First up, before I start talking about my yummy plate of spaghetti this morning, I need to stand up and acknowledge my new blogging friend Jackie over at Lumps on a Blog. She bestowed a Beautiful Blogger Award upon me. Thank you so much Jackie for thinking of me, I feel honored to be in your list!
I have written out the interesting factoids about me HERE. Feel free to take a step back in time and learn more about the mom behind Mommie Cooks
A few fellow bloggers that I am excited to share this award with include:
Second, I am excited to announce that I have been chosen along with three other bloggers to host the upcoming Hebrew National Picnic here in Charlotte! You can get more information by clicking the button over on the right side of my blog, but the basic premise is a large community picnic with bands, games, food, and most important to me, a community service project to help out a local charity and give something back to our community. The date for the picnic is set for June 13th from 11:30 to 3:30 at Freedom Park. I will be providing more information as the date gets closer.
Finally, I’m a guest blogger over at Ma What’s for Dinner today. I’m excited to have a chance to write for Alex; I consider her a close foodie friend of mine. So be sure to stop by and check out her site!
Ok, on to the good stuff! Who’s in the mood for a big hearty plate of spaghetti? A good friend of mine who shall remain nameless (Hey Barbara, thanks again for a delicious dinner and the fresh meat!), had us over for dinner at her home a couple weekends back and cooked us the most delicious meal I’ve had the privilege to eat in a long time. Her home is amazing, her family is beautiful, and her cooking is incredible. Between the idyllic surroundings and the incredible presentation of the food put before us, I literally felt like I was on an episode of Barefoot Contessa. They raise their own animals on their property; organically, free range, grass fed… you know, everything that makes meat taste the way it should – DELICIOUS. They had recently slaughtered one of their pigs and one of their lambs.
After finishing up an incredible leg of lamb, we were offered to take with us, two pounds of pork sausage from their pig. There was no way I could turn this down. Not only is sausage one of my favorite foods EVER, but this particular sausage was local grown right here on the property and I knew it would be better than best.
So here I was with my sausage in hand, trying to figure out a way to use it best and of course, spaghetti came into my mind. I know it’s probably not the most creative way I could use it, but dang if I don’t love a big plate of hot steamy spaghetti. And if the sauce is done right, well, you might as well just park me at the table and say goodbye because I won’t move until every, last, bite, is licked and cleaned from the plate.
And let me tell you, this sauce (and meat!) didn’t disappoint. Every plate was licked clean in this house and there was even some sauce left over which I promptly used to make homemade pizza a couple nights later (we’ll be talking about that in a couple days when I attempt to concoct a pizza crust using my friend Butteryum’s pizza crust advice.
Here’s what you’ll need to whip up a batch of your own spaghetti delicious.
1 Pound of Ground Italian Sausage
1 Medium Onion, Diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 14.5 Oz Cans of Diced Tomatoes
1 14.5 Oz Can of Tomato Sauce
1 6 Oz Can of Tomato Paste
1 Small Handful of Fresh Basil, Chopped (or 2 tsp of Dried Basil)
1/4 Cup of Red Wine
1 Tbsp of Vinegar
1 tsp of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Chopped Peppers (green, red, and/or yellow)
1/4 tsp of Crushed Red Pepper
2 tsp of Oregano
1 tsp of Parsley
1/2 tsp of Onion Powder
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grab yourself a large skillet and cook your sausage on medium high heat.
When the sausage is cooked through, set it aside, drain your excess fat, reserving a teaspoon or two in the skillet. Then add in your onion and garlic. Cook that up for 3-5 minutes or until onions are cooked through.
Once your onions are cooked up, add into the skillet your remaining ingredients; the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, vinegar, sugar, peppers, basil, red pepper, oregano, parsley, onion powder, bay leaves and salt and pepper.
Finally add your cooked sausage back into the pot.
Stir it all together. Now this next part is not scientific or exact. Cook your sauce on low for as long as you can. 1 hour or 24 hours, it will all work and taste good, but the longer you can let it simmer, the happier you will be. I have a friend that lets her sauce simmer all day. Then she refrigerates it, pulls it out the next day and cooks it all day again before serving it that night. Yum! I cooked mine for two hours before serving it up. It’s all I had to work with and it was still super duper yummy.
