These delicious homemade sauces are easy to make will amp up everyday dishes. By Frank P. Melodia, REDBOOK.
Lemon-herb caperGREAT WITH: Boneless chicken breasts; flaky, white fish fillets; and steamed vegetables. The tangy capers and fresh herbs perk up any simple dish.
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp minced shallot
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup dry white wine
1 tsp grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp each lemon juice and capers
¼ tsp ground white or black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, cilantro, or mint)
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until tender.
2. Stir in flour.
Pour in broth and continue stirring for 1 minute. Add wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and pepper. Continue to stir and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in herbs. Use immediately or store in refrigerator up to one week.
Makes 1 cup.
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15-minute marinara GREAT WITH: Spaghetti, penne with vodka sauce (just add ⅓ cup cream and ¾ cup vodka), lasagna, and meatballs.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes (like San Marzano)
½ tsp kosher salt
8 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1. Heat oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Smash garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and add to oil with pepper flakes. Cook until garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat until slightly thickened, 12 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Can be stored in refrigerator up to one week, or frozen.
Makes 3 cups.
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Classic brown butter
Classic brown butterGREAT WITH: Ravioli, tortellini, and other stuffed pastas, as well as sautéed fish. This rich, nutty sauce is also delicious with steamed lobster or drizzled over grilled chicken, steak, or vegetables.
1 stick of cold, unsalted butter
1. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat, swirling occasionally to ensure that it cooks evenly.
2. After a few minutes, the butter will begin to foam. As the foam settles into the bottom of the pan, the solids will begin to darken.
3. When butter starts to turn a caramel color with a rich, nutty aroma, decrease heat so the solids don't burn. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool about 5 minutes. Serve or, once butter is completely cool, store it covered in refrigerator for two weeks, or freeze it in an ice-cube tray and defrost a cube or two per use.
Makes ½ cup.
Related: Lighten Up Your Fall Comfort Foods
Speedy stir-fryGREAT WITH: Any combination of meat and vegetables. Just toss ingredients with the sauce and stir-fry in a little oil.
½ cup each low-sodium soy sauce and low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1½ Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp each grated fresh ginger and minced garlic
Prep: Whisk soy sauce, broth, brown sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and sriracha in a 2-cup glass measure. In a small cup, dissolve cornstarch in water.
1. Heat oil in a saucepan and add ginger and garlic. Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
2. Add soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.
3. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Boil gently 1 minute, stirring constantly, until thickened. Optional: Stir in some sesame seeds. Can be stored in refrigerator up to two weeks. Use ¼ cup per stir-fry.
Makes 1½ cups.
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