Marinara Sauce de la Jenni| Suburban Foodie Original

Why make your own marinara sauce? Why not?

I’ve been cooking long enough so I decided to create my own recipe for marinara. I’ve made it a few times and made tweaks along the way. I think the final version is pretty tasty (if I do say so myself).

Just FYI. This sauce is better the next day, so the longer it sits and stews, the better.

I’ve used it in many ways ~ as the sauce in my lasagna (added sausage), as a basic sauce over penne pasta (added heavy cream), and as a braising sauce for short ribs.

Marinara Sauce de la Jenni / Suburban Foodie Original

Cook & Prep Time: 20 minutes for prep / 2-3 hours for sauce

 You will need: 

  • a 7-quart stock pot
  • chef’s knife
  • liquid and dry measuring utensils
  • various spoons and spatulas

Ingredients:

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of sugar

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of dried basil

6 oz of tomato paste

16 oz of Marsala wine

1 medium onion (or 1/2 lg onion), diced

8 oz of beef stock

Salt & pepper

olive oil

1 lb of Italian Sausage (optional)

1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)

Directions: 

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once heated, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the following: garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil. Saute for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the Marsala wine to deglaze the pan and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then add the beef stock, balsamic vinegar, sugar, crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Add salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to taste. Stir until well combined. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 hours. The longer it simmers the better it is.

Optional items ~

Sausage: When I made the lasagna, I added 1 pound of Italian sausage. I cooked the sausage first, then added the onions and other ingredients in order as listed above.

Heavy cream: I added this ingredient last to make the sauce a little creamier!

 I will post the lasagna and the braised short ribs recipes in posts to follow.

Chicken Avgolemono (Huh?)

From Dictonary.com:

av·go·lem·o·no

 Greek  [ahv-goh-lem-uh-noh; Greek ahv-gaw-le-maw-naw] noun Greek Cookery. A  soup or sauce made with beaten eggs, lemon juice, and usually chicken broth.

Lemon Chicken Soup - Greek

This is another recipe from my new soup cookbook, easy soups.

New Cookbook

The hubs called with the usual inquiry, “What’s for dinner?” I didn’t know how to answer because I couldn’t pronounce the name of the soup!

Below is the original recipe. I doubled it for our family of four just so we could have some leftovers.

Here are a couple of observations:

Observation numero uno ~ some of the rice was crunchy. Yes, I know. I obviously did not let it cook long enough. After discussing with the family, we decided that orzo would be a better substitute so the next time I make it, I’m making it with orzo.

Observation numero dos, regarding the homemade croutons, um yeah. Something went awry. I don’t think the oil was hot enough or the bread wasn’t stale enough. After I cooked them in the stockpot in the oil, they got kind of soggy. I had to crisp them up by baking them in the oven. Next, time? I’m using store-bought croutons. Blasphemy, I know.

Chicken Avgolemono / Easy Soups pg 159

Servings:  4

Cook & Prep Time: 55 minutes total – 20 minutes for prep / 30-35 minutes for cooking

 You will need: 

  • a 7-quart stock pot
  • chef’s knife
  • a couple of mixing bowls
  • a ladle
  • measuring utensils
  • various spoons and spatulas

Ingredients:

Soup:

6 cups (or 1.5 quarts) of chicken stock

1 roasted chicken from the deli section of grocery, remove skin and pull all meat from the bones.

1/2 cup of long-grain rice

3 eggs

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Croutons:

6 tablespoons of olive oil

4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled & smashed

3 slices of stale white bread (3/4 inch thick, cut into 3/4 inch cubes)

Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions: 

 Bread cubes & garlic

Heat the stockpot to super hot, add the olive oil, and garlic cloves. When one cube sizzles and turns brown in 4 seconds, it’s time to add the bread cubes. Cook (stirring constantly) over medium heat for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Discard the garlic and drain the bread cubes on a paper towel.

Croutons

In the same stockpot, keep heat on medium and add the chicken stock. Next add the rice and bring to a boil. Bring down to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Add the chicken until completely warmed through. I let it cook for about 15 minutes.

While the chicken is warming in the soup, whisk the eggs and the lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Next, whisk a ladle of warm chicken stock into the egg/lemon mixture to thin and temper the eggs.

Bring the heat down to low and pour the egg/lemon/stock mixture into the stockpot while vigorously whisking (you don’t want to scramble the eggs). This will thicken the soup. Remove from heat. 

Your soup is ready!

Serve in soup bowels and garnish with the croutons.

Avgolemono is a hearty, easy soup and I highly recommend giving it a try!

What do you do with a Pomegranate?

Pomegranate braised short ribs - final

You guys are going to think I’m nuts, but here is another short rib recipe. I love these things – they are relatively inexpensive and really delicious. They take a while to cook, but are worth it.

Today is my husband’s birthday so I picked this recipe to make for his special day. First, because it was a short rib recipe and second, because I was intrigued by the pomegranate. I’ve never cooked with them. However, I do recall eating one as a child and having memories of them being kind of hard to eat, really messy and not very fulfilling as a snack.

Pomegranates & Wine

This recipe is in my December 2012 issue of my everyday FOOD magazine if you want to review the original.

Pomegranate Braised Short Ribs / everyday FOOD Magazine

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time:  20-25 minutes for prepping and 3 hours for cooking

 You will need: 

  • 7-quart stock pot
  • small bowl for pomegranate seeds
  • chef’s knife
  • tongs
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)
  • platter
  • sauce pan
  • sieve

Ingredients:

12 bone-in short ribs (3-inch pieces)

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 cup of dry red wine (I found pomegranate wine!!!!!)

3 cups of pomegranate juice

1 large yellow onion, sliced into wedges

1/4 cup of flour

10 sprigs of Thyme

1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Salt and pepper

Directions:

 

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Season the ribs on all sides with salt, and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in the stock pot to medium-high so you can brown the ribs. Brown them on all sides for about 3 minutes a side. I worked in batches. When browned, remove the ribs and place on the platter.

Turn the heat down to medium and give it few minutes. Then add to the stock pot:  garlic, onions and thyme. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour and coat the onion mixture – about a minute. Next, add the pomegranate juice and wine and whisk together. Bring to a boil while stirring frequently.

Turn the heat off, then add the short ribs back to the pot.

Cover the stock pot with the lid and place in the oven for 3 hours. Bake until the ribs are easily pierced with a paring knife.

Once done, remove the ribs to a platter.

short ribs out of the oven

Strain the liquid into a fat separator and let sit briefly. Since I do not have one of these, I used a sieve and strained the liquid into a sauce pan and let sit for about 5 minutes. Then I spooned the as much fat off the top as possible. Once that was done, I boiled the liquid down about 10 minutes so it looked like a gravy.

For the garnish, cut the pomegranate in half. Holding one of the halves over a bowl, give the pomegranate a squeeze (to loosen the seeds) and smack the top of it with a large spoon. This process, while sounding bizarre, actually works to get the seeds out with too much of mess (it still looked like a mini crime scene, but I’m thinking it could have been worse if I has used another method).

pomegranate

Side Dish:  I served the braised short ribs with goat cheese mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. Make sure and cover the short ribs with the gravy and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.

This is my favorite of the short rib recipes that I’ve posted so far.

By the way, the birthday boy was happy and that’s all I cared about!

Chili Coconut Braised Short Ribs

Braised short ribs are the best thing on the planet! I’m really not kidding.

This recipe comes to us from my cookbook, Cook This Now. This cookbook has some great recipes in it. However, some of the recipes require things that I have difficulty finding in my store.

I mean, I could probably eventually find the stuff I need if I went to a couple of different stores, but I’m not that dedicated. I’m okay with substituting and “making do”.

