Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Comfort Food Weekend

Greetings!  I know it is Tuesday, but technically I am finally having my equivalent of a weekend... Most of my school assignments are due on Mondays so I work long hours over the normal weekend (Sat-Sun) and then have an easier day on Tuesday.  Anyway, all that to say that now that I have a free minute, I am finally catching up with my blog posts! 

This weekend we had a substantial snow storm and so my hubby and I hibernated inside most of the day on Saturday.  I don't know about you but when we get in hibernation mode I just want warm comfort food and a good book!  Well, since I was working on a deadline I had to settle for the comfort food and some hours in front of a computer...

So what was on the comfort food menu?  Meatballs and home-made rolls with marinara sauce!  My husband thinks all meatballs belong on a sandwich so I make scratch meatballs and then made my own rolls for them.  I also made the sauce with a semi-homemade trick that takes virtually no time but adds some flare to the sandies.  

The bread dough I made came from a pizza dough recipe from Bobby Flay found at foodnetwork.com (you can find it here).  It turned out great so I thought I would share some pictures:
 The above is the original dough after mixing it together and the initial kneading.
 This is the raised dough.  It raised in less than an hour but I waited to roll it out because I was busy working on another project.
 Instead of making pizza crusts (as recommended by the recipe) I made individual-sized buns.  I scored them on the top to give it a nicer finished product but my husband thought that was ridiculous.  
 This is the buns after raising the second time.  I baked them for approximately 17 minutes at 350*.  You can see my dog, Brutus, snuck into the corner of the picture.  He thinks he should always be the center of attention!
This is the final product!  I buttered the top of the rolls when they came out of the over to make them look nice and glossy.  This step is not necessary but it does make a good looking final product.
Here is a picture of the final sandwich right before being devoured!  They are a bit messy but oh-so-good on a cold winter afternoon.  

Oh and I mentioned that I also made the sauce.  It is a super-simple, semi-homemade recipe.  

Semi-Homemade Marinara Sauce
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I prefer a chunky garden-style version such as Giant Eagle brand)
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes with garlic and onions)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS dried Italian seasoning 

I saute the onion and garlic in about a tsp of vegetable oil over medium heat until the onions start to soften.  Then add the Italian seasoning.  Cook one minute more.  Then add the spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes (leave the liquid with the tomatoes).  Turn up the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  

I make the meatballs and the sauce at the same time that I stir up the bread dough.  Then I let the pot of marinara sauce simmer until the bread is done.  It is very little work but it get that slow-cooked, chunky, home-made feel of restaurant quality sauces.  Also, I bake my meatballs so that I can drain off all the juices.  After they come out of the oven I add the meatballs to the sauce while it is simmering.  This allows the sauce flavors to mix with the meatballs.  It truly is a comfort food dinner!

Leave me a comment if you try it, I want to know how it turned out for you!

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