Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

meatballs with marinara sauce

Judging from the rain we had over the weekend from Hermine, I should have written about the hot, dry weather months ago. Other than a few limbs to pick up now, we faired well here on the farm, as I also hope that you did also.

With Labor Day behind me, I am truly getting into the “autumn” mind frame. As I mentioned last week, I am tired of the hot, the dry, the mowing, and the bugs. I thought I would take us into fall a little early with recipes for these wonderful meatballs with marinara sauce.

These recipes are simple and delicious, and great served on zoodles or pasta. My cousin, Robin, recently shared this scrumptious meatball recipe with me. I doubled the recipe, thinking I would have plenty of leftovers but my crowd ate every last one of them. The marinara sauce is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from one of her older cookbooks, Everyday Italian, and I’ve been making it for years. It is literally so good I could eat it like soup.

Complete your meal with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a fabulous meal to serve any day of the week.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ¾ c. bread crumbs
  • ½ c. grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
  1. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, egg, and bread crumbs. Add cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to your taste if desired.
  2. Roll into balls and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until no longer pink.
  3. Serve over pasta with marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce
Makes 2 quarts
  • ½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 2 (32-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 dried bay leaves
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.


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Southern Cornbread Salad



Do you remember the cornbread salads from twenty years ago? Cornbread layered with tomatoes, pinto beans, peppers, and onions, salsa, and usually Ranch dressing. My cousin could make one that always had you going back for seconds!

Recipes are like clothing styles. Of course, there are classics that will always be around. However, the most popular recipe today will most likely not be the popular recipe ten or fifteen years from now.

This recipe for Southern Cornbread Salad is amazing!  With family reunions, cookouts, and picnics in season, this is a great salad recipe to go into the summer months with.  This version of a cornbread salad is completely different. This salad is full or light and fresh flavors. Very much like an Italian Panzanella salad, but made with Southern cornbread rather than Italian bread.

If you are taking the salad to another location, take the vegetables in the salad bowl. Take the toasted cornbread in a ziplock bag, and the vinaigrette in a separate container. Combine just before serving.

Southern Cornbread Salad
  • ½ to 1 pan cornbread (any recipe, preferably 1 to 2 days old)
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 or 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 2 lg. tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ c. thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh basil
  1. Cube cornbread and place on a baking sheet. Toast in oven, turning to toast all sides of bread. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, set aside.
  3. Add toasted cornbread to a salad bowl. Add black beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, scallions, and basil to the salad bowl. Toss gently.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine well. Serve immediately.
If you are taking the salad to another location, take the vegetables in the salad bowl. Take the toasted cornbread in a ziplock bag, and the vinaigrette in a separate container. Combine just before serving.


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Pomegranate, Cranberry, and Brie Bruschetta



I have gone from a balcony overlooking the gulf in Florida to the house where I grew up in North Georgia. Last week I was enjoying a fall vacation and this week I’m helping my mom out after a back injury. Life throws us curve balls sometimes, but the unexpected time with my mom has been nice for both of us. Instead of running here and there to get a million things done like most visits, we have sat and talked, laughed, and even cried.

If nothing changes, I will not be visiting again until after Thanksgiving. So, to help mama out, I unpacked a few Christmas decorations in the basement. I have them upstairs for her to easily display after Thanksgiving. Going through the ornaments and decorations, that I remember from childhood, has me filled with holiday spirit.

The countdown to Thanksgiving is on. Only three short weeks away and then the Christmas parties will begin. Whether it’s an office party, a get-together with friends, or family time, appetizers are needed throughout the holiday season. This is a great bruschetta for the holidays. It is different from your traditional bruschetta, but it too has an excellent flavor. This bruschetta adds beautiful color to any holiday table from Thanksgiving through Christmas. This recipe if for a small gathering or party, but can easily be doubled.

(This recipe appeared in The Courier Herald October 4, 2015)

Pomegranate, Cranberry, and Brie Bruschetta
  • ¾ c. pomegranate seeds
  • ½ c. fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. sugar or Splenda Sugar Blend
  • 1 tsp. finely shredded orange zest
  • Dash salt
  • 6-oz. baguette-style French bread, cut diagonally into 16 slices
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (6-oz.) log Brie cheese, cut diagonally into 16 slices
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped (cilantro is a nice substitute)
  1. In a small bowl combine pomegranate seeds, chopped cranberries, sugar, orange zest, and salt. Cover and chill up to 3 days.
  2. To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread slices on a baking pan. Lightly coat both sides with cooking spray; sprinkle with black pepper. Bake 8 minutes, turning once. Top with cheese. Bake 4 minutes more or until cheese is softened.
  3. Stir basil into pomegranate mixture; spoon onto bread. Serve warm.
The pomegranate/cranberry mixture is best made 1 day ahead.


