Marinara Sauce vs. Spaghetti Sauce

Ever Wonder what the difference is between marinara sauce and Tomato / Spaghetti Sauce is?
There is a difference!  Marinara Sauce is "fresh" quick made sauce, where as Tomato / Spaghetti Sauce is a slower cooked more complex sauce.
What is Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce is a more simple sauce, with fewer ingredients, and is made quickly. with a taste that is more that of fresh tomatoes.

Marinara is so easy to make from scratch for serving over pasta, once you learn how to make it, you'll fall in love with it!

Here's my  personal Marinara Sauce Recipe. I make it in a huge batch and freeze the extra, so cut it in half for less.

It usually contains: whole Roma or plum tomatoes. (San Marzono are best if buying canned), I also love to make fresh sauce from my garden tomatoes all summer long. coarsly crushed by hand (or run through a food mill) to your desired "chunkiness consistency. It also contains:
garlic, crushed red pepper, and basil.

Tomato/Spaghetti Sauce being more complex, simmers longer and has a richer flavor with more ingredients.

A can of pureed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes pureed)  is the base, then seasoned with onions, small diced celery, garlic, Basil, Oregano, along with a few other ingredients, it is  slow simmered. This sauce develops it's rich flavor over time.

Here's an authentic Tomato Sauce from Lydia's Italy.com I love watching her cook on T.V.! I wish I could sit in her kitchen while she does! 


Chicken Crescent Rolls

Chicken Crescent Rolls is a special dish that is also comforting. Crescent rolls filled with shredded chicken, two cheeses, then topped with buttery seasoned bread crumbs and baked and topped with a creamy sauce.
Chicken and Cream Cheese Crescent Roll ups

Perfect for a special evening, like Valentines, for company, or I love to take this as a dish for someone who needs a meal. This dish can be made ahead and kept in the freezer ready to bake, then thaw overnight or the day you want to want to bake it, to make this dish easy to get on the table quickly.

Jan's Tip: Double the Sauce!: I've made this recipe for 30 years now and experience tells me.. make extra! People will go back for some extra sauce for the roll, the chicken just seems to sop it up, so plan on doubling it up. 

print recipe

Chicken Crescent Rolls
Crescent rolls filled with shredded chicken, two cheeses, then topped with buttery seasoned bread crumbs and baked and topped with a creamy sauce.
  • 1 Whole Rotisserie Chicken Deboned and meat diced/ shredded
  • 2 (8 oz) pkg's Cream Cheese Softened
  • 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Packages Refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 1 1/2 Cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 8 oz. Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup. milk
Using Stand Mixer or by hand mix together shredded chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheese till well blended. Divide Chicken Mixture into 8 even balls and set aside. If baking and serving dinner immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees.Pour Bread Crumbs into a shallow Dish. Melt Butter in a shallow dish. Set both on counter near work surface. Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray or line with silicone baking mat.On work surface, unroll 1 package of crescent dough. Gently tear the dough in 4 rectangles, take one rectangle and pinch together the center seam, sealing it shut. Gently push out all the edges of the rectangle making it just a bit larger. Place one chicken mixture ball in center of prepared dough. Bring corners of dough up to cover chicken mixture. Shape dough around chicken mixture to completely cover it. Roll crescent ball in butter, then in bread crumbs and place on baking sheet. Repeat steps with remaining crescent rectangles.

If baking immediately, bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes till golden brown. 

If Freezing to bake later, Place balls in a freezer safe bag or container in a single layer. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw prior to baking.Make sauce to serve over baked crescent rolls
In Saucepan over medium heat: Stir together Cream or Chicken Soup and Sour Cream. Drizzle in Milk to thin out sauce to desired consistency. serve warm.

Yield: 8 Rolls


Monthly Meal Planner February 18

It's time for another monthly meal planner we have 4 meal ideas along with a skillet corn bread and a delicious baked chocolate pudding for dessert for you to add into your meal planning this month!
Meal Planning Ideas

The second month of the year is sure full of  parties and celebrations for such a cold month! We need a meal that is great for that big football game, something special to celebrate our love and family, as well as just trying to stay warm till spring!!!

Homemade Chili:  For our Football Parties I actually create a Chili Bar. I make my easy but delicious: homemade chili, and then set out a super easy spread that gives my guests choices such as hot dogs (for chili dogs) tortilla chips, and toppings for chili cheese nachos, as well as those same toppings go great for bowls of chili. It's easy to put together and everyone thinks there is a ton of food, when really I only made Chili and warmed up some dogs.. and threw out some toppings.

