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  #1  
Old 02-10-2011, 05:06 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Ways to make beans yummy without any meat?

I really like beans. But I like them a whole lot less when they have no meat flavoring of any kind.

So any good suggestions for how to really infuse serious flavor into beans without using meat?
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2011, 05:10 PM
TravisFromOR TravisFromOR is offline
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Brown sugar and smoke flavoring make fine beans.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:11 PM
Stoid Stoid is offline
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Well, I am not into sweet beans, either. But thanks for the suggestion anyway.
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  #4  
Old 02-10-2011, 05:19 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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There are any number of meatless chili recipes.
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2011, 05:19 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Is cheese still on the table? Refried and cheese is a classic combination.
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  #6  
Old 02-10-2011, 05:23 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Liquid Smoke. No, it's not chemical laden frankenfood, it's honest to gosh real smoke, captured into shelf stable liquid.

Or salt and MSG, depending on how you feel about MSG.

Or tomatoes and green chilis. Chili powder, cumin and oregano optional (the more of these you add, the closer it gets to chili.)

Or lots and lots of garlic, onion, oregano and red pepper flakes.

Or, like the song says, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Really, beans have very little flavor of their own, and will happily take on the flavor of many things. Think of your favorite non-bean dinners, and try those flavors in your beans.


Oh, and "they" like to tell you that salt and acids like tomatoes should never be added to uncooked beans, because they'll "never soften". "They" are wrong. Believe me, I've cooked about four gazzillion bean dinners in the last couple of years. They will soften, although the skins will remain intact more, so it might take a little bit longer, and if you want oozy mushy beans, then leave the salt and acid out until the beans are done.

Last edited by WhyNot; 02-10-2011 at 05:24 PM..
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  #7  
Old 02-10-2011, 05:55 PM
janeslogin janeslogin is offline
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Look up red beans and rice.
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  #8  
Old 02-10-2011, 06:26 PM
Jennmonkye Jennmonkye is offline
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Maybe....bacon salt?
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  #9  
Old 02-10-2011, 06:31 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Oh, and "they" like to tell you that salt and acids like tomatoes should never be added to uncooked beans, because they'll "never soften". "They" are wrong. Believe me, I've cooked about four gazzillion bean dinners in the last couple of years. They will soften, although the skins will remain intact more, so it might take a little bit longer, and if you want oozy mushy beans, then leave the salt and acid out until the beans are done.
The stuff about the salt is a load of hogwash, like you say. You're actually supposed to soak the beans in salted water--makes them creamier.

The part about the tomatoes...I'm not quite sure of. This past weekend, I was over at a friend's house and we made some Midwestern-style chili with beans. (His recipe--I tend to go for beanless versions myself.) He soaked all his beans overnight, and then we cooked them (with ground beef) in tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, some beer, and broth. After six hours of cooking, the beans were not very much more tender than when they started. I ended up running out, getting canned beans and beef, straining the original chili, and quickly whipping up a new batch to save the chili part of the dinner.

Now, it could have been that they were old beans--I've had that happen before where beans will not get any softer no matter how long you cook them, because of their age. He swears these beans were bought fairly recently (within the last six months.) So, is the tomato thing definitely a myth (like the salt) or is there something to it?

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-10-2011 at 06:31 PM..
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2011, 07:00 PM
robardin robardin is offline
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Garlic and cilantro. Unless you're one of those "it tastes like bitter soap to me" people, in which case, sorry.

I make a vegetarian dish out of:

1 16-oz. box of macaroni (whole wheat elbow pasta, usually)
1 can of Goya low sodium black beans
diced garlic to taste (I like a lot)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small can of corn niblets
1 or 2 diced jalapenos
chopped cilantro, to taste (I like a lot)
salt, black pepper, white pepper, oregano (I like a lot)
A 25 or 26 oz. jar of marinara sauce (no sugar added)
8-10 oz. of extra sharp cheddar cheese (if possible, from 1% or 2% milk)
about 4 oz. of part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Boil water to make the pasta, and preheat oven to 400F.

In a french oven, I fry the onions, beans and bell peppers in olive oil, then add the other stuff except the pasta (including the cheese), then add the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the cooked pasta and stir after the cheese melts in a bit.

Cover with a layer of mozzarella cheese and put in the oven for 10 minutes.

