Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy September!!

Today is September you know what that means?!? Autumn is right around the corner. YAY!! We are weeks away from hot toddys, apple picking, and decorating the house with pumpkins and gourds. Can you tell that it's my favorite season?? Ok, let's catch up a bit. In the past couple weeks I switched over to working night shifts at work. This means that 3 nights a week I go in at 645pm and return home around 8am. Sleeping during the day time took some getting used to (hence the lack of posting) but I'm pleased to say that now I have found some normalcy.

Tonight for dinner MamaDeLuxe and I are making this NEW pasta with her famous meat sauce. Ronzoni has a new light of pasta called "Garden Delights". While I usually only eat whole wheat pasta, this looked yummy so I chose to splurge on the enriched stuff. This particular box has tomato, carrot, and spinach enriched noodles. I'm excited to try it out!! Let's get started. First, we placed a package of lean, organic ground beef in a pot filled with an inch or so of water. This needs to brown & then drain so all the fat isn't in our meal. Does anyone else get grossed out by the smell of raw ground beef?? Weird, i know.
In the meantime, chop up a carrot, half an onion, and fresh Italian parsley. It's best to use fresh herbs at this point. They really do make a huge difference.
In a separate large pot, bring water to a boil so you can cook up your pasta noodles. While you're waiting, put some olive oil in a saute pan and add in your onions, carrot, and parsley. Throw in some delicious oregano, salt, and pepper. SIDE NOTE- where my grandparents live in Greece...WAY up in the mountains of central Greece, they have the most amazing smelling oregano. Our entire pantry here in the USA smells like the Greek Oregano. I can't help but think of my YiaYia and Papou each time I use this wonderful seasoning.
Add in your strained ground beef. Stir in with half a glass of sweet red wine. I got this German bottle from Trader Joes. It's really lovely, light, and sweet. The smell of what is in this pot reminds me of my childhood. It makes me think of the times my grandmother was here visiting us from Greece. Every morning before I'd leave for elementary school my YiaYia would ask me what I wanted to eat when I got home. My response was almost always "macaronada", which is Greek spaghetti and meat sauce. When I'd come home, the smell of cinnamon, bay leaves, and oregano would fill the air. Ok, now back to reality...I am unfortunately not in elementary school anymore...and my grandmother is now thousands of miles away.
Now, add in a large (28oz) can of crushed tomatoes, 1 or 2 bay leaves, a tsp of sugar, 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks, and 1tsp of white balsamic vinegar. I have found that adding in the vinegar evens out the sweetness from the acidity of the canned tomatoes. Stir in all your ingredients, cover, and simmer (on a level 2) for at least an hour. The longer and lower you let this simmer, the better your meat sauce will taste. This gives you a perfect chance to clean up your kitchen and do your dishes before dinner is ready.
My Mom whipped up an egg-free Caesar salad dressing. It was SO delicious. I absolutely love the flavor of anchovy paste. Here was our dinner result:

My big heaping pile of pasta + salad... And in about 7 minutes... GONE!!! Like magic :) Enjoy the rest of your week...come back because I'm planning on whipping up some amazingly yummy recipes such as: - Chocolate cinnamon rolls, -Cowboy cornmeal rolls, and -lemony date scones. MmMm

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