A Jewish Girl’s Delicious Bolognese March 11, 2014

Filed Under: italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 11:44 am
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Bolognese Sauce


2 Tb olive oil

2 lbs ground beef, veal and pork mix

1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings

1 onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

4 cloves garlic, diced

1 Tbsp Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

1 bay leaf

pinch of red pepper flakes

½  cup red wine

1 cup beef broth

2 28-oz boxes or cans chopped plum tomatoes

1 28-oz boxes or cans tomato puree

Kosher salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add ground meat and cook until no longer pink.  Remove from pot, drain off fat and set aside in a bowl.  Add sausage to pot and cook until no longer pink, breaking apart as it cooks.  Add to bowl with ground meat.  Place the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the pot and sauté for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables.  Add meat to the vegetables.  Raise the heat to medium hight and add the wine.  Let the liquid boil for one minute.  Add beef stock. Lower heat back to medium, add Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning, red pepper flakes and bay leaf and stir.  Pour chopped tomatoes and tomato puree into pot. Season generously with salt and pepper.   Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce for about 2 hours.  If sauce begins to thicken more than you like, partially cover.

Serve over cooked pasta or wonderful as a base for lasagna.  Freezes very well.



Pleasing the Masses at Holiday Dinner aka Baked Ziti Rocks the Dining Room September 10, 2013

Filed Under: food chatter,italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 8:37 pm
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Not everyone I know says, “Yay, Sue is cooking!”   Some add a bit more sarcasm to their “yay”.  This is often the case with my holiday dinners. Not everyone I know appreciates artisanal ingredients and the deglazing of pans.  Some even find my cooking a bit highfalutin.  So, how do I keep from repeatedly alienating them?  This year I gave my family a High Holiday surprise.  Amid the good china and fine crystal, the expensive appetizer, traditional brisket and kugel, just as everyone was ready to groan, expecting showy salmon or boring chicken, I brought out baked ziti.  Yes, baked ziti.  There were audible cheers from the kids and sighs of relief from the less ambitious eaters.

A few things to note: 1.  Don’t try this at home if you keep kosher – duh.  2.  This will not, I repeat, not, become an annual tradition. 3.  No, I didn’t “ruin” the ziti this time, as my children claim I frequently do, by adding spinach, mushrooms, broccoli or any other nutritionally redeeming ingredient.

Simple baked ziti pleasing the masses.


baked ziti


2 28-ounce cans crushed or chopped tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

24 ounces ricotta cheese

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan chesse

1 egg, lightly beaten

16-oz ziti, cooked as per directions on box

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a large casserole dish.

Place tomatoes in a large saucepan over a medium flame.  Add 1½ tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning.  Bring to a simmer and let cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, in a very large bowl mix together ricotta, 3 cups mozzarella, ¼ cup parmesan, egg and remaining ½ tablespoon (equal to 1 ½ teaspoons) Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning.  Add 4 cups simmered sauce and cooked ziti.  Mix to combine.

Pour into prepared casserole dish.  Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.  Bake for 45 minutes, until top browns slightly.

Serves 8.




Preparing for a new school year. August 31, 2013

Filed Under: food chatter,italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 3:41 pm
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It’s time for a new school year and as I said in my blog post on April 4, 2013, meatballs and spaghetti is the go-to meal for our significant events.  When my middle son left for his first year in college a few weeks ago, of course that’s what he requested.  However, he put a spin on it.  He wanted a vegetarian version.  I needed to find a recipe that will satisfy the need for familiar tradition while still placate the other family members who would prefer meat in their meatballs. I worked hard on this.  Beans and lentils are a natural alternative, as are hearty grains. But after some experimentation, I settled on eggplant and portabella mushrooms as the meat substitute.  Try this.  It was a meat-free success in my house!

vegetarian meatballs

1 large eggplant, peeling and diced into ½” chunks

3 portabella mushrooms, diced into ½” chunks

4 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup unseasoned bread crumbs

½  cup grated parmesan

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste

1 heaping tablespoon Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

1 cup flour


Preheat oven to 400º.


In a large bowl, toss the diced eggplant and portabella mushrooms with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Place the vegetables on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly.


Lower oven to 350º.


Drain any liquid from the vegetables and pass through a food grinder or pulse in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Place in a bowl with the bread crumbs, parmesan, eggs, tomato paste and Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning.  Gently mix to combine all of the ingredients.


Set large fry pan or sauté pan over medium heat.  Add remaining two tablespoons of oil.  Place flour in a small bowl.  Form mixture into 2” balls, roll in flour to fully cover and place in pan with hot oil.  Turn several times to brown all around. Repeat until all mixture is used adding additional oil to the pan if needed. Place browned meatballs on clean baking sheet.  Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.


Vegetarian meatballs are more fragile than true meatballs.  Serve with red sauce and pasta.  makes approximately 18 meatballs.