How To Make Homemade Tomato Sauce

When you’re an Italian and your name is Anthony and you’re living in New Jersey, it’s a given that you should know how to make tomato sauce from scratch. So here’s my recipe for how to make homemade tomato sauce.

It’s a shame about the whole carbs are bad thing because I could eat pasta or pizza every day of the week. And besides the carbs, both pasta and pizza and have one thing in common that makes them delicious, it’s the tomato sauce. This is post is about how to make homemade tomato sauce for pasta. It’s a meat sauce and it’s great on lasagna or baked ziti or even just plain spaghetti. If you’re goal is to make pizza sauce, you probably don’t want to use this recipe. Now you definitely could use it for homemade pizza if you’re only alternative is something out of a jar. This will be much better than that. But if you do, then add a little oregano when you spread the sauce on the pizza dough and you’ll be fine.
canned tomatoes
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Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

First of all, making a crock pot full of pulled pork is never a bad thing. Especially when you can use it to make more meals the following week. In fact you can make a bunch of great meals with leftover pulled pork. Here’s my favorite leftover pulled pork recipes.

Because, I mean seriously, who wants to cook for hours when you get home from work Monday through Friday? Did you raise your hand?  Me neither. My motto is to make something big on the weekend and then make other recipes using the leftovers. And most of all, with leftover pulled pork you can make some good stuff.

Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes

Pulled Pork Sandwich

 Pulled Pork Sandwich with cole slaw - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
Pulled Pork Sandwich with cole slaw

This is one of the easiest leftover pulled pork recipes that you’ll find. Anyone can make a sandwich. Just put it on a roll and add your favorite BBQ sauce. Sometimes I also like to add some cole slaw to the sandwich. Cole Slaw is an especially good addition if your BBQ sauce has a little zing to it. It balances out the sandwich nicely.

Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe

  • 1 roll
  • 1 cup pulled pork (depends on how big your roll is)
  • 1 cup cole slaw
  • 2 tbs BBQ sauce

Add all ingredients to a roll

Optional – toast the roll


Pulled Pork Tacos

I recently did a post on my Pulled Pork Taco Recipe. This is great when you’re in the mood for Mexican food but you don’t want to load up on beans and cheese. The cilantro and lime flavors with the crispy pulled pork combine for a nice lite and fresh tasting meal.

pulled pork tacos - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
Pulled Pork Tacos



Pulled Pork Monte Cristo

pulled pork monte cristo - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
A Monte Cristo Made With Pulled Pork

Now the Pulled Pork Monte Cristo is the absolute opposite of lite and fresh. This is basically a grilled cheese with meat and maple syrup and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Pulled Pork Monte Cristo Recipe

  • 2 thick slices of Challah Bread
  • 4 slices Swiss Cheese
  • 2 slices Ham (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 cup pulled pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Add eggs, almond milk & cinnamon to bowl and whisk

Place Swiss Cheese, Ham & Pulled Pork on bread

Dunk sandwich into milk mixture trying not to let ingredients slip out and coat both sides of sandwich

Place wet sandwich on hot cast iron skillet or frying pan

Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes

Remove from frying pan and serve with a bowl of maple syrup for dunking


Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese - Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes
Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese

Adding pulled pork is a really good way to make your mac and cheese more exciting. Lobster, duck, brisket, you can add anything to mac and cheese and it’ll still be good. So why not add some pulled pork. BBQ sauce is optional.

I’m not going to do the recipe for this one because I just used frozen mac and cheese from Trader Joe’s. Of course it would taste better if I made it from scratch but sometimes you just have to go with what you have on hand and today frozen mac and cheese from Traders Joe’s got the job done. You can fry up some pulled pork with some butter to make it a little crunchy then add it to your mac and cheese.

So like I said, it doesn’t take a huge effort to cook during the weekend when you took care of the hard part on the weekend. Leftovers are key to eating well when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare your meal. And here are four easy leftover pulled pork recipes that you should remember if you have plan on having leftover pulled pork.

How To Fondue

Fondue ForkHow To Fondue

I’ve been in this food blogging game for a long time. Even before the word blog was invented I had a couple of food related websites up and running way back in 2002. When you want to know how to fondue and searched Google for “Fondue Recipes”, my site was the number one result for many years.

The fondue site was called GoFondue and for back then it was awesome. I hand coded the site in HTML/CSS because back then no one knew what a blog was. And I was always a big fan of fondue. Who doesn’t love hot cheese or chocolate and dunking things. Fondue is good stuff.


I had tons of traffic and make some decent money running ads and using Amazon’s affiliate program. Money that paid for more fondue pots and tons of ingredients for recipe testing. There were no sponsors back then, I paid for everything myself. I tried many different recipes. Some were great, some not so much. I experimented with different cheeses and different ingredients to dip. I was learning more and more about how to fondue everyday. And I put it all on the GoFondue website.


But fondue is much more than hot cheese. I moved on to hot oil and broth fondues where you cook meat and vegetables in the fondue pot. And the recipes that were the most fun to try were for the chocolate fondues. Fondue is the way to go when you want a decadent dessert. And in my house, that was every single night.


Years later, after one of those infamous Goggle updates, I lost all of my traffic. It was sad but I really didn’t dwell on it and just moved on. I was writing on some blogs and I even got a publishing deal to write a Panini Cookbook. The fondue domain came up for renewal and I passed on it. I figured letting the domain expire would be the end of fondue days even though I still had all of these great fondue recipes just sitting on my computer.


Writing The Everything Panini Press Cookbook (Everything Series) for Adams Media was a great experience but it was really hard. I had about 3 months to come up with 300 recipes and do all the writing that goes with a cookbook. Trying out new recipes, cooking and writing are all fun things to spend your time doing. But on a crazy timeline like that, it was very stressful. Mostly I was glad when I finished the book and didn’t really enjoy the process as much as I thought I would.


If I was going to write another cookbook, I thought that i could do it on my own timeline and why not try out self publishing. The publishing industry is really going through an upheaval similar to how the music industry was completely turned on its head by file sharing sites and then by Apple. Amazon Kindle publishing seemed like the way to go so I read all the self publishing books, blogs and listened to the all podcasts I could find until I had a handle on it. There’s always more to learn and to experiment with in the self publishing world but I wanted to get a book out there.


So I took my all of best fondue recipes and wrote a Kindle eBook called How To Fondue. There’s cheese fondue, hot oil fondue, broth fondue and of course there’s dessert fondue recipes in there too. Here’s the link to my book in case you’re interested. By the way fondue pots make for great holiday gifts and why not throw in a Kindle eBook full of great recipes to sweeten the pot.

I enjoyed the self publishing process so much that I plan on doing it again and again. I like how I get to make all the decisions and how it’s totally on me whether the book does well or not. I’ll be writing more about self publishing on this site in upcoming posts. And there should be some more book announcements coming soon too.


Pomegranate Margarita

Pomegranate Margarita

Pomegranate Margarita

Everyone loves margaritas but did you know that with the simple addition of some Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, you can take your margarita to the next level. Why have a regular margarita when you can have a Pomegranate Margarita? Let me tell you why I started making Pomegranate Margaritas.
Pomegranate Margarita

The past couple of summers we have vacationed with a bunch of other families at the Outer Banks, NC. We rent a big 10 bedroom house on the beach with a pool and an elevator and it’s just a great time for everyone. The 13 kids have a blast with minimal parent supervision and the 10 parents have a blast with minimal children supervision.

Me and another Dad like to bring our margarita machines to the beach house. We keep those machines spinning away from the 1st day we get there to the last. But by mid week people tend to get burnt out of all the lime and tequila goodness and want something else.


They say things like, “How about something different?” And “Oh none for me thanks. I’m going to try this slo gin fizz mix that I got at the liquor store.” What you need in this situation is a way to recharge everyone’s margarita batteries. Seriously, if I’m going to lug my margarita machine all the way from New Jersey in my totally stuffed car then we’re going to use it. And the way to use it is with Pomegranate.

Making Pomegranate MargaritasNow I don’t sit there and peel pomegranates and then juice them for hours. No sir, that does not sound like a fun vacation.  All you need is some Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice. Adding Pom Wonderful to the margarita mix gave a nice variation and recharged everyone’s margarita batteries. Now everyone was saying things like, “Wow, can I have another of those Pomegranate Margarita?” and “Man, this slo gin fizz is crap, I’m having a Pom Margarita.”

How to Make A Pomegranate Margarita

Whether you make your margaritas from a pre-made mix or you actually squeeze the limes yourself, just adding a little Pomegranate juice to the mix will do the trick. For a full blender, I like to add about a cup of the pom. If you’re making individual drinks (how’d you get stuck doing that?) add about a shot.


Pomegranate-MargaritasIf you want to rim the glass, regular salt will work just find. To go the extra mile, mix salt and sugar and rim with that. The Pomegranate and the sugar go great together plus you get the regular salty flavor as a bonus.


Garnish with a lime slice or if you want to go all out drop a few pom seeds in there. It’s really not necessary because most people won’t notice them floating at the top of the drink and they could be a choking hazard. Now that is not the way to make a great drink for a memorable vacation.

Cuban Panini

Cuban Panini

It seems like every time I do a post for the food category here on this blog, it winds up being a panini sandwich. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Here let me do a quick mention of The Everything Panini Press Cookbook since I’m the author and now that that’s over with, lets get down to business and make a Cuban Panini.

Cuban Panini
The Cuban sandwich is pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. That much is agreed upon. The part that isn’t set in stone is whether there’s salami on the sandwich or not. I like it with salami and I like it without. Today I’m making it without. I think a more important variation is replacing the mustard with garlic mayonnaise. No one really talks about replacing the mustard in the Cuban sandwich put I’d like to start that conversation at some point because ts a nice variation of the sandwich.

Now to make the Cuban sandwich as a panini, you really don’t need to change much. In fact a lot of times when you order a Cuban or Cubano sandwich as it’s sometimes called, they will press it for you so you get some nice melted cheese. It’s usually not done with a true panini press that has ridges on the grill plates. They will use a flat grill press instead. But I like the ridges that you get when you use a true panini because it makes the bread more interesting.
leftover porkchops
Here’s one of the reasons why I make so many panini sandwiches. It’s because it’s the best way to use your leftovers. I made some pork chops the other night and looking at a Tupperware container of pork chops makes me think Cuban panini. Not a lot of people are going to cook pork specifically to make a sandwich with it. So next time you have some left over pork. Definitely try this Cuban Panini.
Cuban Panini Bread
As with all panini you want a great piece of bread or roll. I went with these good looking ciabatta rolls.

Slice the pork on the thin side. Also slice the pickles. I’m using spears because my wife continues to buy pickle spears even though I’ve gone on the record many times saying that spears are for hunting dinosaurs, not for pickles. But despite this, she always brings home these spears from the supermarket. Ham and cheese is next. Swiss is the way to go but you can Italian the sandwich up a little bit if you use a good provolone instead. If you’re going to use provolone then you should also try the salami variation that I mentioned before. And if you’re going with a variation, try using the garlic mayonnaise too. Just take a cup of mayonnaise and mix it with garlic. A few roasted cloves would be ideal but you can use minced or powered garlic in a pinch. Let it sit a day in the fridge and you’ll really taste the garlic. A cup is way too much for one sandwich so use what you need and you’ll have a lot left over.
leftover sliced porkchops

Assemble the sandwich and put it in a pre-heated panini press that has been coated with a cooking spray. Press it for 3-5 minutes, remove and cut the panini in half. Cuban sandwiches are traditionally cut diagonally.


cuban panini sandwich
cuban panini being pressed
The two most important tips that I shared today are that panini are the best way to use up your leftovers and also that nothing is set in store. Panini with the stuff that you have and don’t be afraid to try new things. Even a popular sandwich like a Cuban can be enjoyed as a panini.

