Tag Archives: tomato paste

Quick Blender Pizza Sauce

Lots of substitutions can be made to make this recipe your own. Oven-roasted plum tomatoes from last summer’s garden were the highlight in my sauce. They keep well in the freezer and, when thawed, are still moist and lightly coated with olive oil. I ate one, of course, and it still had that fresh tomato taste, concentrated from the roasting.

This sauce is thicker and has a more concentrated tomato flavor than the Quick, Light Pizza Sauce I made a year ago.

Quick Blender Pizza Sauce

  • Servings: makes 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup oven roasted or sun-dried plum tomatoes ( I used 15 tomato halves)
  • 5-6 cloves or about 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 -4 canned peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup juice from tomato can—enough to bring to consistency of a thick sauce

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, adding more tomato juice as needed.

I used the sauce on this pizza: Pizza Day One and Day Two—following the directions for the dough, but using red sauce instead of  white. Since I wrote those posts, I acquired cast iron skillets (12″ and 8″) and have been happily making my pizzas in them.

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Beef Barley Stew

Nothing fancy here, just an old-fashioned beef stew with barley instead of potatoes. As you know, I try to call anything in a bowl that might be mistaken for soup, stew, to make an end run around my husband and his aversion to soup. I gave him both a spoon and fork, and he used the spoon, though. I asked him afterwards if he thought it was soup or stew and he said “stew,” so it was a win. He said it was too thick for soup, which is always “watery”—clearly, he’s not a soup connoisseur.

I could only find quick cooking barley 😦 but it still did its thickening routine, just not by soaking up so much of the liquid or having to cook so long. For vegetables, I stuck to the traditional onion,  green beans, and carrots—there’s a tasty reason those are traditional. I used a beurre manié at the end to slightly thicken the gravy.

Beef Barley Stew

  • Servings: at least 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-2 1/2 lb chuck roast, trimmed and cubed

olive oil or other fat for browning

1 large onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, grated or minced

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups green bean, cut in 1/2″ pieces

5 cups beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

salt & pepper to taste ( is your beef stock salty?)

1 cup quick-cooking barley (adjust times and liquid if using regular barley)

beurre manié, made from 4 tablespoons each flour and butter (see below)

  1. Choose a chuck roast with good marbling. Trim off most of the fat, especially the hard fat, and cut the meat into chunks—large if you want to eat it like a stew; bite-sized if you want to eat it more like a soup. I cut mine on the smaller size.
  2. In a heavy 6 qt. stockpot, brown the beef in about 3-4 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat until browned all over. Season as you cook, but consider how salty your beef stock might be.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, but not browned.
  4. Add the carrots and green beans, the beef stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Stir in the barley, cover, and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the barley has swelled up and become tender. 1 cup of quick-cooking barley, requires 2 cups of liquid, so I included that in my calculations when determining the amount of beef stock to use.
  6. Stir in the beurre manié until incorporated, continuing to simmer for a few minutes, to cook out the rawness of the flour.

Beurre Manié

In a small bowl, work equal amounts of all-purpose flour and soft butter together until they form a paste with no discernible lumps of flour. I use the tines of a fork for this, but you could use the back of a spoon or even your fingers. Just keep working it until it comes together. Then you can just gather it up with a large spoon and stir it into your hot, simmering or boiling sauce.

Beurre manié is one of those thickening miracles that comes in handy at the last minute. Sometimes, I make a beurre manié with masa harina corn flour and butter to thicken chili at the end. Not only does it thicken, but it adds a nice corn flavor.

Just Another Meatloaf

I’m surprised there’s not a meatloaf blog, where every day illustrates a different version of the loved (or not) fare. There are a few blogs with meatloaf in the title, but they turn out to be about other things, even when they are about cooking. Maybe I’m overstating people’s love of meatloaf. I probably make it once every two or three weeks with variations. Today, I was faced with having no breadcrumbs, so I’m using rolled oats for the filler. It’s been a long time since I’ve used oats, but I remember them adding a sweetness to the mix. For the meat, I’m using one pound of ground beef and one pound of Jimmy Dean® Sage Sausage, which means a lot of the flavoring is already done for me. I’ve been using this sausage in meatloaf for a while, to rave reviews.

Still, it’s just another meatloaf.

Meatloaf with Oatmeal and Sausage

  • Servings: one 2 lb loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°

3/4 cup rolled oats (not the quick cooking variety)

1/2 cup milk

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon bacon fat—for a nice smoky flavor

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 eggs, beaten

1 lb ground beef

1 lb Jimmy Dean® Sage Sausage (or your favorite country sausage)

salt & pepper

  1. Combine rolled oats and 1/2 cup milk in large mixing bowl. Decide later if you need more milk.
  2. Sauté the onion, seasoned with salt & pepper, in the bacon fat over medium heat until translucent. Pour over the oats and milk and let sit until cool. This also allows the oatmeal to soften a bit in the milk and warm onions. An alternative would be to microwave the oats and milk for about 1 minute and then cool. I like to wait until the oats have absorbed most of the milk, because there is nothing else in this meatloaf to soak it up. This is your substitute for bread crumbs.
  3. When the mixture is cooled, stir in the beaten eggs, tomato paste, and parsley.
  4. Mix in the meats with your hands until it’s all combined well, adding more milk if needed. I found 1/2 cup to be plenty.
  5. Shape into a loaf and place in an oblong baking dish with space around the loaf, so it doesn’t touch the sides of the dish.
  6. Bake for about 1 hour or until the center reaches 165°; remove to platter to serve.

A.1. Cube Steak Sandwiches

The very first post on this site was for cube steaks, just the typical kind, dredged in flour, browned and braised until tender. It’s a great comfort food in the winter with mashed potatoes and gravy. Today, I took a different approach with cube steaks for some steak sandwiches, but still with a braising technique.

Most of the cube steak sandwich recipes you will find on the web simply cut the steak portions into strips and brown them. That’s still a little tough for my taste; I prefer to go the further step of braising the strips in the oven after browning for a more tender texture. I braised them in a combination of beef stock, tomato paste, and A.1. sauce for a savory zing. It filled the house with a great aroma and the sandwiches were really good.

A.1. Cube Steak Sandwiches

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet with lid, but any ovenproof lidded pan will work.

1 pkg cube steaks, about 5-8 pieces

2 large onions, halved and sliced

1 cup beef stock or broth

1/4 cup A.1. Steak Sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

salt & pepper

1 jar roasted, peeled red bell peppers, cut in strips

sandwich rolls

  1. Slice cube steaks in 1/2 inch strips across the grain created by the tenderizing process. It can be hard to tell if there is a real grain in this cut of meat with all the tenderizing cuts in it, but there should be cuts in one obvious direction that you can cut across. Don’t worry, because the longer cooking will further tenderize the meat.
  2. Heat your skillet over high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions, seasoned with salt & pepper, until translucent and just beginning to brown. Remove them to a plate while you brown the meat.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan; then brown the meat strips, seasoned with salt & pepper, in batches until all are browned.
  4. Stir in tomato paste.
  5. Return beef and onions to pan. Add beef stock and A.1. sauce.
  6.  Bring to boil, cover, and place in oven for about 45 minutes.
  7. Toss pepper strips with meat and onions.
  8. Serve on toasted buns, with or without cheese.