5 Simple Sauces to Spruce Up your Meal

5 Simple Sauces to Spruce Up your Meal

My husband John? He’s a sauce guy.

John and Me on Valentine’s Day

While I can enjoy almost any grilled meat with a little S&P, John likes a slather of something special.

And thank goodness, right?

If not for you, John, our dinners might be downright boring :)

Which reminds me of a great Bob Dylan song:

If not for you, my sky would fall, rain would gather too

Without your love I’d be nowhere at all

I’d be lost if not for you

And you know it’s true.

So thanks to John, here are five simple sauces to spruce up your meal. With warmer weather on the way, these sauces will be the perfect addition to any kind of outdoor feasting: slathered over grilled meats, served alongside kabobs, or drizzled over fresh fish tacos. Hope you enjoy!

Five_Simple_Sauces (easy PDF download)

Crazy Good Creamy Mustard Sauce

Makes about 1/3 cup (enough sauce for 2-3 steaks)

Although I love this sauce on a perfectly grilled filet mignon, it goes well on all kinds of things.  From roasted chicken to pan-seared lamb chops to baked salmon.  With butter and cream as the main ingredients, it’s quite rich, so you don’t need more than a tablespoon or two for each person.  It’s definitely best made the day of, and preferably, just minutes before serving.


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 tablespoons good-quality stone-ground mustard

Pinch of salt and pepper


Place all of the ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  As the butter melts, stir the ingredients until well-combined.

Reduce heat to medium low, so the sauce just barely simmers.  Continue stirring and cooking for a few minutes, letting the sauce reduce and thicken.

Remove pan from heat.  Pour sauce into a small serving dish or ramekin.  While sauce is still hot, spoon sauce over steaks (or chops, chicken, or fish).  Serve immediately.


Best-Ever Cilantro Lime Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

I originally made this sauce for my Baja Fish Tacos but now I serve it with everything!  Seriously:  On salads, as a dip with raw veggies, on fajitas, over grilled fish, and with shrimp for dipping.  When there’s some left over on my plate, I mix it in with whatever else needs a companion, like rice or beans or corn or potatoes, or just mop it up with a tortilla.  Now you see why I make three cups at a time?  Even if you’re not quite as obsessed as I am, not to worry:  It keeps well in the fridge for several days.  Enjoy!


1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup Greek yogurt (Greek Gods brand, preferred)

1 cup cilantro (some stems are okay)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 2 limes

Pinch of salt (or to taste)


Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until cilantro is thoroughly chopped and all ingredients are well combined.

Taste; add additional lime juice or salt as desired. Serve with everything.

Five-Minute Creamy Alfredo Sauce

Makes about 2/3 cup

Is there any dish more indulgent than Fettuccine Alfredo? Alfredo sauce is typically made with heavy cream, butter, and parmesan. (Stop my arteries are hurting!) For my riff on the classic, I substitute Greek yogurt for some of the butter, and add a smashed clove of garlic for extra flavor. Even with the substitutions, the sauce is still rich, so you don’t need a lot . . . or if you do, just double the recipe! 


1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (Greek Gods brand, preferred)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, smashed

Ground pepper, for seasoning


Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until ingredients are combined and butter is melted. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Discard the garlic. Remove sauce from heat and serve immediately.

Make-Ahead Tip: The sauce will thicken as it cools. Reheat just before serving.

Texas Chimichurri

Serves 4-6

Chimichurri is a popular Argentinean condiment, typically made with fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar.  I give the recipe a Texas twist by adding lots of fresh cilantro and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  For optimal flavor, let the Chimichurri marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Then pass a bowl at the dinner table, bring a jar to your next backyard barbeque, or use as a marinade.  Whichever use you choose, plan on serving up lots of flavor with very little effort!


1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, packed

1 cup cilantro leaves, packed

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white balsamic or red wine vinegar

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of dried red pepper flakes


Place all ingredients into the jar of a blender or food-processor.  Blend until herbs and garlic are finely chopped, and mixture is well-combined.  Transfer to bowl.  Let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

To serve, spoon chimichurri sauce over cooked steaks.  To use as a marinade, pour over raw steaks, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

Make-Ahead Tip: Chimichurri can be made up to 2 days in advance.  Store, covered, in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.


Thai Chimichurri


2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice of 1 1/2 limes, approx.)

2 – 3 teaspoons sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 cup finely chopped fresh mint

1/8 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro


To make the dressing, place the fish sauce, oil, lime juice, and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Add garlic, mint, and cilantro. Whisk again. Taste; adjust sugar and salt if needed. (I generally do not use any salt because the fish sauce is salty.)

, , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: