Tomato-Free Sauce

Tomato-Free Sauce and Pesto on Sprouted Wheat Pasta
Tomato-Free Sauce and Pesto on Sprouted Wheat Pasta

Whether you’re allergic to tomatoes, or avoiding produce in the nightshade family, this is an amazing, healthy alternative to tomato-based sauces.  Using beets and carrots to replace the tomatoes adds a unique color and flavor profile that no one can turn down!

For approximately 6 cups

Ingredients

2 1/2 c. Carrots, steamed

1/3 c. Beets, steamed

2/3 c. water from steaming pot

3 Tb. Lemon Juice

1/2 c. Olive Oil

1/4 c. Butter

2 c. Onions, chopped

1 c. Celery, chopped

4 Garlic cloves, minced

8 Tb. Parmesan Cheese, grated

4 tsp. dried Basil

4 tsp. dried Oregano

2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

4 small Bay Leaves

2 tsp. Fennel Seeds

Method

To steam the Beets and Carrots:

1.  Wash and peel the Beets and Carrots.

2.  Add steamer basket to a large pot with 2 inches of water in the bottom and bring to a boil.

3.  Add Beets and Carrots and steam, covered, for 15 minutes, or until soft.

4.  Let sit until cool enough to handle, then set aside Carrots and Beets in separate bowls.

5.  Mash Beets and Carrots (if you have extra, save it in the freezer for the next batch).

To make Sauce:

1.  In a large pot, melt the Butter with the Oil.

2.  Add the Onion, Celery, and Garlic and sauté until soft and transparent.

3.  Add the steamed Beets and Carrots, water from steaming pot, and Lemon Juice and mix well.

4.  Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a slow simmer.

6.  Simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

7.  Allow to cool and remove Bay Leaves.

8.  Add sauce to blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender and mix directly in the pot).

Pizza Sauce
Pizza Sauce

Use as a sauce for pasta, pizza, or whatever else you can think of!  I freeze the sauce in 1 c. containers and thaw as needed.

Summer Squash Pasta with Pesto

Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

 

If you’re going grain free or just want to add more veggies to your diet, this is the way to go.  All you need is a julienne attachment for your mandoline slicer.  If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, go get one!  Mine is a cheap slicer from Aldi, but it works wonders.

The Pesto can be used on pasta, corn on the cob, as a dressing for caprese salad, or even as an accompaniment to fish and meat.  The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

For Summer Squash Pasta:

Summer Squash, washed and dried

Salt

For Pesto:

2 c. packed fresh Basil leaves, washed and dried

4 cloves Garlic, peeled

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 c. Pine Nuts

1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 – 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

For Summer Squash Pasta:

Slice both ends off of each Squash.

Using the julienne attachment on the mandoline slicer, slice Squash until you get to the center where the seeds are.  Discard the center.

Place julienned Squash in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt.

Soaked Squash

Set in the sink and let rest for 20 minutes.

Rinse with cold water, and squeeze out as much water as possible.

For Pesto:

Place Basil in a food processor or blender.

Pulse until well chopped.

Add Garlic, Salt, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan and blend until mixed.

With the motor running, slowly add Olive Oil until a thick paste is formed.

To prepare Summer Squash Pasta with Pesto:

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.

Add desired amount of Pesto to pan, stirring until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds).

Add Summer Squash Pasta and briefly sauté until warmed through and well coated with Pesto (keep the sauté time short, in order to retain a bit of “crunch” to the Squash).

Serve warm.

The Pesto can be kept refrigerated for several days, or frozen for up to 3 months.  I usually make a large batch in the Summer and freeze it to keep me going through the winter.

Lacto-fermented Salsa

Lactofermented Salsa

Lacto-fermentation is a traditional preservation method that has been used for thousands of years.  It relies on the activity of lactobacilli, bacteria that are present on the surface of all living things.  The lactobacilli convert the starches and sugars in fruits and vegetables to lactic acid, thereby preserving the food.  Lacto-fermentation is a process that is ongoing, so once you have the flavor you want, refrigeration is required to slow the fermentation.  A root cellar (or any space that stays around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) will do as well.  For more information on Lacto-fermentation, I highly suggest reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.

This Lacto-fermented Salsa will blow your mind!  I have kept jars in the fridge for months, and the flavor is still as amazing as the day I made it.  The Onions and Peppers keep their “crunchiness” too, which is really what makes this recipe a winner in my book!

Adapted from Nourishing Traditions:

Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

 4 medium Tomatoes, cut in half and seeded

2 small Onions, coarsely chopped

3/4 c. Chile Peppers, coarsely chopped (hot or mild)

1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded

8 cloves of Garlic, peeled

1 bunch Cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 tsp.  dried Oregano

juice of 2 Lemons

1 Tb. Sea Salt

1/4 c. Whey (from strained yogurt) or an additional 1 Tb. Sea Salt

1/4 c. Filtered Water

Method

Add Tomatoes to a blender or food processor and pulse until chopped.

Add Onions, and pulse again.

Add Peppers, Garlic, Cilantro, and Lemon Juice and pulse until well mixed.

Add remaining ingredients and continue to pulse until well mixed.

Place salsa in two 1 quart canning jars, mashing vegetables down to ensure they are covered by the liquid.

Make sure the vegetables are at least one inch below the top of the jar to prevent leaking.

Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for approximately 2 days.

Be sure to loosen the lids and “burp” the jars periodically during fermentation to prevent leaking (tighten lid back when you’re finished).

Transfer the Salsa to cold storage.

