Tag Archives: ingredients

Be Flexible

1 Mar

I like options.  I like flexibility.  Especially with cooking.  I am a busy mom.  I can’t afford to fiddle fart around during the busy work/school week, and don’t want to get locked into one option.  I am going to cook one thing that will last more than one meal, and that can be used in a number of ways.

Brown some ground italian sausage.  Yum!

Brown some ground italian sausage. Yum!

That said, this is what I made on a busy week night.  I started by browning a pound of italian sausage.  Next, I added some freshly chopped peppers.  I happened to have fresh peppers that I quickly chopped, but listen…you don’t have to take the time to cut peppers yourself.  Nicely cut peppers and onions are available in the produce section of the grocers.  Don’t let the label “fajita mix” fool you.  Those peppers are not seasoned yet, so if you want to throw them into a pot of browned italian sausage, you go right ahead.

Stir in some freshly chopped peppers. Layer those flavors!

Stir in some freshly chopped peppers. Layer those flavors!

So after my sausage was brown, I drained most of the fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon.  I tossed the peppers into the pot and stirred the mixture around.  That cooked for about 5 minutes, then I tossed in a can of diced tomatoes, parsley, basil, and some red pepper flakes.  I gave that a good stir.  Then I added a dash of salt and sugar.

 

Add these simple ingredients.

Add these simple ingredients.

But hey, did I mention I am busy just like you?  I don’t have time to sit in the kitchen and stir my sauce.  So into the oven it went.  I wanted it to simmer, and the oven is the perfect spot for that.  Side note.  Invest in a pot that can go from the stove top to the oven.  It will save you loads of time, and after all, time is money.

That sauce bubbled in the oven for about an hour.  Man oh man did the house smell great.  I pulled it out, removed the lid, gave it a good stir, and was pretty hungry for dinner.

Now what?  Did I mention that I like options?   Here is the beauty of this sauce.  It had protein and vegetables in it, so it was an “all in one” as far as that goes.  I did not need to make a separate vegetable.  We can go a couple of ways with this dish, depending on what is in the pantry.

We could:

1. Toss this with pasta-even throwing in a handful of spinach if available

2. Use as a pizza topping

3. Make pepper and sausage sandwiches

4. Load onto a baked potato

5. Make a quesadilla

How about that?  Love those options!  And the leftovers were divine.  Now that’s flexibility for you!

 

Quinn and I made open face sanwiches that night.  They were delicious.

Quinn and I made open face sandwiches that night. They were delicious.

Get started! Feel the love!

16 May

Baking is an exact science.  A chemical reaction needs to occur for the recipe to work.  Cooking is the opposite.  Its a little of this and a pinch of that.  Cooking can change with your mood, what you have available, or who will be eating it.  Thats what I love.

I am a touchy feely feel good person, and so is my food.  I make a recipe as it appears the first time.  I take it for a test drive and make it pretty much as it appears in print…but that is just a starting point!  Then I drive it my way!   Then I grab my pen and add notes.  My cookbooks are filled with notes of how recipes turned out, what changes to make, and if it should be made again.   And everyone should know this little secret…when looking through someone’s cherished cookbooks, the pages with drips, dribbles and stains on them contain a very special recipe!  that is a dead give away that a recipe on that page has been used many times!   Mine are certainly that way.  I would like to think that these books will be cherished many years after I am gone and that it is what my kids will fight over…but I digress!

I write these notes next to the actual recipe.  I also have a 3 ring binder in case I print a recipe off of the internet.  I can 3 hole punch a printed page or a ripped out magazine recipe and add it in…if it is deemed worthy!   Cooking takes experience, and it can be a little scary to begin.  I get a little mad if I make a dish that does not turn out and my ingredients and efforts are wasted.  But wasted is the wrong word to use.  When you learn something, it is not time wasted!  Just have a backup plan in the freezer to pull out just in case!  

I understand that it can be a little intimidating to begin cooking.  But do it anyway.  You know the old saying that everyone should ask themselves…”What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?”.  Get over your fear and start having fun!  When starting, try a recipe that does not have expensive or complicated ingredients.  Then jump in and go for it!  Have fun!  And don’t forget to add your own personal touch!  Feel the love!  Give your self and your family a little of yourself.