Ta-da. Costs maybe about $20 and feeds 6-8 people, including vegetarians who eat cheese. (Fortunately I know no vegans, at least not on a dinner guest basis.) Use the money saved on a couple of bottles of nice Chianti or Rioja red wine.
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  #11  
Old 02-10-2011, 07:11 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
So, is the tomato thing definitely a myth (like the salt) or is there something to it?
The tomato thing is a myth. Again, it will make the skins firmer and less prone to "popping", just like salt, but the beans will soften eventually.

Made Hoppin' John on New Year's (vegan, on request) and the tomatoes were in with the beans from the start (well, after soaking), and they did fine. Made chili last week (although the price the market wanted for Kidney Beans was outrageous, so I made it with Pintos), and it was fine, etc.

They do tend, more than beans alone, to go from "Ohmigod, these are hard as a rock, they're NEVER going to soften!!!" to "Mmmm...that's perfect!" very quickly. But yes, I promise, they will soften. At least, my experiences with Black Eyed Peas, Pintos and Great Northerns have been such. Can't recall if I've done Kidney Beans from dry with tomato in them.
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  #12  
Old 02-10-2011, 07:17 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
The tomato thing is a myth. Again, it will make the skins firmer and less prone to "popping", just like salt, but the beans will soften eventually.

Made Hoppin' John on New Year's (vegan, on request) and the tomatoes were in with the beans from the start (well, after soaking), and they did fine. Made chili last week (although the price the market wanted for Kidney Beans was outrageous, so I made it with Pintos), and it was fine, etc.

They do tend, more than beans alone, to go from "Ohmigod, these are hard as a rock, they're NEVER going to soften!!!" to "Mmmm...that's perfect!" very quickly. But yes, I promise, they will soften. At least, my experiences with Black Eyed Peas, Pintos and Great Northerns have been such. Can't recall if I've done Kidney Beans from dry with tomato in them.
That's good to know. I was not very optimistic after six hours of cooking (I've never had presoaked beans take anywhere near that long), and some quick internet research led me to push the panic button. I did tell my friend, though, to keep the ground beef and tomatoes and cook in broth after the party, as I thought it was still salvageable. I guess I should ask how it turned out.
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2011, 07:18 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Chipotles en adobo, and a ton of onions and garlic.
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  #14  
Old 02-10-2011, 07:28 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eva Luna View Post
Chipotles en adobo, and a ton of onions and garlic.
Yeah, this, or smoked paprika (if you don't like the heat from the chipotles) is a pretty good lead. Also, any kind of Indian dal preparation should work fine for beans.
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  #15  
Old 02-10-2011, 09:03 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
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Kemp's black bean template recipe from Epicurious is a staple in our household; we eat it a couple of times a month (and given the quantity of beans it makes, we generally get 3-4 family-size meals from it).

Last night I did a quickie canned-bean dinner:
-Saute an onion in olive oil.
-Add a diced bell pepper (this was something I hadn't done before).
-Add cumin and/or chile powder to taste, as well as salt.
-Add a couple cloves pressed garlic.
-When it smells good and the veggies are tender, drain a can or two of black beans and add them.
-Heat and serve. Partial mashing is optional.

We use this for burritos and quesadillas. The addition of the green pepper gave it a nice fajita-ish flavor.

I'm kind of the opposite of you: I love beans, and I love meat, but I'm pretty lukewarm on the combination.

Oh! Another good recipe is to drain a can of white beans, add some onions and bell peppers and lots of parsley, and serve it with a lemon-and-oil dressing. Very summery and refreshing.
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  #16  
Old 02-10-2011, 09:18 PM
Pyper Pyper is offline
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Behold my recipe for frijoles de olla, which is the result of many, many trials and errors. Personally, I think pinto beans are delicious without a lot of seasonings added.

1 lb pinto beans
1 half of an onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons salt

Wash and pick over beans, removing discolored and broken beans. Put in pot, add several inches of water to cover beans. Add diced onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Boil for two hours, occasionally stirring and checking water level. At two hours, or when bean skins having begun to break, add salt and stir. Cook for 30 more minutes, until beans are tender.

Serve with pico de gallo. Or in a quesadilla, a bean and cheese burrito, over nachos, in a taco salad, with cotija and lettuce on a tostada, etc etc.
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  #17  
Old 02-10-2011, 09:39 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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I love beans and barbecue sauce. I put them on eggs.
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  #18  
Old 02-11-2011, 06:03 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoid View Post
So any good suggestions for how to really infuse serious flavor into beans without using meat?
Like with most things, the answer is "curry". This works for all legumes, from beans to peas to lentils to chickpeas. Just lay down a curry base* and add your (pre-boiled or canned) legume. If not already in your base, a can of chopped/pureed tomatoes. And a couple teasoons sugar. Simmer until thickened. Serve with roti.

