Homemade pizza sauce

I realized that I referenced this pizza sauce in my pizza casserole recipe, but didn’t actually provide the recipe anywhere. I thought it was already on this site, but I can’t find it so… Bonus recipe! If you can, you should always make homemade pizza sauce. It’s fairly quick and easy to make up, and it is SO delicious.

Pizza sauce (adapted from allrecipes.com)

* 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
* 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
* 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup (I use agave)
* 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
* 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
* salt to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese.
2. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.
3. If serving as a dipping sauce, heat briefly in microwave to help blend flavors

Alternate recipe, same ingredients, but mixing up a batch of the seasonings to have on hand to make it even easier to whip out a batch of sauce quickly.

Mix:
* 2 tablespoons and 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
* 2-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 2-1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
* 2-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
* 2-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
* 1-3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
* 1-3/4 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes

Store in an airtight container.

Add:
* 1 Tbsp of above mixture
* 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
* 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
* 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup

1. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese.
2. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.
3. If serving as a dipping sauce, heat briefly in microwave to help blend flavors

Some notes: If you want to adjust the spiciness of the recipe, adjust the red pepper and cayenne pepper up or down, but don’t leave them out entirely. Same is true of the honey/agave syrup. I sometimes omit the minced garlic if I don’t want to take the time to mince garlic.

It is not necessary to let this sit for 30 minutes, but it does blend the flavors. When I’m making it for pizza casserole, I just whip it up and dump it in, no sit time allowed.

Pizza Casserole

Last week in my weekly menu, I mentioned I was making pizza casserole and had a request for the recipe. This is fairly quick (from start to finish it takes me an hour, including making the sauce) and usually family and kid friendly. It makes a lot, so half the recipe if you’re cooking for less than four and don’t want leftovers.

Pizza Casserole

Ingredients:

  • Your choice of any combination meats: 1 lb sausage, 1 package pepperoni, Canadian bacon, ham, bacon, hamburger or any other meats you like on your pizza
  • Your choice of any combination vegetables: sliced olives, chopped green peppers, chopped onions, sliced mushrooms or other favorite pizza toppings.
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 2 batches of homemade pizza sauce (or 2 jars of store bought but really, it’s easy to make your own, & tastier)
  • 1 box Rotini pasta

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Cook Rotini as directed on package to al dente (do not overcook)

3. Fry up the meats you’ve chosen. For my casserole this time, I did sausage, pepperoni and ham. You can use whatever you like, really, but don’t skimp on the meat. If you’re only using sausage, for instance, use 2 lbs. Toss pepperoni in the skillet at the end, because it will keep it from getting too greasy in the casserole.

4. Chop up whatever veggies you selected. I only used black olives this time because that’s what I had in the house, and not everyone here likes green peppers and onions like I do, so I left them out. But you can use anything. I usually toss veggies in with meats for 5 minutes just to heat them through, especially mushrooms, but I suggest doing it with other veggies as well.

5. Once pasta is done, put in a large casserole dish that you’ve sprayed with Pam, (I use a ceramic-covered cast iron 6 qt pot) and mix with pizza sauce, meats, veggies and 1 cup of cheese.

6. Top with 2 cups of cheese, put uncovered in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes (longer time if you have uncooked veggies in) then broil on high for 3-5 minutes to make cheese brown and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

7. Plate on your daughter’s favorite pink plate.

Waving the white flag

I hate to be boring and talk about the weather, but really, this is ridiculous. I posted some snow pictures early last week. We had snow, plenty of it. Turns out, we got another 14-16 inches this past weekend. Something our city is ill-equipped to deal with. No side roads are getting plowed. You should see the hideous piles of snow on our street. Parking is atrocious. People can’t walk on the sidewalks anywhere in town, so they’re walking in the street. Yes, even on the busy roads. It’s beyond dangerous. People were/are without power, living in shelters and generally unable to cope with this much snow. We haven’t had a full day of school in surrounding areas in almost two weeks. And now, on top of it? It’s supposed to snow again. Argh.

Look, there’s a reason I moved from North Dakota. There’s a reason I’ve lived here for almost a decade. Because we’re not supposed to get much snow. That’s how it works, that’s the deal. I hate snow. I lived with 5 plus feet of it every winter for several decades. I had enough. Please no more. Pleeeaasssee.

Lemon Drop Martini

This post was written by Sarah of SmartBitches

Photo by leprechaun947

Back in July, Angie, Jane and I went to a restaurant in DC called Hook. Angie, damn her, introduced me to the lemon drop martini. I’m not a big martini drinker though I learned to make them when I was around 11 or 12, since both my grandmothers drank them. One liked them with vermouth and an olive, and the other liked them with gin and a twist of lime. Either way I thought they were disgusting.

Lemon drops, however, are delicious. After I had an exceptional one at Hook, I tried a bunch of different recipes and nothing was as good as that one. So I emailed the restaurant, and asked if they’d be kind enough to share if I promised to go back there the next time I was in DC. Imagine my holy hell surprise when the waiter who took care of our table replied and sent the recipe. And it is delicious times ten when you make it in your own home. Why? It’s much cheaper than in a restaurant!

So, without further ado, my favorite lemon drop martini recipe.

The Lemon Drop Martini at Hook

1 & 1/2 oz ketel one citron vodka (aka 3 tbsp)
Squeeze 1/4 lemon juice (1 tbsp)
splash fresh lime juice
1 oz sugar syrup. (2 tbsp)

Sugar syrup is easy: one cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water over heat, then allow to cool.

According to J, the wonderful waiter, “The key is to shake it with lots of ice to make it really cold and bring out the bright lemon flavors.” I have used bottled lemon juice and bottled lime juice, and with lots of ice and serving it cold, it was still exceptional, but fresh is amazing.

Paired with a candied lemon peel from Angie, this drink makes me a very happy Sarah indeed.

L’chaim!

http://www.hookdc.com/

Weekly Menu: February 7-13th

How are things going following your weekly menus? I know I’ve said this before but the reason I do a weekly menu is so I know there’s always something planned, I can shop ahead and because with a menu, we eat more meals than if there wasn’t one. Without a menu, we’d eat a lot more leftovers, eat out more and eat more poorly. And I’d probably spend more time in the grocery store. But there are days where I don’t end up following the menu, for a variety of reasons. So you shouldn’t feel tied to the menu, but use it more as a guide.

Sunday: SuperBowl Sunday! I know, it’s the ultimate day for making appetizers, but we’re ordering take-out from Famous Dave’s. Yay!

Monday: Leftovers (yes, we’re ordering enough takeout to have leftovers)

Tuesday: Spiral ham & au gratin potatoes

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Ham quiche

Friday: Parent’s Night Out. Date night! No cooking for me.

Saturday: Ham and beans (see my evil plan with the ham on Tuesday? Meals for the rest of the week!)

Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, and we don’t usually go out on VD so I need to plan a special dinner. I’m thinking steamed crab and steamed shrimp, but I’m not sure. Do you do something special for Valentine’s Day? And what’s on your menu this week?

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