campmix

Easy Homemade Teenager Approved Marinara Sauce

My son LOVES homemade basketti sauce.

He's 18 and doesn't say it like that anymore, but his love of marinara remains. Logan could probably eat it daily. It's an easy, quick recipe and perfect for noodles, zoodles, or pizza.

I started my own herb garden three months ago -- grew from seed babies -- and was eager to use fresh basil, sage, and oregano in the marinara sauce. Something is rewarding about using your own homegrown herbs.

I'm shocked I haven't killed them yet.    

Knock on wood. 

The seasonings I use are from great businesses. If you know my recipes you know I use CampMix with everything. Adds flavor and kick to all dishes. 

Primal Palate seasonings are soy and gluten-free and kosher. 

Let's get to the recipe. You don't need an overdrawn story about marinara sauce. And I have some in my refrigerator begging to be used.

Ingredients

28oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of light tasting olive oil or garlic infused olive oil

4 tablespoon of minced garlic

Chopped fresh basil and oregano (handful)

*CampMix (a blend of garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, celery salt, and white pepper) 

*Primal Palate Garlic & Herb 

*season to taste*

Instructions

Place oil and garlic in a medium saucepan. Saute over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle, roughly a 1 minute.

Pour the tomatoes into the saucepan, basil and oregano, and seasonings, stir to combine.

TASTE AS YOU GO. 

I add quite a bit of the CampMix. We favor garlic and pepper, but some don't. It's all about your palate.  

Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the sauce is bubbling too much -- Jackson Pollock your floor and stove --, reduce the heat.

It saves beautifully in a mason jar.

My homemade bread recipe would work perfectly with this delicious sauce. *wink*

Products used in this recipe

 

 

 

 

 

Crab Pizza

I looked at my husband the other night and expressed my craving for pizza and crab cakes, but I didn't want to make both. 
How about crab pizza?
He raised his brow. I sensed his skepticism which made me want to make it all that much more. He suggested we make our pesto pizza for back up. 
Just in case.
I agreed but was confident the crab would taste delicious. 
In the end, I was right.
Duh.

My husband uses Bobby Flay's Pizza Dough Recipe. I am looking into a coconut flour recipe for my gluten-free people. Cauliflower crusts are quite popular, but I am unable to eat those. I did find a few gluten-free premade crusts at our local Publix in the frozen section. 

The crab mixture is easy with minimal ingredients. I did have a bit of pesto leftover and added a spoonful. Chopped red and yellow peppers add color and flavor to the mixture.

Ready for the oven.

The result?

It tasted exactly like a crab cake. The crispness of the crust and saltiness of the crab was the perfect combination. The added peppers give another depth of flavor. And let me tell you, the leftovers were an amazing breakfast.  

There is a sprinkle of Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar Cheese. Don't be afraid of the cheese/seafood horror show. It's allowed with specific recipes. This particular cheese is a chameleon. It blends with whatever you add it to. I've mentioned it in previous recipes. I didn't use much, and I'd deem it optional. 

The pesto pizza was just as delicious. Not everyone loves seafood. 

Either pizza works for any gathering or football party. 

I live the most healthy lifestyle I can but you know what somedays I want carbs and cheese. I'm not going to shame myself for it. 

My body is an evolving creature and what works on Monday doesn't work on Thursday. I keep the medical profession on their toes. But that is for another day. Let's get to the important stuff.

Ingredients for Crab Mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

8oz crab lump meat (Pay the extra money for excellent crab meat. Publix and Whole Foods are my choices if you don't have a fresh seafood place near you)

1 red pepper (chopped)

1 yellow pepper (chopped)

1/2 lemon

A spoonful of fresh pesto (optional) 

Garlic infused olive oil (you can use light tasting olive oil) 

CampMix

Simply Organic all-seasons salt

Directions

In a bowl at crab meat, chopped peppers, squeeze of the lemon, and seasonings. Mix. Taste. If you want more seasonings or lemon add it in. Everyone's palette is different. 

With a brush or spoon spread the olive oil over the dough on a pizza pan (we use the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware 14-Inch Pizza Pan) covering every inch. 

Spread the crab mixture. Allow room for a crust. 

Bake for *20 -25 minutes*. 

*We use an electric oven. Gas ovens may be different.* 

This is why I love cooking. 

Experiment with different ingredients. Laugh and share stories with my boys. All of our conversations gravitate to the kitchen. Logan is hopping up in the counter. Plotting world domination. Phil is discussing his day. 

It's our happy place.

Products used in this recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Hummus - Cannellini Beans

Most associate hummus with garbanzo beans, I use cannellini. For whatever reason, my digestive system favors them over any other white bean. And avocado. I know. Travesty. But who am I to argue? 

