Recipes + Dinner Menu, they're back: Meaty Marinara Sauce and Sweet Ricotta Cheese

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall," so I'm letting the change of seasons inspire a rebirth this space I hold so dear but so often neglect. This blog has been shifted to the back burner as of late with my sporadic popping-ins to post about random things in my head or goings on in my life, and while that is all well and good, it makes for an unreliable and disorganized blog. Did you realize that I haven't posted a proper recipe since the early part of May?! I had no idea it had been that long!

I'm really excited to get back to the real purpose of this share recipes (mixed in with bits about my life) that will inspire you to cook nutritious foods for your table. To help you juggle cooking tasks between child care duties and work and life so that you feel motivated, empowered, and inspired to fit real food into real life. My hope is to provide ideas and recipes to inspire you to organize your meals and create seasonal, fresh, and delicious dinners that work for your everyone who gathers around your table, so that cooking and eating can be enjoyed…together.

I'm not promising daily posts, but I will say that my intention is to post during the week on the days that I am working as a stay at home mom rather than away from home as a dietitian. I want to provide you with a glimpse at our day, a menu plan, and a recipe...let's see how I do!


Today's Pre-Dinner Goals (during nap or rest time): Make marinara sauce to simmer for the afternoon, slice peaches, and prep the sweet Ricotta cheese

Tonight’s Menu: Meaty Marinara Sauce over Grilled Summer Squash, Freshly Sliced Stone Fruit with Sweet Ricotta Cheese, Crisp White Wine

Jack starts the official 2012-2013 preschool year in a few more days. While he officially joined the Montessori preschool back in July for its summer session, the thought of him launching into his first real school year makes my eyes water. Some days it just feels like he is growing up so fast! His vocabulary is growing beyond belief being showcased with his elaborate story telling, he dresses himself now and even wants to pick out his own clothes which makes for some very funny outfits (wool cap in the summer sun with St Patrick's Day leprechaun headband on top!), and he even looks older as he lengthens and loses his baby pudge.

I wanted to make a dinner that felt perfectly homemade, a dinner that showed love. But, we also wanted to spend our "last day of summer" playing at the playground and lounging on the back deck rather than being stuck in the kitchen. So, I decided on my meaty marinara sauce as it can be started on the stove during naptime and left to simmer for the whole afternoon while we play in the sunshine. In my goal of reducing the amount of pasta and other refined carbohydrates we consume, we've been eating homemade marinara sauce over grilled zucchini throughout the summer months. You will have to ask my boys, but I haven't even missed the pasta...In fact, I've realized it's the sauce that steals the show!


Meaty Marinara Sauce over Grilled Summer Squash Ingredients: Olive oil 6 minced garlic cloves 1 lb ground beef (I used Kobe beef as a special treat, but any lean ground beef will do) 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 1 jar basil and roasted garlic marinara sauce 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Dash of cayenne pepper 1/2 cup roughly chopped basil

About 2 lbs mixed summer squash Kosher salt

Directions: 1. In a large pot, brown the garlic cloves in a splash of olive oil until fragrant. Add the ground beef, sprinkle with Old Bay, and cook until browned through. Once cooked, drain any excess oil from the pot taking care not to lose any of the garlic.

2. Add the jar of marinara sauce, dried oregano, and dash of cayenne pepper and stir well to combine. Simmer over low heat with lid on until you are ready for dinner....the longer the better as the flavors will more fully develop. Stir occasionally.

3. Right before dinner, add the chopped basil to the sauce. Then, slice squash into thin strips. Toss with olive oil and kosher salt and then lay in a single layer in a grill pan to sear. You may have to grill the squash in batches.

4. Once squash is cooked, plate the squash and then top generously with the marinara sauce. A little Parmesan on top is always welcome. Serve.


Sweet Ricotta Cheese

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

Mix together until combined well and creamed. Spoon on top of sliced stone fruit (peaches, plums, pluots) or berries.

Will keep for several days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.