Saturday, July 12, 2014

Savory Sweet Potato Salad

Slap yo Momma, this is the BEST tater salad I've ever had!!!  I'm skipping ahead to my last submission for the recipe contest, since I'm still not 100% satisfied with how recipe #5 turned out.  It was a wine infused trout that I DID submit, and it was pretty good, but I think it's got some more adjustments to make to it before posting it on the blog.  I probably shouldn't of submitted it for the contest, but I wanted to get another entry in so I did anyways.  The recipe today though is for the most AH-MAZING potato salad you'll ever eat!  I actually didn't even intend on entering this one into the Away from Home cooking contest, but once I made it I realized it fit all the rules (except I did have to omit the pepper in the recipe entry because I had 11 ingredients instead of 10...hope it still turns out ok!), and it also was so amazing I knew I had to!  I made this for a "5th of July" shindig and everyone raved about it there as well ( wasn't just me that thought this sucker was good!).  Then most of them asked for the recipe too (good thing I wrote it down!).  The inspiration for this dish was the fact that while I love the concept of potato salad at a cookout, I typically am not too thrilled over most.  They're usually just so BORING.  They typically all have that "deli" taste to them- the mustard base with eggs and relish and maybe celery.  It never thrills me.  And I try and eat more sweet potatoes than white potatoes because sweet potatoes pretty much have 10 times the nutrients in them (yes...I made that statistic up...).  I also hate it when a potato salad is sweet (I know..."hate" is a strong word!), therefore, there's no sugar in my recipe!  I used all mayo (no sour cream...therefore no dairy...therefore my dairy-free friends can eat it too!), added lemon juice to bring out the flavor, used 2 types of onions (red and green) to give it a crunch (I really had no desire to add celery or relish), used fresh herbs (dill and thyme), seasoned with paprika (to give it a slight kick!), salt/pepper, and then I added bacon bits!!  BACON and fresh herbs make all the difference!  


The usual texture changes that typical potato salads have, I achieved by using the red onion, green onion, and bacon bits...and I didn't have to add the other "generic" stuff to it that I strongly dislike! (eggs, celery, relish...etc.).  (And side note- DON'T USE MIRACLE WHIP!!  It will NOT taste the same if you do!  Not to mention that stuff's just GROSS anyways.  Don't use it people.  Ever.  Just.  Don't.)  If you want to make an easy meal to impress and knock people off their feet with yummy goodness, this is the way to go!  You should know that it will take a few hours to make since the potatoes have to cook and cool COMPLETELY before adding the dressing to them, and THEN they have to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together (the longer the better!).  So, give yourself a good 2-4 hours to prepare these.  When I add the dressing to the potatoes, I only add half of the mixture at first to make sure that the potatoes aren't swimming in the dressing.  I gently stir it (if you stir too hard you'll break apart the potatoes and make them mushy!) and then add more dressing as needed.  You may use all of it, you may not.  I only used 3/4 of the mixture.  Note: DON'T throw the leftover dressing away!  It'll make an awesome marinade for fish another night!  So, next time you decide to bring a potato salad to a get-together, try this one instead!  It's a guaranteed hit!  (And if it's not...or if it is!...leave me a comment below and let me know!) 


Savory Sweet Potato Salad
Serves: 8 
Prep and Cook Time: 2 hours (approximately)

2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 TBL fresh thyme, removed from stem
1 TBL fresh dill, chopped 
1/2 TBL kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika (plus 1/4 tsp for garnish)
1/4 tsp black pepper
Juice from 1/2 medium lemon
1 cup mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip!)
1/4 cup green onions (white part), thinly sliced
2 TBL green onion (green part), thinly sliced (for garnish)
1/2 medium red onion, diced
4 TBL Real Bacon Bits (from a 3 oz. package- NOT the bottled kind), OR use freshly cooked, crumbled bacon (PLUS 1/2 TBL for garnish)

