Basil, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce

Recipes in this PostBasil Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce

I am a semi-regular subscriber to Saveur magazine. I love the recipes and the photography is always spectacular. I am also always on the hunt for something fresh and relatively easy to make for those days I don’t really want to cook. They had a recipe that called for bacon and tomatoes and basil. My three favorite things. That is what inspired this dish.

Making this Basil, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce was very simple. I used a can of stewed tomatoes because I really like them, but you could use regular chopped canned tomatoes, or even fresh if you wanted to take the time to peel them. I also used frozen bell pepper medley that I always have in my freezer just for days like this.
You could add a light red wine to this sauce, but it probably would not taste quite as fresh.

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Yoghurt Lentil Soup

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Yoghurt Lentil Soup

I love living in Southern California. It’s not too cold, and it’s not too hot. It’s like somewhere that Goldilocks would like to live. We had a little bit of rain last night, and that gives me and excuse to make soup!

I wanted to make a healthy and hardy soup. It’s Friday, and in our house, we don’t eat meat on Fridays. We eat vegetarian or fish. Tonight, we’re going to have our Yoghurt Lentil Soup with Fish and Chips, so we’ll be a little British and a little Armenian. Why not? It’s good for you!

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Ham Steaks with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Pilaf

Recipes in this PostHam Steak with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Rice Pilaf

Sometimes, you need a little Christmas, right this very minute. That’s why we love ham steaks, because you satisfy your craving for a good piece of ham, without having to cook a whole ham. If you’re lucky, you even get to have the bone with the luscious marrow.

When I make a whole ham, I usually make a glaze of Russian mustard and Sour Cherry preserves. It’s sweet and a little hot, and definitely wakes up the ham. One of the traditional gravies for ham steak is Red Eye gravy, which has, you guessed it, coffee in it. I wanted to incorporate both.

Since The Good Plate is all about deconstructing packaged foods, and one everyone likes a lot is Rice-a-Roni. Rice-a-Roni is rice pilaf, but with way too much salt and other preservatives. There’s no need to use the box, just get the ingredients together and make it from scratch – you know what’s going in it, and you can add whatever you want.

Over the weekend, I made a salad with a new dressing. It was fresh dill and lime, and Amber absolutely loved it. She asked for it again tonight, so I’m including the recipe for it here.

Remember, if you’re having a ham steak, and you don’t want your bone, just give it to me!

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Artichoke, Avocado and Shaved Parmesan Composed Salad

Recipes in this PostArtichoke, Avocado, Shaved Parmesan Composed Salad

A very long time ago, a friend took me to a wonderful restaurant where Santa Monica Blvd meets Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood, California. The restaurant was called Figaro, and my friend said I should order his favorite salad. I don’t remember what it was called, but I have always remembered how good it was.

Years later, when this same friend came back into my life, I told him I had a surprise and presented this salad. He was so happy he almost wept, saying he never thought he would have that salad at Figaro’s again – as the restaurant had closed quite some time before.

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Cinco De Mayo – Pork Loin Tacos and Microwave Mexican Rice

Flag of Mexico

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So, a few weeks ago I was at the market and there was a package of Uncle Ben’s Taco rice in the Manager’s Special section. I thought, hey, why not? It might be good. I prepared it according to package directions on Tuesday. When Spane tasted it, he made a face. I tasted it, and I made a face, too. I even put Tapatio on it, and sour cream, and it still tasted like dirty, old socks. Mind you, I’ve never tasted dirty, old socks, but I imagine they probably taste like that rice – horrible. Moral of the story, don’t by Uncle Ben’s flavored rice.

After that debacle, I was determined to make good Mexican rice, but my stove, Bertha, is on the fritz. I had to find another way to make it.

I also had a pork loin roast, and I wanted to marinate it, but, it too, could not be roasted in Bertha. I had to find another way for that as well.

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Veal Marsala Meatballs and Tomato Basil Cream Sauce with Mushrooms

Veal Marsala Meatballs atop Tomato Basil Cream Sauce with Mushrooms

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I love to find things on sale, especially things that would usually be expensive, like ground veal.

I love cream. Why do I love cream? I love cream because you only need a little, and it stays fresh in the refrigerator for quite a long time. I also like it for those occasions when I have run out of milk for my coffee. I prefer milk.

That’s what happened to me this morning, I ran out of milk last night, and not wanting to the store unwashed, I used a little cream in my coffee. I’ve had that cream in my house for quite a while, and I knew today was the very last day to use it.

When we were at the supermarket today, someone was buying red sauce for spaghetti. That almost sounded good, but I wanted to use up what I had in my refrigerator. No problem, I thought, I can make spaghetti and meatballs, but use the veal, and make the sauce with the cream.

Veal has very little fat, so these meatballs are a good choice for those watching their weight. Omitting the cream makes the sauce another good low calorie choice. If you have vegetarian friends, serve the meatballs separately.

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