Monday, July 25, 2011

Is there a doctor in the house?

Cooking every meal from scratch with all natural, raw, and organic materials is like sitting on the beach from sunup to sundown sipping on cocktails. I would love to do it every day! Sadly, that is not the world in which I live. I guess that's why there is spray tan and jarred pasta sauce!

There are times when a little "doctoring up" of some ready made items can save the day and help you get a hot meal on the table without resorting to take out. I really don't subscribe to the Sandra Lee "Semi-Homemade" method nor have I used her recipes. But I DO appreciate having the ability to take shortcuts and still be able to do a home cooked meal in an economical and efficient way.

A couple of my favorite culinary doctoring procedures:

Pasta Sauce:  I buy organic marinara in a glass jar. You can get it with mushrooms, peppers, garlic, etc, etc. I personally prefer the traditional tomato, basil and garlic. It's a good base.
    • What it needs: more flavor and depth, freshness
    • How to get that: Start with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add about a teaspoon of sugar, either freshly chopped basil, or a good squeeze of the basil from the tube (see Arsenal of a Dinnertime Ninja). Optional- a few tablespoons of dry red wine. Mix and then quickly add the jar of sauce. Let it heat up until it starts to simmer and bubble. Reduce heat.  Serve over- whatever you want! Great for pasta dishes, chicken or eggplant Parmesan, casseroles, or on a meatball sandwich!
Pre-washed Salad Mix: They have so many varieties available, and even the organics are affordable.
    • What it needs: fresh veggies and homemade dressing
    • How to get that: I keep things like cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions on hand pretty much all of the time. Just slice them up, and toss on top of the salad mix. For a dressing just give a couple shakes of balsamic and red wine vinegar, kosher or sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, and dried herbs of your choice. Toss and coat the salad with the mix. Drizzle on a little extra virgin olive oil and top with crumbles of cheese (feta, blue, gorgonzola, goat cheese, parmesan...) toss again and viola! 
    • The darker the green, the more nutrient-rich it is. We love arugula, baby spinach and mache.
No MD required!

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