Jan 6, 2011

IHCC: Resolutions

This week’s I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is “Resolutions.”
Becoming more organized, eating healthier, exercising more. 
Sorry, ya'll.  I'm just not that good.

You’ve noticed that the blog world is overflowing with resolutions.
And maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t blogged in a while. 
Yeah, I know, I flatter myself. Just give me this, ok?

It’s no coincidence.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. There’s no need. I already have an impressive list—bulleted even—of failed goals. There’s no reason to further build this list of things I fiercely suck at.
I'm not a show off.

So I’m not proposing resolutions for myself.

Let’s call these:
Things I’m inclined to do this year if the mood so strikes
(i.e. when it’s convenient)

I picked Giada’s marinara for the resolutions theme this week because it fits with two food-related things I’m inclined to do this year:

* use fewer processed foods. I’ve significantly whittled down the canned, boxed, and jarred foods that I buy. But jarred spaghetti sauce is something that I haven’t been able to wean myself from.
Disclaimer: I make no promises, though, to lose the Tony’s in favor of homemade.

* do a better job planning meals based on what I already have. I despise throwing out food and lately have let too much go bad.
I’ve developed a bad habit of telling myself I don’t really feel like figuring out what to do with that extra zucchini tonight. Before I know it the zucchini is resting in the compost bin. Ashes to ashes and all that, but still.  When going through Giada’s recipes this week, I saw that I’d hardly have to buy anything to make her marinara. Even better, I could use up the two remaining carrots (ok, there were three and I ate the other while cooking) and some onions that were about to sprout.
Notes: I used Giada’s marinara with my version of mom’s meatball recipe. Giada’s sauce was fresh and bright. Not at all like the “red gravy” I make. Not saying that my sauce is stale and dull. But before opening my jar of Bertoli Fire Roasted Tomato w/Cabernet Sauvignon (my fav jarred sauce), I start with a roux (of course I do). That makes my sauce heavier and darker. Giada’s marinara was not what we’re used to. While we love/go crazy over her arrabbiata sauce, we thought her marinara was just “good.” Good but needs to be tweaked to our tastes.

Marinara Sauce

From Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis

also found on foodnetwork.com

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Printer friendly recipe
Mom's Meatballs
from Ms. enPlace

1 lb ground beef
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2-3 shakes of Tony's
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c finely grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  If mixture is too wet, add more breadcrumbs.  If it is too dry, add more milk.  Take a small amount (tsp size) of the mixture and cook in a skillet.  Taste for seasoning and adjust before shaping meatballs.

Roll mixture into meatballs.  Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, depending on size.  Tablespoon sized meatballs will take around 20 minutes.  Add to spaghetti sauce.  Recipe can also be used to make meatloaf.


  1. I like to keep my resolutions on the realistic side too. Great idea using up what's on hand for your menu planning.

    The marinara sauce looks really good with your mom's meatball recipe! I think we all have our own go-to tomato sauce though. Once you find the one that works for you it's hard to make the change.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Can't break me from my jarred sauce either. I've yet to find a recipe that has the same flavors....

  3. My kinds of resolutions!
    Yummy dinner, perfect pairing! (I agree, always up the oomph - more salt and more garlic and more heat, usually!)

  4. Totally with you on this resolution business - I don't make them either!

    I do however make Giada's Marinara Sauce and always have a few pots of it in my freezer. I do however add some good tomato paste, some fresh tomatoes as well as the tinned, and a few dried chilli flakes to give it a bit of kick. Love the sound of your meatballs, and this sauce would be great with them.

    Sue :-)

  5. Looks like her sauce recipe is a good basic starting point. Love it with those meatballs. ;-)


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