Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Foods to Fight Depression

Everyone feels blue from time to time.  Whether you are clinically depressed or just in a funk, the following foods may help to lift your mood.  The foods listed below fall into 4 categories: those rich in vitamin B6, high in folic acid, omega-3s and vitamin D.  All of these have been linked to how your body uses and produces seratonin, which is a contributor to well-being and happiness.  Scientists are still studying the effecacy of these foods, but in my opinion it seems that sometimes just knowing that you're doing something good and proactive to help your situation can help you to feel better. In addition to a list of foods in each category, I have listed the RDA that is suggested for each vitamin if you'd like to use supplements.  Please remember though that your body absorbs and uses vitamins better when they come from real foods!

It is important to note that psychotherapy and medication are the most effective means of combating depression. For all forms of depression, it is important to see a mental health professional to determine the best treatment.  Please seek help if you need it!  Depression is a disease and you don't just get better on your own.  The advice in this article is not meant to replace the help of a medical professional.

B-6 Foods (25-100 mg/ day)
These may help if your mood is worsened by the use of hormone therapy or oral contraceptives.  Asparagus, bananas, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, garlic, turmeric, watermelon.

Folate/Folic Acid (400-800 mcg/ day)
Low levels of folate are often associated with depression, and can also interfere with the effectiveness of some antidepressant drugs.  Foods rich in folate include asparagus, avocado, beans, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, fortified cereals, dark leafy greends, orangeds, papaya, parsnips, pease, soybeans, tofu, turkey, wheat germ

Omega-3 (1000 mg. EPA and DHA daily)
Omega-3 deficiency is often associated with low serotonin levels.  Incorporate these foods into your diet to get more omega-3s.  Brazil nuts, avocados, flaxseed (be sure they are ground, your body cannot break these seeds down otherwise), salmon, sardines, chia seeds, help seeds, tuna, walnuts and fortified eggs. 

Vitamin D (400 IU daily)
If your sadness seems to come on during the winter when we are exposed to less sunlight, your depression may be linked to a vitamin D deficiency.  Most Americans are Vitamin D deficient.  Be sure to get at least 10 minutes a day of exposure to sunlight (even if it's cloudy).  Foods that provide vitamin D include cod liver oil, eggs, fortified cereals and milk, and salmon.  If you take a supplement, look for D3 as this form of the vitamin is most easily used by the body.

There are also herbal supplements out there that many people use to help treat symptoms of depression.  Look for St. John's Wort and Kava (which reduces anxiety).  I like this tea that helps ease tension and promote relaxation with Kava.  And it tastes a bit like chocolate which is a mood-lifter in itself!

 Yogi Kava Stress Relief, Herbal Tea Supplement, 16-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Double-Corn Spoon Bread

This delicious side dish comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook  by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann.  I love this book because it uses real food, rather than processed.  Just about everything I've made from this book has been delicious.  This Southern recipe is a wonderful side dish with bbq, roasts, or chicken.

3 c. milk
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces
2 c. corn (fresh cut from the cob, or thawed from frozen)
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 Tbsp. baking powder
6 eggs
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Whisk together the milk, cornmeal and salt in a large saucepan over high heat until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until thick.  This only takes a minute or so.  Stir in the butter until melted, then add corn and pepper sauce.  Sprinkle with baking powder and whisk in the eggs until completely smooth.  Fold in the cheese.

Coat the slow cooker w/ nonstick cooking spray.  Pour in the batter.  Cover and cook on high until it looks set, but not quite firm.  3-3 1/2 hours.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

25 Random Things...

I've been seeing a lot of "25 Random Things..." blog posts out there lately and thought it might be fun to do one of my own.

1.  My earliest childhood memories in the kitchen are with my Grandma Eileen.  We made cookies, listened to Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", and she didn't get mad at all if I dropped a raw egg on her carpeted kitchen floor.  Ew.  I wish I'd inherited her patience.

2.  I could live off of brownies.  Or bread.  Maybe bread with brownies for dessert.

3.  I have two small kids.  My little girl will be 4 in may and my baby boy turns 2 in a couple of weeks.  Where does the time go? 

4.  My husband and I are both teachers- he teaches high school science, and I am a former elementary teacher turned stay-at-home-mom.

5.  He just started a grad school program to add an educational administrator license to his credentials and our world is in a bit of an upheaval at the moment.  We're seeking balance.

6.  Balance.  Yoga.  Did you know I'm also a yoga instructor?  I owned my own studio in our little farming town.  It went out of business, and I've had a really hard time getting back into my practice after that.

7.  I've practiced every day this week, and last night spent a half an hour trying to get into handstand.  Ugh.

8.  My shoulders are killing me!

9.  My kids just started sharing a room so we could have an office again for my husband to work on his homework in.  It's challenging getting everyone to sleep!

10.  The office is also my new yoga room where I can get away from kids and dogs and have some peace and quiet. Love it!

11.  I have two dogs- a one old black lab and a 10 year old Newfoundland that we took in from my sis-in-law who is moving to Saudi Arabia with her family.  The dogs are great with the kids and as hectic and hairy as they make the house sometimes I wouldn't trade it.

Beros and Little Brother having a snuggle

Jake hoping for scraps

12.  I am finding that two large dogs can really go through a 40 lb. bag of dog food.  Must redo grocery budget...

13.  We are trying to do Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.  If you haven't started your total money makeover yet, I encourage you to do so!  It will change your entire outlook on money, life and your relationships.  It's been almost a year and we've paid off a ton.  You can find more info here.

14.  We still have a long way to go....darned student loans. :/

15.  Hopefully with hubby's new credential we can make more money and be debt free except the house in a year or two!

16.  I love to travel.  If I had my ideal life I'd be a gagillionaire and travel the world doing volunteer work and eating. :)

17.  I love trying new recipes.  My husband and son are great guinea pigs.  My daughter, not so much.

18.  Big Sister doesn't understand why she can't eat cheese quesadillas, Raisin Bran Crunch or blue box mac n' cheese for every meal.

19.  The name Naloma  comes from the first two letters of my daughter's, son's and my names.  I tried to work my husband's in there as well, but it didn't flow well.  I think it may mean something in Russian because the blog keeps getting hits from Russian search engines.  I guess I'd better get on babelfish and make sure it doesn't mean something dirty!

20.  I also custom paint furniture.  You can see my work here.

21.  Sometimes I feel like I have too many projects going- yoga, furniture, blogging, running a house, raising kids etc. and wonder if I'm spreading myself too thin.   Sometimes I worry if I am doing all of them just so-so and not really well.

22.  I hope that my most important job, raising my kids and being a good wife, I am doing really well. I do my best to make sure I put them first, while finding time to take care of myself.  Again, it's all about finding balance.

23.  My husband is amazingly awesome, the best kind of dad- firm but fun, brilliant, and handsome, too.  ;)

24.  I literally married the boy next door.

25.  It's spring, which means I'm also running again.  Exept when it rains, which is today.  So that means I get to curl up with a book guilt-free!  Right now I'm reading the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. This series is absolutely amazing, with very real characters.  The second book was a bit slow, but I'm on the fifth book now and can't put it down. 

Well, there you have it!  25 random things about me.  Have you ever done a 25 things list?  If so, link up in the comment section! I'd love to read yours :) 

And don't forget- there is still time to enter the handwarmer mug giveaway here.  Drawing is April 2!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Amazing Chia Seed

Chia seeds are amazing little gems.  Here are 7 reasons you should add them to your daily diet!

  1. Help weight loss. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
  2. Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
  3. Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the "chia gel" can hydrate the body.
  4. Reduce your blood pressure: There's evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.
  5. Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
  6. Benefits for diabetes: Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
  7. They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don't need to be ground up.

Try mixing them into baked goods, sprinkle on yogurt or cereal, or mix a teaspoon into a glass of juice.  Let it sit for a half hour or so and then drink. The seeds absorb fluid rapidly and make little fruity bits in the juice!  Delicious!  Check out my amaranth porridge and easy peasy granola recipes for other ways to incorporate chia seeds into your diet.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Great Aunt Tommie's Hot Water Chocolate Cake

There are chocolate cakes and then there are chocolate cakes.  This chocolate cake recipe is rich and almost brownie like in texture with frosting that has the consistency of fudge (please oh please don't disgrace this cake with store-bought frosting!).  This cake screams for a tall glass of milk to go with it. 