For instance, this recipe called for boneless short ribs.- one of the things that I can’t find. However, I can usually find bone-in short ribs so that is what I used instead.

This dinner was fantastic!! You have to try it.

Chili Coconut Braised Short Ribs / Cook This Now / Melissa Clark

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time:  20-25 minutes for prepping and 2 hours for cooking

 You will need: 

  • 7-quart stock pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • chef’s knife
  • tongs
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)
  • zester

Ingredients:

Short Ribs 

8 bone-in short ribs

1 tablespoon of olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced (I press them with my garlic press)

2 jalapenos, minced (since I’m a wimp, I only use 1)

2 inches of fresh ginger, grated (I used 1 tablespoon of minced ginger in a jar)

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds (I used 1 teaspoon of ground cumin – I couldn’t find cumin seeds)

1 can of coconut milk

1/2 cup of water

Juice and zest of two fresh limes

chopped cilantro for garnish

Salt, pepper and chili powder

Directions:

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the ribs on all sides with saltpepper and chili powder.

Heat the olive oil in the stock pot to medium-high so you can brown the ribs. Brown them on all sides for about 3 minutes a side. I worked in batches. When browned, remove the ribs and place on a plate.

Turn the heat down to medium and give it few minutes. Then add to the stock pot:  ginger, jalapenos, shallot, cumin and garlic. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice and zest. Also, season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer, then add the short ribs back to the pot. Cover and put the stock pot into the oven for 2 hours.

Side Dish:  I served this with cilantro-lime rice and sautéed green beans.

Delish!!

Citrus Salmon on the Grill

I saw a picture of some yummy looking salmon in my recent everyday FOOD  magazine But, there really wasn’t a recipe of sorts.

So, I looked at the picture and tried to recreate it. I mean, it didn’t look that complicated.

It’s really a recipe for the grill – our grill as unavailable so I used our indoor Jenn-Air.

Our family loves salmon so I would have to do something completely awful to it for them not to consume it. With that being said, this recipe for salmon was a hit.

Citrus Salmon / Everyday Food Magazine

Servings:  6

Cook & Prep Time: 30 (15 minutes prepping / 20  minutes cooking)

You will need: 

  • grill
  • spatula
  • zester
  • measuring utensils (liquid & dry)
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

6 salmon fillets (mine are usually about 6 oz)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 oranges, sliced

1 lemon, sliced

fresh tarragon and/or basil

salt and pepper

Directions: 

 

Lay out the salmon on a cutting board, pat dry, coat with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

On another cutting board, slice the oranges and the lemon. (Before I sliced the lemon, I zested the lemon peel over the fillets as well.) You will need two slices of orange and one slice of lemon per salmon fillet.

I also stripped some tarragon leaves from the stems for salmon.

Heat the oil (all of it) on your indoor Jenn-Air or stove top grill pan on medium high heat.

When the grill pan is ready, place two slices of orange on the grill, place a salmon fillet, sprinkle with the tarragon, and place a lemon slice on top (make six of these stacks).

I squeezed a little orange juice over the fillets, covered them with a foil tent, and cooked until opaque (about 20 minutes).

If you cook on the outside grill, spray your grill with cooking spray, heat it up and cook the fish over indirect heat (not direct) until opaque (maybe 10-15 minutes).

Side Dishes: I served this salmon with a salad and roasted asparagus.

I’m going to make this again and use the outside grill next time! Very light and tasty.

Salmon with Orange and Soy Sauce

This is another salmon recipe I found in my  everyday FOOD  magazine – one of the recent issues.

This one attracted me because of how easy it sounded and it used orange juice concentrate. Interesting.

Poaching the salmon in this sauce gave it such a great flavor and the salmon was perfectly tender.

By the way, this recipe called for any white fish or salmon.

