{Homemade Spaghetti Sauce}

We love this sauce around here! The flavor is perfect, and it makes enough to save some and freeze or refrigerate for another recipe later in the week. 


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups onion, chopped and divided

5 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 pounds lean ground beef 

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and chopped

1 can (12-ounces) tomato paste

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 cans (14-ounces each) Italian-style diced tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes

2 cans (28-ounces each) crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the chopped onions, and sauté until translucent and slightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or so.

Add beef, and cook, breaking into small pieces, until it is no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Drain excess grease.

In a blender or food processor, blend remaining 1 cup onion and the red pepper until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pot with the beef and onions.

Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined.

Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, beef broth, and sugar. Stir until combined before adding the bay leaves.

Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and let the sauce rest for 10-15 minutes (for the flavor to absorb) before serving.

Adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


{Almond Basil Pesto}

This was my first time making homemade pesto without pine nuts. I think I almost like the almonds better. It really did taste very similar, plus almonds are a lot cheaper!


2-3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything in a food processor, except for the olive oil. Turn the processor on slow until well mixed, then start drizzling the olive oil in until all mixed and paste like consistency. Salt and pepper to desired taste.