Meat Sauce

Up here in the Dirty Jerz, people seem to be all about the red sauce. Which I get — it’s very versatile. You can have it plain, with meatballs, with sausage, whatever you want. But growing up, we always had meat sauce, and I vastly prefer its richer flavor. Plus, it eliminates a step from things like lasagna and pizza…I don’t have to make meat for those, because it’s already in the sauce!

There are many, many variations on meat sauce. This one is mine.

 

Meat Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Meat Sauce
Print Recipe
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
1-5 hours
Ingredients
Servings: many
Instructions
  1. Sautée garlic & mushrooms until mushrooms are cooked through. Add beef, veal and pork. Brown. Drain. Return to pot. Puree tomatoes. Add to meat. Add tomato paste, wine, stock and herbs. Boil until alcohol is evaporated. Simmer on low for 1-5 hours. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and cinnamon. Serve over pasta.
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Stuffin’ Muffins*

(*or just regular stuffing, if you prefer)

Every year the company I work for does a big potluck Thanksgiving lunch on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago, we had an employee who was very strictly vegan, and he was really concerned that there would be nothing for him to eat. I was planning on bringing my (super delish, if I say so myself) cornbread-sausage dressing, but I thought “How hard can it be to throw together a vegan dressing?” I know enough about vegan rules to avoid the trickier things like honey and gelatin, so I started combing Pinterest. I didn’t find a “vegan” recipe that I liked, but I did find a very simple recipe that was super easy to veganize. It was a huge hit, even with the non-veggies in the crowd.

This year, for my derby team’s annual holiday gathering, I decided to use the same recipe to make little appetizer portions by baking the stuffing in muffin cups. Once again, huge hit. My friend Artichoke Hold asked for the recipe, so here it is!

Stuffin' Muffins*
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I forgot to take a pic of these before my son ate them all. Mea culpa. Next time I make them, I'll put a photo in, I swear. Or, if someone wants to make them and take a photo, I'll gladly accept.
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Stuffin' Muffins*
Print Recipe
I forgot to take a pic of these before my son ate them all. Mea culpa. Next time I make them, I'll put a photo in, I swear. Or, if someone wants to make them and take a photo, I'll gladly accept.
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 "muffins" (or about 12 servings) 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
28-40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: "muffins" (or about 12 servings)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Cube loaf of bread.
  3. Toast cubes on a baking sheet about 10 minutes (you may need to do this in two batches -- they should be in a single layer). Set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Decrease oven temp to 350°.
  5. Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  6. Sauté onions, garlic, and celery until soft and beginning to caramelize.
  7. Add veggies to the bowl of bread cubes.
  8. Add seasoning. If you like more/different herbs than the recipe calls for, use those.
  9. Stir until well mixed.
  10. Add broth one cup at a time, stirring until well mixed. You want the mixture to be clumping together, but not soggy. (For "muffins" make the mixture a bit moister than you might normally -- you really want them to hold together.)
  11. Bake in a greased baking dish for about 25 minutes OR in lined muffin cups for 18-20 minutes.
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Summer Salad

Holy cow, it’s already Thursday?!?! Obviously this was supposed to go up/out on Tuesday…I’m still trying to get back in the hang of blogging and sharing and stuff and time just got away from me this week. I promise this is just as tasty today as it would have been two days ago.
Summer Salad photo

When I was a kid, salad bars were rife with foods I wasn’t otherwise exposed to: olives, teeny little orange slices, stinky cheeses, cucumbers, and my favorite: garbanzo beans. “Garbanzo beans” was/is fun to say, especially if you stretch it out into garbaaaaaaaanzo, and they had a texture that was different from anything else I ate. If the salad bar had them, I always loaded up on them.

I didn’t realize until I was an adult and discovered that garbanzo beans are just another name for chickpea that I could actually buy some for my very own at home. So for years now I’ve bought the odd can here and there when I’m in a salad-making mood. And I’ve tried the other famous chickpea food, hummus. Weirdly, I hate hummus. Ick.

But then I came across a recipe on Pinterest, as one does, for a salad actually made from chickpeas. Oh. Myyyyy. The original recipe was tasty, but I tweaked it quite a bit to make it exactly what I wanted (lost the garlic so I can eat it at work, added tomatoes for a little extra flavor and vitamin C). This salad both fills and refreshes, and is perfect to throw together for a quick summer lunch or dinner, especially on a super hot day (no cooking! Yay!). I typically eat this as a full meal, but it would make a great side, too.

Sidenote: I just found out that chickpeas are super high in iron! Bonus!

Also, lime juice really is the best citrus flavor for this. Orange is too sweet, and lemon and grapefruit are too sour. That said, if you don’t have lime on hand, use lemon or grapefruit and cut the amount by half(ish).

Summer Salad
Print Recipe
A quick, refreshing salad that perfect for a summer lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Summer Salad
Print Recipe
A quick, refreshing salad that perfect for a summer lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: -ish, I guess?
Instructions
  1. Combine tomatoes, garbanzo beans, feta, and basil in a large bowl (make sure there's plenty of room for gentle tossing!). You don't need to mix everything just yet -- just dump it in the bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and lime juice evenly over other ingredients.
  3. Gently toss to coat, being careful not to smash the feta too much.
Recipe Notes

Do make sure you're using a good feta -- I bought a brand I don't usually get this time and it's so salty I almost can't taste anything else.

Also, lime juice really is the best citrus flavor for this. Orange is too sweet, and lemon and grapefruit are too sour. That said, if you don't have lime on hand, use lemon or grapefruit and cut the amount by half(ish).

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