Texas Roadhouse Butter

This Copycat Texas Roadhouse Butter recipe needs nothing more than a little honey, butter, and 2 additional ingredients! Use this on homemade rolls, pancakes, sweet potatoes, and more!

Be sure to pair this with my Texas Roadhouse Rolls Recipe!

texas roadhouse butter
texas roadhouse butter

If you’ve been to Texas Roadhouse, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between their delicious honey & cinnamon butter, and this. If you’ve never been there, you have to try this. The sweet cinnamon/honey/butter combo is to die.

I’ve masted the art of making their rolls too- they’re spot on, and perfect with this sweet butter. And when I say that I’ve “mastered the art”, I mean…I used yeast that wasn’t expired. (Did that once, didn’t work out well.)- But attempt #2 worked out perfectly. And after just a day, they’re almost gone. Those glistening, buttery, soft rolls have a hint of honey flavor and are just way too good. 

Ingredients for Texas Roadhouse Honey Butter
Ingredients for Texas Roadhouse Honey Butter

THE KEY TO CREAMY BUTTER

To ensure that your butter is creamy and smooth, use high quality butter and ensure that it has been at room temperature for at least an hour. Don’t microwave it to achieve this as it will mess with the consistency.

WHAT BRAND OF BUTTER IS BEST?

Grade AA butter is the highest quality butter you can find, if you are able to get your hands on some.

Cabot Salted Butter is definitely better than store-brand butter and is what I love using for this recipe.

WHAT DOES HONEY BUTTER TASTE LIKE?

  • Honey butter is a delicious combination of salty and sweet, and there is a touch of honey flavor in there as well. It tastes perfectly with various breads, rolls, muffins, pancakes and even sweet potatoes.

STORAGE

  • Honey butter can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. You can even freeze it but taking chilled honey butter and placing it in between some wax paper and wrapping plastic wrap around it.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE BUTTER

Servings

8 Tablespoons

Prep Time

5 MINS

Total Time

5 MINS 

Author

Zeeshan

Course

 SIDE DISH

Cuisine

AMERICAN

This Copycat Texas Roadhouse Butter recipe needs nothing more than a little honey, butter, and 2 additional ingredients! Use this on homemade rolls, pancakes, sweet potatoes, and more!Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 stick salted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 Tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. For a creamy consistency, ensure that your butter is very soft and has been at room temperature for at least an hour. Don’t heat it in the microwave to achieve this as it will mess with the consistency of the butter. Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer until it’s creamy and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 

Calories: 127, Fat: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 30 mg, Sodium: 100 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Sugar: 6 g, Vitamin A: 350%, Calcium: 5%

Yeast Types

Can you sort out yeast label confusion? And can they be substituted for each other?

Despite indications to the contrary—created by the commercial largesse of the yeast companies—there are only three types of yeast: fresh, active dry, and instant. All are derived from the powerful brewer’s yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but each is processed from a slightly different strain of this protypical yeast.

FRESH COMPRESSED OR CAKE YEAST

The original commercial yeast, known as fresh, compressed, or cake yeast is about 70 percent water by weight and is composed of 100 percent living cells. It is soft and crumbly and requires no proofing—fresh yeast will dissolve if it is simply rubbed into sugar or dropped into warm liquid. Owing to qualities associated with its strain, fresh yeast will produce the most carbon dioxide of all three types of yeasts during fermentation. Fresh yeast is considered fast, potent, and reliable, but it has a drawback: it is highly perishable and must be refrigerated and used before its expiry date.

ACTIVE DRY

Active dry yeasts arrive at their granular state by undergoing processes that reduce them to 95 percent dry matter. Traditional active dry yeast is exposed to heat so high that many of its cells are destroyed in the process. Because the spent outer cells encapsulate living centers, active dry yeast must first be dissolved in a relatively hot liquid (proofed) to slough off dead cells and reach the living centers.

