Hey ya’ll! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted! I’ve been busy in the kitchen and I’ve gotta say I have some awesome recipes for ya’ll! But first, I’ve got some bad news and some good news! The good news is that I’ve decided to start the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge!! Whoo-Hoo!! I’m about to get into shape! The bad news is… I won’t be posting very many Hearty Southern Recipes! Ya’ll will be getting some healthy, low carb, low sugar recipes though! So… this is our last “unhealthy” blog for a while and for the next couple months, I’ll scatter in a few regular recipes but mostly, it’ll be healthy stuff. I’m thinking about doing this 24 Day Challenge in a journal format… day 1, day 2, etc… ya’ll let me know what you think! As for now, I’m telling ya’ll about my week leading up to the 24 Day Challenge. 🙂

My nephew, sweet little Judd, had to have this big metal spacer put in his mouth last Monday. It was painful and he had some problems eating. I wanted to make something soft to make sure he was able to eat so I made spaghetti and meatballs. This was a little flawed because he couldn’t eat the meatball. He had to cut it up into small pieces to eat it but it still hurt too bad so he had to eat some mashed potatoes. The next night, I wanted to make sure that he could eat without any problems so I made Loaded Potato Soup. MY FAVE! And his too! A couple nights later, he was finally feeling better so I did something special for him. I got all the stuff for us to make our own pizzas. Which would have been super fun, if they hadn’t gotten distracted and decided to play in a mud hole instead… but that’s a story for later! Right now, I’ll tell you about that pasta sauce.

I know I’ve given ya’ll umpteen jillion recipes for Spaghetti Sauce. You’re probably getting tired of it by now… but it was a goal to learn to make my own and I accomplished it so nah! 🙂 I canned mine so I used a whole box of canning tomatoes. If you don’t want to do that, you don’t have to. I’m going to give you the recipe for the canned version, but down at the bottom I’ll tell you how to do it without making 9 jars of sauce!

Spaghetti Sauce:

1 box of canning tomatoes,

4 green bell peppers,

2 large Vidalia onions,

1 head of garlic,

6 basil leaves,

3 tbsp. dried oregano,

1 tbsp. thyme,

1/2 cup salt,

1 tbsp. vinegar,

1 tbsp. black pepper,

2 tbsp. garlic salt,

1 tbsp. sugar,

1 16 oz. can tomato paste,

8-9 quart sized mason jars with a lid,

Large Stock pot.

Wash the tomatoes really good, making sure to get any dirt off of them, cut off any bad places in the tomatoes, anything that’s discolored or mushy. Put them in the pot and cover with water. Bring them to a boil and allow them to boil for around 20 minutes. Until the skin is blistered and peeling off. Remove from heat and drain the water off. Let them cool while you put your mason jars in the dishwasher and turn them on. Peel and core each tomato, placing the rest of the tomato back in the stock pot or any large pot. Once all the tomatoes are peeled and cored, add 2 tbsp. salt and 1 tbsp. vinegar to the pot of tomatoes and bring it back to a boil for 15 minutes. While that’s boiling, get out a food processor.. You can use a knife, the food processor just gets everything really finely chopped and saves so much time!! Peel and crush the garlic, core the bell peppers, and peel the onions. Cut the onions and bell peppers into fours and add them to your food processor along with your garlic and basil. Once it’s nicely chopped, add the oregano and thyme. Push the pulse button once or twice to get it blended. Now, add that mixture to the tomatoes on the stove and add the tomato paste. This is the tricky part. I stirred all that together and got a new pot out. I then added the sauce to the food processor a cup at a time. This helped with the chunkiness that I had a problem with in my last sauce. If you have an EMULSION BLENDER, you can use that instead of putting the sauce into a food processor, I’m just not high tech enough yet 🙂 After I did that, I added the rest of the ingredients. Once it had boiled for about 30 minutes (stir occasionally), I put the lids of my mason jars on to boil. Once they had come to a rolling boil, I got out the following items:
2 large dishrags,

a small funnel,

a large ladle,

a pair of long tongs.

