cooking up a storm

generally, i like to cook. i do. i'm not a gourmet by any stretch, but i like to try new recipes and i like to look for new ways to cook healthy recipes for my little family. my sources come from lots of places...weight watchers, cooking light magazine, allrecipes.com. and with noah, i've found new places for recipes specially designed for little ones...because as any mama knows, feeding a toddler can be one of life's great mysteries and challenges.

last weekend's perfect combo of fall weather and feeling like i needed to get my stuff together in the kitchen was just the kick in the you-know-what i needed to get cooking again. (because let's face it, i've been slacking in the cooking realm. like big time.) so one trip to the grocery store later and i was dragging out every kitchen toy i have...the crock pot, the large stock pot, the food processor, the list goes on...

it started with homemade pasta sauce. i'll admit it, we've been a ragu family for as long as i can remember. but i was given this recipe (and a sample) of a sauce that my neighbor makes. let's say i was intrigued and felt this sense of guilt...like why wasn't i making pasta sauce, instead of buying it? (i know, it's a weird guilt.) but the sauce was so good that i just had to make it. out came the crock pot and the super simple ingredients...and about three hours later, we had a triple batch of homemade pasta sauce! (sharing the easy recipe below)

super simple pasta sauce

from: one of my awesome neighbors (you know who you are!)

*note: below will make a single batch...i tripled to make a bunch and freeze!

1 - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 T. olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 t. red pepper flakes (can leave out)

1/2 t. dried basil

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. sugar

this is the super simple part. mix all ingredients together in crock pot, and turn on low. for the triple batch, i let it simmer on low for about three hours. once finished, i portioned out the sauce in freezer bags to keep a stash on hand. super, super simple and really, really good!

then came the homemade hummus. it's a staple in our house and in noah's diet. i had been buying hummus and when i figured out that we were going through a container of it in about a day, and i could make more of it for less than buying it, i went for it. again, super, super simple, and it takes about five minutes to get it all together.

homemade hummus

from: another great neighbor (aka noah's "jenny")

1-15-1/2 ounce can of chick peas (drain liquid and save)

1/4 c. tahini

1 clove garlic (i use minced garlic and it works great)

1/2 t. salt

1/4 c. lemon juice (or to taste)

combine all ingredients in food processor, adding only enough of the saved liquid to your thinness/thickness preference. blend for 2-3 minutes to a smooth paste. if you serve right away, you can add some olive oil, or if you are like me, i keep enough on hand for noah...he loves it with carrot sticks.

the cooking continued, but i'll save those recipes for another time. these are just a few of my new favorites that are really super easy and are big time staples for us. if you get to try them and they work for you, i'd love to hear from you!

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