Jambalaya

 

jambalayaTo my way of thinking Jambalaya is about one of the best dishes on the planet. A chicken, sausage and rice dish, it is believed to have been derived from the Spanish Paella but has a Cajun flavor to it. Having grown up in rice country in Louisiana, we ate rice regularly but my favorite was always Jambalaya. Spicy as you choose and full flavored, it is filling and satisfying to the tastebuds. Those of us from Cajun country like to use Cajun Andouille Sausage but because that is not available throughout the U.S. you can use regular beef, pork, or beef and pork sausage and simply add a little cayenne pepper to balance the flavor.
Andouille is twice smoked and spicy which gives the dish its light kick. I regularly make trips to Louisiana to pick up a large supply of Manda Andouille Sausage to keep ready for use in my freezer. We like it many ways, grilled, fried or used in gumbo, beans or Jambalaya.
You will find that making Jambalaya is easy and allows your own interpretation of the flavor combinations according to your personal preferences. Less spicy or more, less chicken or sausage, more tomato sauce or less, brown or white rice. Play with the recipe and adapt it to your taste and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. This recipe makes a very large amount. You may want to cut the meat amounts in half.

Serves 8-10 generously

  • 1 3-4 pound fryer, cut up – or 8-10 chicken pieces of choice, skin on
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper to season chicken
  • ¼ – ½ cup canola oil or bacon drippings or combination of the two
  • 2-3 links Andouille Cajun sausage or 1 pound other beef or pork link smoked sausage
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) chicken broth
  • 4-6 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes or ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2–2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more or less to taste
  • *¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper – if you like it spicy/li>
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed or ½ cup chunky diced celery
  • ½ cup green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1½ tablespoons purchased minced garlic or 3 large cloves fresh garlic,
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-2 ½ cups uncooked brown or long grain white rice (or a combination of the two)
  • large skillet for browning meat
  • 7 quart or larger pot (Dutch oven type preferable) sprayed or rubbed with cooking oil

Preparation
Season each chicken piece on both sides with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Spray, or rub, a large skillet with oil, add cooking oil and heat over high heat to hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to medium high, add chicken skin-side down, one piece at a time, and lightly brown on each side.
While chicken is browning, cut sausage into bite size or smaller pieces.
Put cooking pot over high heat and add broth, tomato sauce, parsley, salt, pepper, turmeric, bay leaves, celery seed (if using seeds instead of fresh) to pot and stir well. After liquid comes to a low boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer. When chicken is browned, add it to cooking pot and simmer while browning sausage in skillet. Add browned sausage to pot with chicken.
Reduce heat under skillet to medium and sauté green pepper, celery (if using fresh celery), and onion about 3 minutes stirring frequently. Drain excess oil from skillet then add garlic and sauté briefly.
Add the water to skillet and deglaze by scraping all brown bits from bottom and sides of skillet into water.
Pour everything from skillet into simmering cooking pot and bring liquid back up to a gentle boil over high heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for about 40 minutes (or until chicken is cooked) before adding rice. Remove bay leaf, taste liquid, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
When using brown rice, add rice to liquid, stir well, and bring back to simmer. Cover and cook over medium heat about 40 minutes or according to package directions (I find my brand takes longer than the package suggests), stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Cook an additional 20 minutes over very low heat, without stirring.
For long grain white rice, add rice to boiling liquid, bring back up to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and steam 30 minutes or according to package directions.
When using a combination of brown and white rice, cook as above but cover and cook brown rice 30 minutes on a low boil, then add white rice, bring back to a boil, lower heat to simmer, cover and steam for another 30 minutes. Rice is done when tender but not gummy. Turn off heat and let Jambalaya sit with lid on for at least 20 minutes before serving so that remaining liquid may be absorbed. You can prepare the meat and liquid one day and cook rice another day if more convenient. The flavors get even better overnight.
This is a complete meal when served with a side salad.
Recipe may be cut in half.
I guarantee you will enjoy a down home delicious day with Jambalaya on the menu. Eat hearty and let me know what you think.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®

A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Cole Slaw

 

cole slawEverywhere I look in restaurants and deli’s I see cole slaw that is finely chopped. But at home many people prefer the chunky chopped. It is a matter of personal taste and the flavor is the same, just the experience on the tongue is different. The good thing about cole slaw is that it goes with so many other dishes. It is a regular with fried chicken, fried seafood, at picnics, home and anywhere you want a nice refreshing salad. The good news is that carrots and cabbage are so healthy. The mayo may be stretching healthy a little but you can use fat free mayo if you prefer or mix half and half mayo and fat free sour cream. Try it each way and then decide your personal preference. Memorial Day is a great day to make your own slaw. It is quick and easy and oh so delicious.

I suggest you not add salt to slaw until time to serve because salt tends to make the cabbage weep. It draws the liquid out of it and then your slaw is runny and the flavor is no longer as intense. Even though I don’t have it in the recipe, I was raised on slaw that also had hard boiled egg in it. I LOVE IT. My Mom would finely mince one hard boiled egg and stir it into the slaw. It changes the flavor just slightly but in a way that is unique to Mom and oh so good. You might want to try it in a small amount of your slaw to see what you think.
cole slawWell, its time to get planning your menu for the upcoming holiday with backyard barbeques and picnics so let’s get to the good stuff and find out how to make a mean bowl of quick and easy cole slaw that will rival any other you taste.

Serves 8-10

  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 4-5 carrots, scraped
  • 1 cup Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
  • Black or Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • Optional: one hard boiled egg, finely minced
  • Optional: ½ cup cooked whole salad shrimp or chopped crawfish tails
  • Optional: Cajun seasoning
  • Salt

Preparation
Shred cabbage in food processor or grate on box grater. Slice thin for chunky slaw. Grate peeled or scraped carrots or add to processor with cabbage. Because carrots are so hard it is best to dice or slice them for chunky slaw.

Combine cabbage and carrots in large salad bowl and refrigerate.
In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, pepper and optional shrimp or crawfish and/or egg.. Stir mayo mixture into cabbage. Season with Cajun seasoning to taste (no salt at this time). You can use more or less mayo as preferred. Some heads of cabbage are more dry than others and you will want more mayo. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes until ready to serve, the colder the slaw the better the taste.
Add salt, to taste just before serving. Because of the mayo you want to keep slaw refrigerated as much as possible.
As you can see, cole slaw is quick and easy, so it is a good side dish with any and all meals. It is particularly good accompanying a sandwich at lunch or in place of lettuce in a sandwich for a different taste treat.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Kiss Me Again Carrot Cake

 

carrot cake3In the luscious land of cake and ice cream there are only five that totally take my vote. Those delightful confections are Carrot Cake, Cheese Cake, Chocolate Cake, Italian Cream Cake and Chocolate Italian Cream Cake. These are not just any ordinary cakes. They are recipes handed down for many years with the exception of the Chocolate Italian Cream Cake and therefore totally tested in the court of public opinion. It is my humble belief that most restaurants and bakeries ruin these cakes.

The best Italian Cream Cake I have had recently, besides mine, was an Italian Cream cake ball at Kup N Kakes near my house in Pearland. It was tender and moist and totally yummy. Chocolate Italian Cream Cake is my personal creation and is simply to die for. But you will have to wait for that recipe a little longer.
Carrot cake is much more simple than it looks and can be luscious with the right recipe. Because I want you to have the satisfaction of tasting what many believe to be one of the best, at least once in your lifetime, I am going to share my special recipe with you. Be sure to try it and claim it as your own so you will become the Queen or King of cakes.

Kiss Me Again Carrot CakeSERVES 8

  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped or broken pecans
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups liquid vegetable shortening
  • 2 ½ cups soft cooked and drained carrots
  • 9 ounces room temperature Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 ¼ stick unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ boxes (24 ounces) white confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Prepare two 9” round metal cake pans, coat lightly with oil and dust lightly with flour on bottom and sides, or use waxed paper cut to fit bottom of pans and coat sides of pan only.
In a medium size bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in 1 cup of the pecans.
Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until well mixed, and continue beating on medium while adding granulated sugar, vegetable oil, carrots (will mash while being beaten), and sifted dry ingredients. Bake layers on center rack of oven for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
When layers are finished baking, cool for 5 minutes in pan then invert onto a wire rack. If you used waxed paper, remove at this time. Cool until cake is room temperature.
Prepare frosting by beating together cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Blend in remaining 1 cup pecans.
Put first layer of cake on a cake plate and use ¼-1/3 of frosting to ice the top of layer. Put 2nd layer of cake on top of frosted first layer and ice the top and sides of the cake.

