Onion Tomato Sauce

You go ahead and try to tell me that doesn’t look delicious

One of the things I hate most in the world is tomato sauce.  I think it’s grimy, thick, heavy, gross, and worst of all, tastes a little like vomit.  This is highly unfortunate as a love spaghetti, and what better to go along with spaghetti than tomato sauce?

One day I got this feeling that it wasn’t that I inherently hated tomato sauce, it was more that I just disliked the jarred/canned kind.  Determined to test my theory, I decided to make my own sauce using local, organic produce.  I scoured the internet for an easy recipe, and found one that looked simple and delicious by The Naptime Chef.

As you might have noticed from my other posts, onions are probably my favorite veggie ever. So of course, even though the recipe did not call for them, I felt the need to add onions as the sauce was cooking in on the stove.  Unfortunately, I added too many and had to improvise as I was cooking to thin out the sauce and dilute the abundance of onions.  Here is the recipe for the sauce I ended up making, which is absolutely delicious.  The first part is adapted from The Naptime Chef’s recipe, the rest is all mine.

Ingredients:
8-10 plum tomatoes, halved and cored
6 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small can (6oz) tomato paste
1/4 cup cilantro
1 – 1 1/2 cups onion (depending on how much you like onion)
1 – 1 1/2 cups water (depending on how thick/thin you want it to be)

Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Place halved tomatoes in a medium sized bowl and toss with olive oil.  Spread tomatoes face-up evenly across a jelly roll pan (cover the pan with aluminum foil to avoid a mess).

3.  Arrange the garlic cloves around the pan.  Place pan in oven and roast for 45 minutes.

4.  Place tomatoes and leftover liquid into food processor or blender.  Squeeze roasted garlic into processor as well.  Puree until smooth.

5. Pour puree mixture into medium saucepan.  Add tomato paste, onions, and cilantro.  Stir until mixed completely, then slowly add water until you reach the desired consistency (it will thicken a more as it cooks, so make it a little thinner to start).

6. Bring to a boil, stirring often until sauce is thickened.

7.  Enjoy!

One great thing about making homemade tomato sauce is that you can freeze it in a Tupperware container until you are ready to use it.  I don’t like a whole lot of sauce on my spaghetti, so the yield for me was upwards of six servings (about the same number of servings I get out of a box of spaghetti), but it might be different for you if you are a heavy-on-the-sauce type of person.

Of course, here’s a breakdown of cost for the broke college student:

8 plum tomatoes: $2 at the local farmers market
1 onion: $0.50 at the farmers market
Fresh cilantro: <$0.50
Garlic: $0.50
Tomato paste: $1
Box of spaghetti: $1
Total Cost: $5.50
Cost Per Meal: <$1

When you think about how much they charge for a plate of spaghetti at a nice Italian restaurant, it kind of makes you mad, doesn’t it?

 

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Veggie Turkey Burgers

A few months ago, I claimed that the cheeseburger I had at Husk in Charleston was the best burger I had ever had.

I might have found a replacement.

I’ve finally moved into my new dorm, and with it comes a whole new set of responsibilities, including feeding myself on a regular basis.  My roommate, Rebecca, had her mom staying with us for a few days, and she made us some delicious meals while she was here.  However, she’s back in Cincinnati now, which means we have to fend for ourselves.

After exhausting all of my go-to options (Garlic Pasta, Enchilada Soup, Hot Pockets) I decided to try something new from a recipe I found on Foodily.  I changed the recipe around a little to suit my tastes and make do with what I have, but you can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients: 

1/2 lb ground turkey (If your grocery store only sells it buy the pound, chop it in half while still frozen and save the rest for taco night!)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 onion, chopped into small pieces
1 4 or 4.5 oz can chopped green chilies
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
Potato Rolls
Philadelphia Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread

 Preparation: 

1.  Combine thawed ground turkey, cilantro, onion, green chilies, and spices in medium bowl (use your hands… it’s okay to get a little dirty!)

2. Coat medium-sized fry pan lightly with vegetable spray

3. Form into patties and cook over medium-high heat until cooked through (mine were about 4 minutes on each side, and I cooked 3 at a time)

4.  Spread Cream Cheese on bun, add patties and enjoy!

Yield: about 6 patties

My favorite part about these burgers is that they are so juicy and delicious.  I don’t have access to a grill, but cooking them in the pan worked just fine, and the addition of the creamy Philadelphia was the perfect match.  I didn’t add any additional veggies on top as I usually do with burgers (lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc) since the patties themselves are already stuffed full.

The best part about these is that I ate one for lunch, and froze the rest after I cooked them.  Since meat can’t be re-frozen after it’s already been thawed, you have to cook the burgers before you can put them back into the freezer, but once they’ve been cooked, a couple of Ziplock baggies with the date on them do the trick.  Basically, you’ve just made yourself five additional meals!

But buying groceries is expensive, they say.  No way!  Here’s a breakdown of price to prove to you that you’re better off making these burgers for yourself than buying that McDonald’s Happy Meal:

Can of Chilies: $1.29
LB Ground Turkey: $5.29/2 = $2.15
Yellow Onion: $1.05
Cilantro Flat: $1.29/2 (I only used half) = $0.65
Hamburger Rolls $1.99
Miscellaneous spices and cream cheese: $0.00 (I already had these around the apartment)
Total Cost: $7.13
Cost Per Burger: $1.19

 

Chicken Veggie Wraps

My chicken veggie wrap before I wrapped it up

Lately, I have been super into The Laughing Cow Cream Cheese Wedges.  I never really liked the regular cheese wedges (my Mom swears by them though), but I love, love, love the Garden Vegetable cream cheese flavor.  The other night, I used it to enhance the frozen taquitos I cooked for dinner, and they tasted great!  Today, I used one for my dinner.  I love that you know exactly how much you’re getting and that they have great flavor with less fat than regular cream cheese.

Image from thelaughingcow.com

 

So now you’re dying to know how I made these deliciously simple chicken veggie wraps, right?  They were so easy and easily one of the best wraps I’ve ever had!

Ingredients:

8-10 bite sized pieces of chicken, uncooked – I like to use the Tyson grilled strips that come already cut and cooked, but you can use cut up pieces of frozen chicken breast
1/2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 wedge Laughing Cow Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese Spread
2 tortillas
Seasonings for chicken – I used onion powder, garlic powder, and basil

Preparation:

1. Coat bottom of small fry pan with a very thin layer of oil.  Cook chicken mostly through and season as desired.
2.  Add veggies and cook until chicken is completely cooked through (mine took about 3 more minutes after I added the veggies)
3.  Heat tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds, until soft and warm
4.  Divide 1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese in half and spread down the middle of each tortilla
5.  Add chicken and veggies, wrap up, and enjoy!

This was the perfect quick dinner after a long day of work and provided a healthy serving of dairy, veggies, and protein without a heavy carb load.  I would even try it with a whole wheat tortilla or pita next time!

Hope you enjoy!  Happy Eating!