Salsa

I will never write a cookbook because I eyeball everything. I season everything to taste. I cook by the seat of my pants and never look back. This salsa is a perfect example.

Ingredients:
1 large can whole tomatoes
1 red onion
2-3 fresh jalapenos
limes
cilantro
salt
pepper

Directions:
In a blender or food processor add the tomatoes from the can, save the left over sauce. Rough chop the red onion and the jalapenos. Start with just 1 or 2, sometimes they are spicy and sometimes not. Add in a good handful of cilantro and the juice of half a lime. Salt and pepper to taste. It kinda takes takes more salt than you’d think.
Give all of that a whirl and taste it. If it’s too tomato-y try a bit more onion, if it’s too onion-y add a little of the tomato juice. You will immediately know if it needs salt. If you can’t quite decide what’s missing, it’s probably cilantro.
Just add small amounts, slowly until it’s how you like it.

Today I got crazy and added all the seeds and membranes with the jalapenos. It was pretty spicy but that’s what I like.

Spaghetti Sauce (and Meatballs)

I live in the deep south. My husband’s family definitely has a lot of Cajun blood coursing through their veins. When they eat spaghetti, or red gravy as they call it, it always always always starts with a roux.

Since I’m cutting out flour for the next 30 days I decided to try my hand at spaghetti sauce not using a roux. I had never done so before tonight. The results were pretty much the same, just not as thick.

Ingredients:
1 large yellow onion- diced
4-5 large cloves garlic- minced
Olive oil
1 8oz carton baby bella or button mushrooms- sliced
3-4 green onions- sliced
10-12 fresh basil leaves
2 28oz cans tomato sauce
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
Dried basil
Dried oregano
Paprika
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Directions:
In a heavy stock pot or dutch oven (I use this one) over medium heat add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds more. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, mushrooms and green onions. I happened to have some fresh basil so I cut it into a chiffonade and added that as well. As for my dried herbs, I eyeball everything. I’d estimate 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp onion and garlic powders, 1 TBS dried basil and 2 TBS dried oregano. It truly is just me eyeballing it though and knowing which flavors I want to stand out. If you prefer basil over oregano, add more basil. I also added salt and black pepper to taste.
Bring everything to a boil, cover and let simmer over low heat. I’ve found there is no wrong amount of time to cook it. I usually start around noon and we try to eat between 5:30-6. but if I’m in a hurry I have started as late as 4 and it’s been fine.
If your family likes meatballs* add them in. If you prefer browned ground meat, do that. I’ve done both with success. Spaghetti sauce is really forgiving!

One thing I did that I should have left out was adding a splash of chicken stock. I am so used to having the roux base and needing just a bit of liquid that out of habit i rinsed out the sauce cans with about 1/3 cup stock. I’ll omit that next time.

Once I added in the meatballs, the sauce had filled the 5qt pot almost entirely. This sauces freezes exceptionally well! I generally have several freezer bags of it on hand.

*I use this recipe for my meatballs and generally use a combination of ground turkey and pork.