Hummus is the universal food.
Dips. Wraps. Burgers.
Perfect substitute for mayo which I discovered while making a salmon salad  --  think tuna fish sandwich. 
That's for my next recipe.

My spicy hummus recipe is quick and easy. Four ingredients. Less than ten minutes. Cost is low. Why buy premade? You know who made it and when. You know the ingredients.

You don't have to use garlic infused olive oil but it does amplify the flavors. And really why not?

Drain the beans. 

I use my little food chopper.  

Puree setting. 

Always. Always. Always taste. 

Everyone's palette is different. We love spicy but others may not. We love garlic but others may want to ease back on it. My goal is to set a foundation and people make the recipe their own.

My husband loves broccoli and red pepper slices or with pita bread. I eat it alongside my salmon filet with a spinach salad. The options are endless.

Ingredients

1 can of cannellini beans

2 tablespoons of garlic infused olive oil

1 tablespoon of Mrs. Renfro's Green Salsa

1/2 - 1 tablespoon of CampMix (garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, celery salt, and white pepper)

Instructions

In the food processor add the beans, oil, salsa, and seasonings. Puree setting until all is blended. Taste. Add more salsa or seasonings if so desired. 

Use immediately or refrigerate.  

Boom!

Done!

It's not zero carbs but it's also not horrid carbs. I could think of worse carbs to consume. 

This recipe is soy-free. Vegetarian-friendly. Low-cholesterol food. High in protein, magnesium, and fiber.  

Products used in this recipe

CampMIX

 

 
 

Hello? Is It Cheese You're Looking For?

March 7, 2017, USA Today published an article titled Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'. I 100% believe it. There is something about cheese when it's listed on a menu. A gleam in one's eye. The giddiness inside.

My relationship with cheese is complicated. When I was young whether my grandma was visiting our home or my family was visiting hers, she'd cook delicious food for us. Every single meal. Most contained cheese. One of the favorites was her fried macaroni and cheese. Nothing fancy but she made it with love. The crispy noodles mixed with creamy cheese was on another level for a nine-year-olds palette. I've mimicked the recipe, but it's not the same. It's not my grandma's.

I decided to create my own.

Soy-free. Lactose-free. Vegetarian-friendly. No noodles.  

What the heck is it?

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake.

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Activate watering of the mouth. 

Spaghetti Squash. Cheese. Basil.

The trifecta of awesomeness. 

As I've stated in a previous recipe I cook the squash the night before, The Foolproof, Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Spaghetti Squash, I add a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil for aromatics.

The end result is cheesy goodness.

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Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash

3 tbsp of Earth Balance Soy-free butter

3 tbsp of ap flour or your flour of choice

2 cups of coconut milk (I use VitaCoco Original)

1 tablespoon of Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Cream

A handful of fresh basil leaves

3/4 tbsp CampMIX or create your mixture of garlic salt, salt, garlic powder, celery salt, black pepper. I recommend tasting as you go. 

1 block of Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar (Shred the entire block) 

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 390.

Mince basil leaves. 

In a medium saucepan or cast iron pot on low-medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in flour until small lumps form. Add coconut milk and continue to whisk until smooth. Add seasonings salt, basil, whisk and simmer for about 2 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened. Add the cheese and whisk until smooth. 

Add spaghetti squash. Stir and blend carefully.

In an 8x8 Pyrex dish pour in the cheesy awesomeness. A 10" cast iron pan is also an option.

I have an electric oven--miss our gas oven--I cook the squash for 5-7 minutes. Then I switch to broil on high. Check every couple of minutes until golden brown.

This entire dish is 5-6 servings depending on the portion size your spouse or children dish out. My husband dishes heavy.

The leftovers are perfect to fry up the next day. Too bad I never have any leftovers which I guess is a compliment.

Now go make this dish and make it your own.         

 

 

 

Fresh Basil Pesto Grilled Cheese - The Ultimate Comfort Food

Pesto. 

It's a favorite in our household. I recently posted my Pesto Spaghetti Squash recipe and though I did post my pesto recipe I have a different I use for pesto grilled cheese. Who doesn't love gooey grilled cheese? I have fond memories of my dad making me a grilled cheese with Velvetta when I was young. I'd dip mine in Ketchup just as he did. My son did the same. 

There is something about the buttery toasted bread and melty cheese which brings warmth and happiness to my soul. My husband loves grilled cheese with soup. Especially when he is feeling under the weather--mancold--he requests my grilled cheese for every meal. 

My pesto is different because I don't use pine nuts, parmesan cheese, or any other oils besides light tasting olive oil. Most pestos at local supermarkets contain ingredients myself or my husband cannot have. The mint and Meyer lemon add a twist to the original. Sweet and citrus.     

