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Category Archives: Food

Okay, okay… so maybe I’m not REALLY an italian, but every two weeks or so my family swears that I am when I make my home-made spaghetti. First off, I just want to warn you, that this recipe is nothing ultra special. It is just the plain ol’ spaghetti sauce recipe that I grew up with and learned from my mom (who is obviously is NOT an italian either, even though everyone thinks that we are.) So then, why am I writing this post? Well, lets just say I have a few spaghetti fans out there (Mike and Shelby) who requested this recipe. By my surprise, even my little brother and sister say that I have trumped my mom’s sauce. They actually prefer to eat at my house on “italian” night.

Let’s start off with some ingredients (images below). I purchase (1 jar) of the Classico brand “SPICY” Tomato and Pesto Sauce. (2 cans) Hunts Tomato Sauce. (1 can) Hunts Tomato Paste. (1 packet) Lawry’s Extra Rich and Thick Spaghetti Spices and Seasonings Packet.  

To start your spaghetti sauce, please choose your meat of choice (or none if you prefer.) I always use a packet (around a pound) of lean ground beef (hamburger meat). First brown your meat until cooked thoroughly. Follow steps 1 thru 4 below. You do not need any oil, or grease in the pot. The meat should have enough fat within to create some juice to keep it from sticking. If however you choose to use lean turkey meat, you might want to spray the bottom of the pan lightly with some olive oil. *Drain meat in strainer if too greasy, then return to pot. 
Add your Classico brand “SPICY” Tomato and Pesto Sauce.

Add your (1 can) of Hunts Tomato Paste.

*Warning. So I am a pretty big “SPICEY FOOD” fan. I love it and could add tons of cayenne pepper to this sauce, but unfortunately my family always complains that I make it tooooo spicy! This ingredient is completely optional, and something I personally add because I like a little kick. The image below (of the cayenne pepper) is a generous portion. My husband ate it last night and the first words out of his mouth were “well, that was spicy”. So, if you would prefer just a little bit of spice – just use about a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. If you like more – use 2 teaspoons. It is really up to you.

An ingredient that is not optional (in my opinion) is the sugar. Yes, that is sugar below – not salt. I usually use around 2 Tablespoons of sugar in my spaghetti sauce. However, once again, this is all based off of my taste buds. You can give or take with this ingredient. I always say – start out with less, and slowly add more.

Then add your (2 cans) of Hunts Tomato Sauce

This ingredient is another super important ingredient. LAWRY’S Extra Thick and Rich Seasonings and Spices found, of course, in the spice isle at the grocery store. Add just one packet (1.42OZ.) There are a lot of really great spices in this packet to give your sauce an amazing flavor. *NOTE: If your sauce gets too thick, just add a little bit of water. Maybe 1/4 cup.

Stir, stir, stir, and stir some more….
Stir really good to mix everything up, and cook on MEDIUM until you get a slight boil, then immediately turn to a low, low simmer. Cover. Cook for around 30 minutes on low. Make sure you come back and stir your sauce every 5-10 minutes so it doesn’t stick and burn on the bottom of the pot (otherwise you will have black burnt chunks in your sauce. Yes, I have totally done this before!) VOILA! You have the best sauce ever (image below) and the happiest husband in the world.
Let’s talk noodles for a minute. So, my mom raised me on regular spaghetti noodles. The are thick, dense, and what you will find on your plate in most italian restaurants. I personally DONT LIKE THIS. I prefer to have Vermicelli noodles (otherwise known as Angel Hair noodles). They are tiny and thin, and oh-so dainty. One more plus? They cook a lot faster. Make sure to bring your water to a RAPID boil before putting in those noodles. Add olive oil to prevent them from sticking, and some salt for taste. 
Boil until finished. Drain in a strainer. Make sure you rinse your noodles in hot water. Shake out water (via strainer). 

Enjoy your yummy dish a la marin kristine!!!

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It has definitely been a strange summer up here in Northern California. The weather has been oddly chilly, with cold front blowing in from the San Francisco Bay. We have had only a few days of 100+ temperatures, and honestly, I have been loving the cooler weather. If you happen to live in my town, you know that yesterday was a HOT one… the kind worth melting the rubber off the soles of your shoes and not wanting to step outside. So with that said, in honor of summertime and scorching hot days – I woke up this morning and wanted to share one of my all time favorite recipes with you. And, technically I made it up… so bare with me.

The Story goes like this :

I was in the stunning Mendocino area, near Fort Bragg. I had spent the past few days near the ocean in a cute little cabin, hanging out with good friends, fasting to spend time together and get closer with God. It was beautiful and nice to get away. I love being around good girlfriends. But, after 3 days of not eating… you get pretty darn hungry and everything in the world sounds fabulous to chow down (even some liver and spinach.) After everyone had taken off to go home, it was just my best friend and I, all alone and abandoned to roam the streets of Mendocino… STARVING. We found this healthy little cafe (you always want to break a fast with something healthy) and I saw this rice-dish staring at me through the looking glass. It was making flirty passes at me, so I bought a little for lunch. OH YEAH, it’s yumminess hit the bottom of my belly with satisfaction. I absolutely LOVED it. After licking my plate clean (literally) I skipped back inside the cafe to dissect the ingredients to pieces. So what you have before you, is my version of this fabulous favorite Mendocino dish, discovered in a nameless cafe. I personally like to call it :: Marin’s Mediterranean Concoction

Details

Start with cooking the two cups of wild rice (which will take almost an hour, because wild rice takes forever to cook.) When it is done, put it to the side. Then cook up your cous cous. That takes only a few minutes. Combine your rice and cous cous in a large bamboo dish (ha ha, just a bowl – it doesn’t have to be bamboo.) Add in your cranberries and green onion. If you haven’t roasted up those almonds yet, now would be the time to do it. I like to buy them raw, chop them up, and then broil them myself… This way they are super toasty tasting. That is honestly one of the best parts of this dish, those toasted almonds make it GREAT! Make sure you watch the almonds though, because they will burn before you know it! I have done it soooo many times. Throw those in after cooking them up. Pour in the oil, honey, and lemon to taste. It shouldn’t be too sweet or too sour. It should be a perfect blend of both. You might need more of one than the other. I just taste as I go along and gave you a rough version of the ingredients. Make it your own! Add more of one thing than another if you like… Put in the fridge for 2 hours. Eat cold.

Well, that is it. Good luck. Let me know how you like it… I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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