Lay one dishrag out, protecting your countertop and the jars from heat. Get your mason jars out of the dishwasher and make sure they’re dry. Fit the funnel over the first jar and start ladling the sauce into the jars. You’ll want to leave a little room in the jar so don’t fill it all the way. Fill the first jar, make sure the lip of the jar is clean and has no seeds on it, then pull one lid out of the still boiling water. Place the lid on the top and screw it closed. set it on the dishrag you laid out. Do the same with the rest of the sauce. Now, wait for the lids to “pop.” It could take a while. As the jars cool, the lids of the jars will seal, and the middle will pop down. DON’T TOUCH IT IF IT DOESN’T POP!! Just let it happen naturally. If for some reason, the lids don’t pop. You can reheat the jars and try again or put them in the fridge. They’ll last in the fridge for about a month. When you get ready to use the sauce, just warm it like you would any other jarred sauce.

If you don’t want to can the sauce and only want to make it for one night: just use about 5 tomatoes and do the same thing just don’t put it in the jars and you don’t have to use the vinegar. You can also just use canned tomatoes or tomato sauce and tomato paste. You would also only need one bell pepper, 1/2 of a large onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 basil leaf, and the other seasonings to taste! Mix it all together and allow that to simmer for about 30 minutes. The longer it simmers, the longer the flavors have to marry so you want it to have enough time to get all the flavor out!

Now, it’s up to ya’ll if you want to just make it a tomato sauce or add meat. I serve it over any kind of pasta. On this occasion, I used wheat pasta, so I mixed the sauce all together with the pasta to hide it from my nephews! Then, I topped it with homemade meatballs and some parmesan cheese. The meatballs were amazing, if I do say so myself. 😉 I used a mixture of different meat, which I will tell ya’ll all about now:

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground turkey,

1 lb. 90/20 lean ground beef,

1 lb. ground Italian sausage,

1 egg,

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce,

2 tsp. ground sage, or 3 fresh sage leaves,

2 basil leaves,

1 tsp. garlic salt,

1 tsp. ground black pepper.

Chop sage and basil leaves. If you’ve never chopped these, I’ll tell you the easiest way. Layer the leaves on top of one another and roll them up. Chop them into strips and the cut again into smaller pieces. After chopping, mix all the ingredients together. Then roll into balls and cook at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

       

You can use just turkey on this if you’d like but you’ll need to add something for fat, like sausage or a less lean ground turkey. I would use just ground turkey and ground Italian sausage if you didn’t want the beef! The Italian sausage gives it a little extra flavor and the fat content needed so that it’s not super dry! You can also do these in the crockpot, just make sure they’re covered in some kind of sauce; whether it’s beef broth, my previous recipe for Swedish meatballs, or the recipe I just gave you for Spaghetti sauce, it does need some moisture in there if you use that crockpot. Cook it low and slow for 8 hours and check up to make sure that liquid does not cook out!

Loaded Potato Soup has always been a favorite of mine. Mostly, I just love potatoes. And bacon. And anything with cream… but that’s why I’m doing the Advocare 24 Day Challenge!! 🙂 Seriously though, this was the first time I made the recipe and I didn’t have one to go by. I just kind of winged it and it really turned out perfectly; however, it made me realize how fattening it was! But!! If you only have it every once in a while I think it’s okay!

Loaded Potato Soup:

8 small red potatoes,

1 stick butter,

1 pint heavy whipping cream,

8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened,

1 can Nestle Crema,

8 oz. sour cream,

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese,

1 medium yellow onion, chopped,

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled.

