Monday, February 7, 2011

Two Saucy Dishes for About Ten Bucks {Each}

One of the things I LOVE about being a food blogger is the opportunity to share recipes with all of you.  I really get a kick when people comment or email me to tell me that they tried one of my dishes.  I love hearing the stories that go along with the cooking experience.

One of my friends emailed me today to tell me that her niece, Jenna, who attends U of Alabama (Roll Tide) has been reading the blog.  She and her friends (Roll Tide) are looking for new ideas on what to make for dinner.  It gets pretty boring eating the same things over and over.  I was single when I went for my undergrad and my master’s degrees.  I can recall having to roll quarters to buy hot dogs. 

THIS could add up to a great dinner tonight!

Even if you’re not in college, money could be tight for you these days.  It is for us, too!  The check out gal at the local supermarket told me the other day that more people are shopping with cash again, and definitely using coupons and taking advantage of sales. 

Here are a couple of easy, saucy dishes to spice up your dinner!   Both of these meals can be prepared for about 10 bucks, provided you already have a few pantry staples, like dried herbs, and a few condiments on hand. 

We are going to start with one of my favorites.  What I like about this dish is that it makes a lot but it also is healthier than normal big pasta dishes.  The meatballs are lean and it's always better to make your own sauce!  You control what goes into the pot!

Dan's Easy Meatballs in Five-Hour Italian Gravy

Dan's Easy Meatballs in Five-Hour Italian Gravy
What I love about this meatball recipe is that the meatballs stay moist without adding more costly ingredients like Ricotta.  The secret is in the secret ingredient, and in Dan's searing method.   Searing the meatballs in olive oil before dropping them into the sauce keeps the juices in.  Cooking the meatballs in the sauce for five hours adds flavor to the sauce and to the meatball without having to over-season.

Note:  You can sub ground turkey for the beef and pork.

1 lb. Ground Chuck
1 lb. Ground Pork
1 Egg
Meatball Making In Action!
1/2 cup dry Italian Breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (Dan’s secret ingredient)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil (plus extra if needed)

Mix all ingredients well in a large mixing bowl, save Oil Oil.

Preheat large non-stick skillet and add Olive Oil.  Add meatballs to pan in batches.  Do not overcrowd pan.  Sear each meatball on all sides (30 - 40 seconds per side).  Remove from pan once seared. 

Add the meatballs to -

Five-Hour Italian Gravy

1 28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
1 28 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
16 oz good quality Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons Chili Sauce (Recommend Heinz)
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
2 heaping tablespoons Cream Cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Add all ingredients to large sauce pan, except for cheeses.  If adding meatballs, add immediately.  You will note that the sauce starts out very watery.  Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 4 ½ hours. 

Stir in cheeses.  Cook for ½ hour on low. 

Suggestion:  Serve over linguine.  I paired this meal with a simple microwave steamed broccoli topped with feta cheese and Texas Toast.

If you're looking for something a little bit lighter, try this:

Saucy County Style Ribs

Saucy Country-Style Ribs with Braised Green and Purple Cabbage (In Ginger Ale Butter) over Whole Wheat Noodles
Those who know me know that I LOVE meat sales!   Most women shop for shoes, I shop for meat.  

Country pork ribs are probably one of the best values in the grocery store these days.  Look for buy one, get one free sales.  Free the other package for later!  And if you are on a budget, never BUY BBQ Sauce.  Make your own!  You probably have most of the ingredients around!

Here is what you do: 

Colorful and Delish!
1 medium sweet Onion, sliced into rings
3 lbs. Boneless Country Pork ribs
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
¼ large or ½ medium Green Bell Pepper, sliced

Perfect Slow Cooking Isn't an Art, it's a Science!

Add onion rings to bottom of slow cooker.  Season ribs with salt and pepper. 

Add ribs on top of onion and top with green pepper slices.  Top with sauce (recipe below). 

Cook on low for 10 - 12 hours or high for 5-7 hours.

Note:  The onion and pepper are only used to flavor the meat as it cooks. 

For the BBQ Sauce:

1 ½ cups Vegetable Juice Cocktail
1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ cup Honey
¼ cup tightly packed Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon dried Thyme, crushed

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Reserve 1 cup of the sauce for warming to serve with the ribs.  Pour remaining sauce over ribs in slow cooker.

Braised Green and Purple Cabbage (In Ginger Ale Butter)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil and Canola Oil Blend (or you can use Olive Oil or Canola Oil only)
1/2 medium head Green Cabbage
1/2 medium head Purple Cabbage
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds (Optional)
6 oz. Ginger Ale
2 tablespoons cold Butter

Add olive oil to a large non-stick skillet.  Saut√© cabbage in olive oil, about five minutes.  Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, caraway seeds (if using) and Ginger Ale.  Braise for about five minutes. 

Add butter.  Braise three more minutes.  Serve over buttered Whole Wheat Noodles.

Note:  If you're over 21, try adding a shot of dark rum to the sauce!  If you're under 21 or you don't keep rum on hand and you want to try something to kick it up, try adding some Ginger Ale!

Pleae also note:  I added two great local chef's sites to my "link" tab, so please check those out!
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