NOTE: Frosted cake freezes well in slices or larger pieces. If you are an icing fiend, double the icing recipe and load it down with the sweet stuff. I normally stir my chopped pecans into my icing so it is bumpy and has nuts everywhere. Do what suits you…it will still be devine.
When you are sitting there thinking heavenly thoughts of smooth delicious cake, with just the right amount of crunchy nuts, melting in your mouth be sure to be thankful for your down home delicious day and share your comments with us.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Warm Corn Salad

 

Warm Corn SaladOne of my favorite foods is corn, in every way, shape and form. I’m not sure if that is a Southern thing or not, but I dearly love corn and love coming up with new ways to prepare old favorites. Aside from corn on the cob, which is my absolute favorite, who wants plain old buttered whole kernel corn when you can spiff it up a little with some well chosen seasonings.
As a diabetic I must be cautious about what I eat, what I eat it with, and how much I consume. Fortunately, corn, is a low glycemic carbohydrate which means it is better for you than other foods because it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.
Becoming diabetic has slowed me down a little by virtue of not being allowed to eat gooey desserts or hot fresh baked breads like I did in the past. The benefit is that it rerouted my choices and taught me about portion control. I still eat most of the foods I love but some I eat in bites rather than servings. This recipe I eat in servings and enjoy every bite.
It is totally satisfying and easy on the schedule. In fact it can be prepped in advance and cooked at the last minute, plus the recipe can be doubled or tripled if cooking for a crowd. It is bursting with flavor, so check it out and impress your friends. For more zing add one minced jalapeno pepper with the poblano pepper (or substitute bell pepper for poblano).

Serves 4-6

  • 1 large roasted poblano (or green bell) pepper, washed, seeded and chopped*
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small red or white onion, sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced thin
  • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn or fresh corn (cut from 4 ears)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (or equivalent dried), minced
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ½-1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • *For more zing, add 1 minced jalapeno pepper with poblano or bell pepper

Preparation

Warm salad is best if prepared just before serving. You can prep all the ingredients and set aside until ready to cook.
Coat pepper with oil and put on pan in very hot oven, (450 degrees) or on stove burner. Roast, turning often, until skin begins to turn black and blister. Put pepper in a brown paper sack or a plastic zip bag, close and let sit for about 30 minutes. Peel skin from pepper, remove stem and seeds, and chop. Set aside until ready to add to corn. This can be done up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. You can also use pre-roasted peppers you purchase in a jar at store, drain and dry with paper towel before use.

In a medium skillet, put butter, oil, and onion. Bring to medium heat and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is golden. Add garlic and sauté an additional minute. Stir in corn, poblano pepper and chili powder and cover skillet. Cook until corn is tender, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cilantro and sauté until tomatoes begin to soften, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, add lime juice and salt. Serve warm as an accompaniment to meat. Makes 2 generous servings or 4 accompaniment sides.

So there you have it, a great recipe that makes a beautiful dish. Just looking at the picture makes me want to run in the kitchen and whip up a batch. Go ahead, and have a down home delicious treat that is soul satisfying.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Red Potato Salad

 

chunky potato saladSometimes I think my whole life centers around food because I cook and talk about food so much. Its not really that way but I am a serious foodie. My husband, my children and I have definite preferences in food and have no shame when it comes to professing our favorites. One of those family favorites is potato salad. Not just any potato salad but for my family it is MY potato salad. More food snob than foodie. There is nothing magic about my recipe. It is a very easy recipe with a ratio of one medium red potato to one large egg per person for generous portions.
We have a cute story we like to share in our family regarding potato salad. My sons grew up to be outstanding cooks and even stronger food snobs wanting only “Mom’s” food. Their poor wives had a struggle at the beginning. My eldest son’s wife came to me early in their marriage begging me to teach her how to make potato salad.
Because the recipe is easy and she is a gifted cook, she learned quickly. The problem was that my son snubbed his nose at her potato salad saying it wasn’t like mine. After a few discouraging times we worked out a plan. The next time she made potato salad she told him I had dropped off a bowl of it for him and he gobbled it up saying how much he loved it. When he finished eating she told him it was in fact her potato salad. We got a big laugh out of the experience and you can bet she didn’t have any more complaints from him.
Different people have different tastes so I have offered two pictures of potato salad to show you how different they can be. The one picture is what I recognize as southern potato salad and the other is chunky potato salad with skins. Either is delicious so try one or both.

