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Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Blog/ Front Page/ Healthy Eating/ Home Page/ Salads/ Sauces, Dressings & Gravy/ Side Dishes

Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing

Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing |

When I saw this great Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing from the Soup Addict blog, I knew I just had to make it. I was especially drawn to it because the creamy dressing looked pretty healthy, as creamy dressings go. I checked it out in the Calorie Count site, it came out to about 26 calories per serving.

I always eat salads with the dressing on the side, especially with creamy dressings. I dip the tip of my fork with salad into the dressing, so you just get a taste of the dressing, but it’s not loaded with it. A dressing is designed to accompany the salad, not the other way around! Although you can’t tell my husband that! And it’s a bonus when the dressing is lower in fat and calories, and high on flavor!

This particular recipe for dressing called for 1/2 tsp. chili powder, but I reduced it to 1/4 tsp and tasted first. I found that was enough for my taste, but you can add another 1/4 teaspoon if you desire. Just add gradually, and taste as you go. I also eliminated the salt, as i thought it was already salty enough for my taste. The dressing was delicious!

Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing |

You can virtually add or delete any ingredient in this salad, you’ll notice no avocado in this salad. I’m not a real fan of them. I filled the center with lettuce, so there would be a good ratio of lettuce for the salad.

You could virtually make this an Italian Salad also by using fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, Italian olives…even some imported Genoa salami sliced in julienne strips. The sky’s the limit!

Make up your ingredients, or use these. Either way, this salad is sure to please and makes a gorgeous presentation!

Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing |

Layer Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
  • Salad:
  • 1 to 2 heads romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 can black beans (or any other beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced or chopped, your choice
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (thawed from frozen or fresh from the cob – no need to cook)
  • 1 avocado, pit removed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (about 2 cups after slicing)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  1. Dressing:
  2. Add all ingredients and blend with a blender or immersion blender, and puree until somewhat smooth. Taste, and add salt if necessary. Set aside (refrigerate if making ahead).
  3. Salad:
  4. If your bowl is wide, ring your ingredients against the glass and fill the center with romaine lettuce as you build the layers. This creates a nice balance of greens to veggies when you spoon down into the bowl.
  5. In a medium glass salad bowl (about 90 ounces), spread a thin layer of romaine lettuce. Spoon black beans over the lettuce. Add red onions over the black beans, followed by a layer of olives, then corn, avocados, bell peppers, and top with cherry tomatoes.
  6. Sprinkle herbs over the cherry tomatoes.
  7. If you’re not using romaine lettuce to fill the center of the bowl, serve lettuce in a separate bowl tossed lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Serve the creamy salsa vinaigrette dressing on the side.
Any type of lettuce, or a mixture of different varieties can be used in this recipe.




Blog/ Front Page/ Home Page/ Pasta/ Sauces, Dressings & Gravy/ Vegetables

Spaghetti with Zucchini Sauce

Wow, I’ve had quite a weekend for baking and cooking, and ALL of the recipes have turned out great! That’s gotta be a record! I’ve made the Pineapple Sour Cream Crumb Bars, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, Apple Pasties and I made this Zucchini Saute for supper, and thought…Wow this would be unreal for a spaghetti sauce!

So, I made some angel hair and put the sauce on it. Unreal. I’m really not a red sauce person, and could care less about spaghetti and sauce normally. But this is phenomenal! The sweet sauce with Zucchini is delicious. And good for you! It’s the other stuff I made this weekend that’s not so good for your waistline…but they were all delicious!

Vantia Tomatoes |
I always use Vantia canned tomatoes. I literally drive 45 minutes each way to buy them, and they are well worth it. Remember, your recipes only turn out as good as the ingredients in them. And these tomatoes are well worth it! I am working on carrying the various Vantia products in my store, so stay tuned!

Now, on with the recipe!

