Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Quick & Easy Marinara Sauce


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I’m not quite sure if this is an “authentic” marinara sauce, but it’s easy to make & it tastes great (and way better than the kind in a jar). I always let mine simmer for about an hour, but if you’re really crunched for time you could get away with 30 minutes. The best thing to do, however, is to make it the day before…the flavors are just so much more prominent letting it sit for a day. This is nothing too fancy so you can definitely substitute dried herbs for the fresh, just remember to use less of the dried. I’ve done this plenty of times and it still tastes good (fresh herbs are better though!). As for the wine you can use any red wine. Up until tonight I had always used chianti, but today I used a Cabernet that I’d opened but didn’t really like for drinking. It tasted good in the sauce and didn’t taste all that different from when I use the Chianti. Serve over pasta or with whatever your heart desires (used mine for steak strombolis tonight)!

Quick & Easy Marinara Sauce
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup Red Wine
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
2. Add garlic & onion and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add wine to pan and allow to reduce by about half.
4. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, parsley & oregano.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for an hour or more. 6. Stir in basil and serve.

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Italian Sausage and Three Cheese Raviolletti


This is a quick pasta dish great for a weeknight meal. Full of flavor and fresh ingredients the whole family will love it! I know my Hubby did! ūüėČ I originally saw this recipe in Food Network Magazine, but I did change it up significantly starting with the type of sausage and pasta. It is a pretty basic recipe, so you can definitely use any pasta you like or spicy sausage or a different type of meat. For this recipe I used Buitoni Three Cheese Raviolletti which you can find in the dairy section of the grocery store.

Back in the day¬† in high school (we won’t mention how far back)I had¬†learned in cooking class to always get all your ingredients prepared and measured out and ready to go before you begin the actual cooking or baking part. Fast forward to adulthood and when I first started out cooking I seemed to have forgotten this important “preparation” step.¬†My cooking was unorganized, timed¬†poorly and just an all around mess. As a matter of fact my own Mother commented that I was¬†“a messy cook.”¬†Initially this¬†didn’t really matter to me so much¬†as long as the end result tasted good! However, as I’ve gotten better and better I realized¬†taking 10-15 minutes to prepare everything and have it readily available makes everything run so much smoother and easier….no more running around¬†the kitchen¬†like a chicken with its head cut off. As you can see in the picture, I took the time to chop¬†the garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes, as well¬†as cooking the pasta while I cut everything up. Once it was time to cook, I just grabbed everything as I went along. The total time for me to make this and put it on the table¬†was about 40 minutes with minimal clean up afterwards. I guess¬†those old cliche’s are true…practice does make perfect!

Italian Sausage & Three Cheese Ravioletti (Makes 4 servings)

9 oz. Buitoni Three Cheese Ravioletti

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

8 oz. Italian Sausage (casings removed)

4 scallions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

6 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1/2 tsp. salt

Black Pepper, to taste

1-2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon until it begins to brown.
  3. Add the scallions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, mushrooms, salt & pepper, stirring occassionally until the mushrooms start to brown.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook until they soften slightly, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Add the chicken stock to the skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the pasta and cheese, cook until the cheese has melted.
  8. Divide among bowls, topping each bowl with some parmesan cheese.
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