Got meat? Got veg? Need variety? Add sauce…
By Christian Fox
You’ve dutifully prepare some meals at home. But now, you’re getting tired or bored. It happens all the time. Folks set out full steam ahead with every intention of cooking more healthy meals at home, but in a week or two it becomes either too much work, or too monotonous. I’ve said before that a big key to actually cooking at home is pre-prep, that way it’s as easy as possible to throw a meal together on a Wednesday night after a long day at work, and the gym, and the dozen other things that you have going on in your life. Having a pre-roasted piece of meat can be a lifesaver here, as can having a quick cooking protein like filleted fish, lean pork chops, lean steaks, and the like. Problem is that just good old salt and pepper can start to seem like punishment after a while to some. Having a few pre-made sauces in your fridge or freezer to call upon can add variety to the same meat and veg throughout the week. Try these…
Aji’ – Kind of a Columbian salsa. This stuff is like crack. It takes any meat or fish to another level, and also works as an amazing dip, best scooped with some tostones. Super easy to make.
In a food processor or a blender:
3 cloves Garlic
1 small Red Onion, rough chopped
1-2 Chiles, rough chopped, depending on how much heat you like (Serrano or Jalepeno work well)
1 Red Bell Pepper, rough chopped
1-2 medium Carrots, rough chopped (carrots bring both sweetness and texture)
½ Bunch Cilantro, rough stems removed
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 cup White Vinegar (or cider vinegar to keep it mas Paleo)
Add ½ of the vinegar first to help chop the veg, and then the other ½ to mix
This makes about a quart of deliciousness. The vinegar helps it keep well, but you can also freeze half for next month.
Basic Marinara – Everyone should know how to make this staple. It’s a template that can serve as the base for other sauces as well. The later addition of herbs, spices, or veg, can take this in any direction you want to go.
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-6 cloves Garlic, chopped (really depends on your taste, I love a lot of it)
1 Spanish Onion, chopped
*Optional – 1 Carrot, shredded (adds sweetness)
2 35 oz cans peeled Tomatoes (best is San Marzano D.O.P. certified. It really makes a difference especially if you’re using the sauce as-is)
2 tsp Dried Basil (or chopped fresh if you’ve got it, added at the end of cooking)
1 tsp Red Chile flakes
1 Tbsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
- Saute the onion in EVOO over medium heat in a medium saucepan until translucent.
- Add the garlic (and carrot if using) and sauté till fragrant
- Add the dried basil and chile flakes and stir a few seconds to bring out their oils
- Add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands into the saucepan (Alternately you can dump them in and use a spoon or potato masher to crush them, but where’s the fun in that?)
- Add the salt and pepper and bring to a hard simmer, then reduce to low. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, or longer depending on desired richness of sauce.
This sauce can be doubled or tripled and kept frozen for some time. Use it as-is on meats, stirred into greens, mixed into sautéed mushrooms or squash as a ragout, or just top your morning omelette with it. Add cumin, cilantro, and some chipotle en adobo and it’s a Mexican sauce. Add curry powder and mix it in with pan-roasted cauliflower with cumin seeds for an Indian side dish. Throw a pint of it in the blender with a cup of coconut milk and desired spices and herbs for a pink sauce rich in flavor and healthy fats. Heck, fry up a pound of ground beef with a Tbsp or 2 of chili powder; add a pint of this sauce and viola, chili.
Remember that the Strength Cycle CrossFit Total is tomorrow at 6pm. Come support these guys and girls as they test their Back Squat, Press and Deadlift!
Miko Salo does 30 Deadlifts at 315 and 60 GHD Sit-Ups in 3:54 CrossFit.com