Thursday, September 15, 2011

Potato Pancakes

As a child of a polish mother, potato pancakes were a staple in my diet, especially around Easter for lent. This past weekend my mother and I made them together and it brought back a lot of memories. My mom to this date makes the best potato pancakes in this world.

Potato Pancakes with Applesauce

4 Large Potatoes shredded
¼ to ½ grated or diced onion
2-3 tablespoons of flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
Enough oil to coat the bottom of your frying pan

First peel and shred your potatoes. According to my mom, this must be done by hand because they taste better that way. If you are busy a food processor will suffice. Another tip, use fresh potatoes because they are better with fresh potatoes. Either grate or dice your onion and add to the mix to a large bowl. Then add 2-3 tablespoons of flour, depending on the water content of the potatoes. You really do not want to add a lot of flour to this recipe because you want to taste the fresh potatoes. If you add too much flour it will taste like paste, trust me it happened the first time I ever made them. Then add your baking powder, egg, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Bring your oil up to frying temp and place the potato mixture in the pan. You may need to flatten it a bit with a spatula. Cook until golden brown on both sides, flipping it halfway through. Drain on a paper towel. These are best served right out of the frying pan so try to make them on the spot. My mother grew up eating them with applesauce so that is the way we eat them, but there are plenty of other options. You can eat with sour cream, ketchup, or even maple syrup. My dad eats them with maple syrup, I’m actually a bit repulsed by it but I have to admit there was a time I used to eat them like that. If you are feeling fancy, make them bite sized and top with sour cream and caviar, when I ate caviar, I thoroughly enjoyed them like that.

This is what the mixture should look like

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One Last Lemonade

You know the old saying when life gives you lemons you make lemonade? Well it’s more like life has been chucking them at me, in the face and then laughing at me. Since that is a bit more dramatic I figured spicing up some homemade lemonade with herbs, fruit and spirits, would be appropriate.

As anyone from Philadelphia knows, Art in the Age RHUBY has hit shelves and bars and has been the talk of the town. I was one of the unfortunate souls that have not tried RHUBY yet. The anticipation was killing me especially since SNAP and ROOT are some of my favorites.

Being that it is the end of summer I thought that one last lemonade would help ease me into the pumpkin frenzy that is fall and RHUBY would be the perfect addition to my lemonade.

Strawberry RHUBY lemonade
3 Strawberries
4 basil leaves
1 shot of RHUBY
Homemade lemonade (recipe below)
A bit of sparkling water to top it off

First muddle your strawberries and basil then add RHUBY and top off with homemade lemonade and sparkling water or club soda. Pass back and forth in a glass with ice to ensure your drink is refreshingly cold.

Homemade lemonade
1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup simple syrup (1/2 natural sugar, ½ water brought to a boil)
4 cups of sparkling water

You can add more simple sugar and or more or less water if you’d like. It is all your taste preference.

I have to say I absolutely love this drink creation and I cannot wait to drink more RHUBY! It is a true gem! Thank you Art in the Age for another beautiful spirit.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Foodspotting Hot Dog Crawl

Stuffing my face with The Big Kahuna
A vegetarian on crutches in Philly on a hot dog crawl…can it get much more outrageous? No probably not!
My fellow foodspotters and I ventured out on a fine Tuesday night in Philly to taste some of the finest dogs we could find. Obviously I opted out of most of the tastings. Sorry Brauhaus and Supper, your dogs looked and smelled amazing, but the whole reason I went on the crawl was for Hot Diggity! They offer vegetarian Worthington Linketts dogs! I haven't been able to chow down on a veggie dog outside of my home or Citizens Bank Park in awhile and guess what I am hooked! 

I did have potato pancake from Brauhaus and I must say it was pretty tasty!
kasewurst from Brauhaus Schmitzs
Mitch the chef and owner of Supper made the Supper dogs that day from scratch!

 The Big Kahuna dog was my favorite hot dog of all time. The sweetness and the spiciness was absolutely perfect!

The Big Kahuna from Hot Diggity
 The Seattle Grunge was a close second! I never thought of putting cream cheese on a hot dog! 
The Seattle Grunge
I cannot wait to try the other dogs I saw!

The Saigon Fusion
The Windy City
I’m so excited that I found a place with delicious veggie dogs and delicious toppings that my meat eaters friends can enjoy too!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan

During the summer month’s zucchini and eggplant roll in faster than most gardeners can use them. My parents neighbor gave us 2 nice eggplant and my parents had a zucchini. So, what better to make than Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan? 