* this can be anything from "sautee garlic & onions & add curry powder" to something more elaborate
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  #19  
Old 02-11-2011, 06:27 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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There's a traditional recipe for white kidney beans which basically consists of the beans, a light tomato sauce, sautéed onion and sautéed green pepper bits (the beans are cooked to just-done separate from the rest, then everything mixed up for a final boil). With some variation on the sauce, it can be applied to pretty much any bean you name.
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Last edited by Nava; 02-11-2011 at 06:28 AM..
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  #20  
Old 02-11-2011, 07:24 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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I made Slow-Baked Beans with Kale a few days ago, and it was excellent. It's also very versatile - it's not a curry or Mexican or whatever. Not that those are bad, but sometimes the meal calls for a more traditional flavor profile.

They were also good heated up a few days later for breakfast, with a fried egg. Almost hash-y, which was amazing seeing as they have no meat in them.
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  #21  
Old 02-11-2011, 07:50 AM
Sattua Sattua is offline
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My husband's mantra for vegetarian curries and dals is "lots of heat, lots of salt, lots of oil". It works.
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  #22  
Old 02-11-2011, 09:00 AM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Baked with onion, molasses, and dry mustard. Mmmmm.
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  #23  
Old 02-11-2011, 09:30 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Paprika, onions, brown sugar, reduced red wine.
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  #24  
Old 02-11-2011, 01:19 PM
lindsaybluth lindsaybluth is offline
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robardin, what's a french oven? I have a dutch oven. That recipe looks fantastic, but $20? What do beans go for in your neck of the woods? That's like a 10-12$ recipe here.
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  #25  
Old 02-11-2011, 01:28 PM
mrklutz mrklutz is offline
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Bacon is a vegetable.
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  #26  
Old 02-11-2011, 02:47 PM
robardin robardin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindsaybluth View Post
robardin, what's a french oven? I have a dutch oven. That recipe looks fantastic, but $20? What do beans go for in your neck of the woods? That's like a 10-12$ recipe here.
To my understanding, a "French oven" is a basically a Dutch oven that has an enamel covering, so you can do things like makes sauces and whatnot in it that are liquid-y. Apparently the right term is a "cast iron casserole".

As for my recipe - I was going off of memory. As it turns out, my online grocer FreshDirect tallies it as about $26. It's surprising how expensive the fresh produce is: the single bell pepper, one bunch of cilantro, onions and jalapeno peppers come to about 1/4 of the cost of the meal!

In order of expensiveness:

1 25 oz. jar of Cucina Antica Garlic Marinara sauce - $5.89
10 oz. block of Kraft Cracker Barrel 2% Extra Sharp Cheddar - $5.49
8 oz. bag of Polly-O Part-Skim Shredded Mozzarella - $4.79
1 Green Bell Pepper - $2.09
1 bunch of fresh cilantro - $1.99
1 16 oz. box of Barilla Elbow Macaroni - $1.59
1 can of Green Giant Whole Kernel Corn Niblets - $1.39
1/4 lb. (about 6) jalapeno peppers - $1.00
1 can of Goya Low-Sodium Black Beans - $0.99
2 small Yellow Onions - $0.79

Olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, etc., - assume I have these already

Total: about $26.00

Last edited by robardin; 02-11-2011 at 02:49 PM..
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  #27  
Old 02-11-2011, 03:04 PM
Ceejaytee Ceejaytee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post
I made Slow-Baked Beans with Kale a few days ago, and it was excellent. It's also very versatile - it's not a curry or Mexican or whatever. Not that those are bad, but sometimes the meal calls for a more traditional flavor profile.

They were also good heated up a few days later for breakfast, with a fried egg. Almost hash-y, which was amazing seeing as they have no meat in them.
I printed out that recipe last week. Now I'll have to make it soon.
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  #28  
Old 02-11-2011, 04:10 PM
lindsaybluth lindsaybluth is offline
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robardin, mine is enameled so I guess I've been calling it the wrong name all along! Yeah, the price of the sauce for me would be $2.50, the cheese $5 total and the pepper a buck, plus savings on other items, so more like $14. Sounds delicious, I think I'll make it next week
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  #29  
Old 02-12-2011, 10:18 PM
Uncle Brother Walker Uncle Brother Walker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Kemp's black bean template recipe from Epicurious is a staple in our household; we eat it a couple of times a month (and given the quantity of beans it makes, we generally get 3-4 family-size meals from it).

