Three Ingredient Pasta Sauce

It has been forever since I posted!

Work got busy.

We were travelling a bit.

And, we’ve been apartment hunting.

Which is incredibly time consuming.

Which has meant that I’ve been making really fast dinners.

And totally forgetting to take any pictures.


But this was so delicious and so easy that despite the lack of photos, I think you’ll still love it.

Three ingredient pasta sauce:

  1. cherry tomatoes
  2. Bacon
  3. Red Wine

That’s it. And whatever kind of pasta you want to toss it with.

I was in a rush at the store and trying to grab a few things and get out when I saw this gorgeous carton of multicolor cherry tomatoes for $1.99. The price! The beautiful tomatoes! I had to do something with them.

So i brought them home, sliced them in half and then rummaged in the fridge.

We had 4 pieces of bacon left over from when we had BLTs. So I diced up the bacon and fried it in a pot.

When it was cooked, i tossed the halved tomatoes into the pot with the bacon and let them cook down in the bacon fat. You can drain some of the fat off, but really, why?

Stir occasionally. The tomatoes will start to burst open and the juices will mix with the bacon.

I wanted a little more liquid so I looked around and grabbed the open bottle of red wine on the counter.

A few glugs, lowered the heat and let the pot simmer.

The wine added a richness that made it taste like the sauce had been cooking all day. Reality:20 minutes.

Boil water, cook whatever kind of pasta you want and toss with the sauce.

Don’t be afraid to plan a meal around one ingredient that just looks incredible in the store. Trust your senses. If it smells good and lookgs good, it’s probably in season and probably will taste its best.

Tuscan Sausage, Bean, Tomato Stew


So after a glimmer of Spring, we’re back to the arctic blast, or the polar vortex, or Mr. Freeze or whatever.

Just when I was dreaming about lemon cakes and avocado and shrimp salad.

So back to the hearty and warming dishes we go.

This one comes from watching Extra Virgin on Cooking Channel the other day. We saw it and both had the same reaction: when can we have that?

Well the answer is now.

This is a super simple and super rustic Tuscan-style dish that is hearty and filling and warming and oh so yummy.

And simple.

Did I mention simple?

Like 3 ingredients (plus olive oil and salt and pepper) simple.

All you need are

  • Sweet Italian sausages (figure two links/person)
  • 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes (1 can worked for the two of us. multiply as appropriate)
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot and add your sausage. Cook over medium, turning to brown all sides.


You aren’t looking to cook them all the way through, just get a nice crust on the outside. When all sides are brown, remove from the pot and place on a dish for now. We’ll get back to them.


In your pot, you’ve got all this yummy oil that’s been flavored by the sausage. To that, add the can of whole tomatoes.


Let these simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes. They will start to break apart.

Help them along with the back of a spoon. Season generously with lots of black pepper. I salt moderately because my mom always did. But I can hear the Chopped judges yelling to salt your food properly.


Add the cannellini beans to the tomatoes and give a big stir.


Let these cook together for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, slice up your sausage.


See how it’s still a touch pink? Well, we’re going to fix that.

Into the pot they go.


Let the sausage simmer in the tomato and cannelli beans for about 20 minutes. The longer it sits, the more the broth becomes infused with the sausage flavor. I actually made this for myself when I got home, then left it on the stove, covered, on low heat for a few hours until my other half got home.


Sprinkle with parmesan if you like.

See that? Sausage, beans, tomato. That’s the perfect forkful right there.


I forgot one important thing to add to your grocery list.

Some crusty bread to mop up all those juices.


Don’t you feel warmer already?

Note: this is making its way into our goto recipe rotation.

Summer, Tomato, Avocado: menage a trois!

First, to quell your curiosity, no. He did not get home last night soon enough to get me a piece of cake. I had to untangle myself from the couch and cut a slice myself.


He was late because the Rangers and Bruins went into overtime.

Then the Rangers lost.