First cut the zucchini and eggplant into 1/8 to1/4 inch slices depending on desired thickness.

Beat two eggs with salt and pepper and dip zucchini and or eggplant into eggs.

and then into Italian seasoned bread crumbs.

Fry in vegetable or canola oil until golden brown on each side.

Place fried pieces on a paper towel to drain.

Add homemade sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13 or casserole. Add zucchini and eggplant top with more sauce and then mozzarella cheese. I used both zucchini and eggplant in one casserole so that I could have a little bit of each.

Bake at 350 until cheese is golden brown.

Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce. For meat eaters you can make Chicken Parmesan or serve the Eggplant and Zucchini Parmesan with sausage or meatballs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summertime Kebabs

Grilling with a few friends in the summer is always a fun time and kebabs make it even better! I love the taste and smell of grilled veggies, for me there is nothing better, ok I still do love the smell of meat on the grill, but grilled veggies have my heart.

For the meat eaters we made chicken and steak, for the vegetarians, ok just me, we made veggie kebabs.

I must mention that the old way of doing kebabs was mixing the meat and veggies, but the possibility of cross contamination due to differing cooking times is likely. Now it is better to grill the veg on their own skewers and the meat on their own as well.

The first trick is to soak your kebabs in water for about a half hour before you skewer the food on them and throw them on the grill. The second is to marinate your meat or veg for a half hour as well. You can use whatever marinade you like, ours are below.

Veggie Kebabs

Always use an assortment it’s much prettier that way. We used onions, green, yellow, orange, and red bell peppers, cherry and plum tomatoes. Once again marinate with Italian dressing and salt and pepper, or grill seasoning.

Chicken Kebabs

Cut chicken into manageable pieces for skewers. Marinate with Italian dressing and grill seasoning making sure all of the pieces are coated.

Steak Kebabs

Cut steak (almost any kind will do) into manageable pieces for skewers. Marinate with grill seasoning and A1 steak sauce making sure all of the pieces are coated.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Warm Indian Spiced Potato Salad

I’ve made this potato salad a few times and I loved it. I just keep forgetting to write an exact recipe down. This is still not an exact recipe because I tend to measure by taste and smell, but this is as close as I’m going to get. When I was a meat eater this went well with chicken or steak. Now I can just eat a bowl full with a side of veg and be completely satisfied. I love all of the spices with the vinegar, oil, and warm potatoes, it is a bit indulgent but I love it. It just makes me feel warm and comfortable.  

6 large red skin potatoes skin on
few dashes of red wine vinegar
few dashes of olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dehydrated onion
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Start by boiling your cubed potatoes for about 15 minutes or until tender. Once the potatoes are cooked coat with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Do not add too much liquid only enough to keep the mixture moist. Then add your spices and mix being careful not to break up the potatoes too much. Serve warm and enjoy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Angel Hair Frittata

The other morning I got a craving for eggs, but I had leftover angel hair pasta that I had to use so I figured I’d make a frittata. The angel hair had homemade marinara so I didn’t have to add much, but you can add sundried tomatoes, meatballs, sausage, mozzarella, daiya mozzarella, olives, pretty much anything you can think of. I made a small sized frittata for one but I had enough to eat it for leftovers the following day.

I started by heating the pasta in a small pan and then scrambled 2 eggs with a bit of milk, salt, and pepper. Poor the egg mixture over the pasta, make sure the egg mixture and pasta is even. Now once you’ve cooked the egg thoroughly on one side you can either toss it under the broiler (the way you make a traditional frittata) or flip it like an omelet. I sprinkled some pecorino romano and fresh cracked black pepper and then topped it with fresh basil.

I haven’t made one of these in a long time but it was a fantastic way to finish leftovers and enjoy my eggs!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tomato Sandwich

If there is one particular food that sparks memories of my childhood in the summer it is a tomato sandwich. My dad got started me on eating them. We'd take sunbeam white bread or sometimes Italian white sandwich bread, spread miracle whip on both sides, add slices of a perfectly ripe tomato from our garden, and some salt and pepper. The soft white bread, the juicy tomatoes, the miracle whip and tomato juice running down the sides of my hand, I can just imagine it now. For those of you that I've upset in the food world by using words such as sunbeam bread and miracle whip, I apologize but sometimes tradition calls for foods we don't normally eat.

Now onto the sandwich I actually created for today's post. It was made with wonderful ciabatta bread from Alice Bakery, organic basil mayo, fresh tomatoes from our garden, and fresh cracked salt and pepper. I used jarred organic mayo and chopped up my own fresh organic basil to make the basil mayo. It was wonderful and much higher class than my usual, but I have to admit that I still prefer my old standby.

As an adult I'd like to say that my pallet is more refined and that I dislike that childhood sandwich and I prefer my own grown up version, but I'm lying. Sure the tomatoes, bread, and mayo may be organic now but I still prefer white organic grocery store bread to artisanal bread, there's just something about it.

What's your favorite food memory from childhood and/or summertime?

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Unfortunately, I have a torn deltoid ligament and a bone injury so cooking is a bit of a challenge. I hope to be back on my feet in less than a month.Until then the posts are going to be simple recipes and restaurant reviews.

This week my friend and I went to Ooka, a Japanese restaurant in Montgomeryville.

We started out with Peeky Toe Crab Taco’s they are currently a special at Ooka and Peeky Toe crabs are only available a few months out of the year, so I highly suggest going to get them ASAP. They were tiny tacos that were super crunchy and filled with Peeky Toe crab and a corn salsa. They were better than we expected.  Delicious taco’s at a Japanese restaurant, who would have thought!  

 Peeky Toe Crab Tacos

For our next dishes my friend ordered the Tempura Udon, which is Udon noodles in a fish and seaweed flavored stock with spinach, scallion, shitake mushrooms. Served on the side are tempura shrimp and seasonal vegetables. The flavor was a bit strong for me but she loved the dish.



I had the Mushroom To-ban, exotic Japanese mushrooms served in a Hot-pot with yuzo-soy sauce. This had to be the most outstanding dish of the night. The waiter brought it out in a hot-pot and took the lid off. Then tons of steam and aroma released and begged you to dig in, but clearly you have to wait until it cools down because it was bubbling. Once it finally cools down and you have a bite, it is delectable. It was one of the most amazing mushroom dishes I have ever had and I almost missed it on the menu. It is entirely gluttonous and rich so I would share it with people or take some home. 

 Mushroom To-ban (you can see it bubbling)

For our main meals we each ordered sushi. My friend ordered the Ooka Shrimp Dragon Roll, which was gorgeous! It is tempura shrimp, eel, avocado, tobiko, and eel sauce. She loved it. 

 Ooka Shrimp Dragon Roll

I ordered the Mixed Vegetable Roll and the Asparagus and Pumpkin Tempura Roll. For those of you who know me, know that, I hate tempura in my sushi. Cold and fried is not in my vocab! As a vegetarian there are very limited options for rolls without tempura so every so often I order one. I am so happy I ordered the Asparagus and Pumpkin Tempura Roll because the fried flavor actually worked with this sushi! Yumm!

I like their Mixed Vegetable Roll too, it is my old standby when I go to Ooka, nothing that stands out too much about it, but it is a good vegetable roll. 

 Mixed Vegetable Roll and the Asparagus and Pumpkin Tempura Roll

Last but not least I have to at least mention the drinks. I had two mojito’s; peach and key lime. I’m not always impressed by Ooka’s drinks but I absolutely loved the peach mojito! Although, the key lime was a bit of a let down, so I won’t be getting that again.

 Peach Mojito

Key Lime Mojito

764 Bethlehem Pike
Montgomeryville PA 18936

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Italian Sausage and Peppers

So I tried once with Tofurky’s Italian sausage and I failed, miserably. A few people recommended Field Roast’s Italian Sausage. I held out for almost a year and I finally gave in a tried it. Unfortunately, it failed miserably in my book as well. This time I cooked the sausage on the stove because it was raining outside. After a few bites I took the sausage off, fed it to Rigley and just ate my sea salted roll from Alice Bakery and Confectionery with the sauteed onions and peppers. Next time I get a craving for sausage and peppers, I’m going to just stick with the onions and peppers on a roll because it does the trick and satisfies my cravings. I guess I am going to put the fake meat on hold again and leave it to the professionals.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spicy Curry Spaghetti with Chickpeas

My coworker and I were talking and one of them said they added curry powder to their sauce, so with that thought in my head I created this recipe…Italy meet India! Italians make pasta e ceci, which is just pasta in a red sauce with chickpeas. Chickpeas are also heavily used in Indian cooking and they are a good source of protein. That’s a win win situation to me! It’s also something that meat eaters and even vegans can enjoy.