Spaghetti with Zucchini Sauce |


Spaghetti with Zucchini Sauce
Recipe Type: Sauce
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Green Zucchini, quartered and sliced into good sized chunks
  • 2 Yellow Summer Squash, quartered and sliced into good sized chunks
  • 1 very large Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (28 oz can) whole tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 6 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ tsp oregano, dried
  • ½ tsp basil, dried
  • 1 tsp parsley, dried
  • 1 small can of tomato juice, if needed
  1. Heat oil In a large skillet, over medium high heat until hot. Add onions and saute until slightly browned.
  2. Add in zucchini and squash, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add canned tomatoes, and herbs and mix together. Add a little sugar.
  4. Let simmer until squash is soft; 20 min to 30 min.

Just remember to use some really good quality canned tomatoes (I use Vantia, and drive about 45 minutes one way to get them!). Your recipes will only turn out as good as the ingredients in them. Trust me I know my tomatoes! These are one of the best! I’m working on carrying the various Vantia products in my store, so stay tuned…




Appetizers/ Beef/ Main Dishes/ Pork/ Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs -
I have had Swedish Meatballs only a couple of times in my lifetime, never mind eaten them. But when I was asked to make them for a church function, I took on the challenge. I researched many recipes, and finally took one from Iron Chef Michael Symons. I was desperately trying to find a recipe that didn’t fry or brown the meatballs ahead of time, as I really don’t care for a browned meatball instead of one cooked in its sauce. Not able to find one, and very skeptical about cooking the sauce with cream and sour cream in it for a length of time, I decided to give in and brown the meatballs as the recipes call for.

Wanting to crunch my time (as I always do), I decided to take Martha Stewart’s advice in her recipe and bake them instead of frying. However, I needed to fry some on the top of the stove in a skillet to make my sauce. I got 2 full cookie sheets with my recipe doubled, with maybe 10 extra to fry in the pan. Perfect.

I couldn’t decide if I should use bread crumbs as some recipes call for, or bread. Both are soaked in milk, and drained before adding to the meat mixture.

I made the sauce according to the recipe, and felt like it needed a flavor boost. So, I sauteed an onion in butter, and added to the sauce mixture. I also added a sprinkle of nutmeg.

This recipe looks quite lengthy, but is very, very easy. The meatballs are super easy especially if you use the right tools. I always have on hand disposable food service vinyl gloves (it makes clean up so much easier on your hands), and my spring loaded ice cream scoop is a must when making cookies or meatballs.

Swedish Meatballs -

Swedish Meatballs
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 8
The meatballs are delicious. Perfect for appetizers or a full meal when adding cooked noodles or mashed potatoes.
  • 1-1/2 c. really good bread (remove crust, and finely dice into cubes)
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1-1/2 c. onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 lb. ground chuck beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp fresh or 1-1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, very finely diced
  • 3 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 6 Tbsp chopped parsley (or 3 Tbsp dried parsley, divided in to 2 parts)
  • sprinkling of nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, pour the milk over the bread and set aside to soak.
  3. Place a saute pan over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and sweat for about 3 minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl to cool.
  4. After a few minutes when the onion mixture has cooled slightly, add meats, the eggs yolks and egg, 3 tablespoons of the parsley and the spices. Season with freshly ground black pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.
  5. Next squeeze the milk from the bread, discarding the liquid and add the bread to the meat mixture. You only want the soaked bread here. Mix until all ingredients are just incorporated.
  6. Form your meatballs any size you would like. Traditionally these meatballs are about 3 tablespoons each. I used a number 40 spring loaded ice cream scoop. Hand roll the meatballs, and place on a non-stick jelly roll pan. Save 6 or so to brown in a skillet on top of the stove for gravy.
  7. Place meatballs in preheated oven for approx 12-15 minutes. Make sure to turn once in between cooking. While meatballs are baking, make your sauce.
  8. Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the meatballs in the pan to sear them on both sides. Add those meatballs to the ones in the oven.
  9. In the same pan you seared the meatballs in, over medium high heat, add the 1 medium finely diced onion, along with 2 Tbsp butter. Saute on medium heat until translucent. Add the the flour and whisk until incorporated (add a little more butter if there is not enough fat in the pan to make a roux). Next whisk in the beef broth. Bring this mixture up to a boil, and then reduce to a a simmer. Put the cream into a larger container and add a little hot broth to the cream to temper. Then add the cream mixture to the hot broth, and season with some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat and whisk in the sour cream and the other 3 tablespoons of fresh, or 1-1/2 Tbsp dried parsley. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
  10. Place meatballs with sauce in a serving dish and serve over your favorite accompaniment.

