Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hungry Momma Marinara

Marinara sauce is my favorite.  I was known to eat spaghetti as a teenager every single day - I think the total day count was 11 days in a row that I had eaten spaghetti.  I was working and would go pick up a Little Caesar's spaghetti and eat it after getting off of work from the BBQ join.  (crazy thing is now I crave that little joint that is no longer in business).
Anyway - somewhere down the line I have just always been known as the kid who could eat her weight in spaghetti.  I have tried to make a perfect marinara many times. This is probably as close as I have come.  It is a fast way to make a slow-cook tasting sauce.
Here is how you do it!

 Start with your favorite Olive Oil and stock pot.
Add minced or chopped fresh garlic to the oil and saute until just starting to brown.  I would do 2-3 depending on how much garlic you like.
 Add one can of petite diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings.

This time I used Cento brand - use whatever brand you like.  I do feel like with tomatoes brands matter - but that is a whole different discussion for another day.

Add one jar of your favorite sauce from the store - this is where you can add your own flair.  I think that it has turned out best when I have used the six cheese variety - but this is your call. Get creative!

Next add one can of tomato paste.  This will make it rich, and also thickens it!
 I used this organic variety for the first time.  I really liked it.

Add a little sugar.  Not too much but a little really helps give it the yummy sweet kick.
 Add about 1/4 cup + more if you like of Parmesan cheese.

Add a teaspoon of Italian Seasonings and Oregano.  Add in a pinch of Basil as well!

Now, just give it time, Cook it down low and slow for about 30 minutes.  Make sure you Salt it well and always ALWAYS taste it as you go.  You need to play this by ear and make it work to your liking.
My family likes meat sauce on their spaghetti, so I will add well seasoned fried hamburger chopped fine to this.  When I fry up my meat I add plenty of garlic powder and Italian seasoning to it as well.
However if you are making Chicken Parmesan - this sauce will stand alone!

Time for Salad!

There is nothing like a good salad in my opinion!  I have been craving my favorites as I always do when the weather turns warm.
My favorite Lettuces to start with are butter lettuce and baby greens.  Here lately I have been enjoying these salad mix ins.
Grilled Chicken
Peeled, Sliced Apples
Maple Glazed Pecans
Feta Cheese
Blueberries (if I have some fresh ones)
Balsamic Dressing