1. Prepare sweet potatoes: Rinse and scrub potatoes, then use a peeler or a small knife to peel the skin off sweet potatoes.  Cut each potato in half, cut into cubes, and place in large pot.
2. Add water to pot of sweet potatoes; enough water to cover the potatoes (about 3/4 full).  Bring water to a boil.  Once boiling, boil sweet potatoes for 5-10 minutes, just until "fork tender" (tender enough to stick a fork in them with no resistance).  Drain and let cool completely (this could take 30 minutes-1 hour to fully cool).
3. While cooking and cooling sweet potatoes, chop and prepare all of the herbs and additional ingredients.  Add mayonnaise into a medium bowl along with the thyme, dill, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp paprika, lemon juice, 1/4 cup green onion, red onion, and 4 TBL bacon bits.  Stir all ingredients together until well mixed.  If potatoes are not fully cooled yet, let mixture sit covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
4. Once sweet potatoes have fully cooled, add them to a large bowl along with half of the mayonnaise mixture.  Gently stir with a spoon, being careful not to over-mix as this will make the sweet potatoes break up and become "mushy".  Add more of the mayonnaise mixture as needed or desired.  You will want them to be well coated with the mixture, but not drenched in it (you may only use 3/4 of the mixture).  Save any remaining mayonnaise mixture for later use (it's great as a marinade for fish!)
5.  Let the sweet potato salad chill, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.  Once chilled, gently stir once more and garnish with the additional green onion, bacon, and paprika.

Bon Appetit,

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sauteed Asparagus with Gruyere Cream Sauce

I know, I know.  You're thinking "what's with all the cream sauces, Megan??"  It's just so easy to make and it's SO. GOOD!  Especially when you add CHEESE to it!  Mmmm....  Trust me.  Once you make a cream sauce, you'll want to top it on everything too!!  And mixing up the types of cheese you add to it completely changes the flavor depending on what you're making!  It's like creamy, cheesy magic for your food.  Cream sauce aside, this is my 4th entry in the Away from Home cooking contest; I'm trying hard to at least get in the Top 50!  I made this for a "Celebration Dinner" for my parents to celebrate my Mom's birthday and belated Father's Day.  I asked my Dad what his favorite foods were and he mentioned asparagus as I decided to try and "amp it up" from your regular asparagus...and it worked!  I actually wasn't even intending on entering this one in the contest, but my parents (and I) raved about it and loved it so much- and it fit all the rules for the contest- I figured that I may as well!  If you want a "fancy" take on asparagus, without much effort, this is it!  The Gruyere cheese in the cream sauce is the perfect pairing with the asparagus.  I know Gruyere can be pricier, but I promise it's worth it!!  I actually got my block of Gruyere at Trader Joe's, and it was cheaper than anywhere else...only about $5- not bad if you ask me!  So, if you've got a Trader Joe's in your area, I'd recommend buying it from there (and pick up a few bottles of Two Buck Chuck while your at it- amazing stuff!).  Once again, the small effort of actually shredding the cheese with a grater by hand really makes a difference!  Don't buy the bagged stuff.  Please.  I paired this dish with trout, which also made an excellent pairing.  But this would really be a great side for most any meat- steak, fish, chicken, pork...there's really no meat it wouldn't be good with (in my opinion!).  The key to making the asparagus the perfect tenderness is to parboil them (boiling for a short amount of time) and then immediately placing them in an ice bath (bowl of ice with cold water) so that it shocks them and stops the cooking process until you're ready to sauté them.  Since they've already been parboiled, you don't sauté them very long either.  Another trick- when removing the woody ends of the asparagus, just hold it at the top and the bottom and lightly bend it, wherever it naturally bends is what you want to snap off.  Easy peasy!  So, if you're an asparagus lover, give this a try and you just might fall in love with asparagus even more!  And if you're NOT an asparagus lover, try this with LOTS of the cream sauce (try it with lots of it even if you DO love asparagus) might discover a new love for asparagus (or at least like it a little bit more...).  Enjoy!

Sauteed Asparagus with Gruyere Cream Sauce
Yield: 2 servings
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, rinsed and woody ends removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (plus 1/4 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  1. Fill a medium pot half full of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Prepare and ice bath: add cold water to a medium bowl of ice (bowl should be large enough to hold asparagus once cooked), and set aside.  Add asparagus to boiling water and bring water back to a boil.  Once boiling, boil asparagus for 2 minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water, and immediately transfer to the ice bath.  Set aside.
  2. Mix cream, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in small sauce pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon (approximately 4 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted.
  3. While cooking cream sauce, heat oil in a sauté pan.  Drain asparagus from the ice bath and add to the hot pan.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary.  Sauté for approximately 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and top with cream sauce.