These meatballs are terrific served over rice or noodles.




Sauces, Dressings & Gravy/ Side Dishes

Herbed Bread Stuffing

Out of all the stuffings I’ve tried, bread stuffing’s by far the best. I’ve put sausage, apples, sauteed cubed potatoes, cranberries, to name a few in stuffing. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious, but plain ol’ bread stuffing is my tried and true recipe.

I saute the veggies and the herbs before adding to the bread cubes. And I only use the dried bread cubes, not fresh. And only Pepperidge Farm cubes. The home made dried ones are not dried enough, so the stuffing comes out way too mushy for my liking. I don’t usually cook stuffing in the bird either, because of two things: it takes too long for the bird to cook and, the stuffing gets too wet. So, I really have to step up the herbs and veggies in a plain bread stuffing, to get the best flavors I can out of a stuffing cooked out of the bird.

No matter which stuffing you usually make, I think the herbs really make it. Try this one, you’ll be glad you did.

Herbed Bread Stuffing
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 16
Traditional bread stuffing, rich with herbs and sauteed veggies, is the perfect accompaniment to chicken or turkey.
  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Bread Cubes
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut in to a very small dice (about 2 c.)
  • 6 stalks celery , cut in to a very small dice (about 2 c.)
  • 2 onions, cut in to a very small dice (about 2 c.)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves , minced
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 2-3 Tbsp dried celery flakes*
  • 2-3 Tbsp dried vegetables*
  • Salt and pepper
  • sprinkling of Bell’s seasoning (taste to adjust seasoning)
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 10 Tbsp butter, melted
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter. Add veggies and herbs and cook until tender, about 5 min.
  2. Add to dried stuffing. Add chicken broth and melted butter; mix well.
  3. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and bake for approx 45 minutes in the oven you’re cooking your poultry at (or 325 to 350 degrees F).

Amount of veggies and herbs is only a guide in this recipe. I never measure for stuffing, just throw it together, and it always comes out delicious.

* You should be able to find the dried celery flakes and dried vegetables in the spice aisle of your supermarket.

Follow the package directions for amounts of liquids and butter per amount of cubes if making a smaller amount than the entire bag.




Home Page/ Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Caramel Sauce

There is literally nothing like home made caramel. It is super easy to make, and tastes so buttery and rich, words cannot describe it! I can put caramel sauce on anything, but its great on sliced apples, frozen yogurt or ice cream, cakes, or… your finger!

No matter which way you slice it, this caramel sauce is the best!

Caramel Sauce
Recipe Type: Sauce
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 4
A rich, buttery and silky caramel sauce, that’s super easy to make.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 Tablespoons (4-ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, not ultra-pasturized
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes (kosher salt can be substituted)
  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan add the sugar and evenly pour the water over top. Place the pan over medium-high heat and swirl the pan gently until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Avoid letting the syrup boil. Increase the heat to high, cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid, and boil the syrup for 2 minutes. Uncover the saucepan and continue to boil the syrup until it begins to darken around the edges. Gently swirl the pan until the syrup turns a deep amber and begins to smoke. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Gently stir the mixture until the butter is incorporated. Add the cream and stir to combine. If the sauce becomes lumpy with hard clumps, set the pan over low heat and stir until smooth. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 month; it will become solid. Reheat or set out at room temperature before using. Enjoy!

Recipe from The Galley Gourmet

Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue Sauce
Looking for a great barbecue sauce recipe? This barbecue sauce is thick and rich, sweet and spicy, and everything you want in a barbecue sauce. Its super easy to make, and most of the ingredients are within your pantry. When you see how easy this is to make, you won’t want to buy store bought again!

