Welcome to Gramma's Kitchen where you'll find lots of yummy recipes, cooking secrets/hints/shortcuts and my opinions on foodie stuff.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Special Spaghetti Sauce

Yesterday I made spaghetti for a CROWD!!. It was an all-you-can-eat Spaghetti Feed and we served about 125 people (maybe a little more) . This is my third year doing this and it gets bigger every year. Perhaps it's because they love my sauce...at least that's what everyone says.

I want to share my recipe with you, but it is a bit difficult because there are few actual measurements of ingredients. I have a tendency to make things up as I go along...you know "that looks about right" or "about a hand/palm full". But I can tell you the basics. I suggest that you use your own judgement on amounts. However, leaving the vegetables out is a NO-NO. That's what makes this sauce so goooood!!

--ONE batch serves about 50 people depending on the size of the portions--
(This is ONE BATCH)
8-1/2 pounds of hamburger (22% fat)
2 pounds of mild Italian sausage
2 or 3 cups of medium dice onions
1 large red bell pepper (medium dice)
1 large green bell pepper (medium dice)
1 large yellow bell pepper (medium dice)
1 large orange bell pepper (medium dice)
1 bunch of celery (medium dice)
5 or 6 carrots "pulverized" in a food processor into 1/8" to 1/4" bits
6 tablespoons of minced garlic
4 tablespoons dry Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons salt
1 or 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 institutional size cans of crushed tomatoes
2 institutional size cans of diced tomatoes
1 - 8.5 pound bottle of Ragu Spaghetti Sauce
1 cup of Kraft parmeasan cheese
1/3 cup Olive oil
Saute all the vegetables and garlic, salt and pepper in the Olive oil until they are soft/translucent. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage in a Dutch oven; drain well. Add the meat to the vegetables. Season with Italian seasoning. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and Ragu. Mix well and continue cooking on medium high until heated through - stirring frequently to prevent burning on the bottom. Add the parmeasan cheese; thoroughly incorporate. Reduce heat to simmer for another half-hour; again stirring frequently to prevent burning. Turn off heat and cover tightly. This will retain its heat during service without turning on a burner again for at least a couple of hours. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles and wait for the oohs and aahs.
Some people balk at the fact that this sauce has carrots and celery in it, but I have to tell you, carrots and celery are essential to the success of this sauce. They serve to sweeten and thicken the sauce and simply add a layer of flavor that is heavenly.
I use this same recipe -- only in much smaller amounts -- at home. SPECIAL note to Vegetarians/Vegans: This sauce is equally as good without any meat at all; however, eliminating the meat means it will not serve quite as many people.
Peace...and I'm outta' here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Okay - so you already know I love Lemon Squares...now I've found an absolutely awesome recipe for Luscious Lime Bars!!! And it is more simple to make than any other citrus squares recipe I've ever seen. And did I say, they were DELICIOUS?
1 pkg vanilla or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter - melted
1 egg yolk
4 eggs
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest
powdered sugar for dusting the top

Preheat the oven to 350*. Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick spray. Put aside 1 tbsp of the cake mix. Combine the remaining cake mix, melted butter and 1 egg yolk in a large bowl. Blend with electric mixer for 1-2 minutes or until well mixed and crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the crust bakes, whisk together the 4 eggs, condensed milk, lime juice and the tablespoon of reserved cake mix until smooth. Stir in the lime zest. Pour the mixture onto the warm, baked crust. Return to the oven and bake another 20 minutes or until the topping is set. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar. Refrigerate 60 minutes. Cut into squares and store covered in the refrigerator. Makes about 24 squares (1-1/2" X 1-1/2"). ENJOY!!!
Peace...and I'm outta' here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tashyra's Breakfast Pie

I created a new breakfast dish this morning and Tashyra told me to call it simply "Breakfast Pie". The next time I make this however, I will use a bit more salt and pepper and possibly incorporate some sourcream into the potatoes before putting them into the pan. Another good change would be to mix the cheese in the egg mixture before pouring it into the pan.


2 parboiled potatoes
12 cooked sausage links
12 eggs
2 tbs heavy cream or milk
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped green onion or parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 350*. Generously butter (or non-stick cooking spray) the bottom and sides of a 9” cake pan. Shred the potatoes (like for hash browns) and spread evenly in the bottom of the cake pan. Position the sausage links in a circle (fanned out with one end of each in the middle) on top of the potatoes. Wisk the eggs well with the cream/milk; salt & pepper (and green onion/parsley if desired). Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and sausage. Sprinkle cheese evenly over all. Bake for 15-20 min. or until the egg is well set (somewhat dry in appearance).Turn out onto a plate (like an upside down cake and then flip over once again onto another plate. Cut into wedges and serve. Try a dollop of sourcream and a spoon of salsa on top. Yum-Yum. Serves 6.
So that's the basic recipe...give it a try and tweek it to suit your family. Let me know how you like it.

Peace...and I'm outta' here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars. They are like little squares of sunshine in your mouth. They are always a hit at potlucks and bake sales. I found this recipe that is so simple, you'll never want to use a box mix again.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour + 2 Tablespoons flour (save for lemon "filling")
1 cup confectioners' sugar + 2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar (save for dusting)
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. With an electric mixer beat together the butter, 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of confectioners' sugar until completely blended.
3. To form your crust, press the mixture into the bottom of your 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan, evenly covering the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes until light golden brown.
4. In a bowl combine eggs, 2 Tablespoons of flour, granulated sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk together.
5. Pour the mixture over crust and bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes, until set. (You will know it's ready to remove from the oven when the filling no longer jiggles.)
6. Place lemon bars on a wire rack and let them cool to room temperature.
7. Using a wire strainer, sprinkle the tops of the cooled lemon bars with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of confectioners' sugar.
8. Cut the bars into 24 pieces and enjoy.
Peace...and I'm outta' here.