Meat Sauce

If you need to feed a small army, have I got a recipe for you! Unfortunately I didn’t need to feed a small army when I made this, I only needed to feed myself and one other person (I’ll give you a hint: it was Jon). So, if anyone is in need of meat sauce, pulled pork, naan, or any type of frozen veggie you could imagine, come on over and rifle through my freezer. If we’re unable to finish something within a few days I usually end up freezing it. I’m slowly turning into a crazy old lady that freezes things before they go bad, makes jellies, compulsively cleans, and DVRs the royal wedding because 1AM on a Thursday night is totally out of the question. Yes, I’m going to watch the royal wedding. Don’t hate.

Okay, back to my meat sauce! It’s nothing fancy but it sure is tasty and super easy to make!

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 small carrots, peeled
2 stalks celery
1/2 of a large onion, or one medium onion
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup red wine

Break the carrots and celery stalks into smaller pieces and, using a food processor, pulse them until they are finely minced. Finely chop the onion, and add to a heavy bottomed pot along with the olive oil, carrot and celery mixture. Sautee for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.

In a separate pan, brown your ground beef and drain off any extra fat. Set aside.
Pour both the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes into the pot with the sauteed veggies.

Hi sauce!

Hi diced tomatoes!

Season with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
Toss in a pretty little bay leaf.

Carefully add the ground beef to the sauce and give it a good stir. At the last minute add the splash of red wine.

Stir it up, give it one last loving look, put the lid on, lower the head to low, and let it simmer for an hour.

Fifteen minutes before the sauce is done simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Pick out your favorite pasta on hand (I chose linguini) and cook according to directions.
Top cooked pasta with sauce and a little bit of parm, because honestly, what good is Italian food without a little parm.

Devour, and then pick up your red Xbox controller, pick a good movie on Netflix, and let your belly digest while you veg out 🙂


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Cakes Made of Crab

I love crab. Dungeness crab to be exact. We had a ton of leftover crab after Easter because, in true Littleton family fashion, we got way too much food. So, of course, Mom sent us home with goody bags full of….well….goodies, which included some crab.

So, last night for dinner, I created some delicious crabcakes for Jon and I. First, we sat down at the counter for about 20 minutes to remove all of the delicious crab meat from their shells. Since we don’t have any “crab pickin’ tools” I used the pointy end of a potato peeler to remove the hard-to-reach crab meat. Jon likes to use the business end of a crab’s pointy leg to extract the meat from the rest of the pieces of his body. Jon and I have eaten crab together a few times, and it makes me laugh every time he uses the crab’s pointy foot to remove crab from the rest of his body. Because, lets face it, that is really messed up. So, here’s how much crab we had to work with.

Here’s what you’ll need for these tasty crab cakes:

Roughly 1 lb fresh dungeness crab meat
1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
10 saltine crackers, finely crumbled
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs dijon mustard
3/4 cup mayo
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs vegetable oil

Here’s what you’ll need for the lemon aioli I made to top the crab cakes with:

1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce
2 Tbs freshly chopped parsley
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt

First, put saltine crackers in the food processor and pulse until they are crushed into something that resembles bread crumbs.

Chop up the bell pepper and green onions.

Transfer saltine powder to a medium sized bowl, and pour beaten egg over saltines. Add mayo, dijon mustard, salt and pepper and stir using a spatula. Throw in the bell peppers and green onions.

Add the crab meat to the mix and carefully fold everything together until well combined. Using your hands, carefully form mixture into patties and transfer to a clean plate (I used a golf ball sized amount for each cake).

Cover with saran wrap, and allow patties to cool in the fridge for about an hour.

While those are cooling, make your aioli.
Directions for aioli: mix everything I listed together.

The End.

Once crab cakes have chilled for an hour, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Once oil starts to shimmer, carefully place each patty into the oil one at a time.

(Be careful not to add all of them to the pan too quickly, because you don’t want the pan to cool down. You need the pan to be hot-hot-hot!)
After about two minutes, flip them carefully using a small spatula. You’ll know when they’re ready to flip because they won’t be sticking to the pan anymore.

We put our cakes made of crab atop a spinach and arugula salad, and added a dollop (hi Krisanna) of aioli on each cake.

Just put this recipe in your pocket for a time when you have leftover crab, because it was real good!

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Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop.

When I find a song I like, I literally can’t stop listening to it. I’ll just replay it over and over and over and over again, until I am to the point where I know every word. Then about a week later, I’m sick of it and I won’t listen to it for about a year. And then a year later, I’ll rediscover it and compulsively listen to it over and over again just to become sick of it again.

