Archived entries for sauces

Easy Roasted Marinara

Have a ready to go marinara in the pantry is one of the best time savers for an easy weeknight pasta dinner.  After spending an hour or two skinning tomatoes for canning my whole tomatoes, I very rarely have the patience to do any more putzy work.  I love my roasted marinara, because its super simple and requires very little work.  I just throw a bunch of cored tomatoes into a roasting pan with a few onions, garlic and a bit of spice and slow roast until nicely cooked. Blenderize into a sauce and then can.  EASY!  I’ve blogged about it before, but here’s my general recipe.

Easy Roasted Marinara

  • 10-20 lbs tomatoes
  • 2-3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • head of garlic, husks removed
  • 1-2 Tbs dried thyme
  • 1-2 Tbs dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Core tomatoes and remove any bruised or damaged areas.  Cut into large chunks.  Mix ingredients together in 1 or 2 large roasters. Lightly coat in oil.

Place in oven and roast 3-5 hours.  Mix occasionally.  I roast until excess tomato juice has been reduced and there is a light crust of blackened tomatoes/onions.  Remove from oven and allow to cool down enough to touch.

Start water boiling in your canning pot.  Heat enough water to cover jars 1″ when placed in canner.  Allow for water displacement of filled jars.

Using an immersion blender or a food processor, blend until you a desired consistency.  Season to taste. Bring marinara back up to a boil on stove top.

Wash enough clean glass jars for your marinara.  Dip in boiling water to temper glass for boiling marinara.  Sterilize canning lids in boiling water.  Pour marinara in jars leaving 1/2″ head space.  Wipe edges of jar to remove any materials which might impede lids from sealing. Remove air bubbles from jar. I usually use a chopstick. Top with sterilized canning lid and ring.

Process in boiling water canner. 40 minutes for pints. 45 minutes for quarts. Beginning timing when water in canner comes back to a rolling boil. When time is up, remove from water and allow to cool on counter top. Do not jostle jars as it can impede a proper seal.

Once jars are cooled and sealed, mark with contents and date. Put in your pantry and feel good about a job well done!

Quick Easy Teriyaki Marinade

My favorite quick marinade for summer grilling is this easy 4 ingredient Teriyaki marinade!

It goes great with all meats, especially chicken.  Pictured above is a marinating venison tenderloin I will be grilling for dinner tonight.

Easy Teriyaki Marinade

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves smashed

Mix and pour over meat.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for as long as you’d like to marinate.  At least 1 hour.


Easy Tzatziki

I love being able to use my own blog as my online cookbook.  This weekend, Ira and I were craving Mediterranean, so we decided make my lazy lamb kaboob, substituting pork and beef for the lamb which I didn’t have.  I realized, after we started cooking, I never posted a Tzatziki recipe.  I just can’t have kabob without Tzatziki.  So here is a quick easy recipe, which gives a light refreshingly tart accent to any spiced meat!  Enjoy.  Tzatziki Sauce makes about 2 cups

  • 2 cups Greek strained yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prep cucumber, remove seeds and chop.  I usually leave the skin of the cucumber on.  Using a food processor, blend the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, hot sauce, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Canning Tomatoes: Roasted Salsa

My visit to my parents house this past weekend, produced a harvest of over 30lbs of tomatoes. I’ve been super busy lately (mostly working on a huge redesign of this blog which I hope to be launching in the next month!! More on this later) and I’m really short on time lately. I like salsa, but I don’t have time to chop the ingredients for one batch, let alone 30 lbs worth. What to do? Don’t worry I have a solution.

Check out this Instructable to see my time saving salsa recipe along with tons of canning tips. Also, check out the comments for links to tons of online resources for canning methods.

Canning Tomatoes: Roasted SalsaMore DIY How To Projects

Ok, here’s my cliffnotes for you lazy bones: My shortcut to hours of chopping and slicing is to roast all the ingredients together until they are nice and soft, then blend it in a food processor. And you’re done! Beside being a shortcut, the roasting also helps bring out the natural sweetness of the flavors which makes for a delicious salsa! I can get it taken care of this afternoon and and I’ll can it this weekend to preserve it.

Tomatoes Coming Out Of My Ears

Heirloom Brandywine tomatoes

Lugging home 60 lbs of tomatoes from my parent’s garden in an oversize Olive Garden paper bag (double bagged) seemed like a great idea at the time. My parent’s 40 tomato plants were overflowing and they didn’t have the energy to deal with all of the fruit. Happily, my Mom helped me load up all I could possibly carry. However, when I got off the Monday morning train in Chicago, I could hardly carry the bag outside to a taxi. I pride myself on my strength but I had to keep taking small breaks every couple feet. Even Ira, who came to meet me at the station found it hard to muscle the bag, needing to wrap a shirt around his hand to protect his palms from being torn into by the string handles.

Why am I going into so much detail about the weight? If we had a hard time carrying this thing, imagine what the layers of delicate tomatoes at the bottom of the bag where like when I unloaded them. Total smoosh.

Half of the tomatoes needed to be dealt with immediately or be thrown away. I was super tired from having to be up at 6 a.m. to get the morning train back to Chicago; all I wanted to do was take a nice hot bath and take a nap. My 40 hour work week was beginning the next day, and I knew I wouldn’t have time until Saturday to take care of them. What to do?

A quick solution: Roasted Marinara!

I decided to slow roast the crushed tomatoes with some garlic and spices in the oven over low heat. This way, after the prep work, I could just throw the tomato mixture in the oven and forget about if for a while. You don’t need to stir it or anything. Super easy!

I went through and separated the tomatoes into piles of the ones which were crushed and the ones were OK enough to last through the week.

Using a paring knife, I cored the tomatoes removing the stems, rotten and bruised areas, and cutting the larger tomatoes in half.

I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand, so a bit of dried thyme, rosemary, and oregano was added along with some delicious cloves of garlic given to us by Ira’s Mom. Adding some kosher salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil, this stuff was ready for the oven.

I set the stove for 250 degrees and put it in the oven in my new birthday present. By cooking at a low temp, the sugars of the tomatoes are really emphasized and the flavors of all the ingredients fuse beautifully. Best of all, I could go take my bath and nap, knowing this would be fine in the oven for at least 2 or 3 hours.

I woke up, well rested, with my roasted tomatoes all ready to be taken out of the oven. After letting them cool for a bit, I gently pulsed them in the food processor and viola, ROASTED MARINARA!

Here is a photo set of a roasted marinara I did earlier last spring salvaging tomatoes starting to get moldy. I love roasting marinara!

Make Your Own Vinaigrette

Why pay $4.00 for a bottle of vinaigrette when you can make your own for way less super fast! It’s really easy.  To pair with summer greens, a simple vinaigrette works best to bring out the fresh crisp flavors. I love to add a bit of raspberry jam or fresh crushed fruit to give flavor.  Here’s the recipe:

Quick Homemade (Raspberry) Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 vinegar of choice (I like apple cider)
  • 1 Tbs honey mustard
  • 1 tsp raspberry jam or 1 Tbs fresh crushed raspberries

Find a jar with a lid. Mix together oil and vinegar in approximately a 1:1 ratio.

Here instead of vinegar I used freshly squeezed lemon juice for added freshness.

Use a strainer to keep the seeds out of the dressing.

Mix to emulsify the two together.

Here you have your basic base. I usually add a sweetener to balance the flavor of the vinegar or citrus juice and mustard to give it a little body.

Here I used my homemade raspberry jelly (you can use fresh smashed raspberries as well) and a small amount of honey mustard, but you can use any fruit or sweetener you wish to try. Shake it again, and your dressing is all ready to go.

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