Mar 25 2011

Eating good does not have to suck

Posted by Seth in Diet, Food, Good Deals

I’m on a diet.  Diets suck, especially for fat dudes like myself that like to cook, and eat.  I’m counting calories, so the frozen dinners at the grocery store are quick and easy for me and usually come in around 2 bucks. It’s not gourmet, but some of the stuff is bearable with a little Tabasco (which I happen to have a bunch of).

Diet’s don’t have to suck entirely, though.

  • Your tastebuds don’t have to suffer
  • Your wallet doesn’t have to suffer
  • Your diet doesn’t have to suffer

If you are a foodie and on a diet, it’s win win, you just need to make a major adjustment to portion size like I have.

Make your own frozen dinners

Anyways, on to the topic. The above pic shows the fruits of about 90 minutes of work, all with stuff in my fridge or in my cabinets.  If you want to rob a chinese restaurant for containers, go ahead, but I hit the restaurant supply for a case of microwaveable containers at around 19 cents a pop.  I’m not going to give specific recipes in the post, my point is more to motivate you to think and plan, and say to hell with the frozen dinners at the grocery store – make your own – your wallet and your mouth will thank you.

By the way, all come in at less than $1 per meal, and less than 300 calories. 19 meals. word.

Whole grain pasta, veggies, homemade sauce

I cooked up 2 pounds of Pasta that made 15 portions.  While I had the oven going for the chicken thighs below, I threw in some sliced up squashes, garlic, and a little olive oil into a foil pouch and put into the oven for 30 minutes. Topped with homemade San Marzano tomato sauce.

Whole grain pasta, homemade sauce, sauteed spinach

With the rest of the pasta, I also hit it with the San Marzano sauce.  For veggies, I found some chopped spinach in the freezer, sauteed that quick with some garlic and voila. Don’t mind the presentation, this crap is goin in the freezer and I’ll stir it when I reheat it anyway.

Chicken thighs, over basmati rice

I had some Mahogany Chicken in the fridge, cooked that up, served over Basmati rice, and put a little bit of no-fat honey mustard dressing on top.

I have to get rid of some tortillas and onions I had laying around, so I sauteed up the onions and some of my canned jalapeno slices in some Fajita seasoning. I’ll be using them as filling for quesadillas.

Ok, now get off your butt, and go cook.

Mar 18 2011

San Marzano Tomato Gravy

Posted by Seth in Food

Big 'ole can of San Marzanos

 San Marzano tomatoes are sweet and low on seeds, making them perfect for sauce.  If you want to read more about San Marzano tomatoes and why they are the bomb, Google is your friend 🙂

Lee and I took a trip to the restaurant supply and they had 5lb 10oz can’s of these babies for about 6 bucks.  The recipe below is nothing revolutionary in the gravy world, it’s about the same way that everyone I know makes it. The only thing different for me this time around was the use of San Marzanos, and pepperoni.  The pepperoni idea came from a friend of mine, his wife makes it that way.  Normally I’d make some meatballs with Roz’s (Big Joe’s Mom) recipe and toss them in the gravy for some meaty goodness to deliver flavor, but I thought I’d give this a shot.

Disclaimer: this is the first of many recipes I will be posting .. for the most part I don’t usually measure things, I cook by taste and eyeball most things. Learn to do the same and you’ll have a lot more fun cooking.

Pepperoni in gravy?? Read on ...


  1. 5 lb 10 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes. Dump them into a bowl first, you’ll want to pick out the stems (whatever you call it) and pick off the skin if it allows
  2. Basil, Oregano, Italian parsely – fresh if you got it, dried will do
  3. Pepperoni, chopped into chunks (see the pic) – about 2 cups or so
  4. 6oz can of tomato paste
  5. Onion, two or 3 small yellow or sweet ones, diced up
  6. Garlic, dice up some fresh or use a few heaping spoonfuls of the minced stuff out of the jar.  In my house, there is no such thing as too much garlic


San Marzano gravy

aaaand everyone goes into the pot


  1. Hit the bottom of your pot with a coating of olive oil, and turn the heat to medium high. Toss in the onions and garlic and let them sweat
  2. Once it smells delicious in your kitchen, and the onions are about clear and garlic is starting to brown, throw in a couple tablespoons of your herbs, about a handful of fresh stuff or a few tablespoons of the dried stuff. Stir it up.
  3. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, give it a good stir.  Leave the heat around medium to avoid a tomato volcano
  4. Heat up a frying pan to medium-high and toss in the pepperoni. Brown them up then toss them in the sauce.  I’m on a diet, so I picked them out of the pan this time, but Fat Seth would have thrown in the pepperoni and all the oily goodness that fried out of it
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Stir every 10 minutes or so.   Cooking time is personal preference and by taste, but any where over an hour will do the trick, no harm in 2.
  6. At the end, throw in more fresh herbs.   The reason I put them in the beginning AND the end is that cooking them will change the flavor, I want the flavors of both the cooked and the freshness of tossing them in at the end

That’s all.   When I did this, I came up with about 6 pints of sauce and I canned it in the trusty pressure canner (60 mins @ 15psi).   If you don’t can, then eat up the sauce fresh, or save it in the fridge/freezer.

San Marzano gravy

All canned up and ready for use... at some point in the future