Tag Archives: pasta

Tina’s Spaghetti

Until I had Tina’s Spaghetti, I had no idea how much difference a homemade sauce could make.   Canned sauce is like the TV dinner version of spaghetti.  Homemade sauce tastes like Grandma (or Cousin Tina) sat pouring love into the pot all day.

The beauty of homemade sauce though, is that it only takes a few minutes to put together, and then it works its magic as it simmers all by itself.  You can spend your day pouring love into other things, then sit down to the deliciousness at dinner.

Here’s how Tina taught me to make Spaghetti.

2 pounds Italian Sausage (can use ground beef too, but the sausage it what gives it that special flavor)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 T. minced garlic

1T. each of tarragon, basil, oregano, and crushed rosemary

2 t. salt or more to taste

1t. pepper

2 bay leaves

2 cans Italian stewed tomatoes (14 oz. each) (you can also just use crushed tomatoes or fire roasted diced tomatoes)

4 cans tomato sauce (14 oz. each)

1 can tomato paste (8 oz.)

Brown meat with onion and garlic.  Add to rest of ingredients.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes-1 hour, or put it in a crock pot on low all day.  Remove bay leaves.  Serve over gluten-free pasta.  Tinkyada is my favorite brand.

This makes a lot of sauce, so I put it in a Ziploc and freeze for another dinner or use it to make another dish like Chicken Parmesan (which you can find here) or pizza.

Thanks, Tina!  Our whole family now loves spaghetti, even the one who has avoided it since childhood.  🙂


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Tuna Noodle Casserole

This recipe is a throwback to my childhood.  My Mom made very simple meals for our family growing up.  Gourmet meals never graced our table.  Instead we ate simple fare.  Mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, sour cream enchiladas, tortilla soup, chicken fried steak, porcupine meatballs, and Hamburger Helper were among my favorites.

My Mom sometimes comments on her “lack of cooking talents”.  What she doesn’t realize though, is that her cooking represented her.  Simple, easy crowd pleasers were her goal.  We loved her cooking.  We still do.  And, as I think about the family culture that I am representing to my kids, I realize that I am pleased to follow in my Mom’s footsteps and philosophy.  I love to cook, but it’s always simple.  I’m all about great taste, but I’m also about efficiency, shortcuts, and nutrition.  If I set a meal from a magazine and a meal from my Mom’s way of cooking on my table, my kids would pick my Mom’s food every time.  Simple,  Easy,  Familiar,  Balanced,  Quick Meals are Crowd Pleasers around here, and I’d like to thank my Mom being my example of a Mom who provides great food in such a balanced way.  🙂

Here is an example:

Tuna Noodle Casserole

2 small cans tuna, drained

1 16 oz.pkg. Tinkyada pasta, any shape

1 can Health Valley Cream of Mushroom Soup

a little sour cream if needed for sauce

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta until al dente and drain.  Add soup, tuna, salt, pepper.  Add some sour cream if you need more sauce.  Add in half the cheese.  Put in a casserole dish.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.


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Spaghetti Squash


Spaghetti Squash is a very healthy way to “replace” gluten-free pastas with a cheaper option.  This veggie has 42 calories per cup (compared to whole wheat spaghetti’s 174) and 10 grams of carbs (versus whole wheat spaghetti’s 38).  It’s also so fun to shred, watching it magically turn into stringy “spaghetti”.

All you have to do is cook, shred, and add sauce.  To start, put the whole squash in the microwave for a minute.  Slice it lengthwise, remove seeds, and place both halves cut side down in a microwaveable dish with a half inch of water in the bottom.  Cook for 12 minutes.  With a fork, shred the insides into strands.  Top with your favorite pasta sauce.  Pepperoni adds a nice flair too.



Filed under Lunch

Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese

DSC_0845It is just as easy to make Macaroni and Cheese gluten-free as it is to make it from “the box”.  I think it tastes better too.

Cook gluten-free noodles until al dente and drain in a colander.  Add milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and a little salt to the pot, and heat until cheese is melted and creamy, stirring constantly.  Add in noodles, stir, and VOILA!  You just made a yummy lunch!

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