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Thursday, February 24, 2011

One Recipe Fits All

This is for Mama Kat's weekly writing prompt. She gave 4-5 different prompts, and it was a really difficult decision but I ended up going with sharing a recipe.
(I tried adding the button for this but I kept getting an error msg regarding the code. It said it was broken. Anyone else have this issue or know how to fix it? I just added the link instead since I couldn't get it to work.)

(found on google images)

So this is my must have recipe. You can literally make dozens of things from this basic recipe from pasta/pizza sauce to an entree that serves your whole family. I will do my best to explain it. It is extremely simple. If I can make it, then anyone can.

I have broken it down into two steps: must have and optional. Depending on what you're making and what your family likes to eat will depend on how you blend the two.

Must have ingredients:
2 tomatoes
1 onion
salt/pepper to taste
Garlic 2 cloves minced

Optional seasonings: (while the below ingredients are "must haves" for me if I am out of something then I don't necessarily make a special trip to the store to get it, but if you don't like them or can't find them then you can add whatever seasonings you have on hand)

Bay leaves 2-3
Coriander small bunch finely chopped
Tumeric 1/2 tsp
Ginger 1/2 tsp minced
Curry Powder 1/2 tsp
Green chilies 3-4 (less if you don't like spicy more if you do)

Optional meats & veggies:

Ground beef/turkey/chicken
3-4 chicken breasts boneless skinless cut up into chunks
Beef or lamb tips (you could also take your choice of beef cut and cut it into chunks)

Mushrooms 4-5 diced
Green Pepper 1 medium sized diced
Carrots 2 whole carrots diced
Eggplant 1 diced
Broccoli 1 cup
Peas 1 cup
Potatoes 2-3 diced

Regardless of what you're making, these inital steps must be done to form the basis of your sauce/dish.

  • add a few table spoons of oil to a heavy bottomed pan. Heat over medium heat.
  • Then add onions. Cook until translucent but not browned.
  • Then add your tomatoes. Cook until they are almost complete dissolved. If the mixture begins to stick or burn, add a few table spoons of water to keep it from doing so.
  • Then add all of your seasonings (salt/pepper, curry powder, tumeric, garlic, bay leaves etc) and green chilies. Stir. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to keep spices from burning.

Now that you have your tomato/onion mixture prepared, add in your meats (chopped chicken breasts or beef/lamb tips). Cook meat for approx 1-2 mins and then add veggies. Make sure you fully cover the meat and veggies with the mixture so that all of the flavor gets infused in them.

Once the meat starts to brown ( or turn white if you're using chicken breasts), then add about 2-3 cups of water. Enough so that all of the veggies and meats are fully submerged. Add coriander leaves after this cooks about 15 mins.

Turn the heat down, cover and simmer until meat and veggies are fully cooked.

Normally I cook most of the water out so that I am left with a thick sauce, but if you prefer it more thin, then just add more water or don't cook it as long. It takes about an hour if you cook it on low heat, 30 mins if you cook it over medium. It is really up to you. If I have the time, I cook it slower so the meat is more tender and gets more flavorful. If I am in a hurry, then I cook it on medium heat so that it gets done sooner. If you follow these directions, you will end up with something that resembles the picture posted above.

However, if you want a homemade pizza/pasta sauce, then prepare the onion/tomato mixture as stated above and add in your spices. After adding spices, cook approx. 1 min and then add in ground beef/chicken/turkey. Cook until meat is browned.

Pour sauce over pasta of your choice or spread on top of pizza crust and top with cheese.

Now I am not a sauce person. If you are a sauce person, then you will probably need to add in more tomatoes. Either canned storebought or paste or whatever you prefer.

The last and final option is for all you vegetarians/vegans out there. If you don't like meat, then just skip the step for adding meat and go straight to the veggies. All other steps/ingredients remain the same. When I lived in the USA, I couldn't get meat that often so the majority of the time I made this just with veggies. It was still great and very filling.

Serve with rice or naan.

Hope you all enjoy!!


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