Braised Fish with Orange and Soy / Everyday Food Magazine

Servings:  6

Cook & Prep Time: 30 (15 minutes prepping / 15  minutes cooking)

You will need: 

  • 1 large straight sided skillet
  • spatula
  • small bowl
  • whisk
  • measuring utensils (liquid & dry)
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

6 salmon fillets (mine are usually about 6 oz)

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

2 cloves of garlic, minced (I use my press)

1 tablespoon of peeled, minced fresh ginger

1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate

2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup of water

cooked rice for serving (any kind you wish)

salt and pepper

Directions: 

 

Heat the oil (all of it) in your skillet and saute the scallions, ginger and garlic over medium heat. Saute until the scallions are soft (2 minutes).

In a small bowl, combine the thawed orange juice concentrate, water and the soy sauce. Add this mixture to the skillet and bring to a simmer.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper and then add to the skillet. Cover and cook until opaque throughout (6-10 minutes depending on the fish).

Side Dishes: I served this salmon with rice (flavored with a little lime juice) and some oven-roasted broccoli seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

This is a fast and yummy way to fix salmon.

Guest Baker: Gingerbread Cookies

Let me start by saying, “I don’t bake.” I don’t really enjoy it. However, I do know somone that gets real joy from baking – my daughter, Maddie.

For Christmas, she received a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer (pink) – you would have thought she received a new car! She looked at it lovingly and uttered, “Come here, beautiful.”

She also received a really great baking book – The Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book. It was listed on NPR’s top cookbooks for the 2011 holiday.

So, ever since December 25th she has baked something about every other day. We are drowning in fresh & delicious baked goods. You name it, she’s made it – cookies, pancakes, cinnamon bars, bread, ooey gooey butter bars, chocolate chip muffins . . . . you get the idea.

I told her that I wanted to showcase her talents on my blog – so I am posting the Gingerbread People recipe from her new cookbook.

They were wonderful!

Gingerbread People / The Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book

Servings:  This recipe made about 100 3-inch gingerbread people (or 15 5-inch gingerbread people)

Cook & Prep Time: Not sure. Dough has to be refrigerated for 1-2 hours before it’s turned into people. A tray of cookies needs to bake for 12ish minutes. Then they need to cool before you ice them.

 You will need: 

  • a stand mixer and/or food processor
  • bowl
  • various measuring utensils
  • a cookie cutter in the shape of person
  • plastic wrap
  • parchment paper
  • a couple of baking sheets
  • piping bags for decorating

Ingredients:

Cookies:

2 tablespoons of dark molasses

1 tablespoon of water

1 large egg, at room temperature

3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt 

1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons of grated orange zest

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into 16 pieces

Icing:

2 3/4 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons if needed

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Directions: 

In a small bowl, whisk the following ingredients together: molasses, water and egg. Set aside.

In a food processor add the following ingredients: baking soda, salt, brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Mix for 10 seconds.

Distribute the butter over the flour mixture and process until the dough resembles course meal (about 30 seconds).

Pour the molasses mixture over the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together (about 35 seconds).

Remove the dough from the processor and knead it on a flat surface until it’s well blended. Once blended, divide the dough into two disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 1 to 2 hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

While the oven is preheating, remove the dough from the fridge. Place each disk between two fresh pieces of plastic wrap. Roll each disk out until 1/4 inch thick.

Remove the top piece of plastic wrap, get your cookie cutter and begin cutting out as many cookies as possible. Reroll and cut again until you run out of cookie dough.

Place the little people on the cookie sheets spacing them 1 inch apart. Then, you can decorate as you see fit! Bake the cookies until they are firm (12-14 minutes).

Maddie chose to bake them as is (naked) and then decorate with the icing.

While the cookies are cooling, make the icing.

Use your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add to the mixing bowl the confectioner’s sugar and egg whites. Beat on low for about 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes). The icing should be stiff enough to use a piping bag. If not, add more sugar.

Pipe the icing on your people as desired. Then, let the icing set for a couple of hours (yeah, right! we did not do that!).

I’m so glad my girl loves to bake!