Bon Appetit,

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rosemary Flank Steak with Bleu Cheese Cream Sauce

Y'all.  Seriously.  This has got to be one of the BEST things I've ever put in my mouth!  The tenderness of the flank steak paired with the creaminess and strength of the blue cheese cream sauce was the PERFECT combination.  I used to HATE blue cheese.  I still don't like really strong blue cheeses, but this sauce takes a lot of the usual "kick" away from just plain blue cheese, yet keeps enough of the "kick" to know you're eating bleu cheese in the sauce.  This really couldn't be any easier to cook either.  I marinated the steak for an hour, but the actual cook time was less than 20 minutes!  Uhh, talk about an amazing but quick week-night dinner!  This would be the perfect "stay in" date night meal.  Marinate the steak all day while you're at work (I only had an hour to marinate it- it won't hurt to marinate it longer!), come home and heat up the grill pan, season the steak a bit more, throw it on the grill pan (or grill) for 8 minutes (4 minutes on each side- gives you the perfect medium rare steak), let it rest for 5 minutes and cook the sauce all in one pot while the steak is cooking. That's it!  So. Easy.  I guarantee your taste-buds will NOT be disappointed.  I paired this with my loaded mashed cauliflower- steak and "potatoes" made for another perfect combination.  This was the third entry I did for the Away From Home Cooking contest, and I just hope the picture's good enough to make the judges see the amazingness this dish has to offer! (I thought the picture quality was better than it turned out to be :/ )  It's a winner in my book...I just hope it's a winner for the challenge too!  Enjoy!

Rosemary Flank Steak with Bleu Cheese Cream Sauce

Serves: 4

For the steak:

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped (plus 3 sprigs, whole)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the sauce:
  • 4 ounce block extra creamy Danish blue cheese, crumbled by hand
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  1. In a Ziploc bag, add oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 2 cloves garlic and 3 sprigs of rosemary and mix until combined.  Add flank steak to bag, coating mixture on steak.  Marinate mixture in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or more), turning bag over every 30 minutes-1 hour (if able- if you're marinating it while you're not home, no worries, it'll still be fine!).  
  2. Heat a grill pan (or grill) on medium heat.  Remove steak from marinade and discard remainder of marinade.  Season steak with remainder of salt, pepper, garlic, and the chopped rosemary on both sides, lightly pressing seasonings into the steak with a fork.
  3. Add steak to grill pan (or grill) and cook for 4 minutes.  Turn steak and cook another 3-4 minutes for medium rare.  Remove steak from pan and let rest on a plate or cutting board for 5 minutes.
  4. While the steak is cooking, in a small saucepan, add heavy cream and butter and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Let mixture simmer until thickened (it should coat a spoon), about 4 minutes, whisking frequently.  Once thickened, reduce heat to low and whisk in bleu cheese until melted (but it's okay if a FEW crumbles do not melt).
  5. Slice steak against the grain in thin slices and top steak with blue cheese cream sauce.  Serve remainder of sauce in a bowl on the table in case more is wanted!

Bon Appetit,

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Loaded Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed CAULIFLOWER?  YES!  Trust me.  This stuff is GOOD!  I've been making this for awhile now, but I decided to kick it up a notch for the Away From Home Cooking Contest.  Kicking it up a notch meant thinking about what makes mashed potatoes so amazing- and that's when they're LOADED with all the good stuff!  Bacon, cheese, chives...mmmm!  So I added that concept to the mashed cauliflower and it turned out even better than I thought!  Seriously, adding all the toppings makes these babies taste even MORE like potatoes (but they're so creamy, you really don't even have to add the toppings for them to taste delicious!).  The secret to making mashed cauliflower taste like creamy mashed potatoes instead of gritty cauliflower is to puree them with either a food processor, or my preference, an immersion hand blender (it's different than a hand held mixer- google it!).  If you do that little trick, I promise you won't miss the potatoes one bit!  So much healthier and absolutely delicious!  Plus, if you've got kids who won't eat their veggies, this is a good way to sneak them in!  I paired these with my other recipe entry creation, Rosemary Flank Steak with Bleu Cheese Cream Sauce.  My tastebuds were dancing with excitement- the steak was SO. GOOD!  I don't know if the mashed cauliflower will be a winning recipe for the contest, but I hope you at least enjoy it as much as I do!  And stay tuned...the recipe for the steak is soon to follow!  (I apologize for the poor picture quality- the lighting wasn't the best!)

