Monday, December 9, 2013

Cooking with LilladyLife - My Everything Sauce!

It all started when I was in a waiting room. I looked up all the four corners, lost interest with my phone, and checked the clock countless times thinking when I was able to finally get up. I picked up a magazine and saw a photo, a delicious looking plate of mash potatoes with a side of some kind of meat and vegetable in a red sauce. I thought it looked like kale, and sausage. Before reading the recipe I was told it was my turn and away I went leaving the magazine but remembering the photo.

That night I decided to try to re create that picture, and since tweaking this recipe a few times I have adapted the vegetables and carbs and found it to be a winner regardless of what it's accompaniment is. This works with both potatoes, and pasta. I never tried it with rice but below is my recipe - attempt... My everything sauce that I prefer with mashed potatoes but my fiance prefers with pasta.

The recipe is flexible and lacks measurements ( sorry ) but I believe creative cooks will be able to master this with the below guidelines. 

The below are the steps to be served with pasta.


1 tsbp of oil - I used canola
1 package of pasta - I used wheat
1 package of sausage - I mixed hot and sweet with ground turkey
1 bundle of kale or any dark green vegetable of your choice
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 package of mushrooms
Seasonings: Salt, pepper - optional are Italian seasoning or oregano, meat flavorings, red pepper, garlic or onion powder (as additional) paprika, nutmeg

 1. Heat up a large pot with water to boil your pasta. I used 3/4th of a pasta package for 5 servings. On another burner heat a large pan with the cooking oil of your choice. As the oil heats chop the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. 

*Tip*Mushrooms absorb moisture so it is important to clean these with a damp cloth, as opposed to under the sink.
Washing them under water, when added to oil will cause splatter.

Add the onion and garlic first to the pan on medium heat. Stir until aromatic. It is important that the garlic does not burn as it will make your dish taste bitter. If the temperature of your oil is too hot, and the garlic is burning, turn down the heat and add a lid to the pan. This will make the ingredients "sweat" and be less prone to burning while you wait for your pasta water to boil.

2. As the onions and garlic sweat, and the pasta water boils, it's time to tackle the meat. Today I used sausage and ground turkey. Anything you have in the house will work, but if you use any type of sausage make sure to score the meat and unravel the innards from the skin. It is removed easily.

The spicy and sweet versions of sausage are what I recommend for this dish as they deliver a larger amount of flavor. If too fatty, they can be substituted with ground turkey or ground chicken in leaner levels, or as I did, cut in with the sausage.

3. Place the meat(s) of your choice in the pan with the onions and garlic which should now be soft and translucent looking. This will take a bit of elbow grease but break apart the meat with a wooden spoon. 
After the meat is broken apart and browning, add in the spices of your choice.
Here I used Italian Seasoning, Adobo, and Red Pepper Flake.
If I had paprika I would have added that, along with ground nutmeg which is complimentary to dark greens.

4. The water should now be boiling, add salt to the water once it's fully boiling before adding the pasta. This is your chance to season your pasta.

If you did not add enough water to your pot the pasta will boil over and require more water. If your pot is not large enough and you have added in all the water you can place a wooden spoon across the top of the pot to prevent it from boiling over. This method will mean you will not be able to place a lid on your pasta pot and it will take longer to cook, but not everyone has a huge pot in their arsenal.

5. As the pasta is boiling, stir and cook the meat until done. Once fully cooked, you will able to taste the meat and adjust the seasonings for your taste. 
This is when I add in the sliced mushrooms.

I add in the mushroom now because I don't want them to become too soft in the final dish and want an earthier taste. If you want your dish to be more vegetable based, cook the mushrooms earlier and they will further soften but release a more meatier taste. Substitute all the meat with mushroom for a vegetarian option. *Tip*

When you add the mushrooms will be based on your taste preference.
6. When you pasta is done, strain the pasta out in a strainer and put the pasta right back in the hot pot it was just boiling in and stick the lid on top. The hot pot with the lid will help evaporate all the remaining liquid that was not removed from the strainer. Once fully dry, remove the lid. If you keep the lid on the steam can further cook the pasta leading to a more mushy texture. *Tip*

If you like at this step you can also add a bit of cooking oil to the pasta to prevent stickiness.  *Tip*

  Now that the pasta is done, it's time to finish the sauce.

7. Add in your vegetable to the pan of cooked meats and mushrooms. 

*Tip* In the below photos I used kale but broccoli rabe is excellent with sausage to add a level of bitterness and dimension.

It will look over flowering. Pack as much as you can. 
Scrape the vegetables a bit to make room and place the lid right on top.
You may need to squish down a bit.

It will take a few minutes but all the vegetables will cook down in about 10 minutes, during this time I would advise to lower the heat to light-medium.

As the vegetables are cooking down it's time to tackle the sauce. 
No need to buy pre made pasta sauce. Many of them contain unnecessary ingredients and can be heavy in salt.
Grab a large can of crushed tomatoes instead. Far less ingredients, always on the bottom shelf of the tomato based products aisle, and usually on sale! (or sold for pretty cheap)
Your own seasonings from your dish along with a few adjustments from your own spice cabinet will transform this already great product.

9. Add the sauce to your meat and cooked down vegetables. To add creaminess I decided to add a bit of reduced fat cream cheese. You don't have to have very fancy cheeses, if you have them use them, but all I had was Philadelphia cheese, but I like to add this to pasta as it adds a bit of richness, and melts easily!

Add seasoning to your pasta sauce if it further requires additional items. 
Plate over pasta and enjoy!

*Tip* This also tastes equally as comforting with mash potatoes as the carb component. 

I hope you all enjoyed this little non original, but comforting recipe from my kitchen.


  1. Looks delicious! I haven't tried making tomato/red sauce before..didn't realize it was so easy :X Shall try next time!
    Cute salt & pepper shakers :D

  2. This looks delicious!! I'm hungry now.

  3. That looks delicious! I've been looking for a good sauce recipe because I'm never happy with ones I get from the store!

  4. So hungry now! Thanks for the in-depth recipe!

  5. omg yum! more food posts please! that looks delicious!


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