Makes 1½-2 quarts

  • 4 unpeeled medium size red potatoes
  • 4 large or 3 jumbo eggs in the shell
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup dill, or sweet, relish, optional
  • ½ teaspoon prepared yellow mustard, optional
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, Hellman’s preferred
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced celery or ¼ teaspoon dried celery seed, optional

Wash potatoes until clean. (I use red potatoes because they do not fall apart like white potatoes and do not become mashed potato salad like white potatoes tend to do). Put deep holes in potato. Place potatoes, eggs (gently), and salt in a large pot and cover with cool water. Bring water to boil. Immediately turn heat low enough to allow water to bubble gently and cover pot with a lid. Cook for 35-45 minutes. After 10 minutes remove eggs and cover with ice to stop cooking process. Allow to cool to room temperature. After potatoes have cooked a full 35 minutes, test a large potato with a fork to see if it is tender inside. As soon as potatoes are tender, drain water, cover with ice and cool to room temperature. You can peel hot potatoes under the faucet with cool water running, just strip skin off and return to water until cool.

While potatoes are cool, peel and dice eggs, and place in another bowl. Add relish, and mustard, if preferred. Add mayonnaise (not salad dressing), salt and pepper, and mix well. If you like celery in your potato salad you can add a little finely chopped celery or a small amount of celery seeds at this time. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning as needed.

When potatoes are sufficiently cooled, dice potatoes into a large bowl. Hint: Like potato skins? Leave skin on a couple of potatoes before dicing but too much skin will be overpowering. Add egg mixture to potatoes, mix well and taste again, adjusting seasonings as necessary. Personal taste dictates how much mayonnaise and/or seasonings you may want to use. Because you can’t judge in advance how dry a potato may be inside, be sure that you put sufficient mayonnaise in your salad to make it moist. Season to taste.

I like plain potato salad, so I do not generally get very creative. However, you may choose to substitute an equal amount of sour cream for a portion of the mayonnaise. Suggestion: Add a small amount of the other flavors into about a cup of the potato salad in a small bowl, mix and taste. If you do not like the new combination it has not ruined the whole batch. Potato salad is best chilled and is always better when it has had time for the flavors to blend, anywhere for a period of a couple hours to over night.

Hints:

Recipe can be increased or decreased at a rate of one potato per one egg, then adjusting seasonings proportionally. This is not an exact science, so tasting and adjusting is an important part of preparation.

One of our more picky eater children visited last week and she devoured the potato salad. I knew I had done good. It is so simple that it’s a shame not to indulge yourself regularly.
Ya’ll have a down home delicious meal and no fighting over the potato salad please, there’s enough for everyone.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Rev it Up With Red Beans and Rice

Louisiana Style Red Beans

Red Beans and RiceGrowing up in Louisiana almost guarantees that you will be raised on red beans and rice. It is of Creole heritage rather than Cajun, but is loved by everyone in Louisiana and most southern states. In many households Monday was wash day. Because the red beans could simmer on the stove while the wash was being done, facilitating multi-asking without a lot of oversight, the cook could check the liquid level and stir every time she went by the kitchen which helped to release the gas in the beans.
Our family did not do the Monday wash day tradition. We had red bens and rice whenever we chose and they were generally served with a hot pan of cornbread and a big bowl of potato salad. Yes Ma’am, lets gobble down those carbohydrates. Of course the beans either had ham or sausage in them for seasoning, so there was definitely protein for balance.
I try to keep Andouille (An-doo-ee) sausage in my freezer to use with my beans and Jambalaya. The sausage imparts a flavor that is so “Louisiana” that it is not quite the same for us when cooked with regular sausage, although any good beef, pork or beef and pork sausage will do. We did not eat a lot of ham in my family so we tended to go with sausage over ham, but ham is a delicious seasoning, as is bacon.
Most dry beans are cooked in a similar fashion, wash, soak, add liquid and seasonings and simmer until tender but not mushy. Red beans are most authentic when you use small red beans rather than kidney beans. They have a creamy rich taste that sets them apart from Kidney beans. However, if you can’t find the small red beans. Kidney beans will do in a pinch.
Serves 6 generously