One additional tip before we wrap this up. For those of you who have spaghetti sauce that will never stick to your noodles, let me give you two small pieces of advice that might help you in your future spaghetti devours. First off, don’t put oil in the water that you’ll be boiling your noodles in and second, don’t rinse your cook noodles. Both of these acts will cause your noodles to avoid your sauce; one because you just slicked up your noodles and the other because your rinsed off the starch that helps the sauce to stick in the first place.
Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy your spoils!
Total Time: 1 hour 30 min
1 Pound Italian Sausage, Ground
1 Onion, Diced
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 14.5 Oz Cans Diced Tomatoes
1 14.5 Oz Can Tomato Sauce
1 6 Oz Can Tomato Paste
1 Small Handful Fresh Basil, Chopped (or 2tsp of Dried Basil)
1/4 Cup Red Wine
1 Tbsp Vinegar
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 Cup Chopped Peppers (green, red, and/or yellow)
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Grab a large skillet and cook the sausage on medium high heat.
When the sausage is cooked through, set it aside, drain the excess fat, reserving a teaspoon or two in the skillet.
Add in your onion and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until onions are cooked through.
Once the onions are cooked up, add into the skillet your remaining ingredients; the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine,
vinegar, sugar, peppers, basil, red pepper, oregano, parsley, onion powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
Add your cooked sausage back into the pot.
Stir it all together.
Now this next part is not scientific or exact. Cook your sauce on low for as long as you can. 1 hour or 24 hours, it will all work and taste good, but the longer you can let it simmer, the happier you will be.
Put it all together and you have One. Killer. Salad. I have to say, this was some tasty fine dinner. The inspiration for this meal actually came after a last minute decision to head to Le Peep for breakfast after church last Sunday. Going out to breakfast isn’t in our normal routine, but for some reason I was just feeling the need to partake of somebody’s cooking other than my own. And believe me, when the mommy’s got an urge for breakfast, it darn well needs to be honored in this house.
So after consuming more than a few breakfast delights and pretty much rolling ourselves out of the restaurant, my husband proclaimed that a light dinner needed to be in our future in order to counteract the pig out that so shamelessly occurred just a few minutes earlier. Hence, this delicious salad was born.
I know it’s going to sound silly, but my favorite part about this salad is the mandarin oranges. There’s just something about those little orange slices of heaven that get me every time. I could eat them straight out of the can. Ok, who am I kidding, I DO eat them straight out of the can. It’s so bad that I’ll hide them from my kids and eat them when they’re at school just so I don’t have to share. Yes, my name is Julie and I have a mandarin orange problem.
Ok, first up, the dressing. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Dressing:
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 Tbsp of Fresh Ginger
1 Green Onion, Chopped
1/2 Lime, Juiced
3 Tbsp of Honey
1/2 Cup Sesame Oil
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup of Soy Sauce
/4 Cup of Rice Vinegar
This dressing is so easy peasy, it make me wonder why I don’t make homemade dressing more often. You basically just take everything from the list above, throw it in a blender/processor and hit start. Bango, homemade Asian dressing.
Now, take about a half of a cup of your dressing and throw it in a gallon sized ziploc bag along with your mahi mahi. Close ‘er up, throw it in the fridge and let it marinate for at least an hour if not longer. Be sure to refrigerate your remaining dressing as well. You’ll need that again later on to slather on your finished salad; yum!
Once dinner time is upon you, grab your marinated fish and throw it on the grill until cooked through and then set to the side to keep warm.
Now you can really put anything you’d like in your salad so it is by no means a requirement to have what we used in ours (although, I might disagree with that statement when it comes to the mandarin oranges). Here’s what we threw into our salad:
For the Salad:
1 Bag of Spinach
1 Bunch of Romaine
1 Handful of Carrots, Chopped
1/2 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
1 Handful of Sliced Mushrooms
1 Can of Mandarin Oranges, Drained and Rinsed
1 Small Cucumber, Sliced (or in our case, 1/4 of a really LARGE cucumber)
2/3 Cup of Crumbled Blue Cheese
Throw all your salad fixings in a bowl and voila! Isn’t that beautiful?
To plate your dinner, grab the a plate of salad, toss in a little (or a lot depending on your tastes) dressing and throw a mahi mahi fillet on top. And that’s all there is to it! Grab your wine, grab your salad and enjoy every. last. bite. of your creation. I know we did!