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Slow Simmered Meat Sauce

From Krisann:

This is a great meat sauce recipe.  The sauce is hearty and comforting.  Best of all the sauce freezes really well.  I usually make a big batch and then enjoy it several times.


  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 (4 ounce) links hot italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/4 lb ground sirloin
  • 1/4 lb ground veal
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  •  1/4 cup no salt added tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can no salt added crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 TBLS chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • 3 ounces shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion and carrot to pan; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic, sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Place vegetable mixture in a 6 quart slow cooker.  Add sausage, beef, veal and pork to the skillet; sauté 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Place meat mixture on a double layer of paper towels; drain.  Add meat mixture to slow cooker.  Stir olives and next 6 ingredients (through tomato sauce) into slow cooker.  Cover and cool on LOW 8 hours.  Stir in oregano.

Serve with pasta, top with basil and cheese.


Elegant Tomato Soup

From Krisann:

This is a delicious tomato soup.  I have to give credit to my sister Kim for this one.   She served this soup with crostini in small bowls as an appetizer.  The presentation was beautiful!  I served it recently at an appetizer party that I hosted, it was well received.


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar
  • 3 large slice of good sandwich bread (crust removed and torn into 1 inch pieces)
  • Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chives
  • Focaccia Rolls (or some other type of bread, you will make crostini’s to be served with the soup)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese (shredded)
Pesto Ingredients:
  • basil 1 bunch, about 2 cups(washed and dried)
  • 3 medium size cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan-reggiano or romano cheese
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.  (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil).  Add the garlic, pulse a few more times.  Slowly add the olive oil an a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and sugar and pulse again until blended.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.  This will make more pesto than you need for this recipe.  You can use the remaining pesto for something else or freeze it.

Heat oil, sauté onion and garlic until tender 5 to 10 minutes,  Add tomatoes and mash with a potato masher.  Stir in sugar and bread; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until bread break down about 5 minutes.  Transfer half to food processor or blender and puree.  Add 1 TBLS oil and puree until smooth 2 to 3 minutes.  Repeat with remaining soup.  Stir in chic broth as much as you think you need (this will effect the consistency).  Add 1-2 TBLS pesto while cooking.

Preheat over to 400. Cut the focaccia rolls into sticks, place on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and shredded pecorino romano cheese.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a cooling rack.

Mix a couple of TBLS of pesto with olive oil (this will make a pesto oil).  Pour the pesto oil into a squeeze bottle.

Serve the soup, with a circular squirt of the pesto oil and a crostini.

Chili- for the BIG GAME!

 From Natalie:
Bill had made a plans to have his buddy, Matt, over to watch the “big game”,  The AFC Conference,  The New England Patriots verses the Baltimore Ravens.  He asked if I would make my chili and he would add snacks and pizza to the menu.  This is my version, a little different than most chili’s.  I really like garbonzo beans better than the traditional kidney beans, so that is how this one is made.  This chili is really not difficult to make but the longer it simmers the better.


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1 can garbonzo beans (also called ceci beans or chick peas)
  • 8 oz. of salsa (I like Newman’s Own-Mild, but others will work fine, including fresh salsa)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (if you don’t have any salsa, you can use 2 cans of tomato sauce)
  •  1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired

Brown the beef in a pot with garlic powder.  Drain off the fat.  Add the sauce, beans and salsa.  Sprinkle in the cumin, coriander, red pepper and more garlic powder.  The measurements of the spices are approximate, add more or less according to your own personal taste.   Let simmer on medium heat.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheese.  Enjoy!

The chili was a success as was our team! Go Pats!

Mac and Cheese

From Krisann:

This recipe is definately one that you will add to your favorite comfort foods.  I broke this recipe out at the request of my son who was home from college for the Thanksgiving weekend, I doubled the recipe and we are still enjoying it.  I must say that it tastes even better leftover.  I hope that you enjoy this one as much as my family does.


  • Kosher Salt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni of cavatappi
  • 1 qt milk (I use skim)
  • 8 TBLS (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 small fresh tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water.  Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.  Melt 6 TBLS of butter in a  large (4-quart) pot and add the flour.  Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.  While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute of two more, until thickend and smooth.  Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 TBLS salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.  Pour in a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.  Melt the remaining 2 TBLS of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.

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