What to do when someone brings you a dozen deliciously fresh tomatoes? Eat one and then make marinara sauce! This is a basic sauce recipe. It really just needs the tomatoes and whatever spices you want to add. To spice it up you could always add peppers, or anything else you might normally find in spaghetti sauce (mushrooms, spinach, pesto, etc). The beauty of a homemade sauce, which I didn't realize until I made it the first time, is that it is so naturally sweet. I don't use any sugar, yet the sauce tastes sweet. Although tomatoes are ripe in the summer, this would be a good winter dish if you make extra and freeze. And then of course I have to mention how great it makes your house smell while it's simmering!
 
 
This mac and cheese recipe is one of the first dishes my mom taught me to make (probably because I LOVE mac and cheese so much). The traditional way uses cheddar cheese, or... you can buy some fun cheese with jalapenos in it! Just make sure to warn people because some people really don't like spicy.
 
 
This summer pasta is simple, with just a few key ingredients, yet flavorful. It's important to use fresh basil. The leaves have such a strong, fresh flavor, it really makes the dish. The mozzarella is a nice compliment to the basil and tomatoes - and who doesn't love cheese?

Hope you enjoy this basil, mozzarella, and tomato pasta. Let me know if you come up with any other tasty ingredients to mix in.
 
 
As soon as the really warm weather hits I feel the need for a cold pasta. This cold chickpea, sun-dried tomato, and feta pasta is a twist on using traditional noodles, although I've made it with penne pasta recently and that was also good.

This pasta uses barley and chickpeas instead of noodles. It also has sun-dried tomatoes, feta, spinach, pesto, and chicken for flavoring. Plus the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes make for a colorful dish.
 
 
Risotto is a hearty winter dish that I love to make for a crowd. It's a great way to mix in whatever meats, veggies, cheese, and spices you may have around the house. It takes an hour from chop to serve, but it does require constant stirring at the end. So make sure you have a friend nearby to chat while you're stirring.

This risotto recipe uses squash, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and nuts. However, there are SO many ways to make risotto that it's a good dish for experimentation (or whatever you have around the house).
 
 
Happy (belated) Valentine's Day!

This year for V-Day my special someone and I decided to experiment with a healthy sweet potato ravioli recipe. (We even broke out the nice dishes and candles for the occasion!) The idea came from a delicious ravioli dish we had on one of our first dates. However, that particular dish was so buttery and heavy I came away with a bit of a stomach ache - new recipe challenge accepted!

This recipe uses a minimal amount of butter, no sugar but instead a little honey, a little cheese for the sauce, and store-bought wonton wrappers. All the other ingredients are good for you! You can make your own ravioli pasta if you want, I chose the pre-made wonton wrappers because it was like pushing my own easy button.

The ravioli is very filling so we chose a side of okra to balance it out. Enjoy!