Homemade Meat Sauce + a Giveaway!

Sometimes it’s so easy to open up a jar of Spaghetti Sauce and use that when I’m making some of my favorite Italian meals. I usually do that during the week when I don’t have a lot of time. But sometimes, usually over the weekend, I just want some of that home cooked sauce that I make from scratch. It works out well because it usually makes a big pot, and that way I can freeze some to use at a later date.

Redpack sent me some of their products, and I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to share my favorite homemade meat sauce recipe with you!

Redpack is also be hosting a Facebook promotion at  https://www.facebook.com/redpacktomatoes  until March 3, during which 1,000 Redpack followers will get a Redpack branded apron each week (for a total of 3,000 aprons). A grand prize winner will receive a pasta stock pot, pasta-related serveware and Redpack products!

And the good news? Red Pack is giving away a free kit to a reader!

Read below on how you can enter to win!

Now check out my favorite homemade meat sauce recipe!


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar (you can lower this amount if you don’t want it as sweet as I like it!)
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 Tablespooon dried oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • One 28 oz can Red Pack Diced Tomatoes
  • One 28 oz can Red Pack Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • One 28 oz can Red Pack Crushed Tomatoes
  • One 28 oz can Red Pack Tomato Sauce
  • One 6 oz can Red Pack Tomato Paste


In your favorite dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the ground turkey until it’s nice and brown. Drain. Set the ground turkey aside. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the chopped onion and let it cook for a few minutes until it’s nice and soft. Add in the garlic, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, white sugar and all of the spices. Stir often so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Pour in the red wine and let it reduce down.

Add in your Diced Tomatoes, Whole Peeled Tomatoes (you can mash them up if you want), Crushed Tomatoes, and Tomato Sauce. Stir until everything is incorporated. Add in the cooked ground turkey that has been thoroughly drained. Stir. Turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for an hour. Make sure to stir every 15 minutes or so. Serve with your favorite pasta!


How to win:

Redpack is giving away a free kit to one lucky reader! The kit will include:

  • One 28 oz can Red Pack Diced Tomatoes
  • One 28 oz can Red Pack Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • One 28 oz can Red Pack Crushed Tomatoes
  • One 6 oz can Red Pack Tomato Paste

To enter, leave a comment below telling me what you would make with your Red Pack kit! One winner will be chosen at random (using random.org). The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, March 4th at 11 AM EST. Open to US residents only.

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post.  My opinion and experiences are 100% my own. Red Pack sent me the same kit that the winner will receive.

Cranberry Orange Crumb Cake

I usually bake from scratch, but sometimes you’re just short on time and want to use some type of mix to save a little bit of time. I’m a huge fan of King Arthur Flour’s mixes. If you looked in my pantry you’d see that I always have a couple of different mixes on hand. I had a box of the Cranberry Orange Scone Mix, but I wasn’t really in the mood for a scone.  I love that King Arthur Flour gives you instructions on how to make other things with their mixes. So I had the scone mix, but I was able to use it for either pancakes, muffins, bread, coffee cake or shortcakes. How cool is that? They call it Scone Mix Magic.

So I decided to make some Coffee Cake. You know I’m a sucker for a crumb topping. This was so easy and simple to make, yet so delicious and flavorful. You’ll definitely want to have some of these mixes on hand for when you want something really good for breakfast. [Read more…]

Easy Funfetti Cake

I don’t think there always needs to be an occasion to make a cake. I’m the kind of person that just loves to bake cakes because I want to eat cake. I don’t think you need a reason! One day I had a craving for a Funfetti Cake, so I decided to just make one. Now this one is much easier than this other Funfetti Cake that I’ve made in the past. This cake is made in an 8×8 pan and you mix it by hand. Easy peasy. A walk in the park. There aren’t even that many dishes that you have to dirty. That’s right up my alley. It doesn’t make a ton of frosting because it doesn’t need a lot. It’s the perfect amount of frosting for this colorful cake.

So if you need a birthday cake in a pinch, or if you just want some Funfetti Cake, make this one. It’s so good. And it looks so pretty. All of those Jimmies! Speaking of jimmies…people often tell me they are called sprinkles. Well around here we call them jimmies. Always have. I remember when I was growing up and we’d go to Dairy Queen for ice cream I would get a chocolate ice cream cone with jimmies. And that’s how I would order it.

Do you call them jimmies or sprinkles? Let us know in the comments. I need to know I’m not by myself here! 🙂


I was so tempted to eat the entire cake.


But I figured I should share.

Spread the joy of this amazing cake.


Don’t you just love how colorful it is?


I dare you just take one bite and stop eating it.


Okay, okay. I can’t do that either.

So if you want to make this cake, head over to Averie Cooks and find the recipe there.


Buttermilk French Toast

I love breakfast. I love brunch. I love breakfast for dinner. I can eat breakfast foods any time of the day. Midnight, 9am, 1pm, 6pm, and then we’re right back at midnight again. I feel like breakfast foods always involve a lot of clean-up, but let me tell you it’s definitely worth it. We love to have French Toast and Bacon for dinner.

I have my go-to French Toast recipe, but I wanted to switch things up a bit.  I had some Buttermilk in the fridge that I didn’t want to go to waste. I knew I could use that in place of my regular milk. And I have an unhealthy obsession with brown sugar. So I decide to try something a little different figuring if it was good I’d have another awesome recipe in my arsenal.

Buttermilk French Toast


  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (light brown sugar would be fine too)
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (ground nutmeg works fine too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste (both work fine - sometimes I do half and half)
  • 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices challah
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. But if you're like me and are cooking bacon in the oven, 400 degrees is fine. It won't be in the oven all that long anyway.
  2. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, flour, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. So pretty much whisk everything together except for the bread!
  3. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides.
  4. One by one, dip each slice of challah in the buttermilk/egg mixture coating it entirely. Don't let it sit in there for too long. I put one side in there, flip it over and dip the other side, and then hold it above the bowl to let the excess drip off.
  5. Transfer the bread into the skillet and cook, turning once, until it's a nice golden brown color, about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a large shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Cook remaining bread in 2 batches, adding 1 1/2 tablespoon butter between batches.
  6. Serve with warm maple syrup.


Adapted from this recipe.


So needless to say, this French Toast was phenomenal. I thought that the flour gave the buttermilk/egg mixture a better consistency. And the nutmeg – I don’t know about you, but I LOVE freshly grated nutmeg. It just takes everything to the next level. If you don’t have any, invest in some. It’s pretty inexpensive and the taste is amazing. I get mine from my favorite spice store – Penzeys!


I love maple syrup. The more, the better.


And bacon. You can’t have French Toast without Bacon!

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Chocolate Cheesecake Cookie Cups


I’ve been on a pumpkin kick lately, but I wanted to break it all up with something good and chocolately. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, although my other half is. But sometimes I do crave some chocolate. I love a good piece of fudge or a soft chocolate chip cookie. But I thought these Chocolate Cheesecake Cookie Cups would be the perfect thing to make. These suckers will be lucky to make it until tomorrow in my house.

The base is a delicious chocolate cookie and it’s filled with a light and creamy chocolate cheesecake. It’s got some powdered sugar in it as well so it kind of reminds me of a frosting…which I love. There are so many different flavor options you could try. I’m pretty sure that in the next couple of weeks I’ll try out a fall flavor. Can you imagine how wonderful a Caramel Apple Cookie Cup would be?

So the original recipe that I saw has Nutella in the Cheesecake Filling. My other half doesn’t like nuts, so I figured I’d put something else in there. I saw that Herseys now has a Chocolate Spread, so I figured I’d try that. [Read more…]