You can tell by the picture above that we had lots of fun giving organizing tips and good wine and food this afternoon! We were on location today – at the Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center in Atlanta – cooking up the best of the season’s tomatoes and fridge-talking.

After a wonderful sip of Prosecco – Ogio (Kroger on sale right now for about $12), Carrie shared her first tip of the day

  1. Go through your refrigerator regularly, I’d suggest weekly—I like to do this on Sunday afternoon.. For extra credit, use this time to plan your meals for the week and make your grocery list. If you stay on top of this you don’t have such a tedious job further down the road.

And I talked jarred tomato sauce. Our last Facebook LIVE found me dissing the sauce in a jar – so I gave some hints about how to be a label detective when you purchased prepared:

Make sure to check out the sugar and salt levels in the jarred sauce – some of the ones on the shelf where super high in salt and sugar. Do a little comparison shopping and scope out the nutrition labels to discover the best you can buy. Just because it says “organic” or non-GMO doesn’t mean its perfect. Last but not least, try to buy the sauce that has the fewest ingredients. You can always add your mushrooms or meat, sausage or onions.

Next up Carrie talked CLEAN!

  1. For the major clean out, take everything out. Wipe down the shelves and cubbies so that everything is clean.
  2. Check expiration dates on all of the food you took out. Toss anything that is close to or past due. The smell test works well but if you’ve got a date, go by that.
  3. Sort the food on the counter by type: put condiments together, fruits, vegetables, leftovers or food that doesn’t require cooking, meats, cheeses, etc.
  4. Your refrigerator is coldest at the bottom and warmest at the top. The bottom should be where you store meats, dairy, eggs (in carton) and the top should be the foods that need less cool temps like food that is already cooked or leftovers. Veggies, in general, need more humidity than fruit so store them in plastic bags in “high humidity” drawer. Fruits can go in “low humidity” drawer.
  5. Store meats in shallow plastic bins to prevent juices from contaminating food stored in drawers.
  6. Condiments can go in door spaces. Store like with like: pickles, condiments, sauces, etc together with other like items.

And I poured a Ferrari Carano Dry Sangiovese Rose. In the spirit of our tomato sauce, I chose a rose of Sangiovese, the primary grape of Chianti. This delicious quaffer is from California and a great partner to a fresher-tasting  tomato sauce.(About $17 from a favorite wine store.)

I had cooked up a big pot of Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce and I shared the recipe for my easy tomato sauce – anyone can make it! Everyone thinks  of tomato sauce as Italian, but its a primary component in lots of Mediterranean cuisines. I learned how to make this one in Provence!

Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce

  • 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Minced Yellow Onion
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Italian Seasoning or Herbes de Provence
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Sea Salt
  • 4 Grated Garlic Cloves
  • 2 (28 oz) Cans of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • **Bouquet Garni

Cook the onion, turmeric, pepper and salt in the oil – in a large saucepan over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute more. Add the tomatoes and the bouquet garni to the pan. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until thicker.

**Bouquet Garni is “Kitchen Talk” for a bundle of herbs, tied together with kitchen string – no chopping required! Just grab about 6 stems of herbs, (your choice), and tie them together to amp up the flavor any dish!

After the sauce, Carrie gave us a list of what NOT to put in the fridge, and shared a couple of super tools for great storage in the fridge

  • Bananas
  • Bread
  • Citrus unless it’s over 3-6 days old
  • Coffee
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

And then we dug into the Tomato and Feta Gratin and Baked Ratatouille along with a taste of  Chianti Classico – made from Sangiovese and a awesome buy for about $14 from Costco! Lots of smoky cherry flavor for a fabulous price.

Baked Ratatouille with Goat Cheese

  • 1 Large or 2 Small Eggplants, Sliced in ½” Rounds
  • 3 Large Zucchini, Sliced in ½” Rounds
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 TB Italian Seasoning
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 Recipe Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce*
  • 15 OZ Goat Cheese, Sliced in Rounds ½” Thick
  • Julienned Fresh Basil for Garnish

Step One Toss the sliced eggplant and zucchini together with the olive oil, Italian seasoning and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread them out on a sheet pan and roast in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, turning them once. Turn the oven down to 350F.

Step Two Layer the eggplant and the zucchini in a 9” x 12” lasagna pan. Top with the tomato sauce, cover with aluminum foil and place back in the oven. Cook at 350F for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, take off the foil and place the goat cheese in two rows. Place the pan back in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melting. Set aside for 15 minutes. When it has slightly cooled, spread the basil over the cheese and serve.

What fun! If you haven’t checked it out yet – click here for the video:

Join us on the 21st 2 PM EST to Drink Wine, Get Organized and learn more about how to make your life easier and MORE tasty!

Tomato and Feta Gratin

  • 1/2 Recipe Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce
  • 8 Ounces Feta, Crumbled
  • ½ Cup Kalamata Olives, Coarsely Chopped

In a shallow ceramic dish, (or a gratin dish), place the tomato sauce, top with the crumbled Feta and Olives. Put it under the broiler until the cheese melts. Serve with toasted baguette slices. Unbelievably good!

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