Bolognese Sauce

I just finished reading the book, “Dinner: A Love Story” over the long Memorial Day weekend (that link is to her blog). It was a fun read and a creative perspective on how your cooking style changes as your family dynamics change. That book coupled with my other recent read, Bread and Wine had my mind fresh on how much I love to cook, but how little I write about what I am cooking these days! I’m still cooking dinner every night in my kitchen even if it’s showing up so much less around here lately.

Today I was reminded of the book because I had a lot of time on my hands (hence this post!). This is a rare thing to have happen! The weather is stormy and hot, the kids are a bit bored, the baby is asleep and dinner is still several hours away. My FIL and niece will be in town tonight also, and I’m not sure if they’ll be joining us for dinner or not. I’d need something that either makes great leftovers or will feed a crowd. All those circumstances married up in my head and gave me the idea to try making a bolognese sauce…from SCRATCH! I made sure I had everything on hand and whaddyaknow? I did! This recipe didn’t hale from either book by the way. Even though…I’m pretty sure there is a recipe in there for something along these lines. Here is where this recipe is from originally. I tweaked it just a scooch.

It took me about 45 minutes to one hour to assemble the ingredients and do all the steps. As I said, I had a lot of time on my hands. This is one of those dishes I think shouldn’t be rushed. And now, we wait! 3 hours to be exact.  I plan to pair this with some fresh-baked bread and salad by the way. Oh and Rigatoni for the vehicle of the sauce. (P.S. I’m kicking myself as I type this because I realize I left out the prosciutto! I even have some! I might saute some prosciutto and mushrooms and toss those in what is already simmering…)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 package sweet italian ground turkey links (casings removed)
3 ounces prosciutto, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced (I used 2 small)
5-6 white button mushrooms, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/3 cup red wine
1 cup milk
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf

Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
salted butter

Here are my abbreviated directions:

1. In a LARGE pot (it’s a lot of sauce!) with a few swoops of EVOO, saute sausages (and prosciutto!) over medium-high heat and crumble into small pieces. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add onions and 1 tablespoon of real, salted butter. Lower the heat after about 1-2 minutes and just leave the onions alone! Let them caramelize by cooking low and slow. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside (I just plopped them on top the meat).

3. Add to pan carrots, celery and mushrooms and a bit more butter. Saute until tender.

4. Add to pan the crushed garlic and the tomato paste. Incorporate well into the veggies and allow to cook 1-2 minutes. Add wine and stir well! Add back in the meat, onions, and prosciutto. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup milk and stir well.  Allow to cook 1-2 minutes. Add beef broth and can of diced tomatoes (and pray it all fits in your pan). Stir well!

5. Add 1 bay leaf, nutmeg, and some Kosher salt. I used some Brittany Gray salt my sister gave me for my birthday (1/2 tsp).

6. Let this simmer for 3 hours! We’ll see what the verdict is soon.

**After 3 hours of simmering, it seemed like something was missing. So here’s what I added just by taste:

-a splash of balsamic vinegar
-1 tablespoon of sugar
-3 squeezes of dijon mustard

And now it’s AMAZING!

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Bobby’s Lighter “Tastes Like Lasagna” Soup

This soup tastes amazing! And it has only 225 calories per 1 cup serving!  My children even liked this (I cut the veggies up very small).

Tastes Like Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoons EVOO (or grapeseed oil)
1 lb Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped (i used a vidalia!)
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1, 32-oz container chicken broth
1, 15-oz can tomato sauce
1, 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I just used red pepper flakes)
4 oz broken, whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil
3 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot/soup pot. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8-10 min.

2. Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt and red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally about 20 minutes. Add the noodles. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until noodles are tender; 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheeses and basil. Serve!

* This recipe would be great even w/o the noodles

* Why not try making your own broth for this one?