(Double boo!)

But that was yesterday.

And this is about today. Today. The first morning this year where I woke up to a tinge of stickiness in the apartment.

Despite the air conditioning cranking away, I could catch a hint of humidity in the air.

This is the first sign of summer in the city.

The first indication of those steamy nights to come when you leave the office and the heat the pavement absorbed all day is released and burns your ankles. Those nights when all you can do is sit on a roof with a drink in your hand as the condensation collects on the glass and slides onto your fingers.

It’s a sign of tomatoes and avocados.

I have a confession.

I love avocado.

It’s border-line obsession.

I cut it up in a salad, I add it to tacos, I throw some slices onto my tuna fish sandwich.

Avocado has like 20 essential vitamins and minerals, good fat and it has the all important ability to add richness to a dish without packing on the calories. It is high in calories, but not in the way that butter is- remember those 20 vitamins and minerals.

Okay. Enough nutrition.

When I padded into the kitchen this morning and felt cool rather than cold tiles on my feet, I knew a summer sandwich was the order of the day for my bring to work lunch. (I made him one too, of course. It was the least I could do after the Rangers lost game 1 of the series).

This is my favorite preparation of avocado.

And it combines two of my favorite things.

Right now, Greek yogurt is THE hot thing. Everyone’s making it, everyone’s eating it, everyone’s cooking with it.

My boyfriend’s Greek, so we’re not jumping on the bandwagon here.

Let me take a minute to extol the virtues of Greek yogurt. First, of course, it’s better for you than other yogurts because it provides more protein. Second, the taste is just incomparable to any other yogurts- the tangy quality cannot be found in your typical fruit on the bottom yogurt cup. Then there’s the thicker texture. It just feels more indulgent. And last and most important to the tiny kitchen is its versatility.

When fridge space is limited, this one container of Greek yogurt packs a lot of uses. Why buy mayo, sour cream and containers of yogurt when instead you can buy one big container of Greek yogurt? (Plus it’s better for the environment- one big plastic container instead of all those individual plastic yogurt containers). Save some valuable fridge real estate. Also, save some money! I don’t know about you, but I can never seem to finish the may or the sour cream before they expire. That’s just money in the garbage, and with the rent being so d*mn high, I just can’t afford to throw out some of my paycheck with spoiled food.

SO Greek yogurt. Save space, save money and save your waist line – it’s far better than mayo and sour cream.

Okay. Enough with nutrition.


Greek yogurt and avocado. I use one avocado for two people. The yogurt ratio depends on how tangy you want it to be. I tend to two heaping teaspoons of yogurt to one avocado.

Split the avocado in half and remove the pit.

Holding the avocado half, slice through the flesh, stopping at the skin, longways. Turn ninety-degrees and cross hatch your slices. Like this.


You should be able to easily scoop or squeeze out the avocado into a bowl.

Add the yogurt.

Remember that potato masher?

Remember that senior partner that pulled an attitude with you today?

Channel him.

Start mashing!

The consistency is up to you. You can leave it a little chunky or go for all smooth. If you want it perfectly smooth, you can of course use a food processor. But who has room for one of those? And who has the patience to clean one of those?

So this is good to go. A squeeze of lemon or lime if you want to add some brightness.


How to use this wonderful creamy deliciousness?

In place of guacamole as a dip for chips or celery sticks

As a spread for taco night in place of sour cream

A sandwich spread instead of mayo

Possibilities are endless really.

How did I use it this time, you ask?

Much as I could just sit there with a spoon and eat it from the bowl, I restrained myself and used it for the best lunch to bring to work ever.

Toasted English muffin, slathered on both sides with avocado spread, slices of ripe, juicy tomatoes and crumbled feta.


The rich avocado coats your mouth. Bright, crisp, juicy tomatoes pop through. Feta adds the salty bite to break through the unctuousness. An English muffin gives the right amount of chew and the right amount of crunch.

