Tag Archives: basil

Simple Summer Sauce

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In the summer, I love to make nice chunky tomato sauce with whatever local vegetables I can get my hands on. The farmers’ market has been kind and supplied me with the perfect ingredients.

Start by heating two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in your favorite pot over medium heat. I use a six quart dutch oven so I have plenty of room to work with.

Dice one large sweet onion and three large carrots. Add into the dutch oven, salt well and sauté until the onion is translucent.

While the onion and carrots sauté, finely mince four to six cloves of garlic; depending of how much garlic you prefer. My family loves garlic so I use six cloves. Add into the dutch oven and sauté until fragrant.

Two green peppers, diced, get added in next. Continue to sauté until all of the vegetables are beginning to get tender.

Strain six quarts of whole tomatoes and add to the vegetables. I used canned tomatoes from our pantry; whatever you have in your pantry will work. Stir well and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Add in one cup of your favorite red wine. I had a beautiful bottle of Merlot on hand that my husband’s coworker, a winemaker, had given us. Always cook with a wine you enjoy drinking and you can not go wrong.

Bring to a boil and immediately turn the temperature down. The sauce should barely be at a simmer. Continue to simmer for two to three hours. This gives the flavors generous time to marry and also allows the sauce to thicken. Stir occasionally.

Add in some fresh thyme, basil and oregano. I used fresh picked from my herb garden, but herbs from the farmers’ market, store bought, or in a pinch dried herbs will work also. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

As is, this makes a nice chunky sauce. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender until it reaches the desired texture. The recipe makes enough for three batches, one to enjoy and two to freeze for future enjoyment.

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Crock Pot Chicken in Wine Sauce

Some work days are just too long to bother with cooking when I get home. Yes, I love to cook. Yes, I truly find it to be relaxing and a great expression of my creativity. Just not after a long day.

This is where the crock pot comes in! Start dinner before work and come home to a delicious meal. Another positive to using the crock pot? The house smells absolutely divine when you walk in after a long day.

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The first goodies to go in the crock pot are eight boneless skinless chicken thighs. Followed by one pound of your favorite mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms on the thick side so they don’t lose their texture as they cook. Layer them on top of the chicken.

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Can you spot the difference? Add six to eight cloves of garlic. Smashed for easy peeling but still whole.

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Wash one bunch of kale well. No need to dry, just tear into the crock pot on top of the mushrooms.

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Now, for the sauce. Reach into the fridge and pull out your favorite bottle of wine. Do not cook with it if you would not drink it! I used a nice blush since it was already open. Whisk together one cup of wine and two teaspoons of corn starch. Season with salt, oregano, basil and red chili flakes to taste.

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Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies. Strange, I know, but this dish smells wonderful already.

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After seven hours on low, you walk in the door to this beautiful dish and an aroma that starts you salivating. All that is left is to boil some water and cook some pasta. Toss the pasta in some olive oil after cooking so it does not stick. Sticky pasta is not enjoyable at all.

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Ten minutes or so later you are enjoying this quick, easy and nutritious meal. Start with the pasta, scoop the chicken and veggies on top and finish with a ladle or two of the sauce. All that is left? Enjoy!


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