Thursday, February 21, 2013

5 Mix and Match Sauces that make Weekday Meals a Snap


Nothing says simplicity like Mix and Match.

Mix and match makeup, furniture, garden plants, exercise routines.  You can even mix and match outfits.  You know, like in the fashion magazines, where you buy 10 foundation pieces including tops, shoes, skirt and accessories.  And they turn them into like 80 outfits. 

It's the same with cooking. 

By knowing some key sauces (the foundation pieces), mix and match cooking saves time, money and offers unlimited healthy meal possibilities.  Plus it gets you in and out of the kitchen fast.
First select your protein, like chicken, seafood, pork, lamb, duck, beef.  Then your veggies like broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, or whatever you and your family like (I sometimes use frozen to save even more time).  And then choose a sauce to match your mood.
Feeling creative?  Play around with the flavors.  Substitute port for beef broth or limes for lemons. Experiment with different fresh herbs and spices. And even mix up the base- as cream, cream cheese, sour cream and even Greek yogurt offer different textures and flavors to your sauces.

Fresh, low-carb, gluten free, and oh, so delicious. 
(recipes below... and yes, I was feeling a bit arty with my photos this week)


Lemony Tarragon Wine Sauce

Sweet with Some Heat Orange Sauce
 

Creamy Balsamic Shallot Mustard Sauce 

Simply Sexy Stir Fry Sauce


Mushroom Pancetta Sour Cream Sauce
(now that is one big T-bone!)


Lemony Tarragon Wine Sauce

Remove cooked protein from skillet. Add 1/4 c. white wine and the juice from 2 lemons to pan w/a bit of salt, scrapping bits from the bottom of pan and bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for a few minutes, adding 1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon at the end. Pour over protein of choice.

Sweet with Some Heat Orange Simmer Sauce

Mix 1/2 c. frozen orange juice (the kind in the can in the freezer section- do not defrost!) with 3 tablespoons of honey in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle in seasoning of choice (I like 1 teaspoon of Parisien) salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 4 minutes to thicken. Pour over protein of choice and then cook (this sauce is more of simmer sauce).

Creamy Balsamic Shallot Mustard Cream Sauce

Remove cooked protein from the pan.  Add in 1 chopped shallot to remaining oil (add more if needed) cooking until tender for a few minutes, while scraping any remaining bits from the protein.  Add in 1 c. heavy cream, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3/4 tablespoon Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to reduce for about 5 minutes until thickened.  Pour over protein.

Simply Sexy Stir Fry Sauce

First stir fry your vegetables in oil in a wok or large skillet.  Remove cooked vegetables and set aside.  Then add protein and stir fry in oil until about half way cooked.  Then add in sauce and stir fry until cooked through.  Add back in vegetables.

Sauce: 1/2 c. soy sauce, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette salad dressing (My favorite salad dressing and perfect for this sauce. You can also substitute 2 tsp. strawberry jam instead for a similar sweetness!) Add a few sprinkles of dried herbs like dill, thyme, or whatever you like (I love Parisien) and kosher salt & pepper. Add in some chopped fresh cilantro in the last minute of cooking (this is the key and makes the flavors all come together!)

Mushroom Pancetta Sour Cream Sauce

Remove cooked protein from skillet and add in 1 package of sliced mushrooms and 1/3 c. pancetta (buy prepackaged in tiny cubes, or use 3 slices bacon, chopped) to remaining oil (add more if needed), scraping up bits left in pan.  Once mushrooms are caramelized, add in one garlic clove, crushed and cook 1-2 minutes.  Then add in 1/2 c. sour cream, 1/2 c. beef broth, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat to thicken for a few minutes.  Pour over protein.


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