Sauces

Green Pesto Sauce

I’m a real sucker for pesto but it’s one of those sauces that I don’t like to buy (I think it’s better when it’s fresh) yet I never make it at home, even when I have a bunch of basil.  Pesto is so full of flavor and so easy to make that it’s just silly that I don’t make it more. It’s good on any meat, pasta, veggie, pizza, sandwich or even eggs. When I came across this recipe for Green Pesto Sauce, I wasn’t sure what to think since it’s made with fruit juice but one day at the store, I found myself looking at bottles of Naked juice and decided to give this pesto a try.

Basic pesto ingredients of basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and nuts (I used sliced almonds because I had them on hand) are combined with parsley, green fruit juice and lemon juice which add other layers of flavor. This isn’t your basic pesto so the hint of sweetness from the fruit juice may not be your cup of tea. And while I prefer regular pesto, I was pretty surprised with the interesting and unique flavor of this.

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In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients. Cover and process or blend until almost smooth.

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Serve at once atop steamed or roasted potatoes or vegetables or cover and chill up to 2 days. Stir in additional juice to desired consistency.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Sliced almonds
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Better Homes & Gardens magazine

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Broccoli with Walnut Romesco Sauce

This week has been brutal for me.  Normally, I would be in Vegas right now for March Madness with my girl friends playing blackjack and betting on NCAA basketball but instead I’m home nursing a stupid cold and having a rough week at work.  After going to Vegas for 10+ years every March, this year we passed on the trip in order to go to our friend’s stepson’s wedding in Mississippi next weekend.  And although we will have a great time down south, it’s killing me not to be in Vegas.  Instead of drinking too much, not eating enough and winning and losing, I’ve been staying away from alcohol and eating healthy.  One tasty dish I’ve made is Broccoli with Walnut Romesco Sauce.

Steamed broccoli is served with a quick puree of garlic, olive oil, roasted red peppers, walnuts, water, and tomato paste.  Smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, and sherry vinegar add additional layers of flavor that pack a punch and keep this sauce interesting.  I only used a fraction of the olive oil called for to keep calories down and was happy that this sauce wasn’t too oily.  In fact, this sauce reminds me of my favorite dip I have ever made (and now my go-to dip), Roasted Red Pepper Dip.  This sauce is versatile too.  Add a dollup to some chicken, on your burger, or mixed in with your favorite tomato sauce for a flavorful pasta dish.  I’m happy to tell you about this sauce because it’s so good but I wish I wasn’t able to because I was too busy gambling right now.  I’m looking forward to Mississippi but it looks like I’ll also need a trip to Atlantic City soon.

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Saute garlic cloves in olive oil over medium heat, 3 minutes.

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Puree with jarred roasted red peppers (drained),  walnuts, water, tomato paste, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and ancho chile powder.

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Serve with steamed broccoli.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Food Network magazine

Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

I have to be honest.  I’ve been trying to watch my carbs lately.  It’s a pattern with me.  I get mad at myself so I torture myself by watching my carbs and end up getting mad at myself even more.  So, straight up I’ll tell you that I made this recipe for Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce a while ago.  I wish I could say I made it recently but sadly, no.  Would I give my left arm for some of this now WITH the pasta underneath it? Probably.

Cherry or grape tomatoes are added to olive oil, garlic and red pepper flake and heated until they open up and become juicy (if they don’t open on their own, use a wooden spoon and get some delight in popping them open against the side of the pan – it’s kind of like popping bubble wrap).  Once heated through and the juices flow, remove from the heat and add fresh basil.  Literally, that is it.  When the title of this recipe says “Easy”, it means it.  And not only is this easy to make but it truly is so fresh tasting that my first bite made me think of what fresh restaurant pasta sauce tastes like.  The only thing I have to say is that I used A LOT less olive oil that it called for.  I used 1/4 cup (as opposed to 1/2 cup) and my sauce was plenty oily.  Next time, I’ll use even less.  So use your own judgment when it comes to the oil.  You want the tomatoes to be the star and trust me, if I stick to this low-carb thing much longer, I’m not too proud to make this sauce and just eat it with a spoon.  Seriously.

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The ingredients:

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Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper; cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.

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Add tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. (If tomatoes stay whole during cooking, pierce each one with the tip of a knife to release juices; cook 1 or 2 more minutes.)

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Remove from heat; stir in basil.

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Divide pasta among serving bowls; top with tomato sauce, cheese, pine nuts, and additional black pepper, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Pine nuts

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Coastal Living magazine

Fiery Buffalo Sauce

I think I have finally found the perfect homemade buffalo sauce!  I’ve seen on food shows that really good buffalo sauces are usually made with some kind of mixture of hot sauce and butter.  The more butter the better.  But this recipe for Fiery Buffalo Sauce only uses a little bit of butter and has a secret ingredient that just blows my mind.

Melted butter, cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Original), and white vinegar are mixed together before adding in ranch dressing (or blue cheese dip as the recipe says, if you prefer).  That’s it.  This sauce is great with wings, nuggets or, in my opinion, anything you want to add buffalo sauce to.  Got some plain chicken breasts?  Add this sauce.  Got some boring pasta?  Add this sauce.  This is a perfectly universal buffalo sauce that will meet just about any need.  I have my leftover sauce in a container in the fridge and I’ll being using it later as a dressing for a spinach salad with chicken I plan on having.  I mean, why not?  If I could put this in my coffee, I think I would.

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The ingredients:

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In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter on medium.

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Whisk in cayenne pepper sauce and distilled white vinegar.

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Transfer to bowl; toss with cooked wings (or nuggets) and blue cheese (or ranch) dip.

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I added the ranch dressing to the hot sauce mixture before serving along side chicken nuggets.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Frozen chicken nuggets
  • Light ranch dressing

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Good Housekeeping magazine

Tangy Coffee Barbecue Sauce

I realized the other day that I have a ton, I mean a ton, of recipes for barbecue sauce.  And yet I continue to buy chicken breasts but leave them in the freezer because who wants to eat plain old chicken breast?  It never occurs to me to pull out one of these recipes and actually make a barbecue sauce to add some pizzazz to baked or grilled chicken.  This past weekend when I was paging through my recipes, I kept stopping at these sauces and suddenly realized I already have the ingredients to make most of them, like this Tangy Coffee Barbecue Sauce.  Duh!  So long boring chicken!

Ketchup and coffee are the basis for this sauce which is simmered together with a little brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder.  Black pepper, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce are added at the end to give it and even bigger zing.  Add it to chicken, pork, beef or even veggies for a little extra zip.  ‘Tis approaching barbecue season so don’t go and get one of those bottled preservative messes, make some scrumptious sauce of your own.  It’s cheaper and tastes so much better!

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The ingredients:

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Combine ketchup, coffee, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

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Remove from heat; stir in pepper, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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