Soprano's Sunday Gravy

I’ve talked before about my love of all things mafioso. While I was always a fan of the classics like Goodfellas and The Godfather trilogy, it was really The Sopranos that really cemented that love. One of my favorite cookbooks is The Sopranos Family Cookbook. Every single recipe I’ve tried from it has been wonderful. The first one that I ever made from it’s pages is this recipe for Sunday gravy…

Italians call a meaty sauce that’s been simmered all day a “gravy”. This one is made with the addition of country pork ribs, sausage, and veal – which I leave out (I just can’t get past the baby cow thing). Now, if you’ve never added pork to your red sauce – with all due respect, but you’ve sorely been missing out. It adds such a wonderful richness and complexity that is unparalleled. Sausage is great, but the pork ribs are really where it’s at.

It’s wonderful simply tossed with pasta, or if you want to doll it up even more you can add mozzarella cheese and mini-meatballs to make Ziti al Forno. No matter what you do with it, you can’t go wrong with this sauce. It’s really a staple. Do yourself a favor and make it soon, you won’t regret it! Bada-bing.

Source: adapted from The Sopranos Family Cookbook

Beef Stew

The chapter we call winter is finally coming to a close. And while I’m super excited to welcome spring, I’ll definitely miss those warm stick-to-your-rib meals that we get to enjoy during those cold months. One of my favorites is this hearty beef stew. It’s a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that I’ve been making for close to 10 years now, and for good reason – because it’s absolutely delicious.

I love taking a tough cut of beef like a chuck roast and turning it into the tender chunks that melt in your mouth. The addition of red wine to the stew adds such wonderful richness and depth of flavor, and really compliments and brings out all the wonderful flavors in the beef. Red potatoes, carrots, and peas also come to the party for a dip in the tub. Troublemakers.

It makes a large pot full that is plenty for supper one evening, and then enough leftovers for several lunches worth. And like with all stews and soups, it just gets better as time progresses. It also freezes wonderfully for an easy meal when you don’t feel like cooking. Definitely one of our favorites!

SOURCE: The New Best Recipe by America’s Test Kitchen

Scallion and Beef Stir-Fry

Fake-out take out is one of my favorite things to make at home. Whether it’s lo mein, General Tso’s, egg rolls, a stir-fry, or just simple veggie fried rice…it’s always a hit around here! We don’t have any greasy Chinese places here on our tiny seaside island. And the one great place we do have, Saigon Village, is closed during the winter months. Counting down the days until she re-opens in the spring!

So, needless to say – I’m DIYing it on the Chinese field in the kitchen quite a bit these days. This was a new recipe that I tried last week. It was super quick, easy, and everyone really enjoyed it. I loved the tender-crisp slivers of onion and pieces of scallion mixed throughout. And the sauce! I’ll usually make my stir-fry sauces with a base of chicken stock. But the use of oyster sauce as a base produced a sauce that was rich and brown, absolutely delicious!

I served over a bed of rice with some steamed broccoli on the side. Another great bonus is it takes less than 20 minutes to cook, from start to finish. You couldn’t have take-out on the table that quickly, even if you wanted to!

Source: adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Southwestern Egg Rolls

With Super Bowl upon us tomorrow, I thought it was only prudent to share a great appetizer recipe with you before the big game! I’ve wanted to make these guys for a couple years now, but just never managed to get around to it. Traditional homemade egg rolls are one of our very favorite things ever, and we love Mexican food – so it was totally no surprise when we all loved them!

Corn, red pepper, black beans, red onion, spinach, garlic, and cilantro are given a quick saute to soften. Then they’re mixed with a blend of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, rolled into an egg roll wrapper, and quickly fried. I suspect that they would also be great baked, if you’re looking for a healthier route. But it’s Super Bowl, and I’m not.

I served with an avocado ranch dipping sauce, which couldn’t have been any easier. I just mashed up an avocado well and mixed it with ranch dressing. I think salsa would also be another great option for dipping, which is again- much healthier! I hope everyone enjoys the big game tomorrow – we’ll be rooting for the Patriots (anyone BUT the Seahawks!). Stay safe and warm, everyone!