The recipe comes from my great aunt, Tommie.  A southern cook extraordinaire she was well known in the family for her amazing dishes.  If she was alive today I think she'd give Paula Deen a run for her money.  In addition to being a tremendous cook, she was also known for being quite a beauty.  My mom always said she reminded her of Elizabeth Taylor.  I never met her myself, or was too young to remember, but the cake is a part of some of my earliest childhood memories.  It served as many a birthday cake and special treat when the family would get together over the years. 

Tommie and a calf, 1935

Oh, and don't forget about my handwarmer mug giveaway!  Drawing will be on April 2.  See the Masala Chai post, two below this one for instructions to enter.  And remember to "like" Naloma Kitchen at www.facebook.com/nalomakitchen.  :)
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 c. water
4 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda

1 stick butter
6 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
4 Tbsp. cocoa
1 lb. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  To prepare the cake, sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl.  In a medium sized sauce pan bring the water, oil, butter and cocoa to a boil.  Beat this mixture into the flour and sugar till well combined.  Then add the buttermilk, baking soda and eggs.  The batter will seem a bit runny compared to regular cake batter.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 20-25 min. until it passes the toothpick test.

When cake is cool, prepare the frosting.  Bring the milk, butter and cocoa to a boil.  Mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla and uts.  Pour over the cake while still hot and spread to cover.  Let the frosting cool completely before cutting.  Store covered in the refridgerator.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


My sister told me today that I had accidentally linked the Irish Soda Bread recipe to the Irish BROWN Bread recipe!  I've fixed it now, so you can find the correct recipe in the St. Paddy's Day post below, or here.  This recipe comes from Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Period.

This recipe is one that I found years ago on Allrecipes.com.  It sounded a little bizarre because of the odd mix of ingredients (ranch and teriyaki, wha??) but sometimes those are the best recipes, in my opinion so I printed it out and promptly forgot I had it :).  I found it last week and decided to give it a whirl...and OMG it is the absolute best chicken I have had in my life and I am NOT exaggerating.  If you don't love this chicken recipe there is something wrong with you!  I don't know what sort of culinary gods were shining down on the woman that thought this one up, but I wish I could be so lucky!  You can find the original recipe here.  She calls it "Anniversary Chicken" because she made it for her in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary where it was a huge hit.  I served ours with a salad and rice to soak up all the wonderful sauce.  We even put the leftover sauce over steamed broccoli the next day and it was to.die.for. I really do hope you try it!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 (3 ounce) can bacon bits (I use Hormel Real Bacon brand because, well, it tastes like real bacon!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned. Place browned chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce, then spoon on salad dressing. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions and bacon bits. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Masala Chai and a Giveaway!!

Chai tea is one of my all time favorite drinks- it's sweet and creamy and spicy all in one.  It's delicious hot or iced and I could drink it all day!  Here's a simple recipe to make it at home, just as good as anything you'd find in a coffee shop.  Oh, and notice my cool handwarmer mug?  My husband won it for me at a silent auction for the FFA a few years ago.  They are made by a local pottery studio and I am going to be giving one away to one lucky reader!!  See the bottom of the post for instructions on how to enter.

2 cups water
2 tea bags
1 whole black peppercorn
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk         
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and stir in the tea bags, peppercorn, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and cloves. Let boil for 1 minute.
Pour in the condensed milk, and bring back to a boil. Remove from the heat, strain into cups, and serve. Serves 3.

Handwarmer Mug Giveaway!

To be entered to win your very own unique handwarmer mug you must leave a comment below.  In your comment please specify which color of mug you'd like and whether you would like a right-handed or left-handed mug.  You can earn one additional entry by "liking" Naloma Kitchen on Facebook!  I will randomly choose a winner on Sunday April 2.  Once a winner has been chosen I will send you an email to confirm your color and hand selection and get your mailing address.  You can see all of the other wonderful items available at Clay in Motion here. 