Baked Chocolate Pudding: Valentines at our house is our oldest sons birthday! So.. we don't really celebrate Valentines day! But if we did, this baked chocolate pudding would be perfect for a cold winter Valentines where you want a brownie like topping with a warm velvety pudding hidden below waiting to warm you up
Baked Chocolate Pudding

Sloppy Joe Skillet Supper: My Grandma's recipe for a simple meal that is a classic taste that pleases the crowd. She learned to feed her family during the depression, and stretching food and making simple meals taste great were somehow easy for her, it was like magic how she could pull a meal out of thin air!

Crockpot Philly Cheesesteaks: What could be better then to come home to the smell of beef, onions and peppers simmering in the crockpot and waiting to be piled high on a hogie roll, and be topped with some cheese? This'll warm your family right on up.. and I bet no complaints either!
Homemade "Boxed" Mac n Cheese:  Making your own homemade stovetop mac and cheese is really easier than you think it is, I promise, you can do this, and it has simple fresh ingredients you can actually pronounce! So worth doing this!  Ok.. Make a hot dog dinner to go with, if you want. (I will be)
Homemade Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
Cast Iron Corn Bread (and a 2 ingredient Biscuit Recipe too) : Cornbread or a biscuit baked in a cast iron skillet just doesn't get any better! I have recipes for both! They'll go perfect with the chili or the Sloppy Joe Skillet supper this month!


Football Party Foods Top Recipes #FootballFoods

Celebrate 365 Blog Party recently hosted a Football Party Foods Recipe Round Up! Bloggers all joined in and shared their best game day recipes!  We ended up with at least 70 great party food ideas last time I looked! Delish!

Party Foods

With the Big Game just ahead of us and many of us planning a gathering or family party, it's a good time for some new ideas!
Here are the top 9 most viewed recipes from that great party!

1. Nieman Marcus Dip right here from my own blog; Tip Garden.
Make this one in advance folks, so the flavors really " marry" but it is easy and delish.. it has bacon!

2 Homemade Chex Party Mix: from Kelly Lynn's Sweets & Treats

3.  Mini Zucchini Pizza's by Jolene's Recipe Journal

4. Party Sliders by Living on Cloud Nine

5. Ranch Party Snack Mix by Corn, Bean, Pigs & Kids

Super Loaded Queso  by Cooking with Carlee

7. Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken  by Family Around the Table:

8. Slow Cooker Philly Cheesecake Dip By Strawberry Blondie Kitchen

 9. Avocado Corn Salad by Books n Cooks

Want to see the entire list of 70 + recipes? 

Here's the link to the full list: 

Football Party Food Recipe Round Up


Leftover Beef Pot Roast and Potato Soup

It's a cold winter evening, you want to warm up your family with a nice soup, but not sure how to start? Grab that little bit of left over Pot Roast from Sunday's dinner along with the potatoes, and gravy leftovers and lets get started!
Beef and Potato Soup

It really only takes a few minutes to make your family think you slow simmered this soup, because you actually already did! When you made your roast! Now we just want to save every single bit of extra  broth from the pan along with left over gravy and any potatoes and veggies (like carrots) that went with it, and we've got the makings to an amazing soul stirring soup.

This recipe also works with leftover Rotisserie chicken and broth too. So good!

Let's get you started!

Beef Soup

print recipe

Leftover Beef Pot Roast and Potato Soup
A delicious heart warming soup that tastes slow simmered but is quick to make with leftovers from your Sunday Dinner.
  • 3 cups total Beef Broth and left over gravy
  • 1 1/2 cups Diced beef pot roast
  • 1 1/2 cups Diced cooked Potatoes or 1 (15 oz) can drained
  • 1 1/2 cups Diced cooked carrots or 1 (15 oz) can drained
  • 3/4 cup elbow macaroni cooked tender
Cook macaroni in microwave safe bowl in 2 cups water for 8-10 minutes till al dente. Drain excess water.In 2 qt saucepan over medium heat, pour broth and /or any gravy. heat and stir to blend. Stir in Potatoes, and Carrots. Gently fold in Roast Beef chunks and cooked macaroni. Heat till boilinRemove from heat and serve.
Yield: 4 Servings
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