Easy and Fast Marinara Sauce from Scratch

This is a standby, never fail recipe that I use all the time. It works great for many different meals. Anywhere that you need an Italian tomato based sauce, you can use this recipe. We use it for spaghetti sauce or in lasagna (I’ll often season and brown a pound of ground meat to mix with it for a heartier husband pleasing dish), and for pizza sauce. It makes a perfect dip alongside ranch dressing for mozzarella sticks.
It is inexpensive to make and it is easily tweaked to your tastebuds. I hope you enjoy it!

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons of minced garlic–measure with your heart
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste
Italian seasoning or Basil and Oregano to taste

Begin by lightly sauteing the garlic and olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan until golden. Add remaining ingredients, and stir well. Let simmer for 10 minutes on medium low heart and use as desired.

Easy Crockpot Apple Butter

Last summer we made apple butter in the crockpot over the course of several live, very chatty sessions in the Blessed & Highly Caffeinated FB group. The video above is a compilation of those videos.

I don’t have an exact recipe, but I will list approximate amounts. There is more detail in the video.

You’ll need:
Apples–any variety will do. My crockpot holds around 5 lbs, cored and sliced. Peeling is not necessary.
Brown sugar–I used around 3/4 c. for 5lbs of apples.
Spices–cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice–whatever you prefer.

Toss the apple slices with the brown sugar and spices and put in the crockpot for4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low. The apples should be fork tender (like for mashed potatoes) when done.
Puree the apples–either in food processor, in small batches in a blender, or with an immersion blender. Add 1 1/2-2 teaspoons of vanilla and stir well.

Further instructions on how to can the apple butter are in the video.

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

I am all about easy, one-dish suppers. This is great year round and can easily feed a crowd inexpensively. It is easy to change up the ingredients and make it your own and tweaked to your family’s tastes.

1lb ground meat (I used venison, beef works great too)

1/3 of a sweet onion, chopped

Minced garlic, to taste (measure with your heart)

Brown together in a large skillet (I use cast iron), then add:

1 pkg taco seasoning

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can diced green chilies

1 can of whole kernel corn, drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Let bubble and turn off heat.

For the cornbread:

2 packages of sweet cornbread mix, made according to package (or your favorite recipe)

1 can cream style corn

Finely chopped fresh jalapeño (however much you like)

Shredded cheese (I used Colby jack) (Again, measure with your heart)

Mix all together and pour over meat mixture, spreading to the edges. Bake at 425 F until cornbread is done (about 25-28 minutes).

Buttermilk Biscuits

Here is my go-to, never-fail recipe for biscuits. These are quick and easy to whip up. There’s nothing better in the world than warm, buttery biscuits. These are perfect for breakfast, supper or just for a snack.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Place 2 cups self rising flour (OR 2 cups flour, 2t baking powder, 1 t salt, combined) in a large bowl. Add:

1 stick room temperature butter. Cut butter into flour with a pastry cutter until crumbly. (If I forget to set my butter out in time, I will use a grater to grate the cold butter into the flour. It saves a little time.)

Add 1 cup of buttermilk*(see note at the end) and mix well. This will be a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out on to a well floured surface and dust the top with more flour. Pat out to approximately 1/2 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits.

Place in ungreased baking pan or greased cast iron skillet and bake for 12-15 minutes. You can also brush the tops of the biscuits with butter halfway through baking for extra yumminess.

*if you don’t have buttermilk, you can use regular milk, or make your own buttermilk by adding a splash of vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let it set for 5 minutes before using.