Whether you are new to cooking or an experienced chef, everyone can use a little help in the kitchen sometimes. Here is a comprehensive kitchen cheat sheet for you to fall back on whenever you are in doubt. We find it useful and we hope you do too!
Whenever I make Old Fashioned Spaghetti Sauce, I always freeze a couple of pints. These make great back up dinner meals on hectic weeknights. Just thaw, reheat and serve over spaghetti noodles or use to make any number of other pasta dishes.
I have wonderful childhood memories of spaghetti. Of all the dishes my mother fixed, this was one of my favorites. She would always leave the sauce to simmer the day away while Dad read the Sunday paper and watched football on TV. It didn’t take long before I began to associate the smell of spaghetti with family and lazy days at home. Even now when I make spaghetti for my own family, I have an odd craving for the sound of football playing in the background.
Like my Dad, Corey is a no nonsense eater. No onions. Hold the garlic. Nothing fancy. (Of course, unless we are talking desserts. Now that is a different story.) This is one of the many reasons I thoroughly enjoy cooking for the farmers markets. I can explore any ingredient including exotic spices and far away dishes without the face of a picky eater staring me down. So be assured this spaghetti sauce recipe is one that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy.
Old Fashioned Beef Spaghetti Sauce
Brown beef in 3-4 quart pan over medium heat. Drain fat. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir and allow to cook for an additional 30 seconds to season meat.
Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and herbs. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for at least two hours. If sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat slightly.
Serve over angle hair spaghetti.
Note: Today’s pictures are actually one of the sauces we sell at the farmers market. I took the basic recipe for Old Fashioned Beef Spaghetti Sauce, tweaked it considerably and added onions, minced garlic and carrots to make our Lamb Bolognese Sauce.
Since we began selling Rose Veal at the farmers market, I have had several customers ask for recipes for ground veal. I posted a blog last week on Pasta with Veal, Capers, and White Wine and today I have another great recipe for Veal Stuffed Peppers.
I also have a recipe for Awesome Meatloaf that I will post in coming weeks. It uses a trio of ground meats include pork, beef, and veal.
Veal Stuffed Peppers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse rice under cold water. Put in small pan with 3/4 cup water and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow rice to sit for 15 minutes. Rice should be slightly soggy.
Slice the tops off of the peppers and remove seeds and stems. Dice tops, leaving the bottoms whole as they will serve as the bowls for the stuffing mix.
In a medium skillet brown veal and drain fat. Add celery, onion, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and tomato and cook until onions are translucent and vegetables start to soften. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a medium bowl, combine cooked rice, oregano, parsley, cooked veal and vegetables, cheese, and most of the breadcrumbs. Stir until evenly distributed.
Spoon stuffing mix into pepper bowls. Place in a loaf pan with one inch of water in the bottom. Sprinkle with additional panko bread crumbs.
Bake for 45 minutes.
When peppers are done remove from oven and top with additional cheese.
Note: As someone who tries to shop seasonally for vegetables from my local farmers market, I tend to improvise quite often in my recipes. I happened to have had beautiful dirt grown tomatoes and zucchinis when I wrote this recipe. Feel free to add, subtract, or swap based on your preferences. Other choices include various types of squash or eggplant. In the winter months I substitute stewed tomatoes.
*Because I add whatever vegetables I have on hand, my stuffing often outgrows my bowls. The above recipe is intended for two large peppers but I often end up with enough stuffing mix for four. If this is the case, simply stuff the extra two peppers and freeze them in a sealed baggy before cooking them. Later I pull them out, allow them to partially thaw, and then bake.
I have lots and lots of cook books… some by celebrity chefs, a full arsenal of soup & stew cookbooks, and those with irresistible photos on the covers. But truth be told, there are only six books that really qualify as my go to cookbooks. What are they?
My most basic recipes from macaroni and cheese to apple crisp come from my Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. I can’t remember when or where I received this cookbook – I believe it was a wedding present years ago. My mother had one. My grandmother had one. If I was told to pick only one, this would be my first choice for its wholesome tried-and-true home style recipes.
I am not a big baker, I prefer recipes that can easily adjust to whatever ingredients are in season. I am definitely a dice and dump cook as I seldom measure ingredients. But even I will admit nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread. When I am in the mood for baking these are the three books I go to.
The Best-Ever Book of Bread by Christian Ingram is my all time favorite bread cookbook. I don’t know of any type of bread that is not in this cookbook. Even when I receive recipes from customers or find interesting recipes in magazines or on websites, I always compare them to recipes found in this book.
Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. This book revolutionized the way I think about cooking. It’s not so much about recipes as it is about ratios of ingredients.
Farm Journal’s Country Fair Cookbook. This is the book I turn to when looking to bake a unique cake, pie, or other sweet treat. It has an endless supply of great desserts and sweet breads. This was actually one of Corey’s cookbooks when he was in 4-H.
I love to can and preserve fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak. Whether it is jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, or preserves there is a certain feeling of self accomplishment and preservation that comes from having a cellar full of canned food. I have two books I constantly go to during the peak of the growing season.
Home & Garden’s Home Canning and Freezing. This is a hand-me-down from Corey’s Grandmother. Open it up and you will find notes from three generations of women. (By the way, if you aren’t writing in your cookbooks, you need to. I am constantly making notes about what I like and don’t like as well as changes I have made to recipes.)
Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving. This is a relatively new addition to my library. I love the new and creative twists it adds to old school jams, jellies, and relishes. Although I have only tried a few of the recipes thus far, it has twice as many as my H&G Home Canning and Freezing cookbook.
What are your favorite cookbooks?
Did you know… Properly handled meat stored in a freezer at 0°F (-18 °C) will always be safe as long as it hasn’t thawed. It’s safe because the bacteria has entered a dormant stage. For best quality, store ground meat no more than 4 months; whole cuts, 12 months; and cooked meats, 3 months. Storage for a longer period of time is not dangerous, but flavor/texture can deteriorate. So be sure to date packages before you put them in the freezer!