 Handwarmer Mug in Ocean TideHandwarmer Mug in Mystic Water
                                                     Ocean Tide                       Mystic Water           

Handwarmer Mug in Purple PassionHandwarmer Mug in Mossy Creek
                                                  Purple Passion                   Mossy Creek

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. Patrick's Goodies for the Kids

As a mom of two little ones I'm always looking for ways to make holidays fun and memorable. Here is a collection of fun St. Paddy's day recipes to put smiles on their faces.

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Rainbow Cupcakes from Family Fun

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A healthy and fun green smoothie from One Charming Party

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The kids and I will be making these sugar cookies.  Making and decorating cookies is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen.

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Don't feel like cutting and icing cookies?  Try these mint chocolate chip drop cookies!  I just used my award winning chocolate chip recipe, added a bit of green food coloring to the batter and used mint chocolate chips in place of semi-sweet.

A great dye-free option, green mac n' cheese!

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Isn't this the cutest lunch you've ever seen?  From Modern Parents Messy Kids.

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Shamrock Rice Crispy Treats with green m&ms

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Super easy Leprechaun Oreo Pie with a prize hidden inside!

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A sweet idea to tuck in a lunchbox from Beth Proudfoot

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 This could be another lunchbox treat, or even a breakfast.  This one's from Craftin' on my Door

I hope you found something fun and tasty on here to share with your family.  I'd love to hear about your traditions for the holiday!  What do you do to make it special for you and yours?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thumbs Up!

We're moving on up (movin' on up!) Naloma Kitchen is heading to the big time with our very own facebook page!  If you're a facebooker be sure to "like" Naloma Kitchen to get a heads up on new recipes, Q&As, and giveaways! There will be a giveaway coming your way next week so don't delay! Find our facebook page here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Recipes

I've been scouring Pinterest for yummy Irish recipes to add to my typical corned beef and cabbage with soda bread.  Here I share with you some amazing recipes from around the blogosphere to cook up one hell of an Irish feast for you and yours!  Erin Go Bragh!

Start off with Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Creme

With some Colcannon on the side.

Irish Soda Bread is another must!

Irish Brown Bread Recipe
As an alternative to soda bread you could make Irish Brown Bread

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Which is delicious dipped in Irish Stew.
diy project favors
Why not make your own Irish Cream?

And use it to make this delicious Caramel Irish Cream Cake

Or these delicious Irish Cream Brownies?

Of course you'll want to wash it down with some Irish Coffee.

Corned Beef Hash with Fried Egg
The next morning you can make Corned Beef Hash with your leftovers!

Check back later this week when I'll have a bunch of recipes for the little ones in your life. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Easy Peasy Homemade Granola

One of my favorite breakfasts is fresh fruit topped with greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey and granola.  Making your own granola is really easy and you can tweak it to include all of your favorite ingredients.  The recipe below is what I made today (very high in omega-3s!), but I've also listed some other ideas for mix-ins.  Leave a comment and share your favorite granola add-in!

6 c. rolled oats
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. ground flax seed or wheat germ
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2-3/4 c. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix-ins (this is what I used today, but you could use anything!)
1/2 c. raisin bran crunch
1 c. shredded coconut
1/4 c. hemp seeds
1/2 c. raisins
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Other ideas for mixins:  shelled sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, any dried fruit you like, bran flakes or other cereal, chia seeds, banana chips, almond extract instead of vanilla, etc.  Get creative!

Combine all the dry ingredients you plan on using in a large bowl.  Then add all wet ingredients, mixing well.  Grease 2 large cookie sheets (or use parchment paper).  Spread granola evenly over both sheets and bake 15-20 mins. stirring 2-3 times while it bakes. 

Let pans cool on wire racks, then transfer granola to an airtight container to store.  I use an old oatmeal container- it's the perfect size.  Enjoy over icecream, yogurt, or just in a bowl w/ milk. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Ever since my sister-in-law gave me a breadmaker for my birthday I've been LOVING the dough setting.  We make homemade pizza a lot now.  And it's great- we save money, we know exactly what's going in and on it, and the kids can make their own.  Our favorite around these parts is ham and pineapple.  Big Sister does her best Ponyo impersonation, "I want HAAAM!" and laughs hysterically. :)  This recipe makes a great pizza crust that has a higher whole wheat to white flour ratio than most, but you'd never know it.  It's really is awesome crust.  Sometimes I'll add in some hemp seeds or ground flax seed to sneak some extra healthy into my fam.  Shhh!  Don't tell!  I've included directions for the bread machine and the old fashioned way if you don't have a sis-in-law to spoil you.

My pizzas never look beautiful so I borrowed this pic from this blog.  Don't you just want to rip a piece right out of your computer and devour it??

1 1/2 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. white flour
1 Tbs. active dry yeast

If you're using the bread maker, just put these things in the order listed above into your machine and choose the dough setting.  Then see assembly instructions below.

If you're doing it the old fashioned way:

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.      
Assembling the Pizza:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.               

Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Baja Style Fish Tacos

When my husband and I lived in Southern California we used to love to go to Rubios for fish tacos.  Since moving up north we've tried our best to recreate their tacos.  This isn't quite the same, but it's darned close.  We eat this about every couple of weeks because it is has the culinary trifecta- fast, easy and delicious!

1 box whole fish fillet fish sticks
corn tortillas
mayonnaise and plain yogurt in equal proportions
shredded cabbage
salsa fresca (don't use jarred salsa, it just won't be as good!)

Prepare white sauce:  mix mayo and yogurt together in equal amounts to create the famous Rubios sauce.  The amounts will depend on how many mouths you're feeding.

Warm enough corn tortillas for your family in the oven or microwave following the directions on the package.  Most taquerias double up the tortillas to hold in all the saucy goodness.  If you're like me, you can just use a single to save on calories, but beware the taco blowout. :) 

Cook the fish in the oven following the manufacturers instructions.  If you're using small sticks you'll need about 3 per taco.  Bigger filets you can get away with 1 or 2 depending on how big they are.

Place fish in tortillas and top with cabbage, white sauce and salsa fresca.  Drizzle with lime juice and tapatio if you want a little more kick.  ¡Delicioso!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

I'm always on the lookout for slow cooker recipes that don't call for cans of cream of mush this-or-that.  Those soups are so high calorie and high sodium that I really don't like to use them that often.  I prefer to use real food, don't you?  Anyway, I put out a call awhile back on facebook to my friends and family for good, whole foods slow cooker recipes and my sister sent in this one from allrecipes.com.  I made a few changes to healthy it up a bit more like using olive oil instead of vegetable, red onions instead of white (hello antioxidants!), and bringing some heat with cayenne pepper.  It's delish!

2 lbs. beef sirloin cut into 2 inch strips
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cube beef bullion
1/4 c. hot water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 large red onion, sliced
2 large bell peppers cut into large chunks
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes w/ liquid
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. white sugar
1 tsp. salt

Sprinkle the sirloin strips with garlic and onion powder to taste.  In a large skillet over medium heat quickly brown the strips and transfer to the slow cooker.

Mix bullion cube with hot water until dissolved, then mix in cornstarch till it is dissolved, too.  Pour into the slow cooker with the meat.  Top with remaining ingredients and mix well. 

Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours.  Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.  You want something to soak up the amazing sauce!  A slab of crusty bread would be nice, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hearty Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti is a main-stay in most households and ours is no different.  It's the first dish to be put on our weekly menu.  We always have it with Poppy Seed Garlic Bread .  I start with a jarred sauce to save on time since spaghetti is usually the dinner I save for nights when we are a bit rushed.  Look for a jar with ingredients you would use at home and no high fructose corn syrup.  I usually use a mushroom or Italian garden variety to get more veggies into my kiddos.  Sometimes we add in a can of kidney in place of or in addition to the meat.

2 jars marinara sauce
1 package pasta in your favorite shape
1 lb. ground beef, turkey or italian sausage
1 can kidney beans rinsed and drained (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Brown the meat and onions in a large sauce pan.  Drain.  Add garlic and Italian seasoning, sauteeing 1-2 more minutes.  Add sauce and beans if you're using them and simmer on low for 20 mins.  Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the package directions in salted water.  It's important to salt your pasta water because this is the only time you can season pasta and have it actually absorb the flavor.  I've even heard of chefs that take a spoonful of the pasta sauce and stir it into the cooking water to add more flavor.  If you try this, let me know what you think!

Serve sauce over hot pasta with bread and Caesar salad.

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