INSTANT YEAST (CALLED “INSTANT,” “RAPID RISE,” OR “BREAD”)

Instant yeasts are also processed to 95 percent dry matter, but are subjected to a gentler drying process than active dry. As a result, every dried particle is living, or active. This means the yeast can be mixed directly with recipe ingredients without first being dissolved in water or proofed. It is in this context that the yeast is characterized as “instant.” We prefer instant yeast in the test kitchen. It combines the potency of fresh yeast with the convenience of active dry, and it is considered by some to have a cleaner flavor than active dry because it contains no dead cells. (In our months of testing, we found this to be true when we made a lean baguette dough but could detect no difference in flavor when using the two yeasts in doughs made with milk, sugar, and butter.)

SUBSTITUTION FORMULAS

To substitute active dry for instant (or rapid rise) yeast: Use 25 percent more active dry. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of instant yeast, use 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry. And don’t forget to “prove” the yeast, i.e. dissolving it in a portion of the water from the recipe, heated to 105 degrees.

To substitute instant (or rapid rise) yeast for active dry: Use about 25 percent less. For example if the recipe calls for 1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast, use 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast. And you do not need to prove the yeast, just add it to the dry ingredients.

To substitute fresh yeast for active dry yeast, use a ratio of roughly 2:1, i.e. use one small cake (0.6 ounce) of compressed fresh yeast in lieu of 1 packet (.25 ounces) of active dry yeast.

Note a packet of active dry or instant yeast contains about 2 1/4 teaspoons (.25 ounces) of yeast.

Blackberry Cobbler

This easy Blackberry Cobbler recipe takes just 5 ingredients and 10 minutes to prepare. It’s got a sweet, juicy filling and a sugary golden crust!

Blackberry-Cobbler-Recipe
Blackberry-Cobbler-Recipe

But this recipe is amazing and requires absolutely no baking skills of any kind.

Let’s go over some really easy FAQ.

Ingredients-Blackberry-Cobbler
Ingredients-Blackberry-Cobbler

HOW TO TELL IF A BLACKBERRY RIPE

  • Ripe blackberries are deep black in color as opposed to purple or red.
  • They’re also very full and plump.

Using unripe blackberries will result in a sour taste as opposed to being sweet and juicy.

DIFFERENT BERRIES FOR COBBLER

  • I love how the blackberries in this recipe are so big and juicy, but alternative options include blueberries, raspberries, strawberriespeaches, or a combination of several!
  • Frozen berries work well in this recipe as well, be sure to add them when they’re frozen. If you let them thaw, they’ll be mushy and the consistency will be off.
Blackberry-Cobbler-Before-and-after
Blackberry-Cobbler-Before-and-after

SELF RISING FLOUR VS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

  • Self rising flour contains a leavening agent that helps make baked goods rise. It’s often used to make biscuits and other fluffy baked goods.

HOMEMADE SELF RISING FLOUR

  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each cup of flour.
Blacberry-Cobbler 2
Blacberry-Cobbler 2

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER COBBLER

  • Baked Cobbler can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

FREEZING LEFTOVER COBBLER

  • This Cobbler can be frozen and it’s best if you do so after it’s been baked due to the leavening agent in the flour.
  • To reheat, let it thaw overnight and bake it in a covered oven-safe dish at 350° until heated through. The amount of time will depend on how much you’re heating.
  • You can also reheat in the microwave.

BEST PAN SIZES FOR THIS RECIPE

  • I use my trusty 9 x 13 inch pan for this recipe and it works perfectly.
  • 9 x 9 inch pan would work well too.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH BLACKBERRY COBBLER

  • Just kidding. I just want to see if you’re paying attention. The obvious answer is vanilla ice cream.
  • Should you choose to omit this very important addition, I will find you…ice cream in hand.
Blackberry-Cobbler-Recipe
Blackberry-Cobbler-Recipe

