Friday Recipe Exchange: Pastas and Sauces

tamara pastas and sauces

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

Last year I did a recipe exchange on meatballs (here) but was surprised to see I had never done one specifically on sauces. Now sauces can be risky and start a great debate, because every family has their version. So hit the comments with your favorite pasta sauce recipe, and for that matter, pastas, because there are so many choices. Like many things, I’m not all that concerned about the right pasta for the right sauce, I say, use what you enjoy and ignore the purists.

Food should be fun. For that matter, so should wine, beer and scotch.

So let’s start out with JeffreyW’s Awesome Sauce (here) because, well, it’s awesome.

Want something a little simpler and quicker? How about his San Marzano Sauce, here.

And his Shrimp & Pasta Formaggio (here) is quick and easy, also.

When everything is in season, I like to make my sauce with fresh ingredients, so I have a Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce (recipe here) that’s lighter and fresher than tonight’s featured recipe.

When it comes to pastas, I favor two options, a nice spiral (fusilli or rotini) or a quick cooking Angel Hair (capellini), but if I can get it fresh from the farmer’s market, I’ll take what I can get, which is usually a linguine. It’s all tasty.

For the featured recipe, I went with my traditional family sauce, the one I grew up with, but with a few tweaks. Now, even in my family, half of which are Italian, even the most basic sauce has as many different variations as there are cooks, so this is just a place to start, add your own touches to make it your family tradition. This is a hearty sauce and my go-to in the colder months when fresh ingredients are not readily available. I always double this and freeze half for a later dinner.

Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce Read more








Friday Recipe Exchange: Chili Relleno Casserole

tamara chili relleno

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

I went back and forth this week on what to do tonight. Finally settled on a quick and easy recipe that would be great for a blustery weeknight dinner, Chili Relleno Casserole. Then I just tossed in a few other ideas in the same flavor palate.

A nice side to the casserole, Guacamole Salad, recipe here.

JeffreyW does real Chiles Rellenos here.

And one of my favorite meals, Southwestern Taco Salad in Homemade Tortilla Bowls, recipes here.

I’m still recovering from the holidays and getting caught up with work. How about you? What’s on the menu for the weekend?

Tonight’s featured recipe:

Chili Rellenos Casserole

2-7 oz cans whole green chilies
½ onion, diced
16 oz shredded 4-blend Mexican cheese
4 to 6 corn tortillas, torn into wide strips
4 eggs
4 oz salsa
¼ cup milk
salt & pepper
½ tsp crushed garlic
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro ( Italian parsley or fresh basil if you hate cilantro)
bowl, 8×8 glass baking dish, greased

Drain and seed peppers. Layer 1/3 of the peppers in the bottom of baking dish, top with 1/3 onions, 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 tortilla strips. Repeat to make three layers. Beat together eggs, salsa, milk, spices and cilantro. Pour evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350° for 35-40 minutes until fluffy and center is set.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, this week’s full dinner menu with shopping list, Cajun Fish and Buttered Potato Pie is here.

And bonus Christmas Kitteh is here. Until next week….








Friday Weekend Recipe Exchange: Christmas Eve Party

(Late because Anne Laurie messed up!)
tamara spinach lasagna 2

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

Once again I am hosting Christmas Eve dinner. I try and keep the menu simple because I have a small kitchen and I like to spend time with my guests. I’m actually doing much of what I did last year, because it worked so well. The menu will serve as tonight’s recipe exchange. Thanks to JeffreyW for making lasagna this week so that I had an awesome photo to use tonight.

Christmas Eve Menu:

Appetizers – Herbed Tomato Crostini (recipe here), vegetable tray

Main Event – Spinach Lasagna (recipe here), Salad, Cheesy Garlic Bread

Dessert – Truffles (featured recipe below), Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe here) and everyone’s favorite, a Sundae Bar

With the exception of the garlic bread, because I’m using gluten free noodles, the entire evening is gluten free and vegetarian. Everyone should be happy.

Dinner is at 6 pm, bring the wine.

That takes care of Christmas Eve, but what about Christmas day? How does this sound:

German Pancakes with Walnut Syrup (both recipes here) for breakfast and a Roast, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Glazed Carrots for dinner (all those recipes are here and tips for perfect mashed potatoes are here).

How are your holiday plans coming along? Do you have a crowd coming? Share your favorite holiday recipes in the comments, I’d love to see what you prepare.

tamara chocolate truffles
Read more








Friday Recipe Exchange: Slow-Cooker Recipes for Busy Days

JeffreyW Slowcooker Italian Pork

JeffreyW’s Slowcooker Italian Pork

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From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

This has been a busy holiday week, so this is a quick and dirty recipe exchange. But first, I want to take a moment and thank all of you for the outpouring of love on the loss of my cat. They’re tiny, they’re furry and they really work their way into your heart. I cannot believe how much your comments and emails helped. You rock.

Now back to our scheduled recipe exchange:

This time of year I’m always looking for recipes I can have in the slow-cooker and everyone can serve themselves. My favorite is the featured recipe this week, Portuguese Beef and Pasta, which I usually only make when the extended family gets together.

Slow-cookers are one of the most versatile appliances in the kitchen, you can make a nice pot roast dinner, or recipes as simple as soups and stews. The best part is coming home from work or a day of holiday events and know dinner is ready to go and the house smells wonderful.

For recipes, let’s start with JeffreyW’s Italian Pork, pictured above and the recipe here.

Then something different, and a childhood favorite meal, Brunswick Stew, recipe here. (Posting this makes me smile, because the last time I posted the recipe, commenters informed me that REAL Brunswick Stew is made with squirrel. You’re welcome to substitute as needed).

And finally, a Chunky Vegetable Soup, recipe found here.

What’s on your menu this weekend? Any fun holiday plans? I have a couple of things I’d like to do – Zoo Lights or Blossom Lights (at the botanical gardens) and the Christmas parade.

What are some of your favorite meals around the holidays? Do you have go-to recipes when the family descends? Read more








Friday Recipe Exchange: Holiday Cookies

Jeffreyw mrs j s cookies

Photo of Mrs. J’s great cookies by JeffreyW

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From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

A friend asked me if I would like to spend the afternoon baking holiday cookies with her for a charity exchange. I was happy to, the colder it gets, the more I enjoy baking. She asked me if I had any good cookie recipes. I tried not to laugh. I picked out three of my favorites and realized it would be a great idea for this week’s recipe exchange.

My very favorite this time of year are Citrus Drops, because with all the sweets, the buttery tartness is welcome. Click here for the recipe.

Next up are my Fruit Pie Cookies, an idea that came to me when I had leftover pie filling and a mini-muffin tin. They are delicious, pretty, but a bit time consuming to make. Recipe is here.

And the always fun, M & M Cookies, a hit with kids of all ages. Click here.

That just scratches the surface, for all the cookie recipes on the blog (there are 78 of them), you’ll find them here, there are some gluten free options, too.

What’s on the weekend menu? What’s your favorite cookie for the holidays? Do you make cookie trays to give as gifts? Share your favorite recipes in the comments.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one that I loved when I was a kid. My best friend and I would make them when we had sleepovers. Perfect for cold New England days. It took me a while to find the recipe again. Easy and elegant.

tamara coconut lace cookies Read more