Barbecue Sauce
Recipe Type: Condiment
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
A rich, sweet, and spicy sauce perfect for chicken or ribs.
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bacon slices
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup peach preserves
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  1. Wrap the bacon around the middle of the thyme sprigs and tie with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle. Heat a 2-count of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme bundle and cook slowly for 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly, without coloring, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add all of the rest of the sauce ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors.
  4. Refrigerate if not ready to use right away.

Adapted from Tyler Florence

Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Spicy Peach Glaze

Spicy Peach Glaze
I was looking for a great marinade for chicken when I noticed this great recipe from Bobby Flay.

I tried it on the chicken, and it was fantastic! And super easy to make. This marinade is surely a winner in my book! This would also be fabulous on ham as well!

Spicy Peach Glaze
Recipe Type: Condiment
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Delicious with a french chicken breast as Bobby used, or skinless, boneless chicken breast will work as well.
  • 2 c. peach preserves or jam
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small Jalapeno, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  1. Combine Spicy Peach Glaze ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

If you’re leary of adding the Jalapeno, you may want to add a small amount at first, let it set, and taste. Or, you can eliminate entirely. You can also add a little red pepper flakes if you don’t have Jalapeno. Be careful. You can add the heat, but can’t take it away!


Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Fresh & Simple Marinara Sauce

Marinara is something I whip up in 20 minutes. And I always make enough to freeze some to use with a quick weeknight meal. Once you make your own Marinara, you’ll never go back to jarred sauce again! This sauce can be used for spaghetti, pasta or lasagna, and its perfect for a dipping sauce. It’s even good for drinking!

Fresh & Simple Marinara Sauce
Recipe Type: Sauce
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 6
This quick Marinara is perfect for anything you need tomato sauce with. This is a light, fresh tomato sauce.
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 or 3 – 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • dried parsley
  • sprinkle sugar
  • salt & pepper
  • lots of fresh basil, chopped
  1. Saute onion in olive oil on medium high, until translucent. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrance releases (do not let garlic burn, or do over; burned garlic does not taste very well, and will ruin your sauce).
  2. Add cans of tomato, herbs, sugar and salt & pepper. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  3. Cover, and cook on low for approx. 20 minutes or so. Add fresh basil.

You can substitute 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, for one of the cans crushed tomatoes, if you want a chunkier sauce.

Sorry, I never measure the dried seasonings. I just sprinkle in some and adjust by tasting.

Even though I use dried basil, I also use fresh if possible, near the end of cooking.

You could also add a little red pepper flakes if you like a little spicy, but be careful not to add too much at once. You could ruin your sauce. A couple flakes go a long way!


Beef/ Main Dishes/ Pork/ Sauces, Dressings & Gravy/ Veal

Meatballs & Spaghetti Sauce

Everyone loves spaghetti & meatballs. It’s the “go-to comfort food”. And everyone makes them their own favorite way. Some people cook the spaghetti sauce a long time. I prefer my sauce light. If I’m making just a sauce alone, I only cook it 15-20 minutes. Some people cook their meatballs by either frying or baking before putting into the sauce. I don’t like the hard crust on meatballs, or the taste they have after browning, so I throw them right into the hot sauce just like my husband’s grandmother did. I would put the fennel seed in like she did too, except my husband doesn’t like it. Meatballs are the kind of food that any way you make them, they sure do taste good!

If making sauce alone, cook sauce for 15-20 minutes tops, and it’s the perfect Marinara!

Spaghetti Sauce

I use a #40 spring loaded ice cream scoop which makes an approx. 2″ diameter meatball.

Meatballs ready for sauce

I also use mixed dried vegetables in my meatballs. They are essentially dried carrots, onion, tomato, spinach, celery and bell pepper. I think they add quite a bit of flavor. I also used in stews and meatloaf, among other things. They can be found in your supermarket under the McCormick brand, and I get them at one of my smaller markets in a 4 oz container for a mere $ 3.99. I find them invaluable and always have them on hand.

