Spaghetti with Mushroom and Meat sauce

Sunday was a nice relaxing day at home, so I thought I would make an easy slow cook home made sauce for spaghetti night. Fall is here, which means I will probably be making lots of stews, soups, sauces, chili, braised meats, etc. It also means that my dutch oven and crock pot are going to be my main kitchen tools for the colder upcoming weather. I love how I can put something in the crock pot in the morning and come home 8 hours later and dinner is already made! Weekend cooking also becomes all day cooking. I can braise some short ribs all day and have fall apart meat hours later with equally delicious sauce to dip my crusty bread in . The smell of all the flavors mixing together creates a deep intense smell and flavor that cannot be beat!


Mushroom and Meat Sauce:
This makes 3 batches for our family of 5.
First diced up 1 onion and 1/2 head of garlic. Cook that for a few minutes in a bit of butter and olive oil mix. Then add an entire 16 oz. container of mushrooms to your dutch oven. Cook that down for a bit. Add plenty of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning (oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram). Then add 1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce, 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 28 oz. can of crushed plum tomatoes, 4 squirts of tomato paste, 1/3 bottle of red wine, and 4 tablespoons of Worcestershire, 2 pats of butter, and about 3 tablespoons sugar. The wine and Worcestershire just give it an extra layer of flavor, especially since you are making mushroom and meat (beef)in it. The butter and the sugar help to add a bit of sweetness to the sauce and mellow the acidity of the tomato a bit.

Cook for 2-4 hours. The longer the better. Add in browned ground beef and cook another 1/2 hour or so. Serve with spaghetti or your favorite pasta.

Meal Plan 9/29

Well, we are all back from a lovely weekend at Camp Sunshine. It is a camp for kids with Cancer and their families. It was Fall Family Weekend, and it was actually our first time ever going. We had wanted to go many times before, but it just never seemed to work out with timing of treatments, E being sick, etc. But now we were able to go and enjoy a great weekend together as a family. Friday night on the way out of time, we stopped at a cute place in downtown Lawrencville called Local Republic One of my former co-workers and her husband owns the place, and it is just amazing. It is the first time we have been there, but we will def. go back! No pics, but it was beautiful and delicious.I had the Lamb Belly which was reduced in red wine with roasted veggies & grits. Oh and I also ordered a side of Pimento Cheese Grits. Pimento Cheese Grits. Yes. That is what I said… The girls tried both and loved them, esp. the lamb belly! They has a hamburger and bacon mac and cheese. BACON Mac and Cheese! SQUEAL!!!! My hubby had their Steak & Cheese sandwich. He gobbled it up…I managed to get a bite…YUM! The staff were all lovely and kind, and my daughters just loved the place.

At camp we had so much food. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack…Pretty tasty! I never went to camp as a kid, but I think my girls will be summer camp kids. You do toms of activities that make you hungry all day, so you just end up eating and liking whatever they serve you. My favorite was the yogurt and granola at breakfast, and taco night!

On to the meal planning:

Sunday- As I type this, I am making homemade tomato sauce for my spaghetti and mushroom and meat sauce. Making plenty of sauce to put in the freezer for leftovers
Monday- Hot dogs and baked beans
Tuesday- Leftover Creamy Tomato Chicken Pasta- We did not get to it last week.
Wednesday- Chicken and rice with leftover Ragu sauce from the freezer

Whipped Feta

If you have read my blog at all, you know I love cheese. Cheese is just one of the reasons I could never go back to vegan. There are many great and yummy vegan foods, but vegan cheese is just not one of them. My favorites are goat cheese, feta, Brie, Camembert, Swiss, Provolone, cheddar, Colby-jack, Montery Jack; O.k. I think you get the idea. I love them all! So I was particularly intrigued by the many whipped cheese recipes on Pinterest recently. I was thinking about them tonight when I was going through my fridge, freezer, and cabinets to get a food check.

Whipped Feta

1/3 of a container of cream cheese, 1/2 container of goat cheese, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil

Put in your food processor and whip. Use as a spread on sandwiches, crostini, flat breads, or pizza. Use as a dip for chips, pita, apples, etc. So yummy!




Beer Battered Fish Nuggets

Tonight, I made beer battered fish nuggets, oven fries, and green beans. The family went crazy for it! I got this recipe for beer battered fish from Alton Brown.

1 1/2 pounds of firm-fleshed white fish cut into “nuggets”, but you can make them in to strips, or whole pieces if you want. I used cod, but you can use any white fish you like.

Beer Batter-
Whisk the following in a medium mixing bowl:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 dash Old Bay seasoning
Whisk together slowly with 1 cup of brown beer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Heat some vegetable oil in a pan. While it is heating up, dredge your fish in some cornstarch and tap off any excess cornstarch. Dip in to the batter and put in oil. Don’t crowd the pan. When the batter is set on one side, turn the fish over and cook until golden brown and delicious. I served with green beans, home-style fries (frozen), and homemade tarter sauce. Tarter sauce= mayo +relish Yum!




Meal Plan 9/21

Another week down! Hooray for the weekend!

Now on to another week of cooking and eating…

Sat- Fried fish, steak fries, and green beans
Sun- Roast, mashed potatoes, and peas
Monday- Beef Enchiladas

Tuesday- Leftover creamy chicken pasta

Wednesday- Steak and potatoes veggie