Tomato Sauce


3 cloves of Garlic, minced

1 medium Onion, diced

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes*

1 28 oz. can Whole Peeled Tomatoes*

1 tbsp Fresh Chopped Basil

S & P to taste


1. Over medium heat, add olive oil to a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan. Add diced onion and sweat until translucent.

2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

3. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Cook for 30 minutes or until desired consistency. Fold in fresh basil.

Cook's Notes:

*Preferably San Marzano Tomatoes

What's for dinner?

Here's what I made this week:

  • Top Round Steak with Roasted Red Potatoes with Lemon Parmesan Asparagus
  • Caramelized Shallot and Chicken Risotto
  • Ground Beef Tacos

  • Ham Steak with Macaroni & Cheese

Here's the Lemon Parmesan Asparagus Recipe:

1 bunch Asparagus (*Peeled if thick stalks)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Fresh squeezed Lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (Farenheit). Toss asparagus with Olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Put back in the oven for 5 more minutes. Serve and enjoy.

My Chili Recipe

This is my Chili Recipe that I've been working on:

1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1 Jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, chopped*
1 tbsp Canola/Vegetable Oil
2 # Ground Beef
1 28 oz. Can Tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 8 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tbsp Seasoning Salt
1 tbsp Ground Oregano
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and sweat until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add jalapeno, chipotles, and garlic and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Drain off fat before proceeding.

3. Add canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add all remaining seasonings and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy.

*Chipotles are dried smoked jalapeno peppers. When you find them canned, they are usually in adobo sauce. The brand I use is Goya and it's a 7 oz. can usually found in the international aisle. I only use one or two at a time so I keep them in a container in the fridge and they usually last me three-four months.

This Week's Dinner

I'm really bad about writing recipes. I spent hours each night during culinary school copying and studying recipes and I spent every Wednesday night at Williams-Sonoma cooking from recipes for two years. When I cook at home, I rarely measure and I just kind of wing it. Even if I'm going by a recipe...I tend to make a lot of changes. When people ask me for the recipe for something, I usually have to figure it out and then write a recipe up. So lately I've been trying write things down as I go so I can sit down and actually write up the recipe.

So to help me get better at writing recipes, I've decided to list what I'm making for dinner weekly. It will be helpful to have a list of meals I make often to refer back to as well.

For this week here's what I'm making/have made:

  • Cuban Pork sandwich (With leftover pork)
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Slow Cooker Country Pork Ribs with Egg Noodles
  • Beef Fajitas
  • Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage

Here's what I made last week too:

  • Pork Burritos
  • Buffalo Wings and French Fries
  • Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Glazed Carrots and Scalloped Potatoes

I'm back!

After six months, I'm finally back and ready to blog. Work was crazy with the beginning of the school year and I recently transferred to Brooklyn. Justin and I also just bought a home! We decided that a house was too much money and responsibility right now so we decided to go the condo/co-op route. We went into contract the first week of October and finally closed the end of January. It was such a stressful process and I'm so relieved that it's over. It's finally starting to feel like home.

I'm finally getting to use all of my bridal shower gifts that were in storage for a year and a half. Setting up my kitchen was so much fun! I also had stuff stashed away that I bought at Williams-Sonoma when it went on sale. I'm really lucky to have almost everything I need in my kitchen. Now my pantry is set up too and I always have food in the house.

I will be posting some recipes that I've been working on and some uses for all those gadgets in your kitchen. Suggestions are also always welcome.

Pantry Checklist

I wanted to make a checklist that you could print out for pantry essentials. Click the link to open and get print options. The first one is the basic list; the second one has the not so basic list added to the basic list.

More Pantry Notes

I broke one of my rules of keeping a lot of chicken stock and broth in the house. I was making dinner a few weeks ago, using up stuff I had in the house. I knew that I had an open container in the fridge. What I didn't know is that it only had a few tablespoons left in the box and I was trying to make a sauce. I had to make my husband run to the store to pick some up. He saved the day and the sauce was fantastic. Now there are 4 containers in my pantry so I won't be running out anytime soon.

After I posted the second pantry post, I started thinking about some things I have in my pantry that don't fit into the categories I already listed or they are more specific things in those categories. I also listed which stores you can find the ingredients at. So here are some things that you'll find in a not-so-basic pantry:

Oils-Peanut Oil and Sesame Oil are some oils you may want to have on hand. Peanut oil is great for frying and can be used as a substitute for canola or vegetable oil in Asian recipes. A lot of Asian recipes will call for Sesame Oil as part of a stir fry or as a finishing item in sauces.

Vinegars-There are hundreds of types of vinegars on the market-you'll find the most variety at stores like Whole Foods, Uncle Giuseppe's, and Williams-Sonoma. Some vinegars I use often are red wine vinegar and champagne vinegar. At these specialty stores, you can find specific types of red wine vinegar such as a Cabernet red wine vinegar.

Rice-This is an ingredient that also has many varieties. They vary in size-for example short grain vs. long grain and also the starch content in them. Arborio rice is a short grain rice and the rice most often used for risotto. The starch content in this particular type of rice is what makes the finished product so creamy. (You can also use carnaroli rice for risotto but arborio is more readily available.) Basmati rice is also a good rice to have on hand if you like to cook Indian food. This is a long grain rice that has a subtle fragrance to it.

Panko Breadcrumbs-Panko is now readily available in supermarkets. It's an Asian type of breadcrumbs. These breadcrumbs are lighter and a course cut to create a crispier crust. You can use them in the same way you would use regular breadcrumbs-flour, egg, and the panko last. They are also nice because you can use them to create a healthier recipe by baking them. Because of their texture, they are great for baking things that are traditionally fried. For example, you could make a quick baked chicken tender by coating the chicken tenders with oil, seasoning, and rolling in panko. Then bake on a cookie sheet and they will be extremely crispy on the outside.

Canned Tomatoes-There are a number of brands of canned tomatoes but my favorite type are from the San Marzano region of Italy. I don't think any other type of canned tomatoes can touch their flavor. I also find that you don't need to cook them as long as other varieties because of that great flavor. They are still a little tricky to find at regular supermarkets but the specialty shops noted above should have them. The Waldbaum's that I shop at does regularly carry them but it differs from store to store. The label usually stands out to me-they have a white background with red tomatoes around the can. The different types have different color bands on the the white label. For example, the whole peeled tomatoes have a dark green band.

Herbs de Provence-This is a dried herb blend made up of lavender, savory, thyme, fennel, and rosemary. There are sometimes other herbs in addition to these such as basil, chervil, and sage. This flavor profile is used a lot in the south of France. One of my favorite recipes uses this seasoning and some salt and pepper on a grilled flank steak with goat cheese sprinkled on top.

Smoked Paprika-There are many different spices and spice blends that you can find in the grocery store. This has been my secret ingredient lately because I'm loving the heat and the smoky flavor it brings. It's not in your face hot like chili powder or cayenne pepper. The smoke hits you subtly at the end. I use this in all recipes that call for regular paprika. You can find this at specialty shops but many supermarkets now carry specialty spices by McCormick. They are in a glass bottle with a dark lid and there are a wide variety of the spices.


About Me

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Culinary school grad figuring out how to cook for two people semi-healthy. After learning how to cook in huge batches with tons of butter and salt, this proves to be a challenge. Learning how to be a wife and homeowner.