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

Servings

4

Prep Time

10 MINS

Cook Time

2 HRS

Total Time

2 HRS 10 MINS

Course

BREAKFAST, DESSERT

Cuisine

AMERICAN

Author: Zeeshan

This easy Blackberry Cobbler recipe from The Pioneer Woman takes just 5 ingredients and 10 minutes to prepare. It’s got a sweet, juicy filling and a crisp golden crust!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar separated
  • 1 cup self-rising flour* see notes for easy homemade version
  • 1 cup whole milk see notes
  • 1/2 stick butter melted
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozeblackberries rinsed and patted dry.
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of flour in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the milk, then the melted butter. Mix until well-combined.
  4. Pour onto the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Distribute the berries throughout the top. (They’ll sink in further as they bake.)
  6. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top, reserving 2 tablespoons for later.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on top.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately, (with ice cream of course)!

Recipe Notes

*Although the original recipe calls for whole milk, I’ve used 1% before and it comes out great.

HOMEMADE SELF RISING FLOUR

  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each cup of flour.

DIFFERENT BERRIES FOR COBBLER

  • I love how the blackberries in this recipe are so big and juicy, but alternative options include blueberries, raspberries, strawberriespeaches, or a combination of several!
  • Frozen berries work well in this recipe as well, be sure to add them when they’re frozen. If you let them thaw, they’ll be mushy and the consistency will be off.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 

Calories: 424, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 29mg, Potassium: 228mg, Carbohydrates: 95g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 69g, Protein: 7g, Vitamin A: 255%, Vitamin C: 15.1%, Calcium: 94%, Iron: 0.7%

How to Debone a Chicken Thigh

The first step to great food is great knife skills.

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-01
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-01

Recipes often call for boneless skinless chicken thighs, yet finding them in supermarkets can be a bit of a hassle. You’re far more likely to find bone-in thighs or even whole legs. Knowing how to take that bone out yourself will save you some hassle and provide you with some good bones for making stock in the process.

I’ve tried dozens of methods of boning chicken thighs. As it turns out, the easiest is also the one that provides the best yield, scraping every last bit of meat from the bone. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Locate the Joint

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-02
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-02

If you’re starting with whole chicken legs, you’ll have to remove the drumstick from the thigh. Place your thumb over the joint and move the thigh bone back and forth with your other hand to find the articulation point. This is where you’ll cut.

Step 2: Divide the Leg

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-03
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-03

Insert a sharp boning or paring knife into the joint. It should slide right through. If there is resistance, move the blade around until you find the space between the joints.

Step 3: Set Aside Drumstick

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-04
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-04

Set aside the drumstick for another use (they go great on the grill.

Step 4: Remove the Skin

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-05
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-05

Peel the skin off the chicken thigh using your hands.

Step 5: Trim Fat

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-06
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-06

Trim off any excess fat with your knife and discard.

Step 6: Find the Bone

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-07
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-07

Flip over the thigh so that the rough side is up and locate the single bone that runs through it. Your goal is to remove this bone with minimal damage to the meat.

Step 7: Make the First Incision

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-08
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-08

Keeping the fingers of your non-knife hand curled for protection (raw chicken can be slippery) and using the tip of the knife, score a line through the meat along the length of the bone.

Step 8: Expose Bone

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-12
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-12

Expose the top of the bone by using the tip of your knife in short, flicking motions, making sure to keep your fingers well away from the blade.

Step 9: Scrape the Bone

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-10
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-10

Grasp one end of the bone with your non-knife hand (a little piece of paper towel can help if it’s very slippery), then using the base of your knife, scrap the meat off of the bone in short, firm flicks. A boning knife should have a curved bolster designed for this task. If using a paring knife, just use the section of the knife closest to the handle.

Step 10: Separate Meat From Bone

knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-11
knife-skills-deboning-chicken-thigh-11

When the meat has been mostly scraped off the bone, separate the end of the bone completely from the meat. Trim away any gristle or bits of bone or cartilage that may have remained on the meat. Save bones for stock.

