Pizza Sauce

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Why buy pre-made pizza sauce when it’s so easy to make yourself with pantry-friendly ingredients?  Who knows.  Well, ok, I do know: because it’s very convenient to go to a store and buy a bottle and of course I’m guilty of his too on the occasion.  HOWEVER, with a little planning ahead, I prefer to make my own.  Simply put, I believe it just tastes nicer, and (like everything that a person makes for themselves) I know what’s in it.


Make this sauce while you’re waiting for pizza dough to proof.

  • 1 can of plain tomato paste (156 mL)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 3 tsp finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or substitute 1 tsp of dried garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  1. In small bowl, combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least ~15 minutes before using.  Use right away on pizza or as desired, keep refrigerated for 2-3 days, or (what I like to do) make a bigger batch of it then portion it out and freeze it for future use.

Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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This barbecue sauce-making adventure began with a salad dressing recipe, strangely enough. For the back-story read this previous post on my experiments with homemade raspberry vinegar.  A long story short, I ended up with some vinegar-soaked raspberries that I needed to find a use for.  After it was all said and done, I will admit I’m happier about the sauce than I was the vinegar.


This sauce is great on steak, burgers, probably anything else you can think to slather it on.  The berry flavour was quite subtle, and the chipotles provide a nice hum of heat.  On my first go-around with this recipe, I was a bit too bold with the chipotles and added 5 or 6 of them (they looked so small)… next time I will stick with 2.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries (and/or mix in some blackberries as well)
  • 1 can of plain tomato sauce (398 mL)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp cooking molasses
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp honey (or coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan.  Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and puree  the mixture until a smooth consistency and there are no big pieces remaining.
  3. Over medium heat, simmer for ~30 min or until sauce thickens.
  4. Store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week and/or freeze in freezer safe containers for longer-term storage and future use.

Sweet Chilli Thai Sauce

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Slow cooker chicken and rice was on the menu for dinner tonight, though it needed something to make it interesting– Sweet Chilli Thai Sauce.  Now I didn’t actually have any, nor was I going out to buy any- so I modified a recipe to suit what pantry ingredients I did have.  The result was a fantastic sauce!


This would be great with fresh ginger, garlic, and chillies as well- but still great with pantry-friendly ingredients.

PREP TIME: 5 min     COOK TIME: 15 min     TOTAL TIME: 20 min     YIELD: 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  1. Combine water and vinegar in saucepan, bring to boil over high heat.
  2. Stir in sugar, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and ketchup.  Simmer for 5 minutes
  3. Stir in cornstarch.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, use as desired or transfer to sealed container and refrigerate until needed.

Basil Pesto

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This is my all-time favorite pesto recipe, and one of my favorite recipes period.  It’s great with pastas, gnocchi, paninis or sandwiches for a quick meal, and can be used in various other recipes.

I realize it may seem like a daunting task to make your own pesto when it’s just so convenient to buy it in a jar- but trust me, the taste and freshness is well worth making your own.  If you’re still hung up on the convenience of pre-made pesto, why not make a large batch, portion it, then freeze it for future use (otherwise known as “freezer cooking”)?  This is especially great when you can find a large bunch of basil at your local grocery store, or if you grow it yourself.

Unfortunately, between the cats and myself, we tend to kill any poor houseplants (including herbs) that find their way into our home.  But luckily, our local italian market sells large bunches of basil for cheap.

PREP TIME: 20 min    COOK TIME: 0 min    TOTAL TIME: 20 min    YIELD: 4
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp of pine nuts (or pistachios)
  • 1 walnut (optional if you don’t happen to have any)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (or just more Parmesan if you don’t have any or can’t find any)
  • pinch of salt
  1. Mince garlic and add a little bit of oil then add the pine nuts and walnut and blend; I prefer using a hand mixer, but a food processor should do the job.
  2. Add the basil and a pinch of salt then blend a bit at a time turning the food processor on and off rather than letting it run continuously so you don’t “cook” the basil.
  3. Add the oil blend again (not too much).
  4. When the pesto reaches a smooth consistency put it in a bowl, add the cheese and lemon juice and combine well using a wooden spoon. Presto, pesto!

Because I usually just make this for my husband and myself, I would divide up this recipe and reserve half for another day. Often I will double or triple this recipe and divide accordingly and freeze for future use. I find a convenient way to do this is by dividing the pesto using a silicone muffin pan, freezing then removing the “frozen pesto discs” and storing in a freezer bag.  I hope you enjoy!