Fries + Tomato Sauce = Delicious

12 12 2012

When I was in Chicago for my friend Leah’s birthday, we went to this restaurant called Three Aces. I had a brussels sprouts pizzeta, which was really yummy. But what really stole the show was our appetizer- the Bolognese fries. I wasn’t really expecting much- I mean, its just fries in a meat sauce, but holy cow, these things were delicious! I have been dreaming about recreating that dish ever since.

I finally had a chance, with my own spin on it.


Bolognese fries are a pretty simple concept:  Makes some fries, heat some sauce, combine and voila! It could EASILY be made with frozen fries (I don’t judge!) and a jar of tomato sauce. Easy peasy.

I decided to take it up a notch and make my own fries and perk up the sauce with some sausage, onions and fresh basil.

I guess the whole topping fries with a gravy (sauce) is a spin on poutine, but I don’t really like the word “poutine.” Is it Poo- teen? Or Pout- ine? I dunno; let’s just call this Rutabaga Fries in Meat Sauce.



1 rutabaga, ~2 lbs
1-2 Tbs olive oil
Black truffle salt to taste (or regular salt)
1 jar of pasta sauce (your choice)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1/2 onion, diced
4-5 leaves of fresh basil
fresh shredded parmesan

How To:

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Peel and chop the rutabaga.


In a bowl, toss the rutabaga with the olive oil and salt.


black truffle salt

I got this salt at Downtown Disney back in October, and I’ve been dying to use it. Unfortunately, I was too stingy when I added it to my fries, because I couldn’t taste it at all! Of course, the flavored salt is optional. Regular salt will work just fine here.

Spread the fries out evenly on a baking sheet in one layer. When the oven is ready, bake them about 25 minutes, flipping once. Depending on your cookie sheet, you may need to bake these in two batches.

Meanwhile, make your meat sauce.

Brown the sausage in a frying pan.


When it’s done, remove it from the pan (I put it on a plate with a paper towel to soak up some of the oil).

Saute the onion, so that it becomes soft and translucent. Add the meat back into the pan with the onions. Pour in the sauce and season with the fresh basil.


Your fries should be just about done at this point. When they’re baked through, pull them out of the oven.


Top the fries with sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan, and you’re all set!


Lazy Weeknight Meal

11 04 2012

Shortly after I moved to Tampa, Courtney invited me to come swim with her and a few others a few nights a week. I’ve finally started to settle into a routine, and have been regularly swimming twice a week since about the middle of February. Man, it feels good to be back in the water.

I miss these ladies 😦

On Monday night, I swam with Felipe and Jess (Courtney and Chuck, we missed you!!), and boy, did that practice kick my butt! After a 600 warm up, and an 8 x 100 pull set, we got down to business and did 4 x 300. Each 300 was 100 FAST, 100 settle, 100 FAST. That set certainly got my heart pumpin’. And if that wasn’t enough, we did 5 x 100 on the 2:00–> Lots of rest = GO HARD. That was more fast swimming then I had done in awhile, and it hurt so good!

It was also one of those practices where you get home and say, “I really don’t feel like cooking dinner.” I had eaten out for lunch, and didn’t want to eat out again, so I opted to see what I could whip up with what I had on hand. I had some veggies in the fridge, and some leftover pasta sauce that I had doctored up with some garlic and wine. So I threw together some easy Polenta with veggies, topped with a fried egg for some extra protein.

Ok, so it might not look THAT appetizing, but it certainly hit the spot! And, it was ready in less than 15 minutes! Perfect post-swim dinner. 🙂

Italian Polenta with Veggies (for one)


1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
Salt (to taste)
Romano or Parmesean cheese, grated (use as much as you like)
1 clove garlic
Cornmeal (about 1/3 cup)
Pasta Sauce (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
a handful of spinach
a handful of mushrooms
1 egg

How to:

Pour the milk and water together in a small saucepan with a clove of garlic. Bring it to a light boil. (I do half milk and half water, but you can do all milk or all water if you prefer). While that comes to a boil, saute the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil. Throw in the spinach when the mushrooms are just about done, so it wilts. Then, mix the tomato sauce in with the veggies and heat through. (If you don’t want to dirty another pan, you can wait until the polenta is done, pour the polenta into your serving dish, and then use that saucepan to heat the sauce. There may be a few polena remnants, but that’s not a big deal!)

When the milk is lightly boiling, take out the garlic clove, and then pour in the cornmeal a little at a time and whisk well. It will thicken quickly if you pour too fast! When you get to the desired consistency, stir in some romano cheese, then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a fying pan, fry your egg the way you like it.

In a bowl, layer the polenta, the veggies, top with an egg and sprinkle on some more cheese. Dig in!

Easy peasy!

Question of the day: What’s your easy go-to dinner?

Jealous Tomatoes

29 07 2011

So, I got these guys in my CSA box last week.

Aren’t they purty? They were getting a little jealous of all the beautiful tomatoes I saw at the market over the weekend. They were annoyed that I wasn’t giving them the proper attention and having a photoshoot with them!

Well, I had special plans for them.

I saw Jenna’s recipe for Gnocchi with goat cheese, grape tomatoes, and basil, and immediately starred it in my Google Reader. Tomatoes + Basil + Goat Cheese? Yes please. I mean, what doesn’t taste good with goat cheese? Especially when the recipe calls for a “log” of it (6oz).


Anyhow, I realized I had everything I needed, except for the gnocchi, but I did have some angel hair pasta. Hmmm…

I wanted a bit more protein in my meal too, so I looked in my pantry and pulled out some cannelini beans. I also found some walnuts while in there, which I thought would be a nice addition too. There’s a lot more in my pantry…but yeah, its a little very disorganized and not exactly blog worthy.

What else from my CSA needed to be used up before Wednesday? A squash! My take on Jenna’s pasta dish was formulating very clearly in my head at this point.

So, I present to you, Steph’s Angel Hair Pasta with tomatoes, basil, squash, white beans, walnuts and goat cheese! (That’s a mouth full, so if you just want to call it angel hair pasta with veggies and goat cheese, that’s cool too)


angel hair pasta (I had about 1/4 of a box left)

1/2 cup reserved pasta water

1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

1 tomato, roughly chopped

1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/8 in rounds

1 can cannellini beans

1 small log of goat cheese

handful chopped walnuts (optional)

handful fresh basil, torn

EVOO, for sauteeing squash

salt and pepper, to taste

How to:

Cook pasta as directed on package.

While you are waiting for you water to boil and pasta to cook, saute the squash in a little EVOO. Turn off the heat, and add the tomatoes and beans.

When the pasta is done, drain the water, reserving about a half cup of the water. Dump the pasta into the pan with the squash and tomatoes.

Add the water and cheese to the pasta and veggies. Stir well to melt the cheese.

Stir in basil and walnuts.

Season with salt and pepper.


Question of the day: What’s your favorite food combo?