Simple Tomato Sauce

I remembered this recipe recently that I had from my poor college days. It was cheap and fairly fast but mostly good and nutritious way to eat my noodles. Depending on what spices I put it in, it could be a zesty pizza sauce or a tomato base for various pasta dishes. This one is so simple. Only tools needed are a pot and if you like, an emersion blender (though I didn’t have this when I was in college). When you don’t start with a pre made tomato sauce, it’s a little surprising how much salt is required.

1 Tbsp olive oil

5 ripe roma tomatoes

1 large onion

5 cloves garlic

Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Cream, chili powder

Chop all your vegetables. If you’re using an emersion blender then you don’t need to chop finely. Pour some olive oil in a pot before adding vegetables on medium heat. Stir periodically to ensure even cooking. Once the onions are tender and translucent, I blend. Add Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste, it may take a little more salt but you’re starting with an unsalted base unlike pre made sauces in jars. I will admit, it won’t be a pretty red color but it’s a fresh and light sauce. For a little zestier flavor, you can add a little chili powder, it gives a milder heat without being over powering. A little goes a long way. Also, if you want to make it creamy, I add 2 Tbsp of cream right before you serve since cream has a tendency to burn.

If you want your sauce to be more tomato-y and red like traditional sauce double the tomatoes. I like the flavor of this one more than wanting that pretty red color.

If you want to be Super Healthy! I make this with spaghetti squash with some mushrooms and broccoli. Happy Cooking!

Chicken stock

Bones of a chicken carcass

Half an onion

4 cloves garlic

1 large carrot

2 stalk celery

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp salt

Add all ingredients into a large pot and cover with water.

Simmer for 6 hours and add water as needed

Stock should become opaque and smell amazing.

Strain out bones and vegetables. Allow to cool before transfer into jars.

Best vanilla frosting

2 sticks softened butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup cream

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

Beat butter until fluffy.

Add powdered sugar one cup at a time

Add in salt

Add in cream and extracts. Beat at high speed until fluffy and light. It will take an ivory color.

Chocolate chip cookies

3 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 sticks butter (softened, not room temp)

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs (room temp)

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl

Beat butter until fluffy.

Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Remember to scrape the bowl.

Add one egg at a time until incorporated

Add dry mix in three parts. Increase the speed of your mixer to not over strain the motor.

Beat in vanilla last.

Fold in chocolate chips by hand.

Scoop cookie balls into a bowl or container. Separate with parchment paper for easier removal.

Refrigerate for at least two hours (I often do this over night).

Heat oven to 350

Place parchment paper over cookie sheet.

Place cookie balls about two inches apart and smash cookie balls down to atleast a half inch thickness. This will ensure your cookies will not have over baked edges with a raw middle.

Place cookie sheet into the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 325. Ovens lose heat when opened and beginning at a higher temperature keeps the oven closer to the desired temperature. Otherwise, it begins cooking at a lower temperature and you get a less than perfect bake.

Bake about 12 minutes depending on your oven.

Remember to raise the temperature between batches. If using a convection oven, remember to adjust the oven temperature if it doesn’t do it automatically.

Cool cookies on the cookie sheet for at least two minutes before moving to cool on a cooking rack if you can.

Chocolate pudding

3 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup corn starch

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp butter

Whisk all ingredients except butter and vanilla into a saucepan.

Whisk constantly at Med high heat until thickened. May take 10 minutes, don’t get discouraged… just keep whisking.

Once thick, remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.

Pour into container or pie crust.

Refrigerate for 4-6 hours

Blondies

12 Tbsp butter melted

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs room temp

4 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup of chocolate chips and mini m&m’s or cranberries and white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350

Melt butter in a medium sized bowl.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl

Mix in brown sugar into butter and when fully mixed in add eggs one at a time.

Pour in dry ingredients and vanilla into butter mix.

Fold all together

Measure out the add ins (chocolate chips, nuts or fruit), fold into the batter

Grease a 9×13 pan. Pour batter into the pan

Bake for 22-25 minutes until the top is shiny.

Cool then cut out of pan.

When making cranberry bars, sprinkle chocolate chips on top immediately after removing from the oven. Let sit for ten minutes then spread melted chocolate across the top like a frosting. You can top it with chopped cranberries and chocolate chips

Best shredded chicken

5 chicken breasts, skinned and trimmed

5-7 large garlic cloves

1 Tbsp salt

Water

Place chicken breast in a large pot, stock pot if you’ve got one

Cover chicken with water (an inch above chicken)

Put in garlic and salt. Boil

When water is reduced to half, remove chicken and chop into four pieces width wise. Chicken should be easy to shred

Remove all but half a cup of the boiling water. Return chicken to pot and stir to shred the chicken