Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I always envied people who could successfully grow their own vegetables, fruits or anything at all.  My friend, Rene, is incredibly talented in that department, and was kind to stop by my house this week to bring a  basket full of beautiful home grown tomatoes and peppers.  Thank you, Rene!  These tomatoes were put to delicious use.

Whole Tomatoes

With a basket full of fresh tomatoes, and Fall upon us, making a homemade spaghetti dish was inevitable, and we were in for a culinary treat when this meal was ready.

The first thing you want to do it chop the tomatoes as seen in this photo:

Chopped Tomatoes

It is very much up to you to add what you like to your sauce.  For this one I chose to add some sweet red peppers, mushroom, and chicken sausage.

Sliced Peppers

Sauté chopped garlic in a little olive oil and add the sliced peppers.  Once the peppers are a little soft, add the chopped tomatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally.

At this point you may add the spices you like.  I added salt, pepper, paprika, chicken bullion,  and oregano.

Note that you may use more than one kind of tomato, to make the sauce richer.  Also, I did not need to add any water to this sauce since the tomatoes provided all the fluids necessary.

You will need to cook the sauce for a while, until the tomatoes are soft.  Add the mushrooms and sliced chicken sausage, and cook approximately 30 minutes, stirring once in a while.

You can then pour this aromatic sauce over your cooked spaghetti.  It will make a delicious and memorable meal that is comforting and relaxing after a long day.

Spaghetti

Enjoy with a glass of red wine and good music!

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Local Harvest

The last few dinners at our house were improvised with what we had around the house.  We try to keep our meals healthy, and make use of whatever ingredients we have before we go shopping again.

For one night we had baked chicken with cauliflower and white zucchini, and a side dish of white quinoa.  A variety of baked chicken dishes are very healthy and tasty choice, and most importantly, very easy to make.  You can lower the calorie (or points plus) intake by using a little olive oil, trimming the fat and skin off the chicken, and adding a lot of cut up vegetables.  The only downside is that they take a while longer to cook.

On another night we had some pasta with ground turkey and sun-dried tomato sauce, and one night we went out to take a much needed break from cooking.

When you run out of ingredients it’s time to replenish your supplies.   Try to plan ahead by choosing just a couple of recipes for the week.  This way you can be sure you are not missing key ingredients when you are ready to prepare your meals.  Then of course you go shopping for food.

Shopping?  How many of you are excited about going to your local grocer?  I know I am not.  Shopping is a big part of cooking and if you want to cook healthy, you need to do some planning.

In my search for local farmer’s markets I found that there are many choices in a variety of times during the week.

A great place to search for local farmer’s markets is Local Harvest, at www.localharvest.org

I recommend searching by zip code for better results.  I found some great options in my area, and outside of my area as well.

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I look forward to finding some great locally grown organic food this morning.  I have a couple of recipes in mind and dinner tonight should be fun.

See you soon!

 

 

 

A Fun Summer Night Grilled Indian Chicken Dinner

The Weight Watchers Points Plus Cookbook has proven once again that you can make a finger licking recipe that is also healthy.  My family was so excited as we put these beautifully marinated chicken breasts on the grill last night.  The wonderful smell of Indian spices was so appetizing, my son and husband said that they LOVE my new blogging project.  Smile!

This delightful and easy recipe for Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Indian Spices can be found on page 154 of the book.  I followed the recipe exactly as written (except for the garnish part), but scaled up the ingredients for the paste since I made a little more chicken than the recipe calls for.  It does not take more that 15 minutes to prep, but allow a couple of hours for it to sit in the fridge after you marinate it and before you grill it.  Using raw and fresh herbs and spices for the paste is so simple and yet refreshing.

Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Indian Spices

Grilled Chicken with Cilantro and Indian Spices

While the chicken is on the grill for about 25 minutes, you can enjoy a nice chilled glass of Chardonnay.  In the last 10 minutes of grilling you may add a few slices of polenta, to make for a satisfying and easy side dish.  The Points Plus Value for this delicious chicken is 4 points per 1 serving (one chicken breast).  If you are tracking your food’s points values for Weight Watchers, please know that any additional food or wine will be extra points.

To embellish this summer night dinner, you can prepare a nice Mediterranean style vegetable plate with some goat cheese.  Season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil to bring out the flavor of the cheese.  And voila!  A great dinner you will be thanked for!

Israeli Veggie Plate

Mediterranean Style Vegetables and Goat Cheese