Salt, black pepper, onion powder, crushed red pepper, and

I know… it’s lots of cream. Don’t judge me! 🙂 Wash the potatoes, peeling half of them. Place the potatoes in a large boiler and cover with water. Sprinkle some salt into the water and boil the potatoes on medium to high heat until fork tender. Drain the water off of the potatoes and smash them with a spoon or electric mixer. Add butter, whipping cream, cream cheese, crema, and sour cream. Stir well and bring to a boil. If it’s too thick to stir, add a little milk or water. Once boiling, add the onions and seasonings. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, then add bacon and cheese and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes. The longer it simmers, uncovered, the thicker it will get. I like mine thicker. If you like it soupier, add water or milk, or just simmer with the lid on. This creates condensation and allows the soup to be a little thinner. If you do choose to keep a lid on it, just make sure you stir occasionally. This is enough for about 8 people.

Last year, tragedy struck our family when Judd and Jeffery’s dad passed away. It was very unexpected and it was very hard on us all. Especially on Judd and Jeffery. It’s hard to lose a parent at any age; but, when you’re only 9 and 7 years old, it’s harder because you don’t really understand why. A sweet friend and co-worker brought food over after the funeral. I’ll never forget the day,  we were all sitting down to eat after the funeral, and Stephanie knocks on the door. Judd and Jeffery were drained from all the emotion and stress of the morning and were just playing with their food. My mom got up to answer it and I was having a hard time with the death myself and didn’t even really pay attention to what was going on. She brought in a huge bag of stuff and we told her thank you and a little while later she left. Afterwards, I realized what she brought and my eyes welled with tears. It was all the stuff we needed to make pizzas and I knew the boys would enjoy it so much that it would take all that emotion off their shoulders and offer them some fun. We set out to work in the kitchen a little while later and the fun that they had was contagious! They couldn’t stop laughing and giggling and since they were, I was too! Their laughter filling our house was all that we needed to cheer up after such a hard time in our lives. Recently, Judd’s been asking when we were going to do that again so I went to the store and bought all the stuff. They told my niece, Hazie, and we all decided to make them together. BUUUTTTTTT, in true childhood fashion, they started digging in the dirt and playing with cars and bikes and scooters and decided they didn’t want to help cook! So, it was just me making the pizza!

The recipe is really flexible, you don’t even really need a recipe for it. You can buy everything store bought and just make it however you want. I bought Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, black olives, mozzarella cheese, and Monterey jack cheese. You can do feta cheese, kalmata olives, chicken, pesto, spinach, pretty much anything you want! I’m just going to give you the recipe for mine! I used a store bought crust because it takes a while when you use active dry yeast. You can also use crescent roll dough, biscuit dough, tortillas, pita bread, French bread, or even white bread!

Pizza Sauce:

14 oz. canned tomato sauce,

2 tsp. olive oil,

2 cloves garlic,

1 tsp. oregano,

1 tsp. garlic salt.

Peel and mince garlic. Heat olive oil in a boiler and add the garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes and add tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

While that’s simmering, shred your mozzarella cheese. I know that shredding cheese is frustrating and time consuming; but, honestly it’s cheaper to buy a block of cheese than it is to buy the bag. You can also take the time to brown any hamburger meat or Italian sausage. Once that’s done, spoon the sauce on the dough in a circular motion. Sprinkle cheese and add toppings! Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown. These are our pictures from last years pizza making party!! Please excuse the mess!!

    

 

 

I hope ya’ll enjoy these yummy recipes as much as I have! Today was Day 2 of my Advocare 24 Day Challenge and ya’ll can expect some yummy, healthy recipes before you know it! I’m already feeling awesome and can’t wait to see how the next 22 days go! I have so much more energy already and I wake up feeling better! I’m shocked at how awesome I feel after only 2 days! Not only that but I’m not starving myself! I’m eating healthy but it’s not gross food! I’m eating a lot of salads, grilled chicken, and fruit. Tomorrow night I’m making turkey burgers and green beans! I made a great chicken stir fry last night with fried brown rice! So ya’ll be on the lookout for those recipes and a few more! I’m really excited about this challenge and hope ya’ll enjoy the lighter side of Not So Gourmet! Don’t forget to go like and share my Not So Gourmet Facebook page!!