In Part 1 of this blog, I covered the Seven Essential Mother Sauces that every frugal cook should master. Most are simple, they just take a bit of practice and time. Using these sauces as my inspiration, I have created over time, the seven sister sauces that are not only cheap and frugal but quick to whip up:
- Nutty Red Pepper. This sauce/dip is very versatile. I’ve used in on many varieties of cooked pasta and as a dip for crunchy vegetables. It is also great on a burger or even a sturdy piece of fish.
- Ranchero. This sauce is great for using up veggies in the bin. It is mild but the heat level can be ramped up easily. I use it over breakfast eggs, all my Mexican entrees and even as a salsa like dip for chips. Bonus, it freezes great.
- Peanut. This blender bender works great on all sorts of grains and noodles and is perfect in any Asian food application. I always use up the last bit of chicken stock for this sauce.
- Verdant Green. Perfect for when I am cleaning out my herb garden and veggie bin. It is fresh and piquant yet a bit on the delicate side. It works best on seafood but can still hold up to a burger or steak on the grill.
- Just Chocolate. Who doesn’t need the perfect chocolate sauce? Enough said.
- Very Berry. I save all my leftover berries and fruit and freeze them until I am ready to make this to serve over cakes and ice cream.
- Fresh Tomato. This nearly raw sauce is best served on a very hot or nearly no cook day. It’s great over any type of pasta or spooned over chicken breasts or other protein.
These sauces take advantage of every scrap from your veggie bin as well as a few dollar store items.
Nutty Red Pepper
1 small dollar store jar of roasted red peppers
1/2 cup whatever nuts you have on hand; walnuts, almonds, etc.
4 cloves garlic smashed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon or to taste red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 slices of toasted bread, almost any kind will do
Drain the roasted red peppers and place in a blender or food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil and start the motor. Drizzle in the oil until sauce is smooth and well mixed. Makes a great dip as well.
1 large onion, cut up roughly
Six garlic cloves smashed
4 to 6 older tomatoes, hopefully from your countertop or garden, toughly chopped
1 fresh hot pepper, garden as well
Fistful of parsley, basil, green onions, oregano and any other herbs you can scrounge from your garden
1 15 oz. can roasted, diced tomatoes
3-5 dried peppers (I just pull from my dried Mexican pepper stash) (Note, you can buy dried Mexican peppers of many varieties at a discount grocery store or even the dollar store)
1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon each: pepper, garlic salt, cumin, chili powder
Roast the onion and cut fresh pepper in a dry iron skillet until each has brown marks. Toss in the smashed garlic and stir for a minute or two, careful to not let the garlic burn. Add the dried peppers and let roast for another minute or so before adding in both canned and fresh tomatoes, oil and seasonings. Let bubble on the stove for at least 30 mintues on low. Turn off the heat and allow to cool before blending in either a food processor or blender until well blended. Adjust the seasonings as needed, freezes wonderfully well.
1/2 cup peanut butter (can be older and something you are loathe to toss out, aka, older peanut butter)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
Chili sauce to taste, about a tablespoon
1/2 cup of something from nothing chicken stock
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Splash sesame oil
Knob of ginger root, about the size of your thumb
Stick everything in a blender and let it blend until smooth. Thin with a bit of hot water if necessary, keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.
6 large garlic cloves, smashed
3 cups of herbs; oregano, basil, parsley with a bit of rosemary, thyme and a pinch of sage thrown in for good measure. Basically clean out the garden
4-6 green onion stalks
Olive oil to emmulsify
Red pepper flakes and kosher salt to taste
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
Blend herbs, green onions and garlic in a food processor or blender with spices. Drizzle in olive oil until you have a smooth paste. Thin with a bit of hot water if needed.
Half a bag of leftover chocolate chips (about 6 ounces or so)
Heavy cream, up to about two tablespoons
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Melt the chips over boiling water in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream and seasonings. You can add a splash of brandy or whisky for an adult treat.
Very Berry Sauce
2 to 3 cups of fresh berries, any type you like (I use blueberries, blackberries and raspberries as a rule)
1 cup fresh stone fruit such as peaches, plums, nectarines, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed if you have lemons on hand
Cook the berries and fruit with the sugar and lemon juice until thick and bubbly before passing through a fine sieve. Cool and use to top ice cream, cakes, etc. Freezes well.
3 cups fresh, sliced tomatoes, any kind will do but garden picked is best
1 cup thinly sliced onions, any kind will do
6 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon or to taste crushed red pepper flakes
2 lemons, thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil and basil for garnish
Work fast on this one! Heat a tablespoon or so of the olive oil in a skillet (cast iron is best) until very hot and quickly sauté the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so being careful not to burn the garlic. Toss in the lemon slices and allow to cook for another minute or so. Add the tomatoes and stir them around for a minute, no longer. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste and use immediately over hot pasta or grain of your choice. Garnish with torn, fresh basil. This sauce is summer on a plate.