How to Be a Sauce Boss

These awesome sauces can be served on pasta, rice, or even meat dishes or mashed potatoes… the possibilities are really exciting 😉

Butternut Squash Sauce with Sage

Butternut Squash Sauce.jpg

(Source: FoodNetwork)

This gorgeous golden sauce packs a powerful nutritional punch, with lots of vitamins! You can also try this recipe with pumpkin instead of butternut squash–either way, this is a fantastic and very inexpensive fall recipe to try this year.

Serves: ~6

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (we will explain how in this recipe!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Optional: Cheese

Seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 6 sage leaves, cut into thin strips

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Microwave
  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Blender

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare butternut squash: wash the outside of the squash. Cut off the top “stem”. Microwave on a microwave-safe dish for ~5 minutes, or until you can pierce easily with a fork. THE SQUASH WILL BE VERY HOT!! You can either wait for the squash to cool, or dunk it in a LARGE BOWL OF ICE WATER to help speed up the cooling. Then you can peel the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the insides, and cut the flesh into ~1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic.
  3. Add squash and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add bay leaf, nutmeg, sage, and chicken broth.
  5. Cover the pan and cook for 8 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  6. Puree the sauce with a blender until smooth.
  7. Serve over pasta of choice–pictured here is gnocchi!
  8. Add cheese of your choice.

Easy Marinara Sauce

Marinara.jpg

Marinara is a classic tomato-based sauce that you can make in huge batches and store in the fridge in jars or freeze in zippered freezer bags. Making your own can take some time, but it’s a great way to cut down on salt (also known as sodium) in your diet. You could also select “low sodium” or “no sodium added” varieties of pre-made sauce, but nothing really tastes quite as good as homemade! Adding lentils, canned beans, ground meat, or canned tuna can complete this meal with a great source of protein.

Serves: ~4

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • Optional: 1/2 cup lentils or 1 can tuna
  • Pasta of your choice
  • Drizzle of oil of your choice to grease the pan

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, diced

Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Bowl
  • Refrigerator
  • Saucepan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes with their juice. Crush and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in seasoning and lentils/tuna (if desired), and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Healthy Spaghetti Sauce Boosts

If you do want to use pre-made tomato/pasta sauce, adding lentils will boost protein without much additional cost. Lentils provide more than just protein–they are also a source of iron, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium. As always, you can add as much of any veggies you would like: 1/2 a package of frozen spinach or 1 can of drained mushrooms would also be delicious in this sauce!

Serves: 3-4

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 can/jar of regular pasta sauce
  • 1/2 can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp oil (canola or olive)

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced (OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 small onion, chopped

Seasoning

  • Optional: 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning (or oregano +/- basil +/- parsley)

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Grater (for the carrot)
  • Saucepan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, stirring, until sizzling.
  2. Add carrot (or other vegetables), lentils, and pasta sauce.
  3. Add the seasonings, if desired.
  4. Heat through until all ingredients are mixed and sauce is hot (bubbling slightly). Pour over prepared pasta and serve. Feel free to add some cheese!

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce.jpg

(Source: FoodNetwork)

This creamy, silky sauce is absolutely scrumptious over any pasta, and goes wonderfully with chicken. You can use any type of mushroom you like–button mushrooms are the least expensive, but feel free to use portobello, cremini, or any other type of mushroom. You can always mix and match! If you’re not a fan of leeks (or just don’t have any at home), you can use an onion instead.

If you want a super-fast version of this sauce (even though it won’t be the same), try using a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup with only ~1/4-1/2 a can of milk, and let it simmer over low heat to allow the sauce to thicken. Then you can serve over pasta or anything else of your choice.

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 sage leaves, chopped
  • 6oz mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
  • 1/2 leek, roughly chopped

Seasoning

  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Medium saucepan
  • Wooden spoon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped leeks, garlic, and sage, and cook until leeks soften (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Pour in cream and heat slowly. DO NOT “scald” the cream–keep stirring until bubbles begin to form, then bring the heat down (or remove from the heat) and continue to stir as the sauce thickens.
  5. Serve with pasta of your choice.

Beans, Beans, the Wonderful Fruit…

More delicious legume recipes to enjoy as soon as possible! 😉

Cheesy Macaroni, Tomatoes, and Beans

This dish takes a little more prep and cooking time than some of our other suggestions, but it’s well worth the wait! For a faster version, you can cover the casserole dish (with something microwave safe, NOT tin foil) and microwave on high for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves: ~6

INGREDIENTS

Non-Perishables

  • 1 cup macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 can kidney or Romano beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp canola oil

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water

Seasoning

  • Optional: 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 3 tsp chili powder (or to taste)

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Large (2L) casserole dish
  • Frying pan
  • Oven or microwave

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spray a large (about 2L) casserole dish with non-stick coating (or brush on some oil or margarine).
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes (or until soft). Transfer to the prepared casserole dish.
  4. Add beans, macaroni, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper to casserole dish. Stir well.
  5. Cover and bake in 350F oven for 45 minutes or until macaroni is tender. May need to add some water if the macaroni gets dry.

Tomato Bean Pasta Sauce

(Because seriously, you can never go wrong with pasta, right?) You can keep this in covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months (zipper-lock freezer bags work well).

Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 can red kidney or Romano beans, mashed
  • 1 can (5.5oz) tomato paste
  • 1 can (~500mL) vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp oil (canola or olive)

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: 6 mushrooms, chopped

Seasonings

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Optional: 1 tsp each thyme, basil, oregano, OR 2 tsp Italian Seasoning

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Saucepan/pot

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a saucepan/pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms (optional), stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft.
  2. Optional: Stir in thyme, basil, oregano, (or Italian Seasoning) and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, beans, and stock until well-mixed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve immediately over pasta or rice.

White Kidney Bean and Tomato Casserole

A simple meal for two (or for one, with leftovers for lunch the next day!) that you can whip up in minutes! You can have it hot or cold, with a side of salad greens!

Serves: 2

INGREDIENTS

Non-perishables

  • 1 tbsp oil (canola or olive)
  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained

Fresh/Frozen

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, with seeds removed and coarsely chopped
  • Optional: 1 small green pepper, diced

Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp basil
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

KITCHEN EQUIPMENT

  • Saucepan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender.
  2. Stir in garlic, tomato, and green pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in basil, oregano, kidney beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes or until heated through and flavours blend.
  4. Stir in parsley (optional).

Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese
You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a satisfying macaroni and cheese, and this doesn’t require a box of Kraft Dinner!
Serves: ~6
INGREDIENTS
Non-perishables:
– 4 cups elbow macaroni pasta
– 4 tbsp Flour
– Optional: Crushed corn flakes
– Optional: Grated parmesan cheese topping
Fresh or frozen:
– 1 1/2 cups milk
– 1 1/2 cup grated cheese
– 4 tbsp butter or margarine
Seasonings:
– Pepper
– Garlic
– Optional: Italian seasoning
COOKING TOOLS
– Casserole dish/baking dish
– Large pot
DIRECTIONS
1) Boil the pasta until it is just tender (al dente). Drain well.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3) In the large pot over medium heat, melt some butter/margarine until completely liquid, then add an equal amount of flour (usually about 4 tbsp of each). Stir well with a fork or wooden spoon until smooth and lump-free. Continue to let the mixture heat for a minute to cook away the “raw” taste of the flour.
4) Add milk and seasonings, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.
5) Add seasonings and half of the grated cheese.
6) Stir in the drained pasta.
7) Spoon all of the pasta into the casserole dish/baking dish.
8) Top with the other half of the grated cheese and grated parmesan and crushed cornflakes, if desired.
9) Bake for ~15-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.
10) Let cool for ~5 minutes before serving.

Shepherd’s Pie

Italian Sausage Shepherd's Pie
Suggestion: Use Italian sausage (hot or mild) for this recipe–if it’s on sale at the grocery store it is very inexpensive and when you use it everything is pre-seasoned for you!
Serves: ~6
INGREDIENTS
Non-perishables:
– 1 can cream of mushroom soup
Fresh or frozen:
– Mashed potatoes (potatoes, butter or margarine)
– Ground meat of your choice (ex/ground beef, ground chicken, sausage)
– Veggies (any that you can find), diced (a mixture of frozen peas, carrots, and corn works very well in this!)
– Onion, diced
– Milk
– Optional: Grated cheese
Seasonings:
– Pepper
– Optional: Italian seasoning, salt
COOKING TOOLS
– Casserole dish/baking dish
– Large pot
– Microwave
– Potato masher or a really strong fork
DIRECTIONS
1) Microwave potatoes on high, covered with a microwave-safe cover or a paper towel until a fork slides easily all the way through.
2) Mash the potatoes with butter or margarine, to your preference of taste and texture.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4) Saute onion, meat, veggies, and seasoning in a large pot until everything is cooked through (there should be no pinkish colour to the meat!)
5) Add can of cream of mushroom soup and ~1/2 a can of milk; stir well.
6) Let the filling mixture simmer until it is the desired thickness.
7) Divide the mashed potatoes in half; press one half of the mashed potatoes into a lightly greased casserole dish/baking dish.
8) Spoon the filling over the first layer of potatoes.
9) Spoon the remaining potatoes over the filling and gently spread it with a fork to create the top layer of potatoes.
10) Optional: Sprinkle the top with grated cheese.
11) Bake for 15-20 minutes until top layer of potatoes is browned and sauce is bubbly.
12) Let cool for ~5 minutes before serving.

Salmon Cakes

IMAG0653Serving suggestion: add a little hot sauce (ex/Sriracha chili sauce) to a little mayonnaise (to your taste and spiciness preference) to serve as a sauce for your salmon cakes!
Makes: ~6 salmon cakes
INGREDIENTS
Non-perishables:
– 1 can salmon
– Canola or vegetable oil
Optional: flour
Fresh or frozen:
– 2-3 slices stale bread (the ends work really well for this!) cut into very fine pieces or breadcrumbs
– 1 egg
– 1/2 a medium-sized onion, diced
– Optional: 1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
Seasonings:
– Optional: paprika, Italian seasoning
– pepper

 

COOKING TOOLS
– Medium-sized mixing bowl
– Frying pan
– Baking sheet (if you would like to bake your salmon cakes)
– Spatula
– Paper towel
DIRECTIONS
1) Saute onion and pepper in frying pan until tender.
2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Celsius (if baking your salmon cakes)
3) Add sauteed onion, pepper, bread pieces/breadcrumb, salmon, egg, and seasonings to the mixing bowl. Blend well with a fork.
4) Shape mixture into patties with your hands (optional step: very lightly coat each patty in flour if you want to fry them)
5)  Place patties on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown, OR fry at medium heat with a drizzle of oil in a frying pan until firm throughout and golden brown on the outside.
6) Remove patties from oven or frying pan and place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.