Perfect Basil Pesto (THM S)

Wondering what to do with that beautiful, blooming (overflowing?) basil? Pesto is one of my favorite ways to preserve fresh basil. It uses a TON of fresh basil at once, and pesto can be used in a myriad of ways.

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Sunday Bolognese (THM S)

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Bolognese is basically an Italian meat sauce. It has a different flavor than traditional marinara, and usually has some vegetables in it as well. I call this my “Sunday Sauce” because you can make it on Sunday, and it tastes just as good (or better!) on Friday.

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This sauce comes together in one, big pot on your stove top, and it’s low-maintenance (lots of simmering, not a ton of stirring).

When I make Bolonese, I always make extra for freezing. It’s perfect with Dreamfields Noodles, spiralized squash/zucchini, eggplant steaks, Lazy Lasagne (Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook page 140), or any other Italian fare you can dream up. My kids love this sauce, and will eat anything I put with it.

Start with 1 1/2 – 2lbs ground beef. I used 85% lean, but you can go for whichever variety your family likes best. Sauté it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and some dried basil. When the meat begins to brown, start breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. When the meat is mostly cooked, add the shallots, garlic, celery, grated carrot, and onions. I use a fine hand grater to get small strings of grated carrot. The best thing about using a hand grater, as opposed to a box grater, is that you can hover it over the pot and grate straight down into it. No extra step of transferring it from the cutting board to the pot. Plus, when it’s cut that small there’s no need for peeling.

When the vegetables begin to soften, de-glaze the pan with one heaping cup of red wine. Don’t fall for the “cooking wine” tricks here – you want to use something dry, bold in flavor, and that you would enjoy drinking. If you don’t enjoy the taste of it uncooked, then you really won’t like it once it’s reduced and concentrated. I used a Côtes du Rhône because I still had some left over from my Coq Au Vin, and it was just enough for this recipe. The Côtes du Rhône gave my sauce a bold, deep flavor, and I highly suggest it if you can find it in your grocery store. (I found mine at Costco for around $10).

Finally, add the whole can of crushed tomatoes with their juice and a touch more salt and pepper. Place the lid on your pan, and let it simmer on medium heat for about 10-12 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue simmering until sauce is reduced and thickened.

Turn off the heat, taste and adjust for seasoning, then add one large handful of fresh chopped parsley.

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What you end up with is a bold, hearty, sauce that’s slightly fruity from the red wine. It’s perfect to use right away, or you can cool and package it up for Italian night later in the week (all it will need is some heat). Like I said earlier, this sauce only gets better with time, so there are no disappointing leftovers here.

Sunday Bolognese (THM S)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2lbs ground beef (I used grassfed 85% lean)
  • 1 heaping cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced (leafy greens included)
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1 large handful chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula. Season with garlic powder, dried basil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the onions, shallots, garlic, celery, grated carrot, and a touch more salt and pepper. Continue sautéing until onions begin to get soft, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. De-glaze the pan with the red wine, then add the crushed tomatoes and a little more salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes. Remove the lid and continue simmering another 10 minutes, until sauce is thickened and slightly reduced.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the parsley, taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve immediately, or cool and store until future use.

Shrimp & Broccoli Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Who doesn’t love a big bowl of stringy, cheesy goodness? 20161004062700_img_1738

Just look at it! This was a fairly easy meal to make, with most of the components coming together in under 30 minutes. (Glaring at you, spaghetti squash.)

Shrimp and Broccoli Alfredo (THM S)

  • 1lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 c shredded asiago (or parmesan)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • S & P to taste

There are a few different methods to cooking spaghetti squash. You can halve it and throw it in a crockpot with some water on high for a few hours, until tender. I usually do it in the oven, at 400, for one hour. I halve and seed it, and place it cut-side down in a deep pan with about an inch of water. I make little cuts in the bottom of the squash to vent it, and that’s it. Cook it however you like!

In a large skillet, melt 1 Tsp of the butter over medium heat. Toss the shrimp with salt and pepper, and arrange them in the skillet in one even layer. Cook through on both sides, about 90 seconds. Remove them to a plate.

In the same skillet, heat another 2 Tsp of the butter over medium and add the garlic. Cook for one minute, then add the cream. Once the cream starts to bubble, whisk in the mozzarella. Once that’s melted, whisk in the asiago or parm and whisk until it’s all melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once the spaghetti squash is cooled enough to handle. Scoop out the squash onto some paper towels, in one even layer. Place more paper towels on tops and press out as much water from the squash as you can. It will take a few rounds, but trust me you don’t want that beautiful alfredo sauce getting runny because of squash water.

Once the the squash is squeezed, add it to a large casserole dish with the last pat of butter and salt and pepper, toss to coat. Add the broccoli, season a little more and toss again. Finally, add the shrimp and sauce and toss to combine. Sprinkle the top with another hefty handful of cheese (mozzarella or asiago, or both!) and place it under a heated broiler until the cheese is hot and bubbly.

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Do you want to eat your screen right now? It’s OK. It’s every bit as tasty as it looks.

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Bolognese

Don’t be intimidated by the fancy name! Essentially, spaghetti bolognese is more or less a jazzed up meat sauce, and after you make it the first time you’ll want to keep making it over and over. This is even a lightened version of a bolognese sauce because traditionally it’s made with milk, and I subbed wheat spaghetti for a little extra fiber.

Spaghetti Bolognese

  • 1lb box wheat spaghetti
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (about 1/2 of a small can)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 Tsp olive oil

Heat a large pot of water for the spaghetti. Heat a separate large, deep skillet on medium with olive oil. Once pan is heated, add the ground beef, season well with salt and pepper and begin breaking the meat into chunks with a flat spoon or spatula as it browns. When the meat is almost completely browned add the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic and saute until soft (about 4-5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the red wine and let the alcohol cook out (about 3-4 minutes). When the wine is reduced, add the diced tomatoes and juice. Drop the spaghetti to cook and let the sauce simmer on medium as the pasta cooks (about 8-9 minutes). When the spaghetti’s cooked, turn the heat off on the sauce and add the drained pasta right into the pot with the sauce. Toss to combine and serve!

Bolognese time!