Marinara, simple and tasty

I’m a huge fan of anything homemade and even more so when it’s simple and tasty to boot. Yet another great find on Pinterest, but I modified it to my own liking. 

I don’t think I need to go into a long drawn out post on this one, though I’d certainly love to make this entire recipe from all fresh ingredients (and make my own diced tomatoes from my “potted plant garden”), but right now I have to use canned diced tomatoes. 

I buy diced tomatoes on sale (less than $1 per can, for the 28oz cans). A jar of decent marinara sauce costs upwards of $7 and with how little it costs to make it from scratch, I can’t justify spending that much. This recipe makes roughly 2-3 jars of sauce, so it’s a pretty good budget saver. I freeze the leftover sauce in mason jars and put them in the fridge (24 hours before I need them) to defrost for use. I’m no a huge fan of canned tomatoes, but hopefully my potted tomato plants will do well this summ and I won’t have to buy canned for much longer. 

So here’s the process for making the sauce. Heat a pot, or sauce pan, at medium-medium-high and add olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch everyday extra virgin olive oil, first cold press). 

Add diced onions and cook, until almost glassy, and then add minced garlic. Cook until everything is soft and aromatic. Mix in the spices, and stir to combine, before adding in the remaining ingredients. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine (I use Chardonnay from the Gallo family, nothing fancy and I buy the tiny bottles, because I am not a huge alcohol drinker and we’d just end up tossing it all), olives, salt, and pepper. 

Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes. Check every so often and stir as needed. After the 30 minutes I stick blend the entire thing until it’s pretty fine. 

At this point I add my baked meatballs to the sauce and cook for another 20 minutes. 

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced onions
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced/stewed tomatoes
1 8 ounce jar Kalamata olives, drained (reserving 1 tablespoon brine to add to sauce)
3/4 cups white wine (Chardonnay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat sauce pan and add olive oil
2. Add in diced onions and cook until almost glassy/softened.
3. Add in garlic and cook until aromatic (roughly 1-2 minutes, don’t allow garlic to burn)
4. Add in spices and stir to coat onions/garlic
5. Add in remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to boil
6. Cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally 
7. Stick blend to your desired smoothness. 

Note: I add my oven baked meatballs at this point and cook for additional 20 minutes.


More bread!

I’ve been on a kick of making everything from scratch and I’m still trying to find a bread recipe that I like, especially for whole wheat bread, which so far hasn’t been wildly successful, but hasn’t been horrible either.

Today I decided I’d try the King Arthur recipe for whole wheat bread. I didn’t have instant yeast and the instructions on the blog post wasn’t all too consistent with the process I’ve been following on other recipes, so I modified the steps to be more consistent with what I’ve been doing. The recipe called for taking 2T of water from the existing recipe and putting it in a separate bowl with the yeast to proof. The recipes I’ve read all tell you to do this with the entire portion of water and whatever “sweetener” is being used. In this case the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of honey. I made this recipe twice today and the second time around I just did the honey in the water with the yeast and let that proof, before adding the remaining ingredients. It worked out great.


1 1/4 cups water (Luke warm, 105 degrees)
1/4 cup honey
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup dry milk powder
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour mix*
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Proof the yeast with the water and honey (add water to bowl of stand mixer and add honey, stir thoroughly and then add yeast). Once frothy/bubbly (roughly 8-10 minutes) add remaining ingredients and knead on second setting for 6-8 minutes. The dough should pull off the sides and not be too sticky. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil, place dough in bowl, and set (covered) in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.

Rising dough, about 1 hour 15 minutes in

Take dough out and shape into a log that’s roughly 8″ long. Grease a bread form lightly with oil and place dough log inside. Allow to rise again (covered) until the dough is about an inch over the rim (1-2 hours again).

White whole wheat loaves, should’ve weighed for equal sizes

Preheat oven to 350 before bread reaches 1″ over edge. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until the top is a golden brown) and then cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes (until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees Fahrenheit). The first time I made this I made one loaf out of the dough and the second step (to cover it) took about 30 minutes. The second time I made it I separated dough out into two loaves and it took about 18 minutes to get to 190 degrees.

*I made a mix of 1/3 cup bread flour to 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour, this worked well, but the second time I made the bread I used just white whole wheat.