Monthly Archives: September 2010

Italian Red Gravy – passed down through the generations

All families have their own version on this recipe.  This is the one that was passed down to me from my Uncle Joe.  My mother added red pepper flakes to make it more like an Arrabbiata gravy – spicy.  This gravy is also delicious with meat balls, stuffed shells, or lasagna.  I usually double this recipe.

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 or 2 carrots, grated

salt and pepper to taste

2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 dried bay leaves

pinch of sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until carmelized, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Sauté about 5 – 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, basil, bay leaves, sugar, and wine – simmer covered on low heat for 1 – 2 hours or until thick. Remove bay leaves.  If sauce still tastes too acidic, add butter – 1 tablespoon at a time.


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Filed under Autumn, Beef, Celebration, Cheese, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Entree, Holiday, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Spring, Summer, Winter

Old Fashioned Greek Salad

As summer is coming to an end, I think about salads more often.  A Greek salad is so refreshing and full of flavor.

Step 1:

1 head Lettuce, rinse shake dry and chopped. (Romaine is Best)
1/2 of a medium Red Onion, slice thinly
2-3 Roma Tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 jar pitted Kalamata Olives, about 1 cup
1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 small jar drained peppers, Mezzetta Imported Peperoncini are my favorite!
1 large Cucumber, Sliced and cut again

Step 2:

1/2 cup Olive Oil

3 tablespoons Red Wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder or 1 freshly minced garlic clove

1 teaspoon dried Oregano

1 teaspoon dried Basil

1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar, optional

1 teaspoon Black pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon or spicy brown mustard

Add in large serving bowl, all step 1 ingredients, cucumbers last.  In a side bowl mix all step 2 ingredients – whisk together to infuse the ingredients or pour into a jar and shake vigorously.  Pour over the salad, cover and chill.  Cover tightly while storing, otherwise your refrigerator will smell just like this salad.

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Filed under Autumn, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Salad, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Spring, Summer

Layered Salad – great for Labor Day Picnics

This is a delicious salad that is easy to prepare, can be made a head of time,  and is easy to take for a picnic.  I usually make it around the Labor Day holiday.
  • 2 heads Iceberg Lettuce, chopped
  • 8 ounces,  Baby Spinach, washed and dried
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 8 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
  • 16 ounces, Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
  • 8 ounces, Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 bag (10 Ounce) Frozen Peas, thawed


  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar

In a clear glass or clear bowl, layer salad ingredients in the order they appear above, concentrating ingredients around the perimeter of the bowl and filling in the center with lettuce, if needed. End with the layer of peas.

Combine dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Pour over the top of the peas and spread to cover, bringing dressing all the way out to the edges of the bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours. Toss just before serving.

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Filed under Celebration, Salad, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Soup, Spring, Summer