Still Saucy…and Cheap

Cheaper from your kitchen.

Back by popular demand, after You can be saucy…for cheap. and More Cheap Sauces, let’s get out the recipe cards (or press the print button) for a half dozen sauces which spice up the dish without breaking the bank. One is even a secret recipe.

Up for some authentic, exotic sauces? Let’s cruise the Mediterranean and the Polynesian Islands for some recipes to kick dinner up a notch…or seven. We may as well toss in a couple classic American sauces while we are out traveling.

Classic Mediterranean Fish Sauce

Pan-fried fish is not strictly a European food. All coastal countries have a native twist to the campfire favorite. This recipe is not one you are likely to try in the wilderness. White fishes work best with this sauce. Choose fresh water or salt water fish and fillet.

1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 TBS tiny capers, well drained
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
2 TBS fresh lemon juice

The bits in the pan give the sauce more depth...Try it in a cast iron skillet.

Pan fry fish fillets of your choice. Remove fillets from the pan to a platter to keep warm.  Over medium heat, add butter and olive oil to skillet and scrape pan to dislodge any fish bits stick in the skillet. Cook until butter melts, but not separates. Add capers, anchovies, parsley and lemon juice. Cook for one minute, stirring gently. Pour sauce over fish fillets.

Do not be afraid of the anchovies. They do not overpower the dish, but add a layer of flavor which makes the sauce perfect for the sweetness of a white fish. A tablespoon of anchovy paste can be substituted for anchovy fillets, in a pinch. Be sure to stir well to incorporate the anchovy paste.

Polynesian Sauce

Stimulating three parts of your tongue at once may send your taste buds into overdrive, but there is no denying this versatile sauce is all aces. Based on indigenous ingredients, a classic Polynesian sauce can top most any dish.

Stimulate the sweet.

1/3 C soy sauce
1/2 C pineapple juice
5 oz (one small can) crushed pineapple
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Simply stir all four ingredients in a large measuring cup. Add the sauce to stir fry vegetables and/or meat. The sweet of the sauce counterpoints spicy meats well. Serve it over sliced, roasted chicken or pork. Poached or pan-seared fish is a hit under this sauce.

Quick Greek Style Pasta Sauce

Pick your favorite shape.

If you do not have time for the tried and true six-hour Italian version of pasta sauce, why not try the Greek interpretation?

6 oz (medium jar) artichoke hearts
1/4 C olive oil
1 C feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 lb cooked pasta, drained

Drain artichoke hearts, reserving liquor. Chop them coarsely. Toss pasta with chopped artichoke hearts, reserved liquor from jar and remaining ingredients.

If you choose hearts which are not marinaded, add two cloves crushed or pressed garlic, two tablespoons finely shredded fresh parsley or cilantro and one tablespoon shredded fresh basil.

Easy Cocktail Sauces

Cheaters’ cocktail sauce is equal parts ketchup and horseradish sauce. If it makes your eyes water, add some extra ketchup to douse the fire on your tongue.

Horseradish, unprepared.

For the cocktail sauce you are likely to find in your favorite seafood restaurant, try this easy sauce.

2/3 C bottled chili sauce
1 TBS prepared horseradish
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

Stir together all ingredients and chill for 30 minutes before serving with any seafood: baked, grilled, roasted, pan-fried, deep-fried, boiled or raw.

For the sauce served with Red’s seafood dishes, try this recipe:

2 oz horseradish
1/2 TBS Cajun spice
1/2 C bottled chili sauce
2 tsp Tabasco  pepper sauce
2 tsp sweet pepper sauce
Juice of one lemon

Beat spice mix into horseradish. Stir in next four ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. If ketchup is substituted for chili sauce, add more pepper sauce to taste.

Red hand mixes pepper sauces. She tends to add a few extra dashes of sauce to the mix, tasting often. Red’s personal choice for pepper sauces are:

Stir Fry Sweet ‘n’ Sour Sauce

This sauce is designed as an all-over sauce for your stir fry dishes, whether they are predominantly meat or vegetables. This is not the sauce for deep fried foods or dip.

1 tsp cornstarch
1 TBS cool water
1/3 C rice vinegar
3 TBS ketchup
3 TBS dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 TBS rice wine

Dissolve cornstarch in water at the bottom of a 4-cup bowl. Stir in next six ingredients.  Add sauce to wok or skillet for the last one minute of cook time. It takes about one minute to thicken.

Rice Wine

Definitely worth adding.

If you do not have rice vinegar on hand, white vinegar will do, but the sauce will be a little tangier. The wine can be foregone if you do not have any on hand, but better to substitute a dry sherry or another white wine. If you choose not to cook with wine, consider substituting a tablespoon of sweet citrus juice instead of skipping it.

You have to pinkie swear not to tell.

Ultra Secret Burger Sauce

One of the popular hamburger joints in America made a revolution of its secret sauce. You can make it at home for cheap. What is the wonder recipe?

1 TBS ketchup
1 TBS mayonnaise
1 tsp spicy brown mustard

Personally, the sauce is better with salad dressing…but do not tell the burger place!


Which one of these recipes would you like to try first? What is your favorite sauce of all time?


(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
Reblogging of this or any other post on Momma’s Money Matters is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office.

Leave a comment


  1. I enjoy making stir fry with chicken and veggies, the sauce recipe sounds sooo good. I like the series!

    • It is YUM. I stir fry A. Lot. I have gobs. I cannot stand the ubersaltiness of the premade sauces, so I always make my own. They are so much better.

  2. So many people forget the secret ingredient of real Caesar dressing is anchovies or anchovy paste, what is what I normalyl use.
    As for capers you gotta try a fresh bagel, schmear of cream cheese, lox and capers mmmmm.
    Also, how can one make a fine veal (MURDERER! oh and I wear vintage fur too so neener neener) or chicken picatta without ’em?

  3. my furs all date to the 30’s and 40’s… Pre PC. It’s the warmest thing next to, uh, having fur. and eating little baby cows.. and steak tatare. With capers. I do have a problem eating lobster though -even though I adore it. They mate for life, crawl claw in claw across the ocean floor and can live to 100.
    Now, how can I leave the house with the full length mink without my leather mistress boots? Gauche!
    -wicked smile- Made up for it be having a vegetarian daughter

    • *Idly wonders if Demon Spawn is really an alien*

      You need to see my wall and the lovely boots I posted today. I happen to think the Fed Ex guy is amazing…even if he cannot string together 8 words into a cogent sentence.

      Love veal.

      Yes, the punctuation was intentional 😉

  4. Oh Red you ARE the fairest in the land -grin-

  5. Cookbook. Cookbook. Gotta get my M3 cookbook.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.