Spaghetti and meatballs

This is my mom’s recipe and it’s the best!! The sauce is actually doubled from my mom’s recipe. She always doubles it too, which is why there are some odd measurements like 4 tsps, which probably works out to some version of a tablespoon, but I hate math. If you are some kind of weirdo that doesn’t like sauce, I guess you can halve everything. However, making it as-is feeds my family of four and then the rest freezes easily into another dinner and a lunch.

What you need for the sauce:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 16 oz cans of diced tomatos
  • 2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 6 oz cans of tomato paste (reserve 1 TBSP for the meatballs)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 4 TBSP dried parsley
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms that you’ve sauteed in butter, or canned/jarred mushrooms

What to do:

In a saucepan, saute the onions in some olive oil until soft. Add everything else and mix well. Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer for several hours.

What you need for the meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork (you can use all beef if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP dried parsley
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

How to make them:

Mix the eggs and tomato paste. Add the water, basil, oregano, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper. Mix and then add the meat, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Mix well with hands. Shape into meatballs. You can fry them until brown or you can line a baking sheet with parchment and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350, turning half way. Either way you cook them, add them to the sauce for the last hour of simmering.

You can make the sauce and/or meatballs the day before and just re-heat for dinner. The longer this has to simmer or set up, the better.


Corn Pudding

Admittedly this isn’t the most nutritionally dense side dish, but its something I know my kids will eat and not everything can be kale and quinoa, amirite?

What you need:

  • 1 16 oz can of creamed corn
  • 1 16 oz can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 359
  • Butter a 8×11 glass baking dish (or use baking spray)
  • Mix the corn bread mix with the melted butter
  • Mix in eggs
  • Add the 2 cans of corn and mix well
  • Add in the sour cream and mix well
  • Pour into baking dish and smooth over.
  • Bake for 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes

Ready for the oven!


BBQ Pork

What you need:

  • 4lbs pork shoulder, sliced into big strips (takes less time to cook)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf

Brown the pork in a dutch oven and add the onion. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over pork and onions. Bake for 2-3 hours in a 325 degree oven until the pork shreds.

Simply Delicious Pork Chops

Pork chops are not a big hit in this house, but these come out so great everytime I wonder why I don’t make them more often.

What you need:

  • 6 pork loin chops about 3/4 in thick
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange chops in glass baking dish. Whisk all other ingredients in a bowl and spread half over the chops. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn the chops and cover with remaining sauce. Bake for another 30 minutes.



  • 1 32 oz jar Prego spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
  • 1 4 oz cans of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground  beef
  • 1 lb ground pork or pork sausage
  • 1-2 oz pepperoni slices
  • 6 oz rotini or trio of noodle shapes
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

What to do:

Brown ground beef and pork with the onions in a deep pot. Add the sauce, spices, mushrooms and pepperoni. Simmer for 1 hour. Cook noodles according to package, drain. Add noodles to the sauce and stir well. Pour into 13×9 baking dish, top with the cheese and cook in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.


My Mom’s Hamburger Bean Dip

This is the most amazing dip I’ve ever had and so easy to make. Serve it with tortilla chips or bean dip.

What you need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 4 oz taco sauce
  • 1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 lb cheddar cheese

What to do:

Brown the ground beef and onion/garlic. Add everything else and heat until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

Red Wine Pot Roast

What you need:

  • 3ish lb chuck roast
  • 1 tbsp.  paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 onions, halved and cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup red wine (or beef broth)
  • baby carrots or carrot chunks (optional)
  • 6-7 baby gold potatoes, quartered (optional)

What to do:

Mix the spices together and rub all over the roast. Let sit for a couple hours in the fridge if you can, but no biggie if you can’t. Preheat oven to 350. In large dutch oven, brown roast on both sides. Remove roast and add wine (or broth) to pot to deglaze. Add roast back to the pot, throw the onions in on top and put in the oven for an hour. After an hour, flip the roast in the pan. If you’re using carrots and potatoes, add them in and cook uncovered for a half hour.  Finally, put the cover back on and cook for about another hour. Remove from pan and let rest before serving.

Ground Pork Tacos

Sometimes you need something different than regular ground beef tacos. But not so different your toddlers realize there’s been change and boycott the meal. These hit that sweet spot of different enough but can still fly under most toddler’s radar. If you’re brave, you can throw in optional veggies to make it healthier. Warning: the veggie addition may result in a dinnertime standoff. You’ve been warned.

What you need

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 1 zucchini quartered and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/4 tsp salt

What to do:

Heat a tblsp of FOC in a pan, add the pork, garlic, onion, cumin and salt to the pan and cook until the pork is cooked. At this point, you’re pretty much done unless you’re doing the veggies to. If so…remove the pork mixture to a bowl and add the zucchini and bell pepper to the pan with a 1/4 tsp of salt and cook until soft. Add the pork mixture back to the pan, mix and heat through. You may need to add a splash of water.

Serve with tortillas or crunchy taco shells.

Italian Chicken Bake

This one is all over the Internet and FaceBook so I’m just parking this here for my convenience. Easy, quick and a kid pleaser:

What you need:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 cans of green beans
  • 6 red potatos
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 packet of Italian dressing mix

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the chicken breasts in half and lay down the center of a 9×13 glass baking dish. Drain the green beans and put on one side of the chicken. Half or quarter the potatoes (you want them kinda small chunks) and put on the other side of the chicken. Sprinkle it all with the Italian dressing and drizzle with the melted butter. Cover with foil and bake for an hour.


Garlic Pulled Pork

I discovered this recipe on Marks Daily Apple and have changed it just a bit. I could never get it to cook in the time they describe, so I adjusted that. Otherwise, it’s a delicious and almost impossible to mess up. This one is not quick, but it is easy. This would probably work in the crock pot, but I’ve never tried it. I just do it low and slow in my Dutch oven in the oven.

My favorite part of this is actually the left-overs. Put the shredded pork in a pan and cook until crispy…OMG, heavenly. Makes great tacos with corn tortillas and a little cilantro.

What you need:

  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder (boneless or bone-in…go heavier if you get bone-in)
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • juice of a lime or lemon or orange
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 or so cloves of fresh garlic (optional, I’ve actually stopped adding the extra garlic)

What to do:

Mix the salt, cumin, garlic powder and black pepper together. Squeeze the juice over the spices and rub it all over the pork shoulder. Using a knife, make a deep slit in the pork and shove a garlic clove into the meat. Randomly insert the garlic cloves all over the pork shoulder.Put the pork shoulder in a Dutch oven (or slow cooker, I guess) with the sliced onion and bay leave and cook at 300 for 4-ish hours until it shreds easily. Bone-in will take longer to cook. It’s almost impossible to overcook this. It’s good just shredded, but we freeze leftovers and then cook them in a pan until they get crispy!

Ready for the oven!

All shredded up and ready for eatin’!