Quick, fresh, healthy.... Summer spaghetti sauce ~

I love spaghetti and meatballs.  It's just about the most comforting food I can ever think of.  And I make it during the winter and always have a batch in my freezer for those nights when I really crave some comfort food.

Now comes the summer, when the weather is hot and I don't want to stand over the stove and cook.  Nope, too hot.  So this is my version of quick, and by quick, I mean less than 30 minutes from fresh tomatoes to dinner!  It's easy and so, so delicious.  Just give it a try, you won't be disappointed.


4 medium to large tomatoes, roughly chopped (ripe).  If using romas, you will need 6 or 7 tomatoes.

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons good olive oil

1 tsp. salt & black pepper

6 basil leaves, chopped

1 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese

4 meatballs (I use frozen turkey meatballs from Trader Joes), optional.

Heat a skillet on medium, add olive oil.  Add garlic cloves and let cook without burning, about 1 minute.  You'll smell the garlic fragrance.  Add chopped tomatoes and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring gently. Add salt and pepper.  With the back of a wooden spoon, break up tomatoes a bit.  I don't worry about this, I like chunky sauce.  But, it helps to break down the tomatoes, if they aren't quite so ripe
Add water and let simmer on medium low for about 15-20 minutes.  Add frozen meatballs here if using them.  Cover pan for 3 minutes to cook meatballs.

Cook spaghetti as directed on package, drain.  Add to skillet with the tomatoes and toss.  Pour onto a platter, top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

An assortment of cookies ~

I decided to make cookies to take to a friend's house for dinner.  I'm not usually stumped on what to bring, but this time I was told that I shouldn't bring anything because dinner was all set.   Well I don't know how to react really when someone says that to me, even good friends.  I like to bring something, but what?   So I decided to make cookies, but what kind.... I love chocolate, but not everyone really likes it, or can eat it.  So I decided to make a few different ones, however I like easy baking. Martha Stewart's Oatmeal Raisin cookies fit the bill and so do Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.   Plus the Chocolate cookies had a variation of rolling them in either powdered sugar or cocoa, which made for a nice little assortment.

First I made the Oatmeal Raisin.  One reviewer said to cook the raisins in water for 2 minutes and then let them steep for about 5 minutes.  This worked out really well, but make sure you drain them before adding them.  The raisins were very plump and juicy.  And the finished cookie was very tasty.  Thanks Martha....

Then when I made the chocolate cookies, I rolled half in powdered sugar and the other half in cocoa. 

The result of bringing cookies to dinner worked out perfectly.  They are easily added to anyone's planned dessert, or frozen for a future dessert for my friends.  Either way, I didn't go empty handed and felt glad that I was able to provide something to our dinner.

DL's Chocolate Crinkle cookies:

Yield:  3 dozen


1/2 cup butter, melted
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups of white flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
white powdered sugar and cocoa powder for rolling the cookie

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray or grease 3 cookie sheets

Stir melted butter, chocolate, sugar, eggs, vanilla and baking powder in a large bowl with a spatula by hand.  Mix well.

Fold in flour, until blended.

Roll into 1 inch balls and roll gently into the powdered sugar or cocoa powder.  Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let cool. 

They were very well received and eaten that night.  :)  A win-win situation!



Portsmouth, N.H.... a favorite place ~

I live about an hour south of Portsmouth, N.H.  My youngest son went to college in the area and stayed there after he graduated.   Who could blame him for wanting to stay, it's gorgeous place to be.

Speaking of gorgeous, Saturday was one of those days.  I was driving up to visit him and we decided to go for the day.  The parking garage is very accessible to walking around and there are plenty of little, quaint shops, excellent restaurants and lovely sights to see.

A favorite spot to have lunch in the summer is The Oar House.
They have an outdoor deck and it's a lovely spot to have a bite to eat.  I got their lobster roll and it was perfect.  Wouldn't you agree?

If you are in the area of Southern N.H., make sure you visit the coast.  It's only 12 miles long, but each town is nicer and the other.  However, I am partial to Portsmouth.  It's such a lovely old New England town, with tons of charm. 

Here's Market Square.

This is a picture on their website that I didn't take.  It shows the tugboats at sunset on the water.

Truly gorgeous, don't you think?



Taco oven fries ~

Want to change up your potatoes?  Try these easy Taco spiced fries.  The are so tasty, crispy and delicious.

Recipe serves two.

2 large, red skinned potatoes
1 & 1/2 tsp. Taco Seasoning, powdered
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, Fahrenheit.

Cut potatoes into wedges and place on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with taco mix and salt, toss.  Add olive oil, toss again.
Spread potatoes out in one layer on baking sheet.  Place in oven for 15 minutes.  Remove pan and turn potatoes over, place baking sheet back in oven and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm. 


Roasted baby bok choy ~

It's been cool here lately, weather reaching 70 degrees during the day.  It's still perfect weather for turning on the oven and for me, roasting vegetables is my favorite way to eat them.  So I try to stretch out the roasting season and this year I'm lucky and make most all of my vegetables this way. 

I am also fortunate to have an Asian Market near me, but even if you don't, you can find Bok Choy is most large grocery stores.

Bok Choy is a delicious vegetable and roasting it makes it even more tasty.  Baby Bok Choy is even more delicious, look for stalks about the 4" inches in length.

You need to rinse and dry them, and cut them in half the long way.  Trim off the tops so they don't dry out, about an inch down from the top will do.

 Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, drizzle with olive oil and roast them in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Make sure you turn them over at the halfway point.

The roasting gives food such a wonderful flavor, can't go back to steaming again. 

Pretty soon, I'll put away my roasting pans for the summer and cook my vegetables on the stovetop. 

Here is another picture of the beach.  This is a lagoon we found that is just gorgeous while we were in Bermuda.