Food made easy for busy moms.

Just another Saturday night… June 4, 2011

Saturday night seems to be that night of the week that my brain completely shuts down and has no clue what to cook for dinner. If I had my way, my four year old would sustain herself on the protein that she picks from her nose. I’m pretty sure that my six year old could figure out something from the bottom drawer of the refrigerator (think cheese and salami). Thankfully, I thought ahead and made my marinara sauce to wait for me in the freezer for these very days. I figured out my brain was on full shut down mode when I grabbed the can opener and actually placed it on the wine bottle to open it. Yes you read that right. So, pasta night it became. I opted to go with no meat tonight, my Buddhist vegetarian sister would be so proud.

Let’s begin with the basics; pasta preparation. I know many people who insist on putting oil in their water so that the noodles don’t stick together. I also know people who immediately rinse their noodles in fresh water. You don’t need to do either of these “tricks” for your noodles. The trick is to use an adequate size pot with enough water and a good handful of kosher salt. I typically shove my hand in the salt pig to grab about 2-3 tablespoons of salt. Bring the water to a full boil and then add in the pasta. Follow package directions for the amount of time for the noodle you are using. I like my noodles to be al dente (to the tooth), when in doubt bite a noodle to try it out. I tend to not use a strainer once my noodles are done and merely pour off as much water as I can.

Yes, you could use the basic marinara sauce recipe as is if you want or you could be like me and tweak with it. I decided to dice up half of a red pepper and a green pepper, slice up the five organic mushrooms that my husband picked up from Homegrown Market, sliced up kalamata olives, added in about 2 tablespoons of capers, and about 1/4 cup red wine (I was drinking Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 this particular night). I let this come to a simmer and just before serving I added in finely chopped flat leaf parsley and basil. Top with freshly grated Parmigino Reggiano (please splurge for this) and you have an excellent meal. Enjoy and here’s to those thoughtless nights.


Three Bean Salad May 4, 2011

Filed under: Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 6:54 am
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This salad is a wonderful pairing with grilled salmon and can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

1 can dark red kidney bean, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch green onion, sliced (white and green parts)
½ – ¾ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, sometimes referred to as Italian parsley
2 lemons
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a serving bowl combine the three beans, green onions and chopped parsley.  Squeeze the juice from the two lemons over the beans.  Add in the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and lightly toss the salad together.


Marinara Sauce

Filed under: Comfort Food,Pasta,The Basics,Vegetarian,What's for Dinner? — alaskafoodmom @ 5:57 am
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Homemade marinara sauce is very easy to prepare and can be made on the weekend to store in the freezer for use later.  This is a basic recipe and can certainly have other ingredients added according to preference.   Some additional ingredient ideas would be red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, shredded carrot, sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, capers, and/or kalamata olives.

6 medium sized onions

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 – 32oz cans whole peeled tomatoes

1 large container fresh basil

1 head garlic

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, heat up olive oil over medium heat.  Add chopped onions and cook until translucent.  In a blender, mix together the whole tomatoes with peeled whole garlic and basil leaves.  Blend until just mixed together.  Add to stockpot with dried oregano, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer on medium low heat for about 30 minutes.  Transfer sauce to prepared containers and allow to cool to room temperature before storing in the freezer.