1lb of spaghetti
2 tbs of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 hot pepper I used a Hungarian wax from my garden
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes diced
I would have diced a real onion but I didn’t have one but I had some dehydrated onion from whole foods so I used that.
1 can of drained rinsed chickpeas
Fresh Basil
Fresh Oregano
Dried Italian seasoning
About 2 tsp of curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook your Spaghetti according to packaged directions. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add your garlic and your hot pepper. One they are soft add your tomatoes, dehydrated onion, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, curry powder, chickpeas, and salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes until the tomatoes breakdown and your sauce comes together.

 (side note: the beautiful purple basil is from my garden)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Growing up ½ Polish Haluski, also known as Cabbage and Noodles was a mainstay in my diet and I loved it since I was a child even though I’m not a huge fan of butter and cabbage used to gross me out. Now as an adult it is a perfect veg side or main dish that brings me back to childhood.

1 package of medium egg noodles
1 onion diced
1 head of cabbage chopped into strips 2” by 1”
1 stick of butter

First get your noodles going and then add half of your stick of butter to a separate pan. Saute the onions for about a minute and then add your cabbage, adding more butter as needed. Cook until the cabbage is soft and then add your noodles. You want to add more butter now. Cook until the noodles and cabbage get a bit browned. Top with salt, pepper, and paprika.You can serve this as a main dish during lent or as a side with Kielbasa, just don't try it with Tofurky Kielbasa!

It is so simple and easy so go ahead and try it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grammy Jenny's Mac N Cheese

My mom has been making this Mac N Cheese as far back as I can remember and she learned how to make it from her mom. This simple recipe has been in our family for generations and I've never seen anyone make a Mac N Cheese quite this way. I actually make a ton of different Mac N Cheese, but this by far is my favorite and most comforting recipe.

1 Box of Elbow Macaroni (whole wheat or semolina, I used whole wheat to change it up a bit)
1/2 lb to 3/4lb of cheddar cheese grated plus a little extra (sharp and longhorn or all sharp)
1 can of stewed tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni in salted water according to packaged instructions, but do not let it get overcooked. Once the pasta is cooked drain it well and add it to a casserole or even a pyrex, I prefer old corningware, but use what you have. Then add the grated cheese, this is where you can use your judgement, if 1/2 lb looks fine then stick with it but if you want more cheese add more, but save some for the top. Then mix in the stewed tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste, I like a lot of pepper in this Mac N Cheese, but it's your call. Once everything is mixed together, bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. I like the top a little crunchy, but once again it is your preference. If you don't want it crunchy you may want to take it out even at 30 minutes. 


You can serve this as a main meal with a salad or veggies, or as a side with some sort of meat. I am dying to try and make this vegan with daiya, so I will have to post it, when I try it out. This is one of my families favorite recipes and I hope it becomes one of yours!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Wow it’s been awhile! Unfortunately I let my life get in the way a little but I am back to blogging because I love cooking and writing about it and we all need to do what makes us happy.
Tofurky Kielbasa

Being half Polish I grew up eating Kielbasa. My grandfather actually used to make it and everyone knew it was the best in town, maybe even the world. I really miss being able to eat Kielbasa so I figured I would try Tofurky Kielbasa, even though I was less than impressed with their Italian sausage .

Unfortunately their Kielbasa was even worse. It had a disgusting mealy texture and kind of tasted like playdoh. Heck I may have rather eaten playdoh at that point. I can’t even describe the bad taste and texture in its entirety so I’m not even going to try. I ended up eating just a big bowl of sauerkraut that night, but I could not choke down the Kielbasa no matter how hungry I was.

I’m so utterly disappointed in Tofurky at this point it has almost turned me off to fake meat entirely. Fortunately, I’ve had great fake meat at places like Blackbird Pizza and A Full Plate. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something….I should not cook fake meat for myself, it should be left to the professionals…or…maybe it’s that tofurky’s a really bad choice since you never really liked turkey to begin with, try something else like field roast.

I think it will be a while until I try field roast because I have to muster up the gut to do so, but I will make sure report back when I do. For now please view a sauerkraut recipe and a meat Kielbasa recipe (you’d cook the tofurky the same way but I suggest you take my word for it that it was bad, disgustingly bad).


1 bag or large jar of sauerkraut drained and rinsed
2 cloves of minced garlic
½ a diced apple
¼ an onion
¼ cup of water

Put all ingredients together in a large pot and cook until everything is tender. The apple takes out the tartness of the sauerkraut and the garlic and onion add a ton of flavor.