Low Cal Turkey and Dumplings

Pot O' Goodness

Sweet and Salty Salad

After the joys of Thanksgiving, we had quite a few turkey leftovers. I was so “turkey’ed-out” that I had to just put it in the freezer so that I could find the stomach to do something with all that turkey.

2 weeks later and I was ready! I found a great and low calorie (389 calories per 1 cup serving) recipe that I wanted to share with you.

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked and chopped turkey (light and dark meat)
1 & 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 T butter
3 Cans low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1/2 C chopped onion (I used a yellow one)
1 C chopped carrots
1 C chopped celery
1 1/2 C quartered mushrooms
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 t baking powder
1/4 C parsley (fresh or otherwise)
1/2 t salt
1/2 C non fat milk

Directions:
1. In a large stock pot, heat butter on med-high heat. Add onion, carrot, mushroom, garlic and celery. Season with salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer/cook down for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.

2. Add 1/4 C flour to vegetables, stirring so that the flour is nicely incorporated throughout the veggies. SLOWLY, add 3 cans of chicken broth, stirring constantly while adding. Add turkey and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to low and allow to simmer 10 minutes.

3. In a bowl, mix 1 C flour, parsley, baking powder, salt, milk and parsley. When soup has simmered 10 minutes, drop flour mixture by spoonfuls on top of the soup. Cover tightly and to cook for 10-15 additional minutes. The dough balls will puff up significantly.

Sweet and Salty Salad
Ingredients:
2 C baby spinach
1/2 C sliced strawberries
1/2 C sliced red seedless grapes
2-3 T crumbled feta cheese
1/3 C walnuts
raspberry vinaigrette dressing

1. Combine all ingredients and lightly top with dressing. (I love to use Wishbone’s spray dressings. The Raspberry Bliss Vinaigrette is excellent on this salad and there are only 10 calories per spritz!)

Wish-Bone® Salad Spritzers® Raspberry Bliss® Vinaigrette Dressing

This was a hit with even my kids people! Hope you enjoy 😀

Greek Style Skillet Supper

This week, I made a recipe that I’ve tried only once before, but couldn’t remember how well the family and I had liked it last time. The recipe is from McCormick seasonings and is a bit different, but oh so good! I tweaked it just a tinge so here is my version.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb ground beef (I prefer it with ground turkey!)
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used yellow)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) beef broth
2 C whole wheat penne pasta, uncooked (I cooked it just a scooch before hand…say 3 minutes in boiling water)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
1 1/2 C fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
1 small can tomato paste (I think they are 4 oz or less)
2 t Oregano
1/2 t ground cinnamon (yes, cinnamon!)
1/2 t garlic powder
3/4 C crumbled feta cheese, divided

Directions:
1. In large skillet, brown beef with onion over medium-high heat. Drain fat.
2. Return to skillet, add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta. Return to boil and simmer, covered, 8 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes, green beans, paste and spices. Return to boil. Stir in 1/2 C feta. Simmer uncovered, 7 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. ( I actually added a can of water to my version because it was so thick.) Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.  Makes 6 servings.

Tasty and healthy Greek Skillet

Spicy Turkey Sliders

Tonight I made a new dish I’ve been making all summer long and I realized that the recipe isn’t up on She Cooks! Craziness I tell ya!

I made this recipe up after watching my friend Crystal throw together some turkey burgers one night. It’s a super fun and quick way to change things up. They have fresh jalapenos in them, but they are not *hot*, just mildly spicy. I leave the jalapenos out when I make the first couple of patties so that the kids can enjoy them with us. They love the little buns! These are great on the new Sarah Lee wheat slider buns or on wheat hawaiian rolls.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 C oats
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 egg white
1 t Adobo
1/2 t Oregano

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Roll into small balls, then lightly press to flatten. Cook on the grill or on an indoor grill like the George Foreman. Top with your choice of cheese and slider buns and enjoy!

P.S. Hopefully I’ll get a picture of these up soon…but we just eat them so quick! HA!