My pan of choice is the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, but I did recently purchase the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler and will have to test out the panini action on it. An air fryer is also a great way to make grilled cheese. I set my air fryer at 360. Cook until golden brown.   

My husbands favorite part of the grilled cheese is that I sprinkle CampMIX on the outside of the sourdough bread. Adds a little something. Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar is OUR cheese. It blends perfectly with whatever you are cooking, lasagna, tacos, or pesto grilled cheese. It's creamy but has a bit of a bite like parmesan but without the stink--my dad's observation.

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First bite?

Euphoric. 

The mix of fresh basil, butter, seasonings and the blend of delicate but robust cheese, oh my goodness. I could eat this every day.

The perfect comfort food.  

Next up on my recipe list is Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake. Yeah, it's kind of amazing. Especially for those who crave mac and cheese but the ingredients from back in the day don't work anymore. I have you covered. Also, an excellent comfort food dish.

I don't feel I have to go into great detail on how to make a grilled cheese. I tend to keep my electric stove about six because the cast iron heats up quickly. 

Ingredients for Pesto

Basil

About 1/4 cup minced garlic

1 cup extra light olive oil 

A few mint leaves

Squirt of Meyer Lemon

Dash of crushed red pepper

Dash CampMix 

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top with basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Blend. After I dry mix, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I found this method blends better especially if some of the basil and mint leaves don't thoroughly chop up. 

Add the olive oil and lemon (watch out for the seeds). Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add but you can't take away.

* I stick with sourdough bread because Publix makes it without soybean oil. But you can use whatever bread you want. *

Happy rustic cooking! 

 

 

    

 

  

I Speak French Fries

My son is a die-hard french fry fanatic. Since he was little, it was all about the french fries and ketchup. Ore Ida was our go-to brand until I started to read the ingredients. In 2015 I was diagnosed with a soy allergy, on top of already having a sensitivity to lactose. Did I mention I have IBS? Good times. My initial thought was, what the hell am I going to eat? Soy is in almost EVERYTHING. Even vitamins and seasonings. The IBS peppermint oil capsules I was taking had soy in them. Really? 

Since then I've educated myself about food, as has our son. When he read soybean oil on the ingredient list for Ore Ida french fries, Logan no longer wanted to eat them, and we didn't blame him. 

                                                                Ew

                                                                Ew

Our solution was simple. Make homemade fries in our air fryer

We searched on Amazon for a fry cutter and found this beauty.

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New Star Foodservice 43204 Commercial Grade French Fry Cutter for $89.95. We could hand cut the potatoes, but we decided to go this route. Easy to cut and easy cleanup. Worth the investment. 

Let's get to the good stuff. How to make delicious homemade french fries with a bit of olive oil and seasonings.

I use russet potatoes. Skin and everything. Put your potatoes in the refrigerator. They will cut easier.

For two people I use three potatoes really, it depends on the size of the potatoes. When our son has his friends over the teenagers can quickly go through 5lbs of potatoes. The homemade fries are a huge deal for them.

You'll get an arm workout. But the suction cups help a great deal. I tip the bowl into the fry cutter; the potatoes fall right in. 

Preheat the air fryer to 380

In the bowl drizzle light tasting olive oil over the potatoes. Shake. Add your favorite seasoning. I prefer CampMix (my go to), but you can use season salt or just salt and pepper. It depends on the level you enjoy your fries. Some like salty and crispy others like less salt and not full-on crispy. 

Pour into the air fryer basket. Cook for about 25-30 minutes. Depending on desired crispiness. Every 7-10 minutes shake the potatoes in the basket or use a spatula to move them about for an even cook. 

I add a dash of salt and boom! Delicious homemade fries without all the ick ingrediants.

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Is it more work than popping fries in the microwave or oven? Yes. But I feel there is value to homemade meals. You know what you are eating. You're feeding your body a better way. It's also fun when the family gets involved. For us, cooking together is our time to talk about our day, discuss life, or sing weird songs. We have food fights. We get messy. We have fun and enjoy one another. Cooking for my boys brings me happiness, it's also an excellent stress reliever. My recipes may not look fancy. I don't do the videos. My camera is six years old. But I cook from the heart, and I want to share my joy with you. 

If you make one of my recipes, please let me know how it turns out. What personal touch did you add? I'd love to see your photos. 

Now get yourself an air fryer. Trust me; you'll thank me later. 

What You'll Need:

Air Fryer - preheat 380

A way to slice the potatoes into even cuts

1 bag of russet potatoes - use as many as you want

Light tasting olive oil

Seasonings of your choice (Uber fan of CampMIX)

Products used in this recipe.