  • 1 pound dried small red beans, or kidney beans
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • seasoning meat – 6 slices bacon or 1-2 pounds (Andouille or other beef or pork – not polish) sausage, and/or 1 ham hock
  • 1 medium to large onion, diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil, other liquid shortening, or bacon grease
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1½ teaspoons ground pepper, black or cayenne
  • 1 quart hot water, more if needed

Preparation

Rinse beans very well, picking out stones and debris. In a large pot, over high heat, bring beans and 1 gallon cold water to boil. Turn heat to medium and boil gently for 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow beans to soak 2 – 4 hours.

When using sausage, cut it into 1” lengths before cooking or cut bacon in 1 inch lengths. In large skillet, sauté seasoning meat(s) and onion in ¼ cup hot grease until onions become transparent. Add garlic and continue sautéing on medium heat for about 3 minutes more.

While seasonings sauté, bring pot of presoaked beans to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and cook while seasonings sauté. Add cooked seasonings and bring bean pot back to a boil on high heat, stirring frequently. Turn heat to medium low, stir in salt and pepper and continue to cook at a gentle boil for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Do not put a lid on pot. Stir often to release gas in beans and to prevent sticking. Add water as necessary being careful not to make beans soupy – you want the liquid to have a little “thickness” to it.

When beans are fork tender, taste liquid and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice and accompanied by hot cornbread.

Beans and rice or beans and cornbread make a deliciously healthy complete protein when eaten together. During the depression Americans consumed a lot of dry beans and rice because of the minimal price and good health benefits. Our family ate them weekly simply because we loved them, and we still love them to this day.
If you have not tried red beans and rice you are missing out on a real treat as well as a healthy meal. Why not try them this week and see what you have been missing?
Ya’ll have another down home delicious day now.

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Let’s Celebrate Memorial Day With Gratitude and Great Food

 

I must confess that Memorial Day in my family was always one of big celebration, barbeque or seafood boils (crab, crawfish and/or shrimp) or picnics. Unfortunately, because we had little contact with anyone in the military we didn’t spend any time memorializing the fine men and women that gave their lives for our country.

Memorial Day should first and foremost be a day of remembrance and a focal point of our coming together to honor those who gave their all, to celebrate their gift of life given so that we the citizenry of the United States can enjoy the freedoms and privileges that were paid for by their sacrifices. The fact that it is a three-day weekend sometimes distracts from the solemnity of the occasion. There is no reason, however, why a holiday cannot include a time out for thanking those who died and this year we plan to do just that. My husband is a Veteran and we will fly our flag, spend a few moments in prayer and be thankful that those who fought and died enabled us to have a country that permits us to live freer than anyone else in the world.

Why don’t you do something similar, maybe even more.

To add to your celebration, I am going to work my way towards Memorial day with a series of great recipes for your get together of family and friends. Some of the goodies on the menu are Southern fried chicken Corn Salad, Seafood boil with red cocktail sauce and tartar sauce, Carrot Cake, yummy shrimp dip, Tater’Umpkin Trifle, jambalaya and more. Kinda makes your mouth water doesn’t it?
Stay tuned, the next blog will begin the recipe trail to Memorial Day. I hope you will share some pictures with me after your celebration so we can post them on the blog site. Be safe and have fun!
Ya’ll have a down home delicious Memorial Day honoring our fallen heroes followed by pigging out at the picnic, or on the patio, or wherever your celebration takes place. Please try to remember “portion control” while you are at it, yea, right!

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza

Transforming Leftover’s – Easy Chunky Italian Meat Sauce with Spaghetti and Poached Eggs

Easy Chunky Italian Meat Sauce with Spaghetti and Poached Eggs

chicken and spaghettiMy family is composed of Italian food fanatics. Don’t get me wrong, Louisiana Gulf Coast Food is at the top of our list with Italian and we adore Mexican food and other ethnic dishes. However Italian dishes like Lasagna and spaghetti are the comfort foods most popular with us because we were raised in a large Italian family. When my children come to visit its Lasagna they want, then boiled crawfish if they are in season. I prefer to eat my main meal at lunch. If I eat heavy at night my food doesn’t have enough time to digest and goes to bed with me to migrate to my stomach and hips. I also think I am my most creative early in the day when my hunger is at its peak. Lunch becomes our main meal and spaghetti is one of our favs, easy to create with a chunk of left over roast beef or pork instead of the usual ground meat, of course you can use ground meat if you have it on hand.