The Best General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

General Tso’s chicken gets a makeover with this homemade marinade, crisp coating, and sweet and salty glaze.

general-tsos-chicken-recipe-food-lab
general-tsos-chicken-recipe-food-lab

General Tso’s chicken, with an extra-crisp coating that stays crisp even when coated in a glossy sauce that balances sweet, savory, and tart elements.

Why this recipe works:

  • A balanced sauce has plenty of vinegary kick to balance out the cloying sweetness that most restaurant versions have.
  • Cooking the aromatics for the sauce at a lower temperature lets their flavors develop without having to superheat your wok or skillet.
  • We add vodka to our chicken coating. Its higher volatility and ability to inhibit gluten formation leaves you with a superior crisp crust.
  • Adding some of our marinade to our dry coating mixture creates little nuggets of coating that cling to the chicken pieces, adding more surface area for extra crunch.

Note: Shaoxing wine can be found in most Asian markets. If unavailable, dry sherry can be used in its place. If you can’t find boneless skinless chicken thighs, you can debone them yourself using this guide. If you can’t find whole dried chilies, substitute with 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

YIELD:Serves 4 to 6 

Ingredients

  • For the Marinade:
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons 80-proof vodka
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks
  • For the Dry Coating
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons peanut, vegetable, or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (about one 1-inch piece)
  • 2 teaspoons minced scallion bottoms (about 1 scallion), plus 6 to 8 scallions, white parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 8 small dried red Chinese or Arbol chilies (see note)
  • To Finish:
  • 1 1/2 quarts peanut, vegetable, or canola oil for deep frying
  • Steamed white rice for serving

Directions

  1. For the Marinade: Beat egg whites in a large bowl until broken down and lightly foamy. Add soy sauce, wine, and vodka and whisk to combine. Set aside half of marinade in a small bowl. Add baking soda and corn starch to the large bowl and whisk to combine. Add chicken to large bowl and turn with fingers to coat thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. For the Dry Coat: Combine flour, corn starch, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk until homogenous. Add reserved marinade and whisk until mixture has coarse, mealy clumps. Set aside.
  3. For the Sauce: Combine soy sauce, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, sesame seed oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved and no lumps remain. Set aside.
  4. Combine oil, garlic, ginger, minced scallions, and red chilies in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are aromatic and soft, but not browned, about 3 minutes. Stir sauce mixture and add to skillet, making sure to scrape out and sugar or starch that has sunk to the bottom. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Add scallion segments. Transfer sauce to a bowl to stop cooking, but don’t wipe out skillet.
  5. To Finish: Heat 1 1/2 quarts peanut, vegetable, or canola oil in a large wok or Dutch oven to 350°F and adjust flame to maintain temperature.
  6. Working one piece at a time, transfer chicken from marinade to dry coat mixture, tossing in between each addition to coat chicken. When all chicken is added to dry coat, toss with hands, pressing dry mixture onto chicken so it adheres, and making sure that every piece is coated thoroughly.
  7. Lift chicken one piece at a time, shake off excess coating, and carefully lower into hot oil (do not drop it). Once all chicken is added, cook, agitating with long chopsticks or a metal spider, and adjusting flame to maintain a temperature of 325 to 375°F, until chicken is cooked through and very crispy, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain.
  8. Add chicken to empty skillet and return sauce to skillet. Toss chicken, folding it with a rubber spatula until all pieces are thoroughly coated. Serve immediately with white rice.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

This extra creamy tomato basil pasta is full of fresh flavor and takes just 30 minutes! It’s made with juicy cherry tomatoes, delicious fresh basil, a hint of sausagecheese-filled ravioli, and a delicious Parmesan cream sauce. This is truly restaurant quality!

