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Sunday Spaghetti for Dinner

I am dubbing this recipe, Sunday Spaghetti, for several reasons. First off, for you working moms it’s an ideal weekend meal to wow friends and family with. Secondly, it takes several hours to make, though most of that is just simmering on the stove. And lastly, it makes your whole house smell like a fine Italian restaurant while it cooks. Your family will run to dinner!

What Makes This Spaghetti So Good

One of the things that makes this recipe really good is the blend of meats. The meatloaf blend (I am in love with this stuff, it’s so versatile!) provides a tender meat base and the Italian sausage provides complex flavoring.

Several hours of simmering allows the tomatoes to literally caramelize, providing depth and silkiness. Together with the meat, they make a heavenly sauce. If you have a smaller group to feed while they’re raving about how good it is, you’ll be smiling inside knowing you have the other half of the sauce in the freezer!

Paired with a side salad and garlic bread, an ordinary Sunday (or Saturday) will become memorable with this dinner.

Believe me, Sunday Spaghetti should be cooking in your kitchen soon! Bon Appétit!

Recipes are now printable!


Print Recipe
Sunday Spaghetti
This recipe is ideal for busy weekends because you can "fix it and forget it" on the stove. It is sure to wow with it's rich and satisfying flavor.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Cook Time 5+ hours
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Cook Time 5+ hours
  1. Using a large Dutch oven or stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, celery, and salt, and cook until softened. Stir in ground meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Drain off visible fat.
  2. Stir in milk, bring to a simmer, and cook until milk evaporates and rendered fat remains, about 30 minutes. Stir in wine, bring to simmer, and cook until wine evaporates, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and 3 cups of reserved juice. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, so that only occasional bubbles appear at the surface, and cook for at least 4 hours. The sauce will have cooked down a few inches.
  4. This recipe is enough for 2 boxes of spaghetti or pasta.
Recipe Notes

I use 1 cup of frozen "seasoning blend" to replace the onions and celery.

Be sure to drain off fat after cooking ground meat, otherwise your sauce will continue to retain the excess fat.

This recipe makes A LOT of spaghetti sauce! If you're serving less than 6 people, freeze the other half for later.

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Best Ever Pizza Dough!

This recipe provides foolproof, pizzeria-quality, homemade pizza. I don’t care what your previous homemade pizza experiences have been, with this recipe you’ll be a pizza boss!

Where has this week gone? Today, I’m re-sharing my Best Ever Pizza Dough recipe. For years, yeast dough and I have had a love-hate relationship. This was the first recipe to ever work the first time I made it, and every time since! Thanks to this pizza dough, I gained some confidence and branched out to other yeast dough. Sadly, not all of them have come out nearly so perfectly as this recipe does.

So, I am going to share the recipe and some pictures of how it looked when I made it Wednesday. Leave 2-3 hours prep time the first time you make this, then you can adjust it accordingly. I speed my rising time up a little by putting it in my oven with the lights on. Although I list the brands of the items used, I receive absolutely no compensation for of this. They just happen to be the brands I’ve found reliable with this recipe.

Lets Get Started!

I show my weighing the flour and water here, but I have made it without weighing it and it comes out fine. Since my scale only shows even amounts of grams, I use 152 grams of one flour and 154 grams of the other.

Antimo Caputo “00” Flour


King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour


I even weigh the water. I use filter water from my fridge, then microwave it 30 seconds to take the chill off it.


This might be my secret ingredient. I use Italian pizza yeast (resources at the end).


Water, oil, and yeast mixed. I use Avocado Oil instead of Olive Oil.


Sometime I start with the beater hook until its mixed, but I was lazy and use the dough hook from the beginning. I did stir it with a spatula first.


Once combined, knead with dough hook or by hand for 3 minutes. Then let it rest 15 minutes, then knead another 3 minutes. My tip: don’t add extra flour and the dough should feel smooth, like the inside of your cheek.

Ready to Rise

Allow to rise, cover in a bowl with a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap. I let it rise in my oven with the lights on. It gets pretty warm in there so it’s usually ready within 60 minutes. If you let rise at room temperature, it might take 2-3 hours.


Treat the dough gently when shaping. I usually start by gently patting it between my hands until it flattens, then stretch it out with my fingers. Then its ready for toppings!

Time to Bake

I prefer to place the pizza on parchment paper, then slide it on to a pizza stone, but mine broke recently. I use my oven’s Pizza mode, which is a convection mode of 400 degrees F.
All done! I used white alfredo sauce instead of red sauce for this pizza.