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

This is so easy to make, and it keeps well too.  I use this seasoning not only on ground beef, but on beans as well.  I mix beans with the ground beef to make the meal “go a bit farther” and to save money (meat is SO expensive!).

Ingredients

6 Tb. Chili Powder

3 Tb. Cumin

1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder

3/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1 1/2 tsp. Oregano

1 Tb. Paprika

2 Tb. Salt

1 Tb. Black Pepper

Method

Place all the ingredients in a jar and SHAKE!

Use approximately 2 Tb. of seasoning per pound of meat.

Remaining seasoning can be kept in an airtight container in the pantry.

Turkey and Rice Soup

Turkey Soup

I got a free turkey from the grocery store back around Thanksgiving (they had a deal where if you spent a certain amount each week for six weeks you get a turkey).  I didn’t really have any ideas about what to do with it, so I just went ahead and roasted and carved it.  I froze most of the shredded meat to use for meals, and saved the bones and innards for stock making.  

A favorite of mine is Chicken and Rice soup, yet I decided to try a different route since I had such a large supply of turkey meat.  This was fast and easy to make, and freezes very well!

Ingredients

6 c. Chicken Stock

1 c. Brown Rice

3 Tb. Butter

1 tsp. Salt

1/4 c. Shallot, minced

1/2 c. Onion, chopped

1 Tb. Flour

1 c. Turkey, chopped

2 Tb. Fresh Parsley, chopped

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Method

To prepare the rice: 

Bring 2 c. Chicken Stock to a rolling boil.  Add the Brown Rice, 2 Tb. Butter, and Salt.  Stir once, cover, reduce to simmer, and cook for 30 to 35 minutes until liquid is absorbed.  Set aside.

To assemble soup:

Melt 1 Tb. Butter in pot and add Shallot and Onion, cooking until soft.

In a separate pot, bring 4 c. Chicken Stock to a boil.

Add 1 Tb. Flour to Shallot and Onion, and stir, cooking approximately 1 minute, until it turns golden brown.

Whisk in the boiling Chicken Stock.

Add Turkey, Parsley, Salt, and Pepper, and bring to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer and simmer 10-15 minutes.

This may be frozen for up to three months in an airtight container.

Best Pizza/Spaghetti Sauce EVER.

Pizza Sauce

No, really.  I’m serious.  I cannot believe how amazing this recipe is.  I cannot take any credit for the recipe, though.  I only made one small change, and that was to change the intensity of the fennel seed flavor.  The original recipe may be found here.   I make a very large batch of the recipe and freeze it in two cup containers.  I use it as is for pizza sauce, but thin it out with 8 oz tomato sauce per 2 cups pizza sauce to make a spaghetti sauce.  

For 8 cups:

Ingredients

8 Tb. Olive Oil

4 Tb. Butter

2 c. Onion, chopped

1 c. Celery, chopped

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 (32 oz.) can Tomato Sauce

1 (24 oz.) can Tomato Paste

8 Tb. grated Parmesan Cheese

4 tsp. Dried Basil

4 tsp. Dried Oregano

2 1/4 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Sugar

1 tsp. Black Pepper

4 small Imported Bay Leaves

2 tsp. Fennel Seed

Method

In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil.

Add the Onion, Celery, and Garlic, and cook until soft and transparent.

Add Tomato Sauce and Tomato Paste and stir until smooth.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a slow simmer.

Simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove Bay Leaves, and serve or freeze.

Easy Chicken Stock

I’ve been roasting whole chickens for quite some time now, but never saved the bones for making stock because I thought it was too hard or time consuming. I must say I was completely wrong.  I keep the bones frozen until I have enough to do the stock, and make a large batch when I’m ready. I also freeze parsley stems, leeks, and other veggie scraps to throw in the stock as well. You don’t even have to thaw the bones and scraps…just throw them all in the pot and cover with water.  No salt is added to the stock.  You wait until you are ready to use it in a recipe, then add the salt as needed.

This stock is absolutely amazing.  Never again will I use a store bought stock!

Ingredients

Leftover bones from 2 Roasted Chickens

2 Imported Bay Leaves

Handful of Parsley Stems

1 Large Onion, Chopped

2 Large Carrots, Peeled and Chopped

2 Stalks Celery, Chopped

1 Tb. Dried Tarragon

Spring/Mineral/Distilled Water

Method

Place all ingredients in a stock pot (excluding the water).

Stock Ingredients

Fill stock pot with water, covering all ingredients by one inch of water.

Bring to a boil.

Skim any thick matter that floats to the top, and reduce heat to simmer.

Cover askew, and simmer for one hour.

Use a slotted spoon to remove large bones, then pour stock into colander over large bowl.

Stock Colander

Pour stock back into pot through a small sieve or cheesecloth.

Stock Sieve

Let cool in refrigerator uncovered (covering will cause the fat to go rancid).

Skim off any fat.

I keep most of the stock in pre-measured bowls in the freezer so I can use as needed.

Stored Stock

Note: You may also use turkey bones.  I have some from a 13 lb. turkey frozen and ready for stock!

A Fast, Healthy Salad Dressing

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This is a wonderful, fast salad dressing that you can always have on hand. I pour it over a simple salad of greens and find it very satisfying. The dressing can be kept refrigerated for one to two weeks with shallots, and up to a month without shallots.

Ingredients

3 Tb. Flaxseed Oil

1 Tb. Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

1 tsp. Shallots, minced

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Method

Place all ingredients in a glass jar and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.

The recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc., and kept in the jar. Be sure to shake well when removing from the refrigerator.