So, do you have a left over chunk of roast beef or pork? What an amazing array of quick meals can be thrown together for a delightful, but new to the taste buds treat. One half a can of this with a pinch of that and wallah, lunch is served. Today we had a luscious example of just that. With a minimum of effort we feasted on Chunky Red Sauce with Spaghetti and poached eggs, which I share with you now.

  • 1 chunk left over roast beef or pork or 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 small onion
  • A few fresh mushrooms or a small can of mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 1 16 – 28-ounce can tomato sauce or small can tomato paste
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 14 ounces chicken stock
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small white or red potato, optional
  • Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4 or more raw eggs
  • Raw spaghetti

Begin by cutting your hunk of roasted beef (or pork) in bite size cubes and set aside. Next, slice or chop one small onion, rough cut a few fresh mushrooms if you have them, or open and drain a can of mushrooms.
Saute your onions and mushrooms with a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan or large deep skillet. When the onions become tender or translucent stir in the paste, if using paste, and allow it to simmer with the seasonings for about two minutes stirring constantly. Add stock, plus at least 4 cups hot water. If using sauce, add your sauce, garlic, stock and hot water.

Bring to a gentle boil. Add meat chunks. Season sauce to taste, with salt and pepper. Go easy on salt, you can always add more later. Bring back to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer for at least ½ hour then add potato and/or parsley and season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer another ½ hour.
NOTE: NEVER put sugar in your sauce. If you have a white or red potato, cut it in chunks and add to sauce the last 30 minutes. That will take care of the acid in the sauce. You want the potato to only cook until tender, not to fall apart in the sauce. Sugar distorts the authentic Italian flavor. If you don’t have potato, add a handful of minced parsley, that will help also. Parsley is an old home remedy for stomach aches so it is good for you in everything, plus it sweetens the breath.

After an hour, check the thickness of the sauce and the tenderness of the meat. If the sauce is watery allow it to lightly boil until thick, stirring frequently and watching it carefully so it doesn’t stick or burn. When it is thickened, season again with salt and pepper as necessary. Take a cup of sauce and add to a small sauce pan that has been sprayed with oil. Add one cup of water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Crack fresh raw eggs, one at a time into the diluted sauce providing at least one per person plus a couple of extras for those who really love eggs. Put a lid on saucepan and allow eggs to cook gently for about 15 minutes. DO NOT allow sauce to boil or eggs will come apart and be a mess. After eggs are cooked to a hard yolk stage turn off burner and let them sit in their sauce until ready to serve.

While eggs cook, boil your spaghetti in a large pot of water according to package directions. I like to add a little sauce. You can use the sauce from eggs or the meat, to the drained spaghetti to keep it from sticking together, or you can serve it plain with a little butter stirred in.

To serve, top each serving of cooked spaghetti with a generous cup of meat, sauce and an egg and accompany with a green salad and crunchy bread on the side. It’s just that easy to prepare a delicious and authentically Italian lunch. No restaurant is going to match this.

My family loves dishes like this and never feels like they are having left over’s because of the total transformation. You can also prepare this recipe for dinner if you prefer. If you don’t have dry roasted meat you can use meat from pot roast rinsed to remove its pot roast flavor. When using ground meat be sure to brown it with the seasonings.

This is a simple guide to fixing true Italian meat sauce. My grandmother was very frugal, as were all homemakers of her time, and used every bit of everything available (nothing was thrown away) to prepare meals. My whole family sincerely believes tomato gravy is better the second time around after the flavors have had a chance to blend, so don’t hesitate to make a large amount and freeze some or serve again at another meal. I always cook in quantity so I don’t have to cook so often. Enjoy!

I invite you to give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. In the meantime, ya’ll have yourself a down home delicious Easter Holiday and be safe.

Blessings,

Peggy Sholly
Down Home Delicious®
A Taste of Down Home Delicious®
Down Home Delicious® Extravaganza