It’s a vicious cycle, really. Just ask my college roommate, Kayce. I rediscovered Incubus our last full year of living together and I’m lucky to have escaped with my life, iPod, and very loud iPod speakers.

Over the weekend I discovered this, and I can’t stop. Someone send help.

New recipe tonight! Stay tuned!

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Luke’s Random Emails

I work with my brother, Luke. Every day. All day. Well, except for weekends…
We work in cubicles right next to each other.

Like this. I feel like this picture does a really good job at capturing what the lighting is like back there too. Really bright, florescent, and awful. My eyeballs get really angry.
Nearly every single day (and usually multiple times a day) Luke will send me some weird video/picture/article he found on the interweb. Don’t ask me how he finds these things. I have no idea. But, it’s seriously a talent that he possesses.
Finding videos doesn’t seem like that impressive of a talent, but he rarely sends me a video that I don’t think is interesting or hilarious.
So, in honor of Luke’s random work emails, I’m going to post at least one a week to share with everyone. They’re too good not to share.
To kick this party off, I’m going to share one he sent me yesterday…

Really Kohler? Whoever buys this must either A) Have too much money B) Really takes a long time to go “number two” and needs something excessive and comfortable C) Is an idiot.

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It’s a Slippery Slope

One of my girlfriends sent this video to me at about 6:30 AM on Saturday (which would be totally inappropriate if she didn’t live in Brooklyn). At first, I didn’t think I liked it. I especially don’t like the part in the video where she has a bloody nose. Gross. And, yes, the video is pretty creepy. But I’ve listened to it a few dozen times since then and I’ve come to the conclusion that I really like it! I won’t judge you if you don’t like it though. That just means more for me 🙂

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Lamb Shank Irish Stew

If you aren’t the biggest fan of corned beef, unless the word “hash” is after it, like me but you want something festive to make on Thursday I have just the thing for you.
The first time I ever had Irish stew was last year in Manzanita, Oregon when I went to the beach with the boyfriend’s family.

It was a dreary, rainy day, and Jon had found lamb shanks at a farmer’s market in town. This is the recipe he made for all of us, and we ate ourselves sick. It’s really tasty, hearty and worlds better than that overly salty piece of pink beef and cabbage you were thinking about throwing together.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1/4 bunch of thyme
1 bay leaf
6 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half length wise
2 one pound lamb shanks, cut in half
3/4 bottle of good red wine
32 oz beef broth
1 cup pearl barley
1 cup flour
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350* F
Chop up the onions, carrots and garlic. Set aside.
Put flour on a large plate and season generously with salt and pepper. Give it a good stir with a fork. Heat about 2 Tbs of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Lightly dredge lamb shanks with seasoned flour and carefully place in hot oil.

Brown shanks evenly on all sides. Once they are nicely browned, remove from the pot and set aside.

Add onions, carrots, garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the pot and stir.

Cook for about two minutes. Pour in barley, wine and beef broth, bring to a simmer. Nestle shanks into the pot, cover, and put in the oven. Allow to cook for two hours.

While that is braising, assemble the herb/garlic butter. You will need:
1 stick of unsalted butter
10 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 bunch of parsley

Mince your garlic and, taking the flat side of your knife, drag the minced garlic along the cutting board. Smash it down to make a sort of garlic paste.

Chop up the parsley leaves and incorporate that into the paste.

Melt the unsalted butter in a small sauce pan and add the garlic/herb paste. Turn heat to low and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Once the two hours of oven time is up, remove from oven and take off the lid. Place the potato halves over the top of the stew, flat side down, covering the whole top as well as you can.

Pour the garlic and herb butter over the top of the potatoes and cook for an additional 45 minutes, uncovered, or until the potatoes are done.

Ta da!!

You will easily impress whoever you cook this for over the St Patrick’s Day holiday. Unfortunately for me, I have to be at a work conference for St Patrick’s Day. Fortunately for you, that meant I had to celebrate 2 days early and make lamb stew to share with you guys. Have a fun St Patrick’s Day! And trust me, this recipe is way better than that pink meat you were thinking about putting in your slow cooker for St Patty’s Day. It’s even a festive green color on the top!

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I Have a Festive St Patrick’s Day Recipe!!!…tomorrow…

Tomorrow I’m going to post a very traditional Irish stew recipe. For now, calm down, drink a glass of good wine, and listen to this. (I found this about a year ago, and it’s in the current Starbucks commercial for their anniversary blend. And it’s acoustic. Which would be unbelievable…if there wasn’t a video.)

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