Now for the recipe:

Best Ever Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp of 00 Flour (153 grams)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour (153 grams)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (200 grams)
  • ¾ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water and olive oil. Wait a minute or so, then pour it into flour mixture. Stir ingredients together, then knead with your hands or a stand mixer with dough hook, for about 3 minutes. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Knead rested dough by hand or in stand mixer for 3 minutes. Cut into 1 large or 2 small equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature, or 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)
  4. To make pizza, place each dough ball on a lightly floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it gently, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. Top your favorite toppings, and bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes individual pizzas and 20 minutes or so for a full-size.
My Special Tips:

You can use all-purpose flour for this recipe, but the pizza crust is much lighter with the 00 and all-purpose flour mixture. I microwave my pepperoni and salami toppings on paper towels for about 30 seconds before adding them to the pre-baked pizza. This helps cut down on oil accumulation on the top of the baked pizza.

Resources: 00 flour is also called pizza flour and is available in many gourmet markets and on Amazon. I got my last bag of 00 flour from Neighborhood Market. I buy the pizza yeast on Amazon.

Let me know how this recipe works for you by posting a comment below.

Pork Carnitas Recipe – Your New Favorite

Hi friends! I’m resharing this recipe I posted back in June with you as I’m getting ready to make it tomorrow and posting the steps on my Instagram Stories. Here ya go:

I’ve been making pork carnitas (Mexican pulled pork) for at least 10 years. I found a recipe for pork carnitas in a low carb recipe book and have modified it over the years. My secret weapon is Montreal Steak Seasoning. Have you ever tried that seasoning? If not, do yourself a favor and try it. It is one of the most versatile seasonings around. I’ve been known to add it to everything from macaroni salad to spaghetti sauce. It even makes an awesome seasoning for guacamole.

The Low-Sodium Challenge

The challenge with my pork carnitas recipe was to modify the sodium content without sacrificing the flavor. Especially, knowing that my secret weapon was out of the equation now (due to the salt it contains). But, I did it! I used a variety of seasonings to help boost the complexity of flavors so that the lack of salt was undetectable. If you aren’t concerned with sodium, then the list of ingredients for this will be minimal. I’ll list my old recipe at the bottom.

Heads up, this recipe is super easy! It immediately turned into a family favorite. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been asked for the recipe.

Country-Style Pork Ribs


Searing the Pork


This was my Grandma’s crockpot. It is in remarkable condition and I think about her every time I use it.



Water and seasoning mixed


Carnitas ready to serve!
Crock Pot Low-Sodium Pork Carnitas

Serves 4-6

  • 2-3 lbs. of Pork Country-Style ribs or shoulder roast
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Weber Salt-Free Steak Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. Concentrated tomato paste
  • ¼ container of Knorr Homestyle Stock*
  • 1 Tbsp. minced roasted garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground chili powder
  • 1 tsp. chipotle sauce

Heat a skillet with the oil on medium-high heat. Cut up the pork into 2-3 inch squares and very liberally sprinkle it with the Weber steak seasoning. Once the oil is almost smoking, sear or brown the pork cubes. Add the remainder of the ingredients to the 2 cups of hot water. Let sit until the pork is done browning. Remove the pork and add it to the crockpot. Pour the water/seasonings mixture over the meat. Set the crockpot for 5-7 hours on low. When the meat is tender, it is done. Before serving, remove the pork from the crockpot and separate it with two forks or just mash it with a fork.

*you can substitute 2 cups of low-sodium beef broth for this.

A few notes: you don’t have to use a crockpot for this recipe. I have made this recipe with a Dutch oven in the oven set at 250 degrees for 5 hours.

Original Pork Carnitas Recipe

served 4-6

  • 3-4 lbs. of Pork Style ribs or shoulder roast
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 2 cups of Beef Broth OR 1 container of Knorr Homestyle Stock and 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground chili powder

Heat a skillet with the oil on medium-high heat. Cut up the pork into 2-3 inch squares and very liberally sprinkle it with the Montreal steak seasoning. Once the oil is almost smoking, brown the pork cubes. Mix the Knorr container with the water and pour over the meat, or add the 2 cups of beef broth. Set the crockpot for 5-7 hours on low. When the meat is tender, it is done. Before serving, remove the pork from the crockpot and separate it with two forks or just mash it with a fork.

Delicious Carnitas Tacos


Lasagne – Ultimate Comfort Food! Made Low-Sodium and Gluten Free.

Lasagne is one of the most-loved Italian dishes out there. It is sinfully delicious with its layers of cheese, meat, and pasta. I consider it one of the ultimate comfort foods! I don’t know about you, but I am always on the lookout for a new lasagne recipe.

The Lasagne Challenge

My challenge was how to make it lower in sodium. I decided to take it a step further and use gluten-free pasta. Go me, huh? But, I think I accomplished my goal. Low-sodium, gluten-free lasagne that looks and tastes delicious.

The Players

This recipe calls for no-salt added canned goods: diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. I have been successful in locating no-salt added canned foods at my local Vons (Safeway), Wal-Mart, and Trader Joe’s stores.


