I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Spaghetti Sauce Alternative

Ella doesn't like spaghetti (or white potatoes or macaroni and cheese or any other typical kid fare). She likes the noodles with butter, the typical red sauce does not impress her. Bob figured out that if he kicked it up a notch with garlic, capers and kalamata olives then she got on board with red sauce. Cooked tomatoes are super good for you and processed and dried pasta is not really, so trying to get her to eat the healthier part of a spaghetti meal was a good challenge.

I am trying to save money. This means I am trying to eat out of our well stocked pantry for a couple weeks. I am not planning recipes to buy items for, I am figuring out how to use things up. Tonight I was tired and I desperately wanted to order in but I resisted and pulled out the VitaMix and VM recipe book instead. In a pinch I can usually throw enough common items in it and get something edible and tasty back out very quickly. Quick was in order tonight.

I began with the Tomato Basil recipe and adjusted it quite a bit. I did not have sun dried tomatoes as the recipe called for but I did have two fresh tomatoes and some canned tomatoes. The recipe only called for one clove of garlic and that just wouldn't do. I added more basil, a can of artichoke hearts, 2 tsps. of capers and lightly blended for 25 seconds on a medium speed (6). I then put it over spaghetti noodles with some fresh chopped parsley and parmesean cheese on top.

1/4 balsamic vingear

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

2 whole fresh tomatoes

1 12 oz. canned diced tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

8 fresh basil leaves

2 tsps. capers

1 can artichoke hearts

1/4 c. olive oil

The kids LOVED this! I may play with the vinegar and reduce it a bit the next time as there was a noticeable tang but it certainly was not a bad tang, as we all gobbled it up. The artichokes blended up in the sauce give it a "meatier" texture while keeping the sauce deliciously vegetarian.

The ingredients in the measurements above are definitely good for 2 meals for a smaller family or 1 meal for a large family. You need far less sauce on the pasta since it has such a punch than you do with typical marinara recipes.

If you try this let me know what you think. I used a VitaMix but any old blender will do since you want a coursely chopped and blended consistency and not a smooth consistency. Enjoy!




Melissa said...

Bob made Puttanesca Sauce! (without the dreaded anchovies)

I have never thought to put vinegar in a red sauce, since the tomatoes already have so much kick ala acid. BUT, if you are using the good stuff (as my family calls it) with balsamic, you only need just a tiny bit, and its sweet not tangy. It's also quite pricey starting at about $50 for 8oz. And tastes nothing like typical balsamic that you find in the grocery stores. I can see THAT added. Cheaper to use red wine though. They have the same alcohol content.

Lissie said...

I am eager to try this recipe. When I was in Italy, I learned that Italians do not drown pasta in sauce like we Americans do.

I disagree with the other Melissa, as I love anchovies! To each his own, eh?


Jess said...

I love anchovies too.

And here is a funny thing, I was definitely close to age 10 before I realized that pizza didn't have to come with anchovies. I always had them on pizza that you ordered, Lissie, and I just assumed that is what pizza was: dough with red sauce, anchovies and onions!

The man who owns Pizzarama, the local pizza joint is always so impressed that my kids eat anchovies. They like salty flavors, are DEFINITELY not picky (Ella begged for seconds of brussels sprouts yesterday!) and also think they are part and parcel with a pizza order. Thank goodness I have a husband and father in law who are anchovy lovers as well - it seems that poor little fishy has very few fans.

Rach said...

LOL, Jess! You can count Brien among the non-lovers. :oP If I want an anchovy and onion pizza around here, I have to be certain I really *want* one as I'll be the only one eating it. ;o)

Amy J said...

I love anchovies in things, but not fond of eating them on their own. I make caesar dressing fairly frequently, can't leave the anchovies out!

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