Simple Homemade Marinara Sauce

This super easy simple homemade marinara sauce can be made in advance and frozen to have on hand for dipping goodies at your next get-together or game night!

Simple Homemade Marinara Sauce

Simple Homemade Marinara Sauce

Course Side Dish
Servings 4
Calories 168 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 dried Thai pepper, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp)
  • 4 cups fresh tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp sugar or to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and dried Thai pepper..
  • As soon as garlic sizzles (don’t let it brown) pour in tomatoes and water.  Add salt, basil and sugar.  
  • Turn heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 1½ ro 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and sauce thickens.  Use a fork to break up tomatoes during cooking.
  • Remove Thai pepper and discard.
  • Use a blender or immersion blender to smooth the sauce if desired. Press sauce through a mesh colander to remove the seeds if desired.
  • Total yield: 2 cups sauce.
  • Hack:  2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes can be substituted for fresh tomatoes.
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in serving-sized portions for up to 6 months.
  • Hack:  If you have leftover tomatoes that are becoming over-ripe and don't have time to cook, simply puree them in the blender and freeze the fresh puree in sealed freezer bags or containers to use in recipes at a later date.  No need to core, peel or seed ‘em...just toss ‘em right in.  Run the puree through a mesh colander if you want to remove the seeds.
Keyword appetizer, easy, homemade sauce, hors d'oeuvres, keto, low calorie, low carb, marinara, marinara sauce, simple, tomato sauce, vegan, vegetarian

Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse while being low in calories and carbs!  Check out the facts here!

Suggestion:  Serve this with easy cheesy sausage balls or Italian meatballs!

Barbecue Mayo

 

Barbecue Mayo
Barbecue Mayo

Barbecue Mayo

 

2 tbsp barbecue sauce

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp spicy brown mustard

1 tsp red-hot or sriracha sauce

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Allow flavors to blend for 30 minutes before use.

Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly sealed container.

 

2 servings, 75 calories per serving

 

 

Sweet And Hot Chili Sauce

 

Sweet And Hot Chili Sauce
Sweet And Hot Chili Sauce

 

⅓ cup rice vinegar

⅓ cup water

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp white wine

1-2 tsp red pepper flakes*, according to taste

1½ cloves garlic (1½ tsp)

1 tsp finely minced ginger root

1 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

 

Place all ingredients except cornstarch into a small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring constantly. When the sugar has melted, add cornstarch mixture and allow to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken, about one minute.

Remove from heat, allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

*Red pepper flakes can be purchased in the spice section of the grocery store, labeled as “red pepper flakes” or “crushed red pepper”. You can make your own with dried chili peppers using a mini chopper or sharp knife.

 

Yield: One cup. Serving size 2 tbsp, 38 calories per serving

Hack:  Use this sauce to make roasted red cabbage with shrimp!

Hack: Chili sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat gently to restore consistency.

Hack: Do you know that you can freeze fresh ginger root? Grating it in it’s frozen state is easier than grating it fresh and, if you choose organic ginger, you don’t have to peel it! Simply place in a sealed freezer bag or container and pop it in the freezer.

 

 

Scallion Pesto

 

Scallion Pesto

 

4 cups scallion or green onions, coarsely sliced

1 cup fresh basil

2 tbsp fresh chive

5 cloves garlic (5 tsp minced)

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts

¼ cup parmesan cheese

3 tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

 

Yield:  2 cups

Serving size:  ¼ cup, 175 calories per serving

Hack:  Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or frozen for 12 months.  I recommend freezing in ice cube trays and then removing portions to a freezer-safe container so you can thaw just the amount you need.

Hack:  Pine nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months.

Hack:  Chop leftover green onions and freeze in a sealable freezer bag or container for future use.

Hack: Use leftover pine nuts in Baked Rice PilafHealthy Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel or Roasted Asparagus with Pine Nuts!

Hack:  Use this pesto to make Chicken Pesto Naan Pizza!

 

Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Italian Salad Dressing Mix
Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Italian Salad Dressing Mix

 

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp dried oregano

1 tsp black pepper

¼ tsp thyme

1 tbsp parsley

1 tsp basil

¼ tsp celery salt

2 tbsp salt

 

Mix together all ingredients and store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

For the salad dressing: Combine 2 tbsp mix with ¼ apple cider vinegar, ⅔ cup olive oil and 2 tbsp water. Shake or whisk to combine.

Serving size (mix only): 1½ tsp, 7½ calories per serving

Serving size (prepared salad dressing): 2 tbsp, 130 calories per serving

 

 

Roasted Garlic Spread

 

Roasted Garlic Spread
Roasted Garlic Spread

Roasted Garlic Spread

 

1 head garlic

2 tsp olive oil

1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp dried chives

½ tsp dried basil

½ tsp dried parsley

½ tsp oregano

a pinch of sugar (to taste)

 

Preheat the oven to 350℉.