Tomato Basil Pasta
Tomato Basil Pasta

Ingredients For Tomato Basil Pasta

  • Olive Oil
  • Ground Sausage– Either hot or sweet is fine!
  • Butter– The higher quality, the better. (You can even make your own!)
  • Garlic– Mince it yourself for ultimate flavor
  • Chicken Broth– Homemade is always  best!
  • Half and Half– You can also use heavy cream for extra indulgence. I don’t recommend milk as that can curdle much more easily.
  • Parmesan Cheese– High quality, finely grated yourself at home
  • Cream Cheese– At room temperature to ensure it smoothly combines with the sauce
  • Ravioli– Refrigerated and cheese-filled tastes best with this recipe.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Red Pepper Flakes– Optional, adds a little kick!
  • Salt/Pepper– (You likely won’t need salt.)
Tomato Basil Pasta 2
Tomato Basil Pasta 2

How to Make Perfect Cream Sauce

  • Refrain from adding cold ingredients into warm sauce when you prepare it. This includes the Parmesan cheese, half and half, and cream cheese. The consistency will be super creamy if you follow this instruction.
  • Purchase a block of high-quality Parmesan cheese. Always shred the cheese yourself, it will taste and melt much better.
  • Let the cheese come to room temperature before adding it to the warm (not hot!base. 
  • Add the cheese gradually as opposed to all at once.

Tips For This Recipe

  • Cheese-filled ravioli is definitely my pasta of choice for this tomato basil pasta, refrigerated works best but frozen may also be used. Tortellini, Penne, and Linguine make great choices as well. Refer to package instructions for cooking times.
  • very large pan works best for this, you’ll need one with a lid. I always prefer to use a cast iron skillet.
  • Ground turkey may be used instead of sausage. Browning the meat in the skillet first adds tremendous flavor to the pan that transfers into the sauce.
  • I like to use slightly less than a pound of pasta for this recipe so that it’s extra saucy!
  • 1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes may also be used instead of cherry tomatoes.

Storage

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and is best if used with 3 days. Cream-based sauces are best if eaten fresh but you can still microwave leftovers.
  • This recipe doesn’t freeze too well as the dairy in the cream sauce separates and changes the consistency when reheated.
Tomato Basil Pasta with Sausage 3
Tomato Basil Pasta with Sausage 3

What To Serve With This Recipe:

Home made garlic bread

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Servings:6

Prep Time

10 MINS

Cook Time

20 MINS

Total Time

30 MINS

Course

MAIN COURSE

Cuisine

AMERICAN, ITALIAN

Author

Zeeshan

This extra creamy tomato basil pasta is full of fresh flavor and takes just 30 minutes! It’s made with juicy cherry tomatoes, delicious fresh basil, a hint of sausage, cheese-filled ravioli, and a delicious Parmesan cream sauce. This is truly restaurant quality!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ lb. ground sausage hot or sweet
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated and at room temp.
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon cream cheese at room temp.
  • 1 pound refrigerated ravioli* see notes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed basil leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes optional
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the sausage, cook and crumble until brown and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the chicken broth and half and half. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then decrease heat to a simmer.
  5. Gradually sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese, whisking well to incorporate.
  6. Whisk in the cream cheese until incorporated. It melts smoothly when at room temperature.
  7. Add the ravioli and then the tomatoes. Stir gently to combine into the sauce.
  8. Cover the pot, let it simmer according to time on package instructions. Mine took just 7 minutes.
  9. Stir in the basil leaves and add the sausage back to the pan. Add red pepper flakes if desired.
  10. Salt and pepper may be added, however it likely doesn’t need any additional salt.
  11. Turn off the heat. The sauce will continue to thicken upon standing.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*I usually add slightly less than a pound of ravioli so that my pasta is extra saucy!

Recipe Substitutions:

  • Tortellini, Penne or linguini make good pasta choices as well, refer package instructions for cooking times.
  • Ground turkey may be used instead of sausage. Browning the meat in the skillet first adds tremendous flavor to the pan that transfers into the sauce.
  • 1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes may also be used instead of cherry.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 

Calories: 474, Fat: 28 g, Saturated Fat: 12 g, Cholesterol: 94 mg, Sodium: 983 mg, Potassium: 232 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 21 g, Vitamin A: 497%, Vitamin C: 10%, Calcium: 138%, Iron: 9%

Super Simple Marinara Sauce

This homemade marinara sauce offers rich and lively tomato flavor. You’ll need only five basic pantry ingredients to make this delicious marinara sauce: good canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, dried oregano and olive oil. That’s it!

Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-and-meatsauce-1
Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-and-meatsauce-1

This version is my favorite, no contest.

marinara-sauce-ingredients
marinara-sauce-ingredients

This marinara is exceptionally easy to make, too, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights. You don’t even have to chop the onion and garlic. Yes,that’s right—just crank open a can of tomatoes, halve an onion and peel some garlic. You’re ready to go!

This sauce offers lovely, authentic Italian flavor after a 45-minute simmer. I tried to take shortcuts to make it even faster, but no amount of tomato paste, spices, salt or sugar will make up for lost time.

Bottom line: It’s impossible to achieve enchanting, long-simmered marinara flavor in under 45 minutes. So throw those ingredients in a pot, pour yourself a glass of wine and boil water for pasta. Dinner is almost ready.

I love that tomato sauce, but it doesn’t pass for marinara since it’s missing herbs, garlic and olive oil. So, I added dried oregano and two whole cloves of garlic (which you’ll smash against the side of the pan at the end).

I traded a reasonable amount of olive oil for the butter (you really don’t need to use a ton of olive oil here for rich flavor). I also added a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick, but those are optional.

marinara sauce making
marinara sauce making

Why is this the best marinara sauce?

Six reasons to love this recipe:

  • This marinara sauce recipe requires 5 basic ingredients and yields rich, authentic marinara flavor.
  • It’s super easy to make—no chopping required.
  • Unlike most store-bought sauces, this marinara is free of added sugar.
  • You can load up your pasta with as much of this wholesome sauce as you’d like. Tomatoes are good for you!
  • The recipe yields two cups of sauce and freezes well, so you might as well double the recipe. Just cook it in a bigger pot.
  • This marinara also makes an incredible pizza sauce. I made pizza with it and my friend remarked that it tastes like real-deal Italian pizza.
making of marinara sauce 2
making of marinara sauce 2

Super Simple Marinara Sauce

Yield: 2 cups 1x

Prep Time

 5 minutes

Cook Time

45 minutes

Total Time

50 minutes

Category

Sauce

Method

Stove top

Cuisine

 Italian

Author: Zeeshan

This marinara sauce recipe is the best! You’ll only need 5 basic ingredients, and it’s so easy to make. No chopping required! Recipe yields 2 cups sauce (enough for 8 ounces pasta); double if desired.SCALE 1X2X3X

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, omit if sensitive to spice)
  • Salt, to taste (if necessary)
  • Optional, for serving: Cooked pasta, grated Parmesan cheese,chopped fresh basil, additional olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the tomatoes (with their juices), halved onion, garlic cloves, olive oil, oregano and red pepper flakes (if using).
  2. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of oil float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, and use a sturdy wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes against the side of the pot after about 15 minutes has passed.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the onion. Smash the garlic cloves against the side of the pot with a fork, then stir the smashed garlic into the sauce. Do the same with any tiny onion pieces you might find. Use the wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes to your liking (you can blend this sauce smooth with an immersion blender or stand blender, if desired).
  4. Add salt, to taste (the tomatoes are already pretty salty, so you might just need a pinch). Serve warm. This sauce keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days. Freeze it for up to 6 months.

NOTES

*TOMATO NOTE: Using high quality tomatoes is key here.

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

This Instant Pot Spaghetti has perfectly cooked spaghetti and a creamy meat sauce. An easy family dinner that’s ready in less than 30 minutes with only one pot to clean!

Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-and-meatsauce-1
Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-and-meatsauce-1

I strongly urge to to try this secret: add a dab or two of cream cheese to the pot once it’s all done. It mixes right in and makes the sauce so thick and creamy. You’ll seriously want to have spaghetti every night.

What Size Instant Pot did I use?

