Tales of a Wookie Wife: Fueled by caffeine and good intentions. Feed hairy man. Clean house. Be fabulous. Repeat. You can learn more about me here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spaghetti Sauce!

What do you do when someone gives you one of those massive, food-service-size cans of tomato sauce?

You make a PANT-LOAD of spaghetti sauce.

This is super simple and you can turn it into vegan in a snap by simply omitting the butter.  I'd just add in a bit of extra olive oil instead.  You start off by dumping said giant can into a pot on the stove over low heat and adding about 1/3 cup of butter.  You may notice, from the bits floating, that I love chunky sauce, so I also plopped in three cans of diced tomatoes and a few that were in the fridge at risk of turning.  You could chop up mushrooms and peppers to add here, if you prefer, but I prefer a bit simpler of a sauce.

I also added  4 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup of dried onion (was out of fresh - GASP -), and about 1/2 tsp each of sugar, cayenne, and thyme.

The rest of the spices I used include oregano, rosemary, basil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  I didn't give measurements because these will vary depending on how robust you want your sauce.  I added a little of each, then would put the lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  If it needed more, I added a little more of whatever I thought it needed until it tasted right.  Some people like a more bland sauce and some (read: the Wookie and I) like a very strong, garlicky, herby sauce.

Next step: freezing.  This trick, it turns out, doesn't work so well at all.  Even when I wrapped the bag around the cup it kept slipping and sauce almost went everywhere, so after the second attempt at this, I just held it open my damn self.  :)

I portioned this in 2 cups per bag for freezing.  The best method for this (IMO), is to fill the bag, then set it on a flat surface with all the sauce resting at the bottom.

Then, SLOWLY, ever so slowly, lay the bag while still holding the zippy part up.  This will allow the sauce to lay flat and force out most or all of the air.  Once you see the sauce start to rise towards the zipper, as you can see in the photo, then zip it closed!

This allows for them to lay flat, pretty and stacked in the freezer, but with little to no pesky air bubbles.  Much more of a space-saver than those annoying plastic bowls that always just get ice chips in them anyway.

When you're ready for pasta (or pizza, or dipping sauce), just take a bag out and run it under room-temperature water for a few minutes and it thaws right out, ready to be re-heated.

How does it taste?

FABULOUS.  I will never, ever, ever buy pasta sauce again.  Ever.  From now on, I'll just go get a massive can and make stacks like this.  It was cheaper, very easy, lasts a long time, and tastes light years beyond store-bought sauce.  We even gave a few bags away to some friends and got hella compliments.  Go me.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Garlic Salt Chicken

I usually cook with very, very little salt.  Though almost all my recipes call for sea salt, I use MAYBE 1/2 tsp, even in larger recipes.  I'm more of a "just sprinkle a tad in so I can say I did" rather than "let us embalm ourselves alive!" kind of girl.  That being said, this recipe was on a whim and pretty far out of my comfort zone, but its good to step outside your comfort zone once in a while, or at least it was in this instance!

I actually made this chicken two nights in a row.  The first night, I only made one piece to add to our fettuccine alfredo.  It came out of the oven, and after it had cooled a bit I was shredding it and popped a piece into my mouth (like ya do) and was stricken with delicious.  I gave the Wookie a piece to try and it was unanimous that we were having it again the next night with sides so we could revel in its awesomemess.

This, shockingly, is the only thing I used.  I'd have chosen an option made with sea salt if I'd had it, but this was all I had on hand and I didn't feel like mincing fresh garlic and mixing it with sea salt.  I had figured, since I was putting it into pasta, that I'd keep it simple.

Simple can be good.

Simple can be very, very good.

Pull open the skin of the chicken and pour some seasoning in.  Not just a little bit.  Salt that shit like you're preserving it in medieval times.

Push the skin back down and arrange (or cram, if you're using a tiny dish) it in a baking dish with about 1/4 cup of water at the bottom.  Some of the garlic salt will escape and get outside the skin.  no biggie.

Cook on 350 for an hour and...

NOM!  It doesn't show in the picture well, but the garlic salt causes the skin to get all hard and crispy.  When you peel the skin off, the chicken inside is moist and garlicky and salty and...and now I'm hungry.