A Meaty Marinara

August 24, 2012

The summer is winding down and it’s time to start thinking about cooler nights, college football and hearty meals to feed your family.  A good meat sauce is a great recipe to have in your back pocket.  It’s easy to make ahead of time and freeze in batches, so you can defrost it on a busy weeknight while boiling pasta. You can also throw together a lasagna, eggplant parm or another of your favorite Italian dishes once the marinara is done and bake that night, or put in the freezer to save for a night when you have less time to cook.

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Marinara over tortellini

Traditional Meat Sauce

printable recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves

Directions

Brown ground beef with minced garlic and salt and pepper, to taste. Drain ground beef and set aside.

Place oil and onions in a saucepan and saute on high heat until soft. Add all cans of tomato products and chicken stock. Add all other ingredients and heat through. Once hot, add the browned ground beef and simmer on low heat for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve over your favorite pasta, top with freshly grated parmesan and enjoy!

This week’s #SundaySupper topic was “What does Sunday supper mean to you and your lifestyle?”

In our home, Sunday is a day that we look forward to.  It’s a day we like to pack up our dog, kayak and a few friends and head to Stone Mountain Park for some outdoor fun.  Now, the end to a day of play in nature (and often times a weekend with a little too much fun ;o)  is always a hearty home cooked meal.  Once dinner is placed on the table, we rehash stories from the weekend and share what’s on the horizon for the days ahead.

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Kayaking at Stone Mountain with our pup not far behind

So, when a few weeks, ago my husband requested meatloaf, I knew just the recipe I wanted to try.  I came across it on one of my favorite recipe sites and had been wanting to prepare it for some time. Although I often think of meatloaf as a cold weather entrée, the blackberry bbq sauce on this one makes it perfect for a summertime meal. Of course I tweaked the original recipe a bit, as I don’t eat veal, I’m obsessed with Vidalia onions, I loooove garlic and I never buy whitebread.  I’d also like to add that it’s not only the bbq sauce that makes this recipe special.  I have never put milk in my meatloaf before and I am now a firm believer that it’s the secret to THE most moist meat you will ever eat.  Give it a try and I’m sure you will agree!

Meatloaf with Blackberry BBQ Sauce

Printable Recipe

Ingredients for meatloaf:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp each of salt and pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup 1% milk
  • ¾ cup plain breadcrumbs

Ingredients for blackberry bbq sauce:

  • 2 Vidalia onions, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups blackberries (if using frozen, like I did, make sure they are thawed)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • generous pinch each of salt and pepper

For the sauce:  Add all the bbq sauce ingredients to a blender, or food processor, and blend until smooth.  Pour into a small saucepan and heat on medium for about 20 minutes (if you have a splatter screen, now is a good time to use it).  After 20 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

For the meatloaf:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the meatloaf ingredients together in a bowl until evenly distributed.  Fill a greased, 5×9 pan  with the meat mixture and  spread out so it’s even on top.  Spread about a half a cup of the bbq sauce on top of the meat and bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes.  Be sure to check on the loaf about every 30 minutes and when the sauce begins to turn brown on the top, place aluminum foil over the top to keep the sugars in the bbq sauce from burning.

Once the meatloaf is completely cooked, remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

When serving, pour some of the bbq sauce on top of the slices of meatloaf and serve with a couple hearty sides. I went with mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts.

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Meatloaf: pre-oven

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Meatloaf: post-oven. Mmmm, check out that crust.

While you’re here, be sure to check out the amazing recipes that my fellow foodies in the #SundaySupper community have put together for today’s topic. They inspire me each week and I’m sure they’ll do the same for you!

This is by far, the best Chicken Noodle Soup I’ve ever had in my life.  Jim thinks so too.  I don’t know what I’ve done in the past that’s made mine a bit on the bland side, however, I think the addition of lemon pepper seasoning to the stock is genius.  Also, I prefer organic carrots.  They are much more tender and sweet and aren’t much more expensive than the “regular” carrots at the Farmer’s Market.  Whole wheat egg noodles make it a little healthier, and if I have a lemon around, I’ll squeeze the juice of one into the finished soup at the end.  The citrus has special healing powers and if I’m making this for someone  under the weather, I feel it helps to get them on the mend that much quicker. 

Tip:  I like to make a bit extra so I have fresh broth for later in the week.  This Thursday, for instance, I’ll use the stock in my Thanksgiving Stuffing. 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

Stock:

  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) fryer chicken, cut up
  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soup:

  • 2 cups sliced organic
  • 2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked wheat egg noodles
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup cooking sherry
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, optional
  • 3/4 cup half and half, optional
  • Seasoning salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the stock: add all ingredients to a soup pot. Cook until chicken is tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion. You should have approximately 3 quarts of stock. When chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin, and cartilage. Set chicken aside.

