Barbecue Sauce for Chicken

A simple, easy, homemade barbecue sauce that is delicious!

1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup yellow ballpark mustard
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
6-8 pieces of chicken

Whisk all the ingredient together in a large bowl. Add your chicken pieces and turn to coat. Place in fridge to marinade or grill them now.

Marinara Sauce

sinatra.jpgThis sauce can be made in a little over 1 hour. It presents very well on its own, but is so good with my meatballs. I can hear Frank singing in the background.

2 28-oz. cans Italian crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. fatback or salt pork OR 2 Tbsp. bacon fat*
1 small onion, diced
2 minced garlic gloves
Kosher salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
4-6 fresh torn basil leaves – (optional, but very good)

Pour oil into large pan and heat over medium-hight heat. Add the bacon fat or salt pork. If using salt pork, saute for 5 minutes then remove and discard.

Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic – sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir. Turn up heat to high, bring to a boil then immediately reduce to simmering and cook for 1 hour. Sauce will thicken up. If you add meatballs, add them at the 30 minute mark, then cook for 30 minutes more. Stir in the basil, if using, and warm for 1 minute.

*Whenever we cook bacon, I strain & pour the fat into a container I keep covered in the fridge for use with this and fried chicken.

I have tried so many different recipes and ways of making meatballs. I added sausage, I played around with different spices and the “keep it simple” way is still the best way to go. These are outstanding. Please try to use the best ground beef you can get. It does make a difference.

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
2 large eggs – beaten
1 large minced garlic clove
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (do not use seasoned)
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley (preferably fresh)
1 tsp. kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin (or not) olive oil

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add in everything up to the olive oil. Mix it thoroughly together with your hands. Shape the mixture into small (walnut sized) balls. You will need to occasionally wet your hands with water so mixture doesn’t stick. Set them all on a tray or plate while you heat the oil.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry them until they are browned on all sides. This is going to take about 15 minutes. Carefully transfer them to a plate or tray with tongs. Carefully transfer them to your sauce (or mine) and cook through, about 30 minutes.

Sunday Sauce

I grew up around a lot of Italians where the families always made a Sunday Sauce or gravy. They’d even bring “baked macaroni” along on all the park picnic outings. While the sauce simmered on the stove it drove us all crazy with it’s aroma! Here is my rendition.

1 lb. piece of steak, cut into small chunks
1 lb. piece of pork loin, (2 boneless pork chops) cut into chunks
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, cut into chunks
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 recipe of meatballs – (see Beef category for my recipe)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic. A few pieces at a time, add the meats and cook for about 5 minutes turning them around frequently until they are nicely browned on all sides. As the meats brown, with a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan and set aside. When the garlic begins to brown, remove that and toss out.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste with 1/4 cup cold water and stir this into the oil. Cook this while stirring for 3 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, then fill one of the cans with cold water and add that to the pot, then raise the heat to a low boil. Return all the meat to the pot, scraping all the juices in. Let this boil for 5 full minutes. Lower the heat and cover the pan partially. Simmer for 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. After 2 hours, add the meatballs, if using, and let them simmer for the last 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over pasta. Pass the grated cheese and dig in!

Slow Cooker Tomato Meat Sauce

Serve over your favorite pasta now, freeze some for later. This makes a big batch so you’ll need a big crockpot. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano over top.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 minced garlic cloves
2 pounds ground beef
Five of the 29 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet then add onons and cook about 5 minutes – until softened, add garlic and cook another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, lightly grease the crockpot. When beef is browned, scrape into crockpot, add the tomato sauce, cover, set on low and cook for 8 hours – At the four hour mark, add the spices then cook 4 more hours.


Fresh Tomato Sauce

No need to slow-cook this one. Use the best tomatoes you can find. 

6 good-sized, fresh, ripe tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, peeled & diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
Sprinkling of kosher salt
Fresh pepper
Fresh basil leaves

In a food processor, puree and strain the tomatoes. In a large, deep skillet or medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook tomatoes for 15 minutes – until they don’t taste raw anymore. Toss in some trimmed, fresh basil leaves just before serving.

Smoked Grilling Sauce

This is a tomato-based grilling sauce.

