a previously foreign or disliked item into the mix. This time around I was successful in rewiring the subject. In this case my husband was the unwitting target.

He’s always claimed that he doesn’t like scallops, but he loves all other seafood — and most other meats for that matter. So, I figure he’s just never had good scallops before. Now, I, on the other hand really like scallops. They seem like a less fussy version of lobster to me. There’s no shell to crack and their flavor is so buttery who can really pass them up?

Ok, so I’m not really sure what a remoulade is but it sounds like a fancy word for sauce to me and that’s what this is a simple pan sauce to enliven any poultry or fish entrée. Feel free to use it with some grilled chicken or as a condiment on a turkey burger. It works great.

Shopping List:

1/2 lb. of sea scallops

1/2 cup of ripe, peeled and diced peaches

1/2 an orange, squeezed

1/3 cup chicken or veggie stock (I used reduced sodium)

1 tablespoon red onion, diced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon butter


1. In a small saute pan over medium heat, add the red onion, peaches, orange juice and stock. Bring this mixture to a simmer, then reduce it to low heat to keep warm. It will start to thicken and look like a jam almost.

2. In a separate saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Meanwhile open the package of scallops from the fish counter and dry them off. Lay them all flat on that white paper they come in and sprinkle the chili powder on both sides of the meat.

3. Now that the butter is melted, go ahead and plop those big babies in that loveliness and watch them sizzle a little. Don’t move them in the pan for at least 3-4 minutes, so they get a nice crust to them.

4. After that flip ’em and let them sit another 3-4 minutes, again a crust should form (otherwise the heat is set too low). Check that they are opaque in the center and serve them on top of the peach sauce “remoulade”.

This serves two.

Strawberry Apple Compote (or Strawberry-Applesauce)

One of my kids’ favorite lunchtime snacks is applesauce. Hey, in fact, even when I was a kid I remember getting so excited for the nights that my mom would make applesauce with her pork chops. I do have reservations about buying too much prepackaged food though, but since applesauce is so easy to make this is a fantastic fresh alternative to a kid favorite. Actually, this is the perfect thing to make as a big batch and serve it all week. Yep, I’ll say it… this is the go to meal for when the kiddos are sick and don’t want to eat anything. And yeah it’s easy.  For a grown up version you could use it as a side dish, or crumble some graham crackers on top for a sweeter treat. My mom makes this without the butter and she uses Splenda, but I like the rich flavors that develop in this version. You can puree it in a blender for a smooth sauce or leave it diced for a more rustic version.

Shopping List:

2 cups firm apple, peeled and diced (use any kind except red delicious, they get too mushy)

2 cups diced strawberries  (or you could just do a pure applesauce)

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar


1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat melt the butter.

2. Toss the berries and apples in the butter so that they are coated evenly.

3. Stir in the brown sugar and put the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer 15-20 minutes, until the apples are soft when poked with a fork.

4. For an alternate version: use only apples and add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.