-Use 6-quart Instant Pot for this recipe, which is what I recommend for most families, and is what most Instant Pot recipes are based on. It can cook enough food for a family of four and won’t take as long to come to pressure as an 8 quart will.

How Long do you Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot?

Different types of pasta require slightly different amounts of cooking time. These regular spaghetti noodles take 8 minutes of pressure cooking time before the quick release valve is triggered and the noodles are cooked.

Tip: Be sure to properly stagger your noodles to prevent them from sticking together. (See image above!)

What if the Burn Indicator Turns on During Pressure Cooking?

-If you’re waiting for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and notice a burn indicator, this is something that rectifies itself whenever I make this recipe and see that warning. It just takes a little bit of waiting before the pressure cooker will do it’s thing.

-The more I use the Instant Pot, the more I see this message. I’ve learned to basically ignore it as long as I know that I’ve done my due diligence in making sure I’ve removed any specs of meat on the bottom of the pan that may have gotten stuck during while sauteing. I do this before I add any other ingredients.

Adding vegetable oil on the bottom of the pan prior to browning the meat helps with this.

Making-Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-Meat-Sauce
Making-Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-Meat-Sauce

Can you Freeze Spaghetti?

Spaghetti is a great food to freezer for future meals. Here are some tips for success:

-Cook the pasta to the Al Dente Point, but no more. That way the pasta won’t be overcooked when you reheat it. For this recipe, the quick release of the pressure valve helps to halt the cooking process. It’s also best to avoid reheating the pasta again before you freeze it.

-I love to make easy foil packets for freezing these. I lay out strips of foil on the counter and use a big spoon to create portions of desired size on each one, then I wrap it into a neat packet, add the packets to a freezer bag, label it, and freeze! When you’re ready to eat, just pop the entire frozen foil packet in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or so.

-Ziploc bags are also convenient freezing vessels, just let out any extra air in the bag. Laying it flat and freezing it in a uniform rectangle shape will take up less freezer space but will also allow the pasta to thaw out at the same rate when you remove it from the freezer.

-Let the pasta thaw in the fridge before you reheat it. This is an easy lunch to take from the freezer because it’s usually pretty thawed out by the time lunch rolls around.

Instant-Pot-Spaghetti
Instant-Pot-Spaghetti

Best Marinara Sauce for Pasta

Marinara sauce is my sauce of choice for this dish.

Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-meat-sauce
Instant-Pot-Spaghetti-meat-sauce

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Servings:4

Prep Time

10 MINS

Cook Time

15 MINS

Total Time

25 MINS 

Author

Zeeshan

Course

 MAIN COURSE

Cuisine

AMERICAN, ITALIAN

This instant pot spaghetti has perfectly cooked spaghetti noodles simmered in a savory meat sauce. A simple family dinner that’s ready in less than 30 minutes with only a single pot to clean!


Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground beef I use 85% lean
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian Seasonings
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • 32 oz. high-quality spaghetti sauce (marinara sauce)
  • 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese softened (optional, but recommended!)

Instructions

  1. Set the instant pot to Sautee. Add the vegetable oil and ground beef and seasonings. Cook and crumble the ground beef until it is browned and cooked through. Drain any excess grease if needed, and ensure there are barely any brown remnants left at the bottom of the pan to prevent the burning warning to appear when we pressure cook. The vegetable oil helps with this. 
  2. Break the spaghetti noodles in half. Crisscross them over the meat (this is done to prevent the noodles from sticking together).
  3. Pour the spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, and water over the noodles. Push the noodles down so that they are completely submerged in the liquid. It’s okay if they break a little bit as you do this.
  4. Cover/Seal the instant pot and set it to pressure cook for 8 minutes (Or, select the manual button and hit high pressure for 8 minutes). Note: It might sound like nothing is happening but if you put your ear up to the instant pot after a few minutes, you can hear it working.
  5. Turn the quick release valve to let all of the steam escape, and open the pot. (Do not let the pressure release naturally as this will overcook the pasta.)
  6. For thicker, creamier sauce, stir in the cream cheese. The spaghetti and sauce will continue to thicken upon standing. Serve, and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

 Calories: 597, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 1444mg, Potassium: 1386mg, Carbohydrates: 59g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 13g, Protein: 31g, Vitamin A: 1200%, Vitamin C: 25.4%, Calcium: 108%, Iron: 6.3%

Roasted Garlic

How to roast whole heads of garlic in the oven so you can eat warm, toasty cloves right out of the garlic head.