Last night I did a quickie canned-bean dinner:
-Saute an onion in olive oil.
-Add a diced bell pepper (this was something I hadn't done before).
-Add cumin and/or chile powder to taste, as well as salt.
-Add a couple cloves pressed garlic.
-When it smells good and the veggies are tender, drain a can or two of black beans and add them.
-Heat and serve. Partial mashing is optional.

We use this for burritos and quesadillas. The addition of the green pepper gave it a nice fajita-ish flavor.

I'm kind of the opposite of you: I love beans, and I love meat, but I'm pretty lukewarm on the combination.

Oh! Another good recipe is to drain a can of white beans, add some onions and bell peppers and lots of parsley, and serve it with a lemon-and-oil dressing. Very summery and refreshing.
This sounds most EXCELLENT! I've got to try this soon.

Thanks!
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  #30  
Old 02-13-2011, 08:46 PM
robardin robardin is offline
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Oh yeah, white beans. My recipe earlier was my go-to dish involving either or both black or red (kidney) beans... For white beans (cannellini), I go with:

1 16 oz. box of (whole wheat) penne pasta
1 can of Goya white beans, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
8-10 oz. of "baby bella" mushrooms, sliced or chopped
about 1 cup of chopped broccoli florets (heads)
3-4 tablespoons of Pesto sauce (more if you like more)
1-2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese (more if you like more)

In the same "French oven" casserole I have, I fry onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and beans in olive oil and garlic; season with salt, pepper, oregano to taste. After the broccoli starts to soften, I add the cooked pasta and pesto sauce, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese, and stir. Pop in pre-heated oven (about 350F) for 5-10 minutes and done. In total, it takes about 20 minutes, 30 tops to make; serve with a nice cold Chardonnay. I also add crushed red pepper flakes but some people can't take the spice (kids and/or wimps).

I usually make this with Italian sausage - either turkey or pork based, hot or sweet depending on who's eating it - but it comes out very well even without the meat. Especially if instead of "ordinary" table salt or cooking salt, I use white truffle salt. Oh YEAH.

Last edited by robardin; 02-13-2011 at 08:47 PM..
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  #31  
Old 02-13-2011, 09:49 PM
Sleep Deprivation Sleep Deprivation is offline
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For white beans (also works with lentils or chickpeas), saute equal parts onion, carrot, and celery, finely chopped and seasoned with mixed Italian herbs, salt, and black pepper. The trick is to cook the vegetables over low heat until they caramelize and the bottom of your pan is coated in sticky brown bits. Tomato is optional - sometimes I add it, and sometimes I don't.
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  #32  
Old 02-14-2011, 08:47 AM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Short answer: tomatoes.

When I'm using dry beans, I usually just cook the beans seperately (in a pressure cooker to save time, but not necessary) from whatever else, just to control things better. I mean, it's not like I only own one pot or can only suspend one pot at a time over the small cooking fire in my fireplace.

For particulars, how about minestrone?
Cook white beans separately.
Saute (in olive oil), in the bottom of your soup pot, onions, carrots, celery, maybe some zuchinni or whatever other vegetables you have. Add lots of minced garlic right at the end, so it only sautes for 30 seconds or so.
Add water and crushed tomatoes, optionally a small-diced potato, oregano, basil and a bay leaf and drained white beans (and parmesan rinds if you have any)
Simmer until it's soup.
Ten minutes before serving add small pasta (elbows or whatever).
Top with a drizzle of olive oil and grated cheese.

Or cuban black bean soup (onions, peppers, carrots, lots of cumin, crushed tomato, cooked black beans), topped with salsa and sour cream.

I like robardin's pasta, though with tomatoes and garlic instead of pesto.

And if shellfish don't count as meat, there's a Mediterranean white bean and shrimp salad I like.
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  #33  
Old 02-14-2011, 11:18 AM
sixworldfairs@gmail.com sixworldfairs@gmail.com is offline
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Sounds strange, but quick and oh, so good!
Marinara, Italian seasoning, cocktail sauce to taste.
Thats it.
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