Add Kielbasa to a pan and add enough water to come 1/4 -1/2 way up the Kielbasa, boil the Kielbasa until hot and water evaporates. You can add some olive oil at the point it you wish and then  just brown the Kielbasa. I used to like regular Kielbasa with some red beet horseradish but that is not for everyone, but if you want a little spice try it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Polenta with Kale, White Beans, and Fried Egg

In the dead of winter I crave dark greens. I was also craving polenta so I decided to create something that would satisfy my cravings.  


4 cups of water
2 tsp of salt
1 cup of Polenta
1 handful of your favorite grated Italian cheese, I used Pecorino Romano
In a medium pot heat water and salt until boiling. Stream in polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until all polenta is incorporated and mixture begins to thicken. Switch to a wooden spoon, pull off heat and continue to stir until thick as paste. Then stir in pecorino romano.
2 cloves of garlic 1 bunch of dinosaur kale.
For the greens sautee the garlic in evoo and then add the kale and cook to your desired consistency. I do not like mine too mushy. Then add a can of drained rinsed white beans and heat through.

Right before everything is ready Fry an Egg in butter and Top with Salt and Pepper. I like to leave my yolk runny so that when I piece it the yolk runs down through the greens and the polenta.

To assemble put the polenta in a bowl, add the beans, greens, and the top with the egg.

It was a wonderful winter meal and it served my craving right. Polenta may be a poor mans food but to me it is the perfect comfort food. It was warm and creamy and the dark greens were just what I needed.

My husband doesn’t eat green’s so I topped his polenta with grilled chicken, peas and a fried egg. He doesn’t normally like polenta but he gave this a try and he really liked it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Philly Restaurant Week-Barbuzzo

A couple of friends and I decided we wanted to go to dinner for Philly restaurant week. It’s a week in Philly Sun-Fri where you can get a three course lunch for $25 and a three course dinner for $35. We were debating between Barbuzzo and Tinto, but I’m really happy we decided on Barbuzzo. At Barbuzzo we actually got four courses.

For the first course we each got two Crostini, Smashed Fava-Goat Cheese Crostini and Smoky Chickpea Crostini. The Crostini were a perfect start to the dinner. As a table we agreed that the Chickpea Crostini were the best. 

For our second course we had a choice between Sheep’s Milk Ricotta, Roasted Beets, and a Meatball Slider. My friend and I choose the Ricotta, while our other friend choose the Meatball Slider. If I were a meat-eater this choice would have been much more difficult. The meatball slider smelled amazing and my friend said it was great. However, I think the Ricotta would have won it for me anyway. It was hands down the best Ricotta Cheese I’ve ever had in my life. I didn’t even need the bread, I could have just eaten it with a spoon. It was so smooth and creamy, it melted in my mouth. My other friend agreed that it was amazing.

For the main course we had the choice of House Extruded Tufoli, Oven Roasted Murrays Chicken Breast, Grilled Bronzino, Pan Seared Gnocchi (could be made veg), or Capricciosa Pizza (could be made veg). Surprisingly, we all choose the Gnocchi, but I asked for mine to be made vegetarian. It was made with prosciutto, mushrooms, and homemade truffle butter. It was good, but my gnocchi and my mothers are better. The others really loved it though and thought my standards were too high and I have to agree.

For the dessert course we had a choice of Blood Orange Tiramisu or Salted Caramel Budino. We all choose the Budino, and thank god we did because we practically licked the jar when we were done. The budino is a layer of chocolate cookie crust, a thick and rich butterscotch pudding, salted caramel and whipped cream in a small (too small in my opinion) mason jar. We could have not asked for a better ending to our evening at Barbuzzo, it was so simple, but yet so flavorful. It just blew me away. I had no idea I would leave a changed woman, but I am. The Budino at Barbuzzo is simply one of the best desserts I’ve ever had…It is to die for!

I would honestly pay full price for any of their menu items and I will definitely be back for the budino!

110 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-546-9300

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bringing a Little Bit of Summer Back

It is blistering cold out side and the snow is here to stay so I need a little bit of a reminder of summer. Fresh light and healthy dishes are a great way to have the taste of summer while cranking your heater up to 75!

The smell of steak floating through the air always brings me back to summer so I decided that's what Dom was having and I figured the goat cheese would lighten up a bit.

Steak with Goat Cheese

Simply season your steak with salt and pepper. Then sear in a metal pan with butter. About 2-3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Then add top with goat cheese.

