Al’s Spaghetti Sauce
FYI - If you make this recipe to save money and/or time - it will do neither. It will give you the satisfaction of making a great homemade product. Truly a labor of love.
2 - 28oz cans Dei Fratelli Chopped Italian Tomatoes
1 - 28oz can Dei Fratelli Diced Tomatoes
2 - 15oz cans Dei Fratelli Tomato Sauce
1 - 12oz can Everyday Essentials Tomato Paste
1 - Medium Sized fresh tomato (optional - had one on hand)
2 - Cups Cherry Tomatoes - halved (optional - had some on hand)
1 - Large (or 2 Medium) White Onion - diced
1 - 8oz package of Mushrooms - diced
2 to 3 - Medium sized Zucchinis
2 to 3 - Medium sized Yellow Squash
2 - Medium sized carrots - peeled and fine grated.
Minced garlic (you decide how much)
Penzey’s Dried Oregano
Fresh Thyme (stripped from stem)
Fresh Basil (several leaves fine chopped)
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 - lbs Ground Chuck.
The ingredients used above will fill a 7QT pot. Scale your batch accordingly. We freeze measured amounts of sauce in a container - enough for 3-4 servings.
Place a 7QT pot on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pot. Add carrot, 1/2 of diced onion, zucchini, squash, 1/3 of diced mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, & oregano. Stir.
Sauté until veggies are tender (about 5 - 10 minutes). You might have to add more EVOO during sauté time. Onions will start caramelize. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Add about a teaspoon of fresh thyme and tablespoon of fresh basil.
Add all tomato products and 1/3 of diced mushrooms to pot. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce to a texture of your liking. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a screen and stir often. The goal is to reduce the water content and concentrate the tomato mixture. This process will take 2 to 3 (or more) hours. Place a teaspoon of the sauce on a plate to see how much liquid spreads out from the edges. I don’t like much water in my sauce, so there’s very little. Season to taste with salt and pepper after it’s done reducing. Salting too much before reduction will also concentrate the salt. Add a sprinkle of dried oregano and more fresh thyme if you like. Stir
While tomato/veggie mixture is reducing, brown the ground chuck.
In another pan sauté the remaining diced onions, remaining diced mushrooms, and some garlic until soft. Salt & Pepper to taste.
Add ground chuck. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle of dried oregano. Break up and stir. Drain excess grease. If you are freezing the entire batch - allow to cool before adding to sauce. If you plan to use the sauce right away - add meat to sauce if it’s reduced to your liking.
Cool before freezer packaging. Fill sink with enough cold water ice to reach 1/2 up the sauce pot when placed into sink. Stir every few minutes.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
Slow-cooker to the rescue...again! It's been pretty busy around the Al & Peg House as of late. Weekends are doubly-busy, so in order to make good eats, we need some help. Whilst we're scurrying around the house, the slow-cooker is doing all the hard work.
Peg found this naturally gluten-free recipe: http://www.recipe.com/slow-cooker-chicken-cacciatore/?esrc=nwrc071212pinc
The original recipe calls for chicken drumsticks, but we used thighs instead - more meat on the thighs.
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped carrot
2 medium onions, cut into wedges
1 green, yellow, or red sweet pepper, cut into strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 chicken thighs, skinned (about 3-1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
1. Combine mushrooms, celery, carrot, onions, sweet peppers, and garlic in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Place chicken on vegetables. Combine broth, wine, tapioca, sugar, oregano, bay leaves, salt, and pepper; pour over chicken.
2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
3. Remove chicken; cover to keep warm. Remove and discard bay leaves. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in undrained tomatoes and the tomato paste. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more. Serve vegetable mixture over chicken and cooked pasta or rice.
Until the next good eats...
Al & Peg