Red Enchilada Sauce

I have two bits of advice today. 1. Don’t rub your eyes after adding a big pinch of cayenne pepper to a recipe. 2. Don’t buy enchilada sauce in a can, make your own. It doesn’t take long to make from scratch and taste so much better than any of the stuff you make in a can. The spice level really depends on the spice level of your chili powder so plan accordingly. I used this sauce on beef and rice enchiladas but you could use it any where enchilada sauce was called for.

Red Enchilada Sauce

1 ½ tsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp onion powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 TBS mild chili powder
2 TBS flour
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup tomato sauce

Mix the spices and flour in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until fragrant and starting to brown. Slowly add the chicken broth. Add the tomato sauce. Cook and stir until thickened. Use as a red sauce over any beef, game or poultry enchiladas. 2 cups of sauce

Italian Tomato Sauce What to Cook When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking #3

The most common excuse I hear for Not cooking from scratch is I don’t have the time. What if I told you, in the time it takes to boil noodles and heat a store bought spaghetti sauce, you could have a homemade spaghetti sauce? Would you try it?

I prefer this as a meatless sauce as Mollie Katzen wrote it but if you want to, you can brown 8 oz of ground beef with the onion and spices, make sure you drain the fat from the ground beef before you add the tomatoes and other remaining ingredients. Use the sauce on top of pasta or anywhere a tomato sauce is called for.

Italian Tomato Sauce

1 TBS olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
½ medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 ½ TBS honey, use an equal amount of white or brown sugar to make the sauce vegan
3 TBS Tomato paste
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan or skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, herbs and salt. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey and black pepper. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook

Vegetable Pot Pie

I like cooking for myself but I love cooking for my friend, Steph, even more. Steph has been coming to my house for meals, at least once a week, for years. She is a willing, and often brave, taster of all my crazy culinary experiments.

A few years ago, Steph told me she was going vegetarian to see if a mostly plant based diet would alleviate some of the recurring digestive issues she was having. I kind of freaked out. I had never cooked anything vegetarian. How could anyone make a satisfying meal of just vegetables? I grew up in a family where meat is the center of the plate and frozen vegetables and maybe a salad were the sides. What did I know about cooking vegetables?

From my point of view, I had two choices. The first choice was to give up cooking for Steph. That wasn’t really an option because I really enjoy the time Steph and I spend around the kitchen table discussing the great mysteries of life, the universe and everything. My only other option was to learn how to cook a satisfying meal of vegetables.

This pot pie recipe was one of the first vegetarian meals I ever cooked for Steph. I like to make pot pies because they help use up all the little bits of leftovers that accumulate during the week. It is a flexible recipe so feel free to use whatever vegetables you like. Add leftover chicken, turkey or beef, if desired. A word of warning, it is better to go too big on your pan rather than fill it too full as this has a tendency to boil over. Serve this pot pie with a crisp, green salad and you will have a very satisfying meal of all vegetables.

Veggie Pot Pie

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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1 recipe for a double pie crust
1/2 medium potato, cubed
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cup green beans, fresh or frozen
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/4 tsp dried Thyme
1/4 tsp dried parsley, optional
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the roux:
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp flour
1/4 cup milk

Make one recipe of Double Pie Crust. While the crust is chilling, place a small skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and add the flour, whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and whisk until the mixture thickens slightly, set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add the cubed potatoes, peas and beans. Saute until the potatoes are barely tender. Add the thyme, parsley flakes, if using and red pepper flakes, mix well. Pour the stock into the pan, salt and pepper to taste. Bring stock to a boil. Add the roux to the boiling stock and mix well. Continue to cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, set a side. Roll out your pie crust and line a pan that holds about 1 1/4 cups liquid comfortably. Top with the remaining pie crust and crimp the edges. Cut four venting slits on the top. Bake, 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbly. Serve.