Tag Archives: Marinara

Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

I literally hadn’t made these in years and we forgot how amazing they are. They were one of my original freezer meals back in the day. This meal is so easy and tasty – perfect for kids and grownups alike.

Begin by cooking 16-18 jumbo shells about 2 minutes shy of their cooking instructions. Drain and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat. Add an onion and a pound of Italian sausage and cook through. Add a spoonful of minced garlic, cook for 30 more seconds, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Now combine 7-8 ounces of fresh, cooked spinach or a box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and wrung out with the following: 1 lightly beaten egg, 1.5C grated Parmesan, 1/4C Italian style breadcrumbs, 15oz ricotta cheese, 1tbl chopped fresh basil, and cracked salt & pepper to taste.

Add in your sausage and onions and fold to combine.

Using a 28oz can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, spoon a layer into the bottom of a large baking dish. Begin filling your shells and line them close to each other.

Top with the remaining tomatoes.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes.

Top with shredded parmesan. Serve with salad and crusty bread to complete!🥖🍷

Adapted From: Everyday Annie

Turkey & Spinach Meatballs

So I convinced my husband to do a juice cleanse with me for the past couple of days. About halfway through (in the midst of stomach growling and grumpiness overload), I told him that at the end of the tunnel (today), I would make him anything he wanted for dinner. Much to my surprise he asked for something from the vault…..something I haven’t made in so many years…..something I used to make weekly when we were getting in shape for our wedding.👀

I honestly forgot what they tasted like. That was before I attempted to up my cooking game when I became a stay at home wife. They were part of the menu when there were only about 5 things on the menu. So, I wasn’t sure if they would be worth talking about…but they are!

Start with 2lbs of lean ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Add a pack of frozen spinach (thawed and wrung out with a kitchen towel), 1 large egg, 3/4c Italian bread crumbs, 1/2c grated Parmesan, 2tsp minced garlic, 1/4c milk, & 1/2 of a finely diced onion. With your hands, mix to combine.

Divide your mixture into 4 sections for easy dividing. Now form 12 large meatballs and place on prepared baking sheets.

Drizzle with EVOO and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

These can be served many ways; over sautéed veggies, spaghetti squash, traditional pasta, alone with melted cheese? The possibilities are endless. Tonight, I made homemade marinara and served them over angel hair with pecorino romano cheese. They were so good. Back on the rotation for sure.😋

Adapted From: Rachel Ray

Spinach Lasagna

Here is yet another version of Lasagna that I love. This is perfect for a rainy, meatless Monday, or a cozy Sunday dinner (like we had last night). In fact, when I started dating my husband 12 years ago, this was one of the few things that I knew how to make; and it’s still a favorite.

Begin with your marinara sauce. Homemade is always better (my recipe is on this blog), but jar is fine if you are in a pinch.

Now you will need the following: 1 box frozen chopped spinach (thawed), 16oz of ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup grated parmesan, 1tbl minced garlic, and 1 egg (slightly beaten).

Ring out your spinach well in a kitchen towel before combining everything into a medium mixing bowl.

Cook your Lasagna noodles according to the package instructions (al dente). I like to use multi-grain but that’s totally up to you. Lay out your assembly.

Layer marinara, then noodles, then mixture. Repeat a second time, finishing with a layer of noodles, more marinara, and top with mozzarella and shredded parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for 10 minutes and uncovered for another 15 or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with garlic or cheese bread and enjoy!

Classic Chicken Parmesan

We love comfort food in my house and this ranks right up there with all things warm and cheesy. It’s so simple, anyone can do it.

Begin with a couple of large chicken breasts and slice them horizontally. Make an assembly line of 1C of flour, 3 beaten eggs, and 2C Italian style Panko bread crumbs.

Salt and pepper your chicken and dredge them through the flour (pressing the flour in tightly), then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Lay them onto a plate and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Now I like to prepare my homemade marinara that is super easy and about a million times better than the store bought variety. That recipe is also on this blog. If you are short on time, the jar variety is just fine.

Warm a few tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat in a sauce pan and add in the chicken. Cook 4-6 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken into a prepared baking dish. Slice fresh mozzarella onto each piece.

Set oven to broil and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Prepare the pasta of your choice – I like angel hair with this dish but anything is fine. Lay a spoonful of marinara on top and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Now place a piece of chicken on top with more marinara, cheese, and parsley. Serve with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. Enjoy!

Eggplant Lasagna

We LOVE eggplant at my house. One of my 2 year old’s favorite things besides Eggplant Parmesan is my Eggplant Lasagna. This low carb meal can be served meatless or with the ground meat of your choice. Essentially the eggplant replaces the pasta, and the flavor goes through the roof!!The easiest way to slice the eggplant is with a mandolin, and I use the largest setting (1/4 inch). (Peel them first!)

Warm a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté salted eggplant slices for a couple of minutes on each side until they soften. I only do a couple at a time and then place on a paper towel lined plate. Once you finish sautéing all of your eggplant, prepare the sauce of your choice. Construct just like lasagna:

Eggplant Slices ~ Ricotta ~ Sauce ~ Mozzarella ~ Shredded Parmesan ~ Repeat

Finish with a layer of eggplant topped with cheese.😋

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for about an hour until browned and bubbly.☺️

We grow lots of eggplants. Most of the veggies we use come from our garden during the summer months including the eggplants I use in my freezer meals. So much fun!


Look how beautifully the eggplant slices replace boring ole lasagna noodles.


Fresh from the oven. It’s impossible not to have seconds. 🍆🍆🍆

Homemade Marinara

When I first decided I wanted to up my cooking game for my family, I knew I wanted to cut out store bought sauces. However, it’s actually one of the later things that I started doing. I assumed it would be super labor intensive and require more money at the grocery store. Neither of those sounded appealing. Boy was I wrong. Not only was it super easy, most of the ingredients were already in my pantry. And the difference it made in my meals…..wow. I guarantee once you start making your own sauces, you won’t be able to return to those over processed, over salted shelf varieties! A sauce most folks buy for everything from spaghetti to pizza is marinara. This can be modified based on what’s in your kitchen, but here is the basic structure:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons EVOO in a medium saucepan. Add in a small diced onion and a bit of minced garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes or so until onion is translucent.

Stir in: 28oz can crushed tomatoes, 8 oz can tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 2 bay leaves, small handfuls of chopped fresh parsley and basil. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2+ hours. Remove bay leaves and enjoy!!