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Summer Garden Pasta

summer garden pasta 2

Do you ever have those weekends that are jam-packed? You have that list that you’ve been making for months, and you decide that you are finally going to check things off that list. You work all day, and you accomplish more than you thought you would. Now the day is over, and you are hot, sweaty, and hungry. The thought of cooking is exhausting, but the thought of going out to dinner is even more exhausting.

With a little bit of planning, you will have this delicious summer pasta on the table in no time. This recipe is an Ina Garten recipe that is super simple. The tomatoes and a few of the other ingredients need to be mixed and left to stand at room temperature for 4 hours. With a mid-day break, this is easy to do. Other than the wait time, this dish can be ready in 15 minutes or less. It is a light and fresh meatless meal and a great end to a productive day of work!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Summer Garden Pasta
Serves: 6
  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried angel hair pasta
  • 1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  1. Combine the cherry tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. salt, and the pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.
  2. Just before you're ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente according to the directions on the package (be careful - it only takes 2 to 3 minutes!). Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on each serving.




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Grilled Pork Chops with Blueberry Basil Salsa

blueberry salsa


As far back as I can remember I was a daddy’s girl.  There are home movies of my dad hitting golf balls in the front yard; I was tagging along with him with my little club, at about one-year-old.  I hate it for my mother, but if there was ever a side to pick I was always on daddy’s side.  Not long after he retired, I quit my job to stay at home with Wes.  Wes and I, and then Savannah after she was born, spent many days with daddy, we were pals to the end.

Cancer was the cause of my dad’s death, but he had suffered from Alzheimer’s for years.  I suppose it was a blessing that daddy, or we, his family, never had to face the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  They are both terrible diseases, and I hate them!

On a VERY personal note… I now live in fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  Not a day goes by that it does not enter my mind at some point.  If I misplace my keys or sunglasses Alzheimer’s is the first thing that comes to mind.  If I forget to do something I secretly freak out a little bit.  I am constantly reading articles about foods you should eat or vitamins you should take to prevent it.  I can’t make it through The Notebook without crying hysterically.  I avoided seeing the recent movie, Still Alice.

Because of this I try to incorporate blueberries into my diet daily.  They rank the highest of any fruit for antioxidants.  Studies show that they improve memory and provide protection against Alzheimer’s, and they are delicious!

From Emerging research suggests that compounds in blueberries known as flavonoids may improve memory, learning and general cognitive function, including reasoning skills, decision making, verbal comprehension and numerical ability. In addition, studies comparing dietary habits with cognitive function in adults hint that consuming flavonoids may help slow the decline in mental facility that is often seen with aging and might even provide protection against disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Here is a great way to serve up fresh blueberries.  This blueberry-basil salsa is amazing, especially served with grilled pork, chicken or fish.  If you do not care for basil or cilantro feel free to adjust to your taste.  It will still be delicious!

Grilled Pork Chops with Blueberry Basil Salsa
  • 3 c. fresh blueberries
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
  • ½ scallions, chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3½ tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ c. basil, loosely packed and very thinly sliced
  • ½ c. cilantro, loosely packed and roughly chopped
  • pinch of sugar or drizzle of honey, if desired
  • 2 lb. boneless pork chops
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1½ quarts water
  • ½ tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tbsp. granulated sugar
  • cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine 1½ quarts water, ½ tbsp. salt and ½ tbsp. sugar. Whisk until salt and sugar have dissolved and add pork chops. Cover and refrigerate for about 8 hours.
  2. For salsa: Place 2 cups blueberries in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped, about five times. Transfer to a medium bowl, add chopped jalapeño, scallions, red onion, lime juice, salt, basil, cilantro, and remaining blueberries. Stir to combine and taste. If desired add a pinch or two of sugar or a drizzle of honey. Stir and taste again. Cover and chill a few hours before serving.
  3. Heat grill to medium-high.
  4. Remove pork chops from brine and pat dry. Drizzle both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through.
  5. Serve immediately topped with a generous spoonful of blueberry salsa.




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