Into the Future!

Tonight BIV did something different, we cashed in some gift certificates to feed us for the evening while we made food that will feed us in the future. Our take out was enjoyable and provided a nice break, as we were not rushing to finish our dinner for the evening. Tonight we were able to eat yummy food we didn't have to make while also making yummy food that would be the basis for many dinners yet to come. In general a great night and we hope to incorporate the basics we made tonight into our future recipes and we would recommend that if you are interested you should look into these homemade staples, too.
First we made granola- an easy combination of rolled oats, sweetener,nuts and fruit that will facilitate many early mornings and make a great starter to the day. Here is the recipe from Food Network with our modifications:


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.

We also made a large pot of marinara sauce that will be frozen for future use as pasta sauce, pizza sauce and in soups and stews. This Cooking Light recipe had a wonderful smell and will be a great resource as we (hopefully) head into spring.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion (about 3 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans no-salt-added crushed tomatoes


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fennel seeds); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

To store in the freezer: Ladle room-temperature or chilled sauce into plastic containers or zip-top plastic bags. Seal and freeze for up to four months. Consider freezing the sauce in one-cup increments (two servings' worth). That way, you can pull out exactly as much as you want for future meals.

To thaw sauce: Try one of three methods.

1. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Place frozen blocks in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

3. Place frozen blocks in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at HIGH one minute at a time, stirring after each increment until thawed.

To boost taste: Long stints in the freezer can dull the taste of tomatoes. To perk up thawed sauce, add one-half teaspoon finely grated lemon rind or one teaspoon balsamic vinegar while reheating.

The recipe that inspired our entire "stock the freezer" night was one from 101 Cookbooks.com, the site that is most frequently a inspiration to BIV and one that you should check out for yourself. This recipe was simple in ingredients and technique, yet completely captivated us. This recipe was for vegetable bouillon, you know that stuff you buy in the cubes in the grocery store that you never really want to use, but you know your recipe needs some sort of lift. Well we read this recipe that incorporates real vegetables, preserves them with salt and is then stored in the freezer. We were captivated and moved it to the front of the must make list. It turned out wonderful and we can't wait to include it in future blogs.

No comments: