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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Memories with a twist ... It's all in the sauce

I remember when we were younger, Sunday dinners with family.  All that Italian food.  What memories it brings back!  But how long ago that all seems.  I was feeling a little nostalgic today, but wanted to do it a little different to make my own memories with hubby.  
As of late I have been trying to make things a little healthier, which means more veggies. I don't mind the veggies and so it seems neither does hubby.  When I think Sunday dinners I think spaghetti with garlic bread and meatballs or Italian sausage.  So that's exactly what we had.  Well almost!  I did say I wanted to add more veggies right?  And I so didn't have garlic bread, so that wasn't an option.  One would think.  I was looking to make a quick sauce but didn't have any crushed or fresh tomatoes.  But that didn't stop me.  There is nothing wrong with semi homemade, sometimes it can be better than made from scratch. It all depends on you and your imagination.

So today I made my imagination AND our tummies happy.

Bucatini with a chunky veggie pasta sauce, Italian Sausage baked in tomato sauce and fire roasted peppers, side salad, and garlic Parmesan mini monkey bread.  Oh yeah!

For those of you that don't know, bucatini is a long, thick pasta that has a hole running though the center.  I like this one because it give the chance for the sauce to get in the center of it so your yummy sauce is all the way around the pasta.  
Let's start with some recipes:
Chunky Veggie Sauce
24oz Jar or can of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Barilla Garlic and Mushroom)
8oz Tomato sauce
8oz or 1 Cup of water
2 Cloves of garlic, minced   I used 1 teaspoon of minced garlic in olive oil from a jar.
1 Tablespoon EVOO
2 Medium carrots, chopped
1/2 Medium onion, chopped
1/2 Zucchini, chopped
1/4 Cup grated parmesan
1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning  I used seasoning mix from Key Ingredient. ( minus the red pepper flakes)
Put EVOO in sauce pan and saute the carrots for about 5 minutes stirring to make sure they don't burn.
Add garlic, stirring often so it doesn't burn and turn bitter. This should only be for about 2 - 3 minutes.
Add onions and zucchini.  Saute for about 3 - 5 minutes.  You want them to be tender but not mushy as they will continue to cook a little in the sauce.
Add pasta sauce, tomato sauce, and water.  Stir until blended.  If you feel that the sauce is still a little to thick add more water to thin it out.  We LOVE a thick sauce.
Add seasonings and Parmesan stirring until blended.  Bring sauce to a bubble and turn down to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 - 25 minutes.  
Don't forget to check your seasonings. 

Now for the Garlic Parmesan Mini Monkey Bread
This recipe was adapted from Eat Cake For Dinner (
1 Can Butter Flavored Grands Biscuits
5 Tablespoons Unsalted butter, melted
1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasonings
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan + 1 Tablespoon to sprinkle


Cut biscuits into 6 pieces and place in a bowl.
Combine remaining ingredients.
Pour over biscuit pieces.
Gently toss to evenly coat.
Place 6 pieces in each muffing cup.
Sprinkle remaining 2 Tablespoons of cheese over the top of each muffin.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes.  Serve warm.  Makes 8.

Italian sausage needs no recipe, wrap them in foil.  Add 1/2 cup tomato sauce and as many  jar fire roasted peppers that you want.  

Side salad to add more veggies to the meal, along with some cannellini beans.  Figured I'd throw them in because they're low in fat, high in protein and fiber.

A little more total carb then I'd like in one meal but it was so good.  I love that the sauce had so many veggies in it and was very clean tasting.  Definitely stood up to the memories of long ago.

If you like a little more garlic, feel free to add more.  But remember to taste your sauce as you go along so you don't over do it.  Some people don't realize that some flavors get stronger after they have cooked and had a party in the pan.  Try these recipes together or separately.  Change what you want, add what you want, or omit what you want.  These a recipes that can be easily changed.  Doesn't matter what you do to them as long as you enjoy them.

Desert is spumoni ice cream ... so no baking this time for me but I SO see something sweet in the near future.  So make sure to keep your eyes open for it!  Not sure what it will be yet ... any suggestions?  LOL

In the meantime remember that no matter what you change, or how you change it the best ingredient to any recipe is you ... Enjoy!!!!!