 Cuban Panini

Tomato Mozzarella Panini

tomato mozzarella panini

tomato mozzarella sandwichTomato Mozzarella Panini

I live in a carbohydrate hostile house. My wife lost enough weight over the past few years to be at her ideal weight. And she did it by eating very small meals and by cutting way back on carbohydrates like bread and pasta. Being the author of a panini cookbook hasn’t made meal time easy in our house. I would like to have a sandwich or a panini for lunch every day but she’ll just eat a few slices of cold cuts and maybe a yogurt. Come on, that’s just not fair.


But on Sundays during the summer, things are different.


You see, that’s when my wife and I go to the farmer’s market and pick up a few items for lunch. Even though she’s anti-carb, we still pick up a semolina peasant round from the Amish bakery stand. If you’re not familiar with this bread let me tell you that it’s amazing. Crunchy crust, spongy inside, really the best bread you can get. Even a known carb-hater such as my wife can not turn down this delicious bread. And what I like best about the round shape of this loaf is that when you slice it, you can make a huge sandwich. And huge sandwich is my middle name.


garden tomatoesThe farmers market also has this great Italian stand where these cheese artisans make mozzarella all day long. We buy a big ball of fresh mozzarella and sometimes a few cannoli too but not lately. Oh yeah did I mention that she’s anti-dessert too.

Now don’t get me wrong, she’s doing things the right way. Her eating habits are why she’s thin and she doesn’t even have to jump through the hoops of my oppressive health plan from work. They test your BMI, Cholesterol & blood pressure via an annual blood test. I also have to weigh in and take my blood pressure every week. There are kiosks at work to make it easy to do. Spouses have the same requirements.  But they called my wife and said, you don’t have to do that anymore. You’re BMI is perfect, your cholesterol is good and your blood pressure is normal. Me, not so much.


fresh mozzarella & tomatoThat’s awesome that she’s healthy but it doesn’t make it easy for me to try new recipes and write more cookbooks. So how does this relate to this tomato mozzarella panini? I’m getting to it now.


The Sunday farmer’s market is a treat for the whole family. And we’re Italian so it’s like a rite of passage to have a tomato mozzarella sandwich during the summer.


tomato mozzarella panini sandwichWhether or not we buy tomato at the farmer’s market has to do with what’s going on in my garden. Lately a woodchuck has been eating all of my tomatoes before they ripen so we needed to buy some. But if they’re from my garden or from a farmer’s garden, they don’t taste anything like a tomato from the supermarket. Those things are tasteless. Seriously, they taste like water with a hint of red flavor. Does the color red really even have a flavor? Well judging by these supermarket tomatoes, it does not.


tomato mozzarella paniniMost of the time we’ll slice up the peasant loaf, tomatoes & mozzarella, chop some basil, drizzle with olive oil and generously season with salt & pepper. This is the sandwich of summer. But after a few weeks of this, I decided to add some heat to the mix. The easiest way to make a sandwich even better is turn it into a panini. And that’s exactly what I did.


Here’s the recipe for the panini, not that it’s very difficult. It’s all about the ingredients. Quality ingredients make quality sandwiches. And I will enjoy this quality sandwich every Sunday until the fall.


Tomato Mozzarella Panini
  • Thick cut bread – semolina peasant loaf
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • Garden fresh tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • chopped basil (optional)
Preheat panini press on medium hot setting
Cut bread
Add tomato slices
Add mozzarella slices
drizzle with olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Press in Panini maker for 3-5 minutes
Remove from Panini maker & enjoy!