Mixed Dried Vegetables

Meatballs & Spaghetti Sauce
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: A Foodie Affair
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 8
This very light and super flavorful sauce is perfect alone, or with these moist and flavorful meatballs.
  • Sauce:
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves, minced
  • 3 – 28 oz can ground peeled tomatoes (I use Pastene)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil (1/4 c. fresh is even better if you have it, rough chop)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
  • Meatballs:
  • 2-1/2 lb meatloaf mix (beef, pork & veal) or (beef & pork)
  • 1-1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 – garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dried vegetables
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 scallions, sliced (green parts only), optional
  1. Sauce:
  2. Saute onion in oil until soft. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add canned crushed tomato. Add oregano, parsley, basil, sugar, salt & pepper. Cook on simmer for approx. 20 minutes. Add fresh basil.
  3. Meatballs:
  4. Mix all ingredients together. I form my meatballs using a #40, 1-3/4 inch spring loaded ice cream scoop. Then roll them into round balls and drop into hot tomato sauce. You should end up with a 2″ meatball. I cook them in a Nesco 6 qt. roaster on low, but you can also cook in a slow cooker, or on the stove. If cooking in a stockpot on the stove, be sure to use a flame tamer so as not to burn the meatballs. Try not to move around as they will mush easily. Cook on very low for approx 2 hours.

The Nesco 6 qt. Roaster I use for this recipe, and loads of others is something I use frequently. I do have an All Clad Slow Cooker, but seem to use this low cost roaster a whole lot more. Its not something I would put on and leave for the day though. The temperature for this roaster goes up to 400 degrees F, so this roaster is useful for all kinds of meals. I use it for chili, beef stew, soups, you name it. I like it because you can control the temperature a lot better with it.

Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

I had bought some of that Naan bread and thought pizza would be really good made with it. I couldn’t bring myself to buy jarred or canned pizza sauce, so I decided to make some. I knew it had to be a bit thicker than my usual marinara, so I added some tomato paste for thickener. When you can literally drink your sauce, it must be pretty good. This one has a little red pepper flakes in it, so its a bit spicy. You can always eliminate it, if you don’t want the spice. There is 2 Tbsp of sugar in it also. If you don’t like your sauce sweet, eliminate it. I love sweet sauce on pizza, it reminds me of one of my favorite pizza shops Tripoli Pizza. A trip there is always worth it, their pizza is like non other.

This sauce would also be delicious for dipping with bread sticks or anything else.

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

1 – 28 oz. can ground tomatoes
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 – small onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
5 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
about half of an 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

In a skillet, heat olive oil and cook onions until translucent and tender.

Add garlic and saute for about a minute.

Add tomato paste and seasonings. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Add ground tomatoes and sugar.

Cook sauce on slow until think, about 15 -20 minutes.

Main Dishes/ Pasta/ Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Tomato Gorgonzola Pasta

I saw this awesome pasta recipe posted on The Galley Gourmet’s blog, and knew I had try it. It is every bit as good as it looked! Very tasty, creamy, rich tomato flavor…the true meaning of comfort food.


Tomato Gorgonzola Pasta

Tomato Gorgonzola Pasta

Tomato Gorgonzola Pasta

1 lb. medium-sized dry pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/3 c. (about 1 1/2 ounces) creamy Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan
1/3 c. chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the shells according to the package directions; drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the tomato and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Stir in the crushed and diced tomatoes.  Add the vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil and cook ,uncovered, until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the cream and simmer for 1 minute.  Stir in the cheeses, basil, and cooked shells.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Christmas/ Holiday/ Sauces, Dressings & Gravy/ Thanksgiving

Triple Cranberry Sauce

Triple Cranberry Sauce

Triple Cranberry Sauce

I’ve had this recipe I cut out of a magazine for some time now, and finally decided to make it. It has three versions of cranberry in it. The description in the magazine said “this tangy version” and, “intense flavor”. They are not kidding. This is not your average cranberry sauce.

I made the recipe exactly how the recipe reads, and the finished version is pretty thick and VERY tart (for me anyway)! My mother also tried it, and said the consistency  would be perfect on a turkey sandwich. I however, like it a little juicier and a little sweeter. So I tried it again, and added a little more sugar and added more liquid.

Triple Cranberry Sauce

Triple Cranberry Sauce

 Triple Cranberry Sauce

1 c. frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
1/2 c. water
1 c. sugar
1- 12 oz. pkg fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed & drained
1/2 c. dried cranberries (about 2 oz.)
3 Tbsp orange marmalade
rind of 1/2 orange
1/4 tsp allspice

Combine cranberry juice concentrate, water and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add fresh and dried cranberries and cook until dried berries begin to soften, and fresh berries begin to pop, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange marmalade, orange rind and allspice. Cool completely. Cover; chill until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

For the original recipe: decrease sugar to 1/3 c. and omit the water. The original recipe also called for 2 Tbsp orange juice, which I omitted because I thought it tasted too orangy.

Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette

Mustard Vinaigrette

This is soo easy to make and can be enjoyed in salads, or even for dipping pretzels. Everyone should know how to make mustard vinaigrette.

Mustard Vinaigrette

This is a somewhat thick, creamy mustard vinaigrette, with the sweetness of honey. Can be refrigerated, but serve at room temperature. This recipe came from Bobby Flay, but I added the brown sugar, as I like it much sweeter than it came out.

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp coarse- or whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and shallot together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the honey, then the oil, until the dressing is emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

I love home made salad dressings. Like jarred spaghetti sauces, I don’t really care for any of them. There’s nothing like home made. And they are so easy, once you make one , you will never understand how you haven’t done it sooner!

I have always loved Creamy Balsamic dressing. One of my favorite restaurants has this dressing for their house dressing and I love it. It’s a little easier to eat due to the fact that the balsamic “splashes” a little less in a creamy form. And no matter what I do, I always ruin what ever I’m wearing with a oil based balsamic dressing!

This dressing almost has a tan color and is creamy instead of a thinner oily balsamic dressing. It is an excellent alternative to the usual balsamic dressing.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

3/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Whisk together mayonnaise, olive oil, buttermilk, vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and sugar. Drizzle desired amount over salad.

Dressing can be stored, covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

I make this dressing with basically any very ripe tomato. Starting with a “winter” or less than ripe tomato will not yield good results. I also sometimes use white balsamic vinegar in place of the white wine vinegar. This dressing is so fresh and tasty. It puts a new twist on everyday salads.

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

4 Roma tomatoes, or any other very ripe tomatoes
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon style mustard
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves
Salt & black pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a shallow baking pan with non-stick foil. Cut off stem ends from tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise.

In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, and the garlic. Place tomatoes in the prepared pan, cut sides down. Drizzle tomatoes with any remaining oil mixture from the bowl.

Bake for 25-30 minute. Remove pan from oven and let cool. When cool, remove the tomato skins with your fingers (they should just pull off).

In the bowl of a food processor, combine tomatoes, and any juices from the pan the tomatoes were roasted in, the vinegar, 4 Tbsp olive oil, mustard, basil, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 3 days.

Sauces, Dressings & Gravy

Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is probably my favorite dressing. Among the many I’ve made, this is probably the best. I saw it on the Pioneer Woman cooking show on Food Network and knew I had to make it. There’s something unique about Ree’s show. I think its something in the way she describes food, that makes your mouth water. I will say, not many people with cooking shows can do that. And the fact that the food in her show is “comfort cooking at its best”, is right up my alley. I changed this recipe a tad, as I like the sour cream taste in ranch dressing over the mayonnaise. In her recipe she calls for 2 parts mayonnaise and 1 part sour cream. I just changed it to half mayonnaise and half sour cream. I also added a little more dill. Otherwise, its delicious!

Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing

1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed and mashed
3/4 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. sour cream
1/3 c.-1/2 c. buttermilk or milk, depending what consistency you like it
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp chives, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tsp-3/4 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

Peel garlic and put through garlic press. Mash pressed garlic together. Put garlic in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients together. Stir or whisk fully. Add more milk if necessary. Taste to adjust salt. Chill for approx. 2 hours in refrigerator to incorporated flavors.