How To Roast Garlic 1
How To Roast Garlic 1

Roasting garlic changes the chemical makeup of the garlic so that it’s easier to digest. You can eat a lot more garlic if it is completely cooked, with fewer side effects than you would get from eating raw garlic. (If you’re into chemistry, you can read more about this process in the Wikipedia.)

Eat the caramelized roasted cloves directly out of the heads, or add them to pasta dishes, mash them up and spread them over toast, or mix them with sour cream for a dip.

If you are sensitive to raw garlic, you may find that you can much more easily eat roasted garlic.

HOW TO ROAST GARLIC

How to Roast Garlic

Roasted Garlic Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • One or more whole heads of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

1 Preheat your oven to 400°F (205° C). (A toaster oven works great for this.)

2 Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic.

roasted-garlic-method
roasted-garlic-method

3 Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

roasted-garlic-method 2
roasted-garlic-method 2

4 Put garlic in baking pan or muffin tin: Place the garlic heads in a baking pan, cut side up. (A muffin pan works great for this, as it keeps the garlic bulbs from rolling around.)

5 Drizzle with olive oil: Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves.

roasted-garlic-method-3
roasted-garlic-method-3

6 Cover the bulb with aluminum foil.

roasted-garlic-method-4
roasted-garlic-method-4

7 Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until the cloves are lightly browned and feel soft when pressed.

8 Cool and remove roasted garlic cloves from their skins: Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

roasted-garlic-method-5
roasted-garlic-method-5

Eat as is (I love straight roasted garlic) or mash with a fork and use for cooking. Can be spread over warm French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes, or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta.

Italian Salad Dressing

This homemade Italian Salad Dressing tastes just like the restaurant version. Learn how to make this salad at home for your family and friends!

salad dressing 1
salad dressing 1

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • Lettuce
  • Vine Ripened Tomatoes
  • Large Black olives
  • Red onions
  • Pepperoncinis (These are jarred and are found in the same section as the pickles/olives)
  • Croutons (You can actually purchase Olive Garden’s Croutons
  • Parmesan cheese

Best Olive Oil for Salad Dressing

-Make sure you use high quality extra virgin olive oil when making this recipe. In turn, it’ll yield a high quality salad dressing and will ensure that the olive oil remains in liquid form when refrigerated.

Storing Leftover Salad

  • Prepared salad should be refrigerated as soon as possible in an airtight container, free from as much moisture as possible.
  • Salad can’t be frozen, lettuce that has been frozen or even chilled at too low of a temperature ruins it’s consistency and freshness. Once that’s happened, it can’t be recovered.
  • Refrigerated salad lasts anywhere from 1-3 days, it’s only as good until the least-fresh ingredient in the salad begins to go bad.
OG-Salad-Dressing-2
OG-Salad-Dressing-2

Servings: 24 servings

Italian Salad Dressing

Prep Time

5 MINS

Total Time

5 MINS

Author

Zeeshan

Course

 SALAD

Cuisine: ITALIAN

Ingredients

  • 7 oz. Italian Dressing Mix
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, high-quality olive oil yields much better results in this recipe
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ Tablespoon mayo, not miracle whip

Instructions

  • Mix everything thoroughly together and refrigerate. That’s it!
  • Mixture will settle upon sitting, simply shake before each use.
  • This will keep for 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
  • 2 Tablespoons = 1 serving

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION 

Calories: 64, Fat: 6g, Sodium: 137mg, Calcium: 1%, Iron: 0.1%