Cheating On Giada

Sometimes you just don’t have time to make everything from scratch, sorry Giada……ask Sandra Lee!  This is one of my favorite salad & pasta dishes that I whip up when I don’t feel like cooking, or making tomato sauce from scratch.  Going out can sometime seem like too much work after a busy day, and I certainly don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t think my meal was perfect…….also I find that I’m usually over stuffed and thinking, I should have stayed home and cooked because I know that mine would taste better anyway, just because it’s made with love! 😀 Just a thought!

Caprese Salad is so simple to make & taste like summer in the middle of winter.  I love to   grow basil in window boxes, you can always bring them in the house if it gets too cold outside.  Any time you add fresh herbs to any dish it just makes it gourmet.


  • Fresh Tomato, always room temperature
  • Fresh Mozzarella Sliced, almost room temperature
  • Fresh Basil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Quality Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh cracked pepper & sea salt

assemble as pictured

Pasta has to be the easiest meal on the planet to make.  When I’m feeling lazy (most of the time)  I make my special quick pasta sauce, with my secret ingredient.  I always have a couple jars of Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce in the pantry, (I love that profits from Newman’s go to charity, and they have organic) you can use it for backup pizza sauce too!  I usually skip meat sauce, I just don’t feel the need to have meat more than once or twice a week.


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (aprox 3 Tablespoons)
  • 1 small Vidalia Onion chopped (sweet onion)
  • 2 large cloves garlic crushed & sliced (I smash w/ a can first)
  • Zest from one whole lemon, shhhhh (my secret ingredient)!
  • Drizzle’s of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 jar Newman’s Own Marinara sauce
  • 1 package Whole Wheat Spaghetti (I use Barilla Plus)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (or any other hard grated cheese)
  • Fresh cracked pepper & sea salt

Method to the Madness:

Saute onion & garlic in olive oil in a large saute pan, sprinkled with salt & pepper. Pour one jar of marinara sauce in with the onions & garlic. Add zest from lemon & balsamic vinegar, simmer 10-15 minutes (or more). Make pasta as directions on box, they only take 10 minutes, all together this is less than a half hour meal that taste amazing!

Recipe serves 4 adults & 3 parrots.

Bon Appetit

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