Remove the outer skins of garlic, leaving only the skin that covers the cloves.

Cut ¼“ off the top of the garlic bulb so that all the cloves are exposed. Set upright on aluminum foil. Drizzle oil over the bulb, making sure that the tops of all the cloves have been covered. Seal tin foil over the bulb.

Bake for 40-60 minutes, until the bulb is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Remove the bulb from the foil, turn it upside down and gently squeeze garlic from the skins into a small bowl.

Mix in cream cheese, salt, pepper and spices.

Allow to rest for at least one hour while flavors blend. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Serving size: 2 tbsp, 105 calories per serving

Hack: For a more dip-like texture, substitute ½ of the cream cheese for sour cream

 

 

Cheesy Black Bean Dip

 

Cheesy Black Bean Dip
Cheesy Black Bean Dip

Cheesy Black Bean Dip

 

⅔ cup dried black beans

4 cups water, divided

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 red onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced (3 tsp)

¼ cup tomato paste

¾ teaspoons smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup boiling water

Salt and pepper to taste

¾ cup grated Cheddar (3 oz)

 

Cover beans with 2 cups of water and allow to soak for 6 – 12 hours. Drain and rinse.

Add 2 cups of water and beans to a saucepan. Turn heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until tender, checking occasionally to ensure there is enough water to keep beans from scorching. Drain excess water, if necessary.

(NOTE: The above step can be done ahead. Store beans tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Heat the oven to 475 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add onions and saute for 5 -10 minutes until translucent but not browned. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about one minute.

Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, red pepper flakes and cumin and saute for 30 seconds.

Add the beans, water and generous pinches of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Bake until the cheese has melted, 5 to 10 minutes. If the top is not as browned as you’d like, run the skillet under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with corn chips, crusty bread, pita or rice.

 

6 servings, 245 calories per serving (dip only)

Hack: Freeze leftover portions sealed in serving-sized portions for future use. Allow to thaw completely in the refrigerator before reheating.

Hack: One cup of frozen onions can be substituted for fresh onion in this recipe.

 

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce

This sweet and spicy barbecue sauce is one of my favorite condiments.  Making it homemade allows you to adjust spices to make it just the way you want it!

Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Course Condiment
Servings 2 tbsp
Calories 55 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 rsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (use more or less to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • Yield:  2 ½ cups barbecue sauce.
  • Hack:  Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Keyword barbecue, bbq, condiments, grill, homemade, sauces, sweet and spicy, vegetarian

Although barbecue is typically thought of an American tradition, the roots of barbecue sauce can actually be traced to Africa!

Suggestion:  Use this sauce to make barbecue spaghetti squash pizza!

Easy Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip

This easy cheesy buffalo chicken dip is a good solution for leftover chicken! While it’s great with chips, try dipping french fries or making grilled cheese!

Easy Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Easy Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 4
Calories 190 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup cream cheese (2 oz)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp sriracha or red pepper sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

Instructions
 

  • Heat cream cheese and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium until smooth and bubbly. 
  • Stir in chicken and hot sauce.  Continue stirring until the dop is heated through.
  • Serve warm with chips or bread.
  • Hack: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Hack: To reheat this dip, microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring at each one, until heated through. Alternately, cover and heat in a 350℉ oven until heat through (about 15 minutes).
Keyword buffalo, buffet, cheesy dip, creamy, creamy dip, easy, fast and easy, football snacks, hot dip, party food, quick and easy, spicy, sriracha, warm dip

It’s safe to say that most people have strong feelings about spicy food.  You either love ’em or you hate ’em.  But did you know that eating spicy foods can benefit your heart health as well as boost metabolism and control your appetite?  Check it out here!

Suggestion: Serve this with warm naan flatbread or oven-roasted french fries!

Homemade Cranberry Jalapeño Dip

What are you gonna do with that leftover whole berry cranberry sauce?  How about making this sweet-tart-but-with-a-kick cranberry jalapeño dip?

Cranberry Jalapeño Dip

Cranberry Jalapeño Dip

(Courtesy: Penny Jacques)
Course Appetizer, Snack
Servings 2 tbsp
Calories 71 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Put cranberry sauce in a colander and shake to remove as much jelly as possible, leaving just the sweetened cranberries.
  • Mix cranberries with cream cheese, sour cream and jalapeno pepper.  Refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend.
  • Hack: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Keyword appetizer, buffet, cracker spread, Cranberry, cranberry sauce, cream cheese, dip, football snacks, jalapeno pepper, leftovers, party food, snack, sour cream

Did you know? People call cranberries a superfood for good reason: They have all kinds of health-boosting benefits.

Get the recipe for whole berry cranberry sauce here!

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