Monday, April 2, 2012

Super Easy Sauces - Spicy Red & Classic White

     Roy's paternal grandmother was from Nova Scotia, Canada, and she had quite the repertoire of phrases. Whatever the occasion, she seemed to come up with just the right saying.  One that the family still uses today is, "Hunger makes good sauce".  Of course it means that if you are starving - even the plainest food tastes great.  Recently, six of us got to take a sauce class (demonstration) at Caroline's favorite restaurant for her birthday, and I thought about Grandma Yates's little expression. There is no question that the addition of a sauce to a dish really enhances it, but in every day cooking - who has time to mess with a complicated recipe in addition the main entre?  I got the answer to this when Jenn called me up a couple weeks ago around dinner time.  She stated she was so bored of eating a plain chicken breast for dinner and she asked if I had any suggestions. I remembered the quick and easy sauce I use for chicken parmesan that basically involves just opening a can of tomato sauce and heating it up along with a few spices.  She tried it and loved it!  She just poured it over her grilled chicken breast, but I've included the whole chicken parmesan recipe.  I'm also including a recipe for a simple white sauce along with a few additions that will jazz it up.

Super Easy Red Sauce

1 (15oz.) can of tomato sauce  

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

(1 tablespoon sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce)

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan, mix them together, and heat it up!

Chicken Parmesan

4 chicken breasts

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk 

3/4 cup bread crumbs (Italian style is nice)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.  In a second bowl combine the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.  In a final bowl, mix the flour, oregano, salt, and pepper together.  Rinse the chicken breasts with water and then pat them dry with a paper towel.  One chicken breast at a time, first coat it with the flour, then dip it in the egg, and last coat it with the bread crumb mixture. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan and brown each side.

In an oven safe dish, spoon some of the red sauce from the recipe above in order to coat the bottom of the dish.  Place the chicken in the dish and pour the rest of the red sauce over the chicken. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven and put 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese over each chicken breast.  Return to the oven and continue to bake just until the cheese melts.

Super Easy Classic White Sauce
I'm using whole wheat flour here - that's why it's dark!

3 tablespoons butter or margarine    

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 1/2 cups milk, warmed in microwave


Over low heat, melt the butter in a pan.  Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together to make a paste.  Cook the paste over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds.  Then add the milk, a little at a time, while stirring constantly. Keep stirring and adding the milk until the sauce is thick.

Suggested Uses


Truffled Cream Corn:   

Add sauce to 10 oz. cooked corn along with

2 teaspoons of truffle oil


Creamed Peas or Pearl Onions:

Just add the sauce to 10 0z. of the

 the cooked vegetable


Creamed Spinach:

Add sauce to 10 0z. of cooked and

drained spinach along with a pinch of nutmeg and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

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