Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

My husband and his family are constantly telling me how great their Grandmother’s cooking was when they were growing up. As an Italian and the Matriarch of the family, she was adept at bringing the whole family together for a meal. They all get so excited when they recount all the tasty meals she used to prepare from scratch. That’s right! Those spectacular home cooked recipes from the old country are the stuff that myths are made of (something I know nothing about). Especially since Nana Onusic cooked by feel. Meaning? A pinch of this and a snip of that. Not exactly helpful when once she’s passed away, and you want to recreate the meals she used to make. So I have been on a hunt for a spaghetti sauce recipe that is both delicious and easy to produce. This is the first one that my husband has liked. And believe me, I have tried tons! So, in honor of Nana Onusic, I have decided o start some of our own Garcia Family traditions. So if you too are looking to make some spaghetti sauce from scratch, here is a little recipe from me to you.

This recipe makes about ten servings. So you can have yummy leftovers or freeze the extra sauce for another week. Or you can use it as the sauce for a yummy lasagna for the end of the week. Believe it or not, my husband loves it so much, that I have to double this recipe, in order to have leftovers. This is one of the base recipes for my Garcia Family Cookbook. Enjoy!

Mama Kerrie’s Spaghetti Sauce

2 lbs Ground Italian sausage
1 small onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
3 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I usually put 1/2 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon pepper

Cooking Instructions:
-In a large skillet brown Italian sausage. It is much easier to stir without spilling. Break up sausage into bits as you stir. When sausage is about halfway cooked, add onions and continue to cook until they have become soft and sausage is cooked through. Then drain grease and set aside.

In a large pot, add garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Mix them well. Add the sausage and onion mixture and mix until combined.

In a small bowl, mix basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Add spices to the pot and mix well. Bring sauce to a boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat to low.

Simmer on low stirring frequently for at least 2 hours. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles. Or use as it as the base for your lasagna.



Blackberry Cobbler Recipe – it changed my life!

Fresh baked blackberry pie.  There’s nothing like it!  It’s one of the few things that takes me back to my childhood.  My grandmother always baked them for dessert on Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.  And I looked forward to it always.  Last week I wrote about my Turnbull Family traditions and following in my grandma’s footsteps.  Learning how to make Blackberry pie is one of my favorite things she has taught me.  It is a skill that is linked to so many of my childhood memories.  And I look forward to sharing that tradition with my Baby Girl when she gets older.

But there is just one thing about making homemade pies – it takes a whole lot of work.  And it can be downright messy.  It seems like not such a big deal around the holidays, because we are whipping up so many things.  If you are looking to just make dessert for one evening and very few people, it doesn’t seem worth the all the trouble.  But I am happy to report that I have found a solution to my dilemma.  A friend of mine gave me this recipe, and I felt that I should share it with all of you. It is just too delicious to keep to myself.  It is a super simple recipe for the most divine Blackberry Cobbler.  That’s right, we can now have a Blackberries for dessert any night of the week.  Or, if you’re bad like me, breakfast on any morning.  Some people eat breakfast for dinner, but I like dessert for breakfast instead.  Side note – that’s not something I plan to pass on to my children.  It’s a terrible habit I picked up a long time ago.

So here it is, my gift to all of you – an easy 5 ingredient recipe for a Blackberry Cobbler.  Try it.  I promise you will love it.  I recommend using frozen blackberries, that way you can have it anytime.  No paying high prices or waiting for them to be in season.  I promise it will change your life.  It changed mine.  It’s been permanently added to my Garcia Family Cookbook.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Cobbler Recipe

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 stick Butter, melted
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Self-rising Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups Blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup Sugar (plus some for dusting)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 10″ deep pie dish or tart pan.  Set aside.

If using fresh berries, rinse and pat dry.  If using frozen berries, make sure they are thawed and drain excess juice.  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar, self-rising flour, and milk with a whisk.  Set aside.

Place your stick of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds until melted.

Add melted butter to your Sugar mixture.  Mix until combined.

Pour batter into your prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle berries evenly over batter.  Try to cover all of the batter with berries.  Don’t leave any bare spots.

Sprinkle berries with a 1/4 cup of sugar.

Bake cobbler for one hour.

Remove from oven and dust the top of your cobbler with 1 Tablespoon of sugar.  Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Cobbler tastes best when served warm and with vanilla ice cream.

Happy Baking!

Easiest French Bread Recipe

I have always loved to bake. I mean who doesn’t, right? Pies, cakes, cookies, brownies – you can’t go wrong with any of it. When it comes to baking, I’ll try just about anything. But I must confess, I have always been a little afraid of working with yeast. It always seemed too complicated. So I avoided any recipe that called for it. It was kind of a bummer though, because I love to eat bread. And nothing is better than fresh baked bread.

As a part of my New Year’s resolutions, I promised myself I would try new things. Making bread became my something new in January. With a little coaxing from my mom, I dug our brand new breadmaker out of the garage (a wedding present from 4 years ago) and tried making bread for the first time ever. For those of you who own a breadmaker, you know it takes absolutely no skill to make bread this way. But I really enjoyed it anyway. I was proud of myself for attempting something new. But I still didn’t feel brave enough to try making bread from scratch by hand.

I had expressed my apprehension to my sister-in-law. She is a wonderful cook and a fabulous baker. She told me that she had the same reservations regarding yeast that I did. It made me feel a little more normal. That’s when she told me about her French bread recipe. She said it was incredibly easy to make. And it made two huge loaves of bread. I had tried her bread before, and it was delicious. So in the spirit of trying new things, I decided to make her French bread recipe. I figured it would be disastrous, but what the heck! So I tried. Believe it or not, it turned out really good. I even surprised myself.

Over the past few months, I have made that recipe almost every week. The bread is that good. Plus, my husband eats it so quickly, it only lasts for a few days. So I feel like I’m becoming an expert. As a matter of fact, I have made a few other recipes that call for yeast since then.

Now to my point. I know that a lot of you feel the same way I did about yeast. But don’t let that hold you back. It’s not nearly as hard as you think. And just so you can begin with something easy – I’m sharing this French bread recipe. I think you’ll love it!

Happy Baking!!!


  • 2 ¼ c. warm water
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 5 ½ -6 cups flour-stirred before measured

Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let this proof—or sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well. Add in 2 1/2 -3 more cups of flour. The dough should clean off the sides of the bowl and not be too stick – but be careful not to add too much flour. Knead for a few minutes.

Leave the dough in the mixer to rest for 10 minutes and then stir it down (turn on your mixer for 10 seconds) and then allow to rest another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times.

Then turn dough onto a floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a 9×13 rectangle. Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal.


Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal, allowing room for both loaves. Repeat with second part of dough.

With a sharp knife, cut 3 gashes at an angle on the top of each. Cover lightly; allow to rise 30 minutes.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Baking!