John’s Secret Spaghetti Sauce Recipe: No Longer Secret!

I’m honored to post my husband’s spaghetti sauce recipe…you’ll want to try it! It’s a vegetarian recipe, so he uses textured vegetable protein (TVP) instead of ground meat. You can find TVP at Bob’s Red Mill, or at your local health food store.



Two 15-oz cans sauce

One 10-oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles

6-oz tomato paste

Dried Italian herbs

1/2 cup sliced lack olives

¼ cup brandy or red wine

2 Bay leaves

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 serrano peppers, diced

1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped

6 scallions, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

3 strips bacon, chopped

Apple cider vinegar

Dash of seasoned salt

Onion powder

2 tbsp sugar or sweetener

Olive oil

1 cup water

1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)


Place all ingredients except for italian herbs, onion powder, seasoned salt, TVP and water in a large pot. Stir to combine. Sprinkle a layer each of onion powder and Italian herbs. Drizzle some olive oil over the ingredients and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add a cup of water. You can add more water as the sauce cooks, if necessary.

Bring ingredients to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally and add a little water if the sauce becomes too thick. Feel free to sample on a piece of fresh baked bread!

About 30 mintes before the sauce is finished cooking, stir in the TVP. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes.

Done! Serve on pasta with grated cheese. This sauce freezes well, too!

Shared with Thursday’s Favorite Things…join us!


Thursday Favorite Things


Recipe: Spaghetti alla puttanesca

A few days ago, a friend requested my recipe for pasta puttanesca, and I thanked her for suggesting my next blog post!  This sauce uses ingredients typical of Southern Italian cooking.  Although the dish has become a favorite, its history is quite brief–the earliest reference to it is from the 1960s. Here is the recipe, adapted from Rachel Ray’s recipe. Salty but oh so good!

Pasta Puttanesca


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small can anchovy fillets, drained

10 -12 oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped

1 large can (32 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 fresh roma tomato, diced

2 tablespoons capers

1 tablespoon brine from capers

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound dried spaghetti

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic, anchovies, and black olives. Saute a few minutes until garlic is lightly golden, olives are softened, and anchovies have dissolved.

Add canned and fresh tomatoes, capers, red pepper flakes, oregano, and brine. Bring to a boil and then simmer about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and toss with puttanesca sauce. If you like, top with grated cheese–but the sauce is so flavorful, you don’t really need this! Serve with your favorite type of pasta–penne, vermicelli, whatever you like.

Meatless Monday: John’s Veggie Pasta Salad

It’s Meatless Monday again…join us to try a meatless menu once a week!  Also, if you have a favorite meatless dish you’d like to share, check out Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday each week.  This week, I’m posting my husband John’s pasta salad recipe.

John’s Veggie Pasta Salad


1 pound dried whole grain rotini

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons vinegar of your choice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup sweet relish

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

seasoned salt to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a colander, rinse with cold water and allow to drain thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine pasta with oil and vinegar. Add garlic, tomatoes, and onion, and stir well. Add seasoning and relish; adjust seasonings to taste, if necessary. My husband uses homemade basil vinegar for this recipe, but you can use whatever vinegar you prefer.

Enjoy pasta salad with hummus and pita bread

Last week, we served this dish with homemade sweet potato hummus and pita bread. Hope you’ll try this recipe soon!

Meatless Monday: Millet Macaroni Salad

Welcome to Meatless Monday! Once a week, why not try a plant-based menu? For even more Meatless Monday recipes, visit Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday–a great blog with great ideas!

Some of the most nutritious foods in a plant-based diet are whole grains. Actually a seed, millet is used as a vitamin- and mineral-rich grain. This mild, gluten-free food, which originated in China, is easy to digest and provides calcium, magnesium, B Vitamins, and even soothing serotonin. Here is a recipe for a salad, adapted from a recipe on a package of Bob’s Red Mill millet seed. You can use whole grain macaroni for added nutritional benefit. The millet adds a creamy texture to the macaroni salad. Feel free to add or substitute other ingredients–diced fresh tomatoes or chopped fresh basil are always good. Enjoy!

Millet Macaroni Salad


8 Cups water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 Cup millet, rinsed and drained

1 Cup dry elbow macaroni

1/4 Cup rice vinegar

1/4 Cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar or equivalent sweetener

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

2 green onions (scallions), diced

In a large pot, bring water to boil and add millet and salt. Boil for 8 minutes, add macaroni, and cook for another 9 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow to drain thoroughly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar or sweetener, crushed red pepper, Italian herbs, and green onions. Add macaroni and millet to the bowl and combine thoroughly with dressing. Chill overnight or for 2 to 3 hours before serving.