For the soup: bring stock back to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package. When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry and rosemary. Add Parmesan and cream. Cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding seasoning salt and pepper. If using fresh lemon, now’s the time to squeeze in the juice.  

On Top of Old Smokey…

November 11, 2011

Not everyone {my fiance included} knows this old children’s song about the meatball rolling out of the door. I’m not sure if it’s because he grew up in the north, or just because I love food so much I grew up singing about it.  Anywho, if you have kids, it’s a supercute little jingle to sing when making and serving any dish involving meatballs. 

Lyrics to On Top of Spaghetti {sung to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey”}

Although I serve this meatball dish on top of brown rice, this meatball and gravy recipe could certainly be served over spaghetti noodles, or you could finish cooking them in a traditional marinara instead of the gravy.  The link below suggests stuffing meatballs into a large pasta noodle, which also sounds interesting. Either way, this is sure to make a warm, comfort food dish that your family will request again and again.

Turkey Meatballs and Gravy

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • evoo cooking spray
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • s & p to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Mix together turkey, onions, parsley and salt.  Shape mixture into meatballs and set aside. 

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and set over med-high heat.  When pan is hot, add mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes, until tender.  Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

Add meatballs to hot pan and brown on all sides.  Return mushrooms to pan and add thyme and salt and pepper.  Stir.  Add 3/4 cup of broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer untilmeatballs are cooked through, about 3 minutes. 

Meanwhile, dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/4 cup of broth.  Add mixture to pan and simmer 1 minute.  Serve hot over brown rice (or pasta).

My Goodness, My Goulash

March 1, 2010

If the USA team won the gold medal in hockey, this title would have been Gold Medal Goulash, however, since I drowned my sorrows of our loss in Guiness, I thought this was also appropriate.  Enjoy…and be proud of our boys that came home with the silver.  We’ll meet again in Rio!

Hungarian Goulash

4 tbsp. evoo
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 lbs. beef chuck, trimmed
   and cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground
   black pepper, to taste
1⁄4 cup sweet paprika
2 tsp. dried marjoram
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium parsnips, diced
1 1⁄2 lbs. medium new potatoes, peeled
   and cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
1 tomato, diced
1 Italian frying pepper, diced

1. Heat oil in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring only once or twice, until the meat is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in paprika, marjoram, caraway, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 40 minutes.

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2. Add potatoes and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 55 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and peppers; cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with rye bread, if you like.  (The Rye bread really makes it, so I would def. serve with it!)

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Serves 4 – 6.

Recipe adapted from Saveur.

What better way to enjoy Fat Tuesday (and think about what I’ll be giving up Wednesday) than with a big pot of jambalaya? This dish wouldn’t be complete without the addition of shrimp, chicken, Patak andouille and a sinus-cleansing dose of cayenne. Next time I make this, I’ll double the recipe — there was barely enough for the two of us to have leftovers for lunch!

A hearty pot of Jambalaya

Jambalaya

  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, chopped (You can buy it already cooked, or raw, and just throw it in)
  • 1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
  • 2 links Andouille sausage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Creole seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped bell pepper,any color
  • 2 ribs chopped celery
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I use 3 Roma)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken, Andouille and Creole seasoning, and mix well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning and you’re ready to serve! (Warning: this is a spicy dish, not for anyone that can’t handle heat.)

We enjoyed this comfort food on a cold, rainy night.  Jim claims this was the best meatloaf he’s ever had in his life.  You decide.

The final product: served with roasted veggies and potatoes

Sun-dried Tomato Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained (save the oil)
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Handful of button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup beef stock (made with 1 cup water and 1 bullion cube)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup of water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Put water on the stove to boil, add bullion once the water is boiling and take off heat.  Saute the onion, on low heat, in the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes until onions are clear, about 8 minutes. 

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, tomatoes, sautéed onions, egg, garlic, breadcrumbs and half of the sliced mushrooms (save the other half for the gravy).  Freeform the meat into a loaf in a roasting pan, then pour beef stock into the bottom of the pan.  Cook meatloaf for 1.5 hours, basting regularly.

Once meat is cooked, remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.  Move meatloaf to a platter and put the roasting pan on the stove over medium, high heat.  Mix two tablespoons of flour with water, then whisk into juices in the roasting pan.  Add mushrooms and stir until the liquid starts to simmer.  Once simmering, add milk and stir until you have a rich gravy for your meatloaf!

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