Loaded Mashed Cauliflower

Serves: 4-6

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower florets (1 medium head fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup Half and Half (or heavy cream)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh chopped chives
  • 2 cups freshly shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (the bagged stuff isn't as good- promise!)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  1. Fill a medium pot 3/4 full with water. Add garlic and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower to pot and bring back to a boil. Let boil for 30 minutes, or until cauliflower is very soft and tender.
  2. While cauliflower is boiling, fry the bacon in a pan until crisp, approximately 6-8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and let cool. Once cool, crumble bacon by hand, place in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Once tender, drain the cauliflower and return to pot. Puree the cauliflower with an immersion hand blender or a food processor (this will give it the creamy "mashed potato" consistency. A hand held mixer or potato masher will not give it the same consistency). Add the half and half (or cream), butter, and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chives and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, top mashed cauliflower with shredded cheese, bacon, and chives.

Bon Appetit,

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Herbed Chicken and Spinach with Parmesan Cream Sauce

So, it's been awhile!  The purpose of this post though is two-fold.  First, I haven't posted in awhile and thought it was time to pick it up again.  Also, I've decided to enter a contest with Food Network- the Away From Home Cooking contest.  It's a chance to win $5000 dollars and go to NYC for the the Wine and Food Festival and meet Sunny Anderson.  It's a long shot to actually win, but my friend Allie got me thinking about entering a contest.  The only issue with the contest was that it had to be an original recipe.  Well, I'm not sure what's considered "original".  Most of my recipes are adaptations of other recipes I've seen...I'm assuming that makes it "original", but not positive.  So, I decided to try and make one of my own.  That was harder than I thought it'd be!  I was also limited to only 10 ingredients or less and no use of the oven...stove only...yeesh!  Not to mention I actually had to have MEASUREMENTS of things (so not my usual!).  So, challenge accepted and this is what I came up with: a cheesy, creamy herbed chicken and spinach pasta.  It was quite delicious too!  Although, it's not my favorite recipe I've cooked, but still delicious nonetheless.  Once I submitted the recipe I discovered I can submit a recipe DAILY until July 7.  So, looks like I'll be doing some more cooking and submitting!  I have to submit pictures- so there'll actually be pictures to post on here!  I've got a long list of ideas.  I don't really think one of my recipes will be chosen (I'm sure there will be thousands of entries that are probably better than whatever I submit), but I'm going to give it a try.  I would LOVE to meet Sunny AND go to the Wine and Food Festival in NEW YORK CITY in September (not to mention the $5000!)!  It's a LONG process to get to that point though- there are 5 phases!  First I actually have to get picked amongst the thousands of entries.  Then, judges will pick the top 50 finalists.  Then, there will be an online vote by the public and 2 top-voted winners will be chosen as well as another 2 that have the top scores from the judges votes.  Those top 4 will then compete in New York City and Sunny Anderson will be one of the judges to determine the final winner.  SO, there are LOTS of hoops to jump through, and I'm not even sure I can get through the first phase!  BUT, I'd really love to!  I think I have the potential, but it's just a matter of capturing my abilities.  Here's to hoping I get picked!

Herbed Chicken and Spinach with Parmesan Cream Sauce
Serves: 4

For the Chicken:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 3/4 box of 13.25 oz whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1- 9 oz bag of spinach
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (use your own grater- it makes a difference!)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus 1 teaspoon for pasta water)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus 1 Tablespoon for pasta water)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half (I used half and half because that's what I had on hand!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Bring medium pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of EVOO added to water.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions.  When finished cooking, reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water and drain pasta.  Do NOT rinse with cold water!  Add pasta back to the pot and stir in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and pasta water (just until moist, you may not need all of the water).
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat 2 Tbl of EVOO in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and add chicken.  Season with 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herbs de provence.  Stir well to coat chicken with seasonings.  Cook chicken until browned on all sides.
  3. Add spinach to same pan as the chicken and cook until spinach is fully wilted.  Drain 1/2 of the water that will have accumulated in the pan.  Add 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, pepper, and herbs de provence and mix well.  Finish cooking until the remaining water has evaporated from pan.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. For the sauce, heat cream (or half and half), salt, and EVOO in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a simmer and stir frequently with a flat whisk (or a spoon if you don't have one) for about 4 minutes (it should be thick enough to coat a spoon).  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.  Stir sauce into the chicken and spinach mixture.
  5. To serve, place pasta in a bowl or plate and top with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top of each bowl or plate.  Enjoy!

Bon Appetit,

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grilled Greek Salmon with Tzatziki

So, I've started a new "healthy-eating" track in an attempt to get in better shape and improve my overall lifestyle.  But, I decided that's NOT going to stop me from making delicious food that's healthy too!  Hey, it's possible!  And this fish proves it!  I got the original idea from Pinterest for a similar recipe (original recipe can be found here on The Fit Cook's blog).  I adapted it a little bit, but it's very similar.  Instead of all the spices she lists, I used Cavender's Greek seasoning, ground cumin, salt, paprika, and lime juice.  Topped it with some store bought Tzatziki (Greek yogurt with dill and cucumbers...if you've never had this stuff you're missing out!  I ate it on everything when I was in Greece!).  I bought mine at Publix in the deli section where the Hummus is located.  Now, I will note, I don't exactly use true measurements when I cook (different story when I bake though!).  So, my measurements consist of "a little of this", "a lot of that", "a dash of this", "a pinch of that" until it looks and smells right.  I realize that's AWFUL for giving recipes to people, so I will try my best to guess-timate how much I used of everything!  The original recipe had you broil the salmon, but I opted for grilling it in my grill pan instead.  The result was moist, yummy goodness!  Granted, since the fish wasn't evenly cut, I had to cook it longer than expected.  It took about 10-12 minutes for it to cook all the way through on the thickest part.  Even so, it still was cooked perfectly even on the thin parts, just more crispy (which I love!).  It's quick, it's easy, and it's YUMMY!  If you're trying to eat healthier (or just want a delicious, quick meal), I'd highly recommend giving this a try!  I will DEFINITELY be making it again!

Grilled Greek Salmon with Tzatziki
Serves: 1
  • 1 piece of Salmon
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (enough to coat the fish lightly)
  • Cavender's All-Purpose Greek Seasoning (enough to coat the top- approximately 1/2 Tablespoon)
  • Ground cumin (approximately 1-2 teaspoons)
  • Dash of Paprika (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Pinch of kosher salt (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Dash of garlic powder (approximately 1 teaspoon)
  • Juice from half of fresh lime
  • 2 tablespoons Tzatziki (store bought or you can make your own if you prefer)

Heat grill pan (or grill) over medium heat. 

Coat salmon lightly in olive oil.  Sprinkle on all seasonings and squeeze half of the lime juice on top of fish.

Place fish in grill pan (or on grill) skin side down.  Grill for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness of fish, until cooked all the way through.  I flipped mine once, but that's probably not necessary.  Squeeze on a quarter more of the lime juice when there's about 2 minutes left.  My fish skin also stuck to the pan (even though it had oil on it), but don't worry if yours does too.  The fish itself cooks fine still and didn't fall apart.  It was still cooked all the way, I just didn't have to deal with eating around the skin on the bottom!

When cooked all the way through, transfer to a plate.  Top fish with the rest of the lime juice and Tzatziki.  I served mine with a salad and had snacked on some hummus with cucumber slices before.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Homemade Marinara Sauce

After one bite of this sauce you won't be buying the jarred stuff anymore!  This is the BEST recipe for marinara sauce I've ever had...and it's SO easy to make!  You can make a big batch of it at once and then freeze the rest for later.  I originally made this a couple months ago and had a small batch left that's been in the freezer.  I popped it out of the freezer tonight and defrosted it for 2 minutes and it came right out of the container.  Then I just reheated it up in a sauce pot for about 5-10 minutes.  I actually got the recipe for this sauce from Gina over at Skinny Taste blog...that girl knows how to make some GOOD FOOD.  And she adapts it to be "figure friendly" and healthier.  But the taste is still there!  This sauce is so versatile.  You can top it on chicken parmigiana, spaghetti, dip it for cheese sticks, etc.  I just wanted a quick dinner so I put it on top of some Bertolli stuffed tortellini I picked up at the store while grocery shopping for some pretty fantastic crock-pot recipes for the next 2 weeks!  I seriously am sold on this sauce.  It just uses canned crushed tomatoes, so it's really just as easy as using the jarred stuff...but you know what you're putting in it...and it's a lot lower on sodium!  And the smell while it's simmering is unbelievable!  I could smell it all the way upstairs!  Mmmm....  The original recipe can be found here, or you can scroll below to see the adaptations I made to it (there weren't many!).  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

Quick Homemade Marinara Sauce  
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves (fresh) garlic, smashed- (I just used jarred minced garlic for the equivalence of 2 cloves.  I always have that on hand and it worked just as well!)
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Tuttorosso brand is's very smooth, no blending needed)
  • 1 small bay leaf (I used 2)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (I just used still tasted great!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. (Note: I used the jarred minced garlic, so I just barely let it saute since it was already "golden" in color.  Approximately 1 minute...maybe less.)  Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. (Also add basil if using dried).  Stir and reduce heat to low.  Cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add fresh basil (if using).

That's it! 

Bon Appetit!