Dec 29 2009

MadMan Dan’s Antimario Pasta Sauce

Did you ever wonder why spaghetti sauce is cheaper than just plain tomato sauce? Let’s put it this way: would you put carrots in your spaghetti? Heck no, you wouldn’t. You also wouldn’t add all the other stuff on the side of the can that those guys add.

Today I made my best batch of homemade pasta sauce EVAH. Here’s the recipe:

MadMan Dan’s Antimario* Pasta Sauce


  • 2 onions
  • ~1 lb hamburger
  • 1 tube R.B. Rice Italian sausage
  • 3 29 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 3 TBL basil
  • 3 TBL oregano
  • 3 TBL minced garlic


  • cast iron skillet
  • large pot


  1. In the large pot, combine tomato sauce, 2 TBL basil, 2 TBL oregano, 2 TBL garlic and begin heating on high.
  2. Chop onions into small pieces and sauté in the cast iron skillet in either garlic oil or olive oil. Sauté the onions until they are translucent, then mix into the sauce.
  3. In the cast iron skillet, combine hamburger, sausage, 1 TBL basil, 1 TBL oregano, and 1 TBL garlic. Stir together, and when the meat is brown, drain off the grease and mix into the tomato sauce.
  4. Continue heating sauce until it begins bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is nice and thick, then remove from heat.
  5. Pasta is always better after it has stuck in the fridge for several hours, so if you have already cooked your noodles (I use rotini almost exclusively–more surface area to hold sauce) then add them to the sauce and stick it in the fridge.

Enjoy! Prep time is pretty short; I made this whole dish in just about an hour.

Also, why Antimario? Because I don’t like mushrooms in my pasta sauce.

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Dec 28 2009

MadMan Dan’s Emerald Isle Stew

Just in time for Christmas New Year’s! You wanna make some yourself? Here’s the recipe:

MadMan Dan’s Emerald Isle Stew

  • 6 potatoes
  • 5 carrots
  • 5 sticks of celery
  • 6 leeks
  • 1-3 lb lamb shank / leg of lamb
  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme, (chopped fresh thyme is best, but dried is doable)
  • chicken broth
  • fresh parsley

Hardware required:

  • good, sturdy knife
  • cutting board
  • tablespoon
  • cast iron skillet
  • large pot
  • aluminum foil

This recipe is based on a year of research culminating in the best batch I ever made back in October of this year.

  1. Cut up the potatoes, carrots, and celery into small bit-size pieces.
  2. Cut the whites of the leeks in half lengthwise, and then slice into small pieces
  3. Put all the vegetables into a pitcher. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of thyme and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  4. Pour in chicken broth until it covers all the vegetables. Put a lid on it and stick it in the fridge for 1-4 days (this step is optional, but it was contributory to my best batch of stew ever).
  5. 1-4 days later, cut your lamb shank into bit-size pieces. Set the pieces on the cutting board on the counter and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of dried thyme. Let it sit for a half an hour.
  6. Set aside a sheet of aluminum foil on the counter large enough to contain the cut lamb.
  7. Heat up your cast iron skillet crazy hot and put just a wee bit of oil in the bottom.
  8. Brown your lamb in the skillet. After it is browned, wrap it in the foil from step 6 for 10 minutes, then dump them in the stew.
  9. Bring the stew to a boil for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes.
  10. Chop your fresh parsley and sprinkle on the top of the stew when it’s time to serve.

Like most good food, it tastes better if you stick it in the fridge overnight after cooking.


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Sep 3 2009

Chili season has begun

Sunday I made the first batch of chili of autumn. I know it’s not properly autumn yet, but tell that to our pumpkins that have been orange for a month.

If you don’t know me, I like to cook. I specifically like to cook chili. I started making it 11 years ago, and when I started I had no idea what I was doing. I just followed a recipe from my mother-in-law’s cookbook. I made only one substitution: tomato sauce in place of nasty stewed tomatoes, which have the texture of what I imagine a bladder would feel like on your tongue.

Since then my chili has gone through 3 major revisions. It used to be open source, but after I hit 3.0 the code went proprietary. Sunday I made a major breakthrough which launched MadMan Dan’s Amazing Chili to version 4.o. I don’t know if it was a singular component, or a confluence of three, but it came out great.

My chili is spicy, but not ‘look-how-spicy-I-can-make-my-chili spicy.’ You get a good burn on your tongue and back of your throat, and you break out in a healthy sweat.

While the exact formula is a secret (except to Kaleb), my chili contains: hamburger, steak, onion, chili powder, cayenne pepper, beans, tomato sauce, and other wonderful things.

Yes, yes, some of you are going to tell me that real Texas chili doesn’t have beans in it; blah blah blee blah. Well, I don’t make Texas chili.

I’m sorry, but this is the most mature remark I can make on that subject:

dvd“What’s so great about dumb ‘ol Texas?”

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Jan 25 2009

Black Beans and Rice

It might surprise you that I like to cook. I’m not the best, but I do all right. Here is my recipe for turning a box dinner into an awesome dinner:


  • 7 oz Box Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Black Beans and Rice
  • 8 oz (1/2 package) Johnsonville New Orleans Andouille recipe spicy smoked sausage
  • 7.5 oz (1/2 package) of  Hormel thick cut bone-in smoked pork chops
  • 10 oz can Ro-Tel
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 TBL butter
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 3/4 cups water


  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • 2 quart pot
  • skillet
  • cereal bowl


  1. Put water, butter, bay leaves, Ro-Tel, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce in pot to simmer
  2. Cut the sausages in half lengthwise and then cut into bite-size pieces and add to water
  3. Chop onion into small pieces and put into one of the cereal bowls
  4. Cut the celery stalks lengthwise and then into bite-size pieces and add to onions in cereal bowl
  5. Heat up your skillet on high heat with a blob of bacon grease or olive oil in it
  6. Cut up pork chops into bite-size pieces and put in the skillet
  7. You just want to brown the pork chop pieces, then drop them into the pot
  8. Turn up the heat on the pot to high
  9. Now brown the onion and celery, and drop them into the pot
  10. Once the pot is boiling, add the package of beans & rice, stir it in, and turn the heat to low
  11. Cook about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. If after 25 minutes it is still kind of soupy, I would cook it some more.
  12. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, then serve.


  1. You can use less meat to save money. You can also use ham, if you like. I have used caribou once, but it wasn’t as good.
  2. You can make the dish more spicy by using the Ro-Tel with habaneros.
  3. You can omit the celery if you wish
  4. You can also just combine everything without browning any of the ingredients; it’s up to you.
  5. Be sure not to eat the bay leaves.
  6. Andouille is pronounced “AHN-doo-ee.”
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