I wanted a really rich sauce, so I decided I would let the sauce simmer for 3-4 hours on the stove. What I like to do is to take out a few cups of the sauce (without meat) for the bottom of the pan and to put on the top. So, I cook the ground beef and half of the onions separately and add them to the sauce before I assemble the lasagne.

Chop the onions and add them to the dutch oven to cook on medium-low heat for about 6-8 minutes.


Once the onions were translucent, I added the tomatoes,

then tomato sauce, and tomato paste

It’s all ready to simmer. I added the lid and left it on my stove on around 3 hours.

After  3 hours of simmering, I browned the meat along with the rest of the onions. I pulled out two cups of sauce, added the browned meat to the sauce, along with 1 cup of red wine, brought it to a boil and cooked on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes to burn off the alcohol.


Second String

Ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese mixed together.


I got so wrapped up in putting together the lasagne, I forgot to get pictures of the assembly!

Ready for the oven…


And here it is! Hot and puffy, and oh so delish!


Put it together with a green salad or maybe some hot garlic bread and you have a wonderfully, comfort dish for dinner.

The Recipe

  • 1 cup of onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of 14 oz. no-salt diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can of 8 oz no-salt tomato paste
  • 1 can of 8 oz no-salt tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of red wine (or 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 package of gluten-free no-boil lasagne noodles (I got mine from Target)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Brown onions in olive oil until almost translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and spices, bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer, add lid, and let cook at least 45 minutes. Check periodically and add a little water, if necessary.

Remove 2 cups of sauce and set aside for later. Brown ground beef in a skillet on medium heat. While ground beef is browning, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, and parmesan cheese together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. When the ground beef is browned and drained, add it to the pot of sauce, along with 1 cup of red wine or 1/2 red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, then turn down to med-low and cook for 15 minutes (to burn off the alcohol).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add 1 cup of the reserved sauce to the bottom of the 9″ x 9″ lasagne pan. Layer your lasagne noodles above it. Alternatively layer your lasagne noodles with the ricotta cheese mixture, meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese, then ricotta cheese and meat again. When you have added the last layer of lasagne noodles, add the last cup of sauce and the rest of the mozarella cheese on top.

Add foil to the top of the lasagne pan (spray the foil with cooking oil spray first so it doesn’t stick) and seal on all sides. Cook for 20 minutes then remove foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. The lasagne is done when it is golden and bubbled on the top, including the center. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.



Pasta for Dinner

Pasta seems to get a bad rap these days, but I think everyone needs pasta in their lives now and then. I read somewhere that pasta made in Italy was less likely to cause gluten issues. I have no idea if that is true or not, but the argument they made sounded reasonable so I have been buying Italian pasta since then. These pasta noodles turned out really big and soaked up the meat sauce. Guess what? It’s pasta for dinner tonight!

A little over a year ago, my husband retired and we informally share cooking duties now. Before he retired, he did all the grilling (and still does). When it comes to grilling and smoking meat, my husband is a real pro. I was the queen of the kitchen. As funny as it sounds, it was hard learning to share the kitchen with someone else. I’m a meal planner at heart and my husband is the “hey, I saw this recipe and I want to make it for dinner tonight” kind of guy. I just love it when he finds a great new recipe and makes dinner for me. We have learned to peacefully co-exist in the kitchen.

Pasta for Dinner Prep

During my stop at The Market earlier this week HERE (where I meal planned on the fly) I picked up pasta for the meal I’m going to share. I knew I had ground beef in the freezer and canned tomatoes in the pantry, so I planned on making a pasta dish.

The night before, I looked through my cookbook collection and found Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Pasta Recipes. I adapted their Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce recipe for this. I decided to swap out using canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes. You might notice in my photos below that the sauce isn’t quite as red as it would have been if I used canned tomatoes.

Pasta for Dinner

I started early on the tomato portion of the recipe to let them cook down. I quartered the tomatoes and set them on medium heat for about an hour. While they were cooking down, I chopped the onions.

Pasta for dinner

Once the tomatoes softened, I used an immersion blender to break them down. Then put them back on the stove to thicken them up.

Browning the onions.

Mixing the panade (a paste of milk and bread) and ground beef in the food processor.

Adding the ground beef mixture to the onion mixture.

Below is what it looked like after I added the homemade tomato sauce. As you can see, it needs to thicken up some. I set the burner between low and simmer. While it was cooking, I put the water on to boil for the pasta.

Between the above picture and the below one, I removed about 1/3 of the sauce for my daughter to take home, and let the sauce cook down for 30 minutes. I added the parmesan cheese and reserved oregano.

Just waiting for the pasta to finish up and then…

Dinner’s Ready!

Rather than post the recipe here, I’m linking it for you: Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce recipe. For reference, I used 3.5 lbs of tomatoes in place of the canned tomatoes. Buon Appetito!

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