Is it just me or did something change in the air this week. Every year about this time the smell of the air gives me the most nostalgic feeling of Back-to-School. Emma's school has not resumed yet and we're relishing our last lazy days of summer. Mike gave me a little break and took her to the park this morning so I could have an hour on the computer to get some thoughts out... secretly, I think he just wanted to be outside on this almost fall 60 degree morning.
One of my goals for our break was to do some freezer cooking to prepare for a busy Fall season. With new products coming out next week, then jumping into Halloween, Thanksgiving and Holiday collections soon after, the fall is looking to be busy. I don't want our family mealtime to be sacrificed, so I have been stocking the freezer. Once a week we have Spaghetti and Meatballs, my all time favorite comfort dinner. We usually have "Spaghetti Sunday" and let the sauce simmer all day, make homemade meatballs (which are much easier than you think), garlic bread (recipe below) and stuff ourselves silly.
We had a favorite Tomato Sauce that I used for years, always tweaking it and making little changes... until one day Tessa (nineandsixteen.blogspot.com) shared a recipe that seemed so intriguing, I had to try it. The recipe is all over the internet, most of you have probably heard of it - Marcella's Sauce. The name had an even more special name to me because in our family our Granny's (also a Marcella) Spaghetti Sauce is something that everyone loves - and still makes. This sauce reminded me so much of her famed sauce.
It is so easy, you'll never believe it. I've shared it with many friends, but have never posted it here and have many requests to do so since I rave about it all of the time. It has become our go-to sauce, not because it is easy, but because it is the best tomato sauce I've ever had. We now just refer to it as The Sauce.
1 28-ounce can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes (san marzano are the best quality)
1 white onion, peeled and cut in half
5 tablespoons of butter
In a medium sauce pot, add all ingredients. Simmer for 40 minutes. With a wooden spoon, break up whole tomatoes. No seasoning, herbs or a little of this or that needed.
Serve with spaghetti, meatballs (here is my very easy recipe for Homemade Meatballs) and real parmesan cheese.
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If you've followed this blog for a while then you know I have a love for frozen store-bought bread dough. I watched the new Barefoot Contessa episode the other day and she made homemade bread with her friend, Eli. I instantly craved the smell of fresh baked bread... well, if you know anything about bread baking, there is no "instant" about it. Unless...
...you use frozen dough. Instead of a classic loaf of bread, we used the dough to create a crusty baguette style loaf by stretching it long and twisting it. Emma helped me by brushing it with an egg wash, then sprinkling on Garlic Salt.
Such a good helper. I always let her do the fun messy stuff, of course.
Here she is telling one of her elaborate stories. The hand gestures are my favorite parts of her stories usually starting with, "Long, Long ago... "
1 loaf of frozen bread dough (I use Rhodes, found in most stores)
egg wash (1 egg beaten with water)
1 tablespoon of garlic salt
Let the dough thaw according to directions on package. We usually defrost ours in the microwave for about a minute or two, then let it sit on the counter, covered with plastic for a couple of hours.
The dough will be slightly puffy when ready to shape into the baguette. Stretch it and twist it to fit on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush it with the egg wash, then sprinkle with garlic salt.
Let rise for 1 more hour until slightly puffed. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-14 minutes until golden.
Dough has risen slightly, here, and is ready for the oven.
Crusty and soft in the middle!
Golden brown with a delicious garlicy salt crust.