Dom’s not a true fan of goat cheese like I am, but he really enjoyed this steak. It was simple and perfect and now is one of his favorites.

For me I created a light white bean burger with a lot of flavor.

White Bean Burger with Goat Cheese

1 ½ -2 cups of cooked white beans

Seasonings: Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

First soak your beans in water overnight and cook until tender according to package instructions. Then mash with a fork, a potato masher’s holes are too big. Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder to your liking, a generous pinch of each. Form into burgers 3-4 and sear in a little bit of evoo until golden brown on each side. Be careful flipping these burgers, since they fall apart easier than normal bean burgers. Top with goat cheese. If you want to make these vegan just omit the goat cheese.

 I like this patty because it is pure protein a lot of veggie burgers are loaded with egg’s and breadcrumbs so this is a healthier version.

I ate these for left-over’s on homemade rolls from Alice bakery with lettuce and tomato and they were wonderful!

To go along with out steak and white bean burgers I made oven fries, which are a lighter healthier version of deep fried fries.

Oven Fries

1 large potato or 2 small/medium potatoes per person.
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Cut potatoes into desired thickness coat in evoo and place on a baking sheet. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Cook oven fries for about 30 minutes depending on thickness.

Nothing reminds me more of summer than a fresh tomato salad, so it was the perfect paring for our dinner.

Simply cut up vine ripened tomatoes and cucumbers, toss with evoo and salt and pepper and you have a perfect summer tomato salad!

I really enjoyed bringing back a little bit of summer food in my household and I hope you incorporate some of your favorite summer recipes in your winter cooking!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Meat Sauce and Meatless Sauce

I’ve been craving meat sauce for years now. I don’t know why I haven’t made it meatless before but that’s beside the point. It was truly wonderful and for all of you vegetarians out there that miss meat it is a must try.

Meat Sauce

1 tbs of evoo
about 1 ½ lbs of  lean ground beef
¼ of a medium onion
3 to 4 cloves of minced garlic
S&P to taste
1 jar of homemade sauce (just tomatoes, salt, and basil) or some canned pureed tomatoes or you can buy diced tomatoes and puree them yourself
3 heaping tsp of tomato paste
Italian seasoning
Small pinch of hot pepper flakes
3 splashes of Merlot or whatever red wine you are in the mood for

Start by browning the meat in a large bottom pan or skillet with evoo for about 2 minutes. Breaking up the meat as you go. Then add the onions and garlic and cook until the meat is tender and breaks up to a smooth consistency. Then add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Next add your sauce or tomatoes and tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and a little pinch of hot pepper flakes (to your liking of course). Cook about 20 minutes until the sauce reduces and add a few splashes of wine. Cook another 10 minutes and serve over a ½ lb your favorite pasta, we used penne. It is important that you cook the pasta to al dente for meat sauces because mushy pasta cannot hold thick sauces. Top with any cheese you like. Dom likes Parmesan cheese.

This is your basic meat sauce and my hubby loved it! You can add peas, mushrooms or, sausage

Meatless Sauce

1 ½ tbs of butter
Drizzle of Evoo
2 8 oz packages of crimini mushrooms or 16 oz of portabellas diced
¼ of a medium sized onion
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
S&P to taste
1 jar of homemade sauce (just tomatoes, salt, and basil) or some canned pureed tomatoes or you can buy diced tomatoes and puree them yourself
2 heaping tsp of tomato paste
Italian seasoning
Small pinch of hot pepper flakes
Pinch of rosemary
3 splashes of Merlot or whatever red wine you are in the mood for

Melt the butter in a large pan and then add a drizzle of evoo and then add the mushrooms onions and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms and onions are brown and then add salt and pepper. Then add your tomato sauce, paste, Italian seasoning, pinch of rosemary, and hot pepper flakes. Let this cook about 20 minutes then add the wine and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve over a ½ lb of your favorite pasta and make sure it is al dente to hold the sauce. Top with any cheese you like, I really like Pecorino Romano for this dish.

The butter is important in this dish because it brings out the meaty flavor of the mushrooms. Also the rosemary adds a bright woodsy flavor to the sauce. My mom actually used to add mushrooms to her meat sauce, which gave me the idea to use mushrooms for mine.

I was very happy to recreate a meat sauce that actually tasted meaty. It was a welcomed treat because I’ve missed meat sauce a ton since it was a regular meal in my parents household growing up. The only thing I would change next time is that I would dice up the mushrooms a bit smaller. The smaller the dice of the mushrooms, the more it will be the consistency of a meat sauce.