Chicken in Savory Tomato Sauce

I got home from work and realized I had no plan on what to make for dinner.

I really hate when this happens! But I had a full pantry and hungry mongrels all around me. What to do?

This is what I did, and I’m glad I did.

The sauce was really rich and delicious…a quick homemade marinara. Simmer some chicken in it, and I wondered why I hadn’t thought of this before.

I didn’t have any, but tear some basil over the finished plates if you like. Or add fresh herbs for even better flavor!

I sprinkled shaved Parmesan cheese over the top, but you could use mozzarella too.

Something about the crunchy, peppery arugula under that rice really worked here. If that’s not your fancy, serve over pasta.

Either way, this recipe just proves the old saying that simple is better!

Chicken in Savory Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds chicken (any pieces you like; I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into slivers (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (about 1 cup)
  • 26 ounce container chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • rice or pasta, for serving
  • arugula, for serving (optional)
  • Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, for serving

Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Generously salt and pepper the chicken. Add to pan and cook 10-15 minutes, turning once, until browned all over. Remove from pan to a plate.

Drain all but a small amount of oil from the pan (you may not need to do this if your chicken is skinless). Add garlic, onion, and green pepper, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.

Stir in tomatoes and oregano, and bring to a simmer. Put chicken back in the pan, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, turning once.

Serve over a bed of greens and rice like we did, or over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!


Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs made it onto the menu tonight.  I don’t always make my own sauce, but today I thought I’d share my homemade version with my mom’s meatball recipe.  I’m not quite adventurous enough to make the sauce from fresh tomatoes, but you certainly could!

To make this recipe gluten free, all you need to do is substitute two ingredients: the bread crumbs and pasta noodles.  That’s it – easy peasy!

I add grated carrot to this recipe for added invisible veggies!  And I grate the onion, too, so it melts into the sauce.

I always use 90/10 lean/fat ratio ground beef…80/20 is too oily, leaving oil to pool on top of the sauce (yuck).  90/10 meatballs will hold together well and not grease up your sauce!

The golden rule of ground beef is to handle it as little as possible; the more you mess with it, the tougher it becomes once cooked.  So use your fingers to incorporate the spices and breadcrumbs until just combined.

A classic comfort dish!  Add some Bubble Toast to make it even better!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Use gluten free breadcrumbs and pasta to make this dish gluten free!


  • 1 box (can) strained tomatoes (large size, around 28 ounces)
  • 1 box (can) crushed tomatoes (large size, around 28 ounces)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup onion, grated
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 16 box of spaghetti noodles


  • 1 pound ground beef (I prefer 90/10 sirloin)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I use Italian seasoned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
  • few dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, if desired


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch over or heavy stockpot.  Add grated carrot, onion, and garlic.  Saute until carrot is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add both boxes of tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, oregano, and rest of olive oil.  Stir, cover and simmer over medium-low heat.

To make the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Use your hands to gently incorporate seasonings into meat until just combined.

Form into golf ball-sized balls, and drop directly into simmering sauce.  Repeat until all meat is gone.

Cover meatballs with sauce, replace lid and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.  When meatballs are done, add salt to taste and stir.  Serve with homemade garlic bread.  Enjoy!

Fresh Salsa

Salsa…one of my all-time favorite foods.

There’s nothing like homemade salsa, and once you make it yourself, you’ll never go back to the jarred disaster claiming to be salsa.

You can leave out the Ro-Tel if you like.  We just love the extra boost of flavor.  And don’t oversalt the salsa.  Tortilla chips are salty enough!

This is my version, and I always get asked for the recipe.  Our favorite certified gluten free tortilla chips are Snyder’s of Hanover Whole Grain Tortilla chips.

It will keep in your fridge for a few days, but it’ll get eaten long before that…


Fresh Salsa

Yield about 3 cups.

  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles (mild or original)
  • 3 Roma (plum) tomatoes
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup chopped)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (any color)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 limes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeno, optional

Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, bell pepper, and garlic.  Drain the Ro-Tel and add it to a food processor or blender.  Add the chopped ingredients on top, squeeze the juice of both limes in, and add the 1/8 teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper.  Don’t overdo the cumin or it will overpower the salsa!

Blend to desired consistency, and refrigerate until needed.  Salsa will keep in fridge for a few days, but I promise there won’t be any left the first time you bring it out.  Enjoy!