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil – (I use canola)
1 medium onion, diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup canned tomato puree
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. molasses
3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. regular yellow ballpark mustard
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. liquid hickory smoke – (optional, but good)

In a medium sized saucepan that is non-reactive, warm the oil; add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat to low. Cook until it gets thicker, about 30 minutes.

Spanish Rice & Beans – II

This recipe is a gift from my sister Sandy. She’s been making this in some form for years. Sometimes she adds 2-3 cut-up hot dogs. It’s so good that I make it about 3 times a month. Plus, it goes as a side with just about any kind of meat. Kids love it. There’s another version with the ingredients all mixed together and cooked in 1 pot – Orange Rice. Try that one too.

2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Heaping tsp. minced garlic
1 Packet Goya Sazon
3 Heaping Tbsp. Goya Sofrito
1 Can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 Can (14 oz.) Goya beans – Pinto, Kidney, Red, Roman- you pick
2 Cans (14.5 oz) beef broth
1/2 Cup green olives with juice – (this is optional, but tasty)
2- 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
Goya Rice

In a medium sized pot, pour in the olive oil; when it’s hot, add the minced garlic and sizzle for a minute.
Empty in packet of Sazon, then Sofrito and stir until sizzling. Add in everything else and stir to combine.Cook on med-high heat until potatoes are done – about 30 minutes. Do not cover. Stir occasionally. This will thicken up because of the potato. However, sometimes it’s just not thickened enough. In that case get your box of cornstarch out and read the side for instructions on thickening. I follow those instructions and slowly stir mixture into the sauce at the end of cooking time, then cook for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, make your white rice on the side, the ratio being 6 cups water to 3 cups rice. Check out my White Rice Recipe under Categories. When both sauce & rice are done, place rice in individual bowls and ladle sauce on top.

Tomato Sauce & Ribs

A slow-simmering sauce that’s perfect for the weekends or a day off. Serve over your favorite pasta.

3 lbs. country-style ribs or meaty spare ribs
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil – divided
1 medium diced onion
3 minced garlic cloves
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

If ribs are not already pre-cut, then cut them into individual ribs. Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet and brown the ribs about 5 minutes on each side; remove the ribs to a large plate or bowl, drain the fat from the skillet, add 1 cup water to the pan, simmer it and scrape up all the browned bits of meat – set aside.

Then, get out the large saucepan you’ll cook the sauce in and add the other 2 Tbsp. of oil, heat then add the onion and cook on medium for 10 minutes, add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, sauce, paste, water, spices and the ribs. Bring to a bowl then simmer for 3 hours.

Cheese Sauce

A contribution from my sister Sandy who uses this as a sauce for broccoli and cauliflower all through the Autumn & Winter months. It’s almost difficult to eat broccoli without it; it’s unthinkable at Thanksgiving!

2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
3 cups milk
2+ cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the butter then add the flour stirring constantly for at least 1 full minute. Add salt & pepper to taste (this is approximately 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper). While still stirring, slowly add the milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens – may take a couple of minutes. Then add the cheese – we just grab 2 heaping handfuls of the shredded cheddar and add it to the pot. Keep stirring & heating until thick. Pour into something like a gravy boat. Serve.

Cranberry Sauce

Why homemade? Because it’s so much better than the canned stuff. The canned stuff is good enough but why not give it a whirl? You’ll dazzle your holiday guests when you present this.

4 12-oz. bags cranberries
3 cups white sugar
3+ cups cold water
2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (Knox brand is good)

In a 4 – 5 quart heavy pan, place the cranberries, sugar and 3 cups of cold water to a boil, stirring this until the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pan until all the berries have burst, stirring occasionally. This takes anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes.

Into a fine-mesh sieve, which you have placed over a larger glass bowl, pour the pot contents in and let stand until all the juices have strained through – this takes about 30 minutes. You may have to press on the solid berries until more juice gets extracted.

Stir the gelatin with 1/3 cup cold water and let stand 1 minute to soften. In a small pan, bring 1 cup of the strained/drained cranberry juice to a simmer then add the gelatin mixture and stir it until just dissolved. Add this mixture to the rest of the cranberry liquid and stir well. Pour this sauce into a lightly oiled or greased decorative bowl or mold – I even used a glass loaf pan one time and it worked fine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 12 hours.

When ready to unmold, run the top of a think knife between the edge of the bowl/mold and sauce. Tilt the bowl/mold and invert a plate over the mold then invert onto plate. Serve.