A nice break in the work day.

Chicken with Tomato and Fennel, Stuffed Mushrooms

This is a one pot meal.

Okay a one pot and one cookie sheet meal, but we’re going to cover that with foil, so no clean up there.

A one-pot-to-clean-up meal.

For this recipe you will need:

  • a container of white button mushrooms, washed
  • bread crumbs
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese
  • one fennel bulb
  • two tomatoes
  • two chicken breasts
  • white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Most of the recipes on here are for two but can easily be doubled or tripled as needed.

You don’t have to make the mushrooms with the chicken, but I bought two containers of mushrooms over the weekend when I really needed one, and so have some spare mushrooms laying around.

Let’s start with the mushrooms, because once they’re assembled and thrown into the oven, we’ll make the chicken and our timing will be so spot on that we’ll be turning the burner off on the chicken and pulling the mushroom out of the oven and putting everything on the table piping hot at the same time.

Note: this has never happened, but I tend to cook things that are forgiving when (every night) this doesn’t happen.

OK, mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 400.

Assembly line is the best way to go in a small kitchen.


Cleaned mushrooms, bowl, foil-lined cookie sheet (or pizza pan- whatever you have). Twist the stems from the caps so you have a mushroom cap turned bowl. Caps go on the baking sheet, cup side up, and stems go in the bowl.

Ready? Go!

Okay, when you have all the caps lined up on the sheet, get ready to get your hands dirty.


My mom pulls out a cutting board and chops up all of the mushroom stems, but I just don’t have the space for that. (I do. I have my over the sink cutting board. But after a hard day at work, mushing up the stems with your hands is so much more satisfying). Before you dig in to mash them up, be sure you have bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and olive oil handy. I’ve forgotten this step before. It results in bits of mushroom on cabinet pulls and refrigerator handles.

Break up the stems into small pieces. You don’t have to go crazy, just break them up. Add some bread crumbs and some olive oil to get a wet sand consistency. There’s no real measurements here. It’s just by feel. Not too dry, not too wet. Like the perfect sandcastle building sand. Stir in some parmesan cheese. (you can leave the cheese out, or you can switch up the type. I’ve used feta, provolone diced up, or mozzarella. Use what you like, just don’t use too much. You just want a subtle little bit of cheesiness to break up the mushroom woodiness).

Using your hands or a spoon (I always go for hands), mound the mixture into the mushroom caps.


These are ready to go into a 400 degree oven for fifteen to twenty minutes.

I’m going to throw the bowl in the sink and move the cookie sheet to the side for now. I’ll put it in the oven when I put the chicken in the pan and cross my fingers everything gets done at the same time.

Two chicken breasts, washed and patted dry come out of the fridge along with two tomatoes and the fennel. I keep ingredients in the fridge or cabinet until I’m ready for them to be used to save space.

Chop up the fennel and tomatoes. I go for a fairly chunky chop because I like big pieces of each ingredient on the form. Up to you, though. As big or as a small as you like. If you’re in a pinch, you can replace the fresh tomatoes with a can of diced too. You can even mix it up with a can of diced tomatoes with basil or with garlic or with whatever. These aren’t recipes to follow precisely. Heck, I don’t even give you precise measurements! These are just ideas and what’s bubbling in my kitchen.

IMG_0443 (1)

Drizzle some olive oil in your pan. You can use a frying pan that’s a little deeper if you want. Or a wide bottom pot on the shallow side. I use this aluminum one for like everything. Toss in the fennel and tomatoes and cook over medium heat. You want the fennel to start to soften and the juices from the tomatoes to start to run in the pan. Add a splash of white wine (You can leave out, of course).

While this is simmering, put the mushrooms in the oven. Season your chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pan, nesting in the tomatoes and fennel.

Cook through, flipping to cook both sides. About twenty minutes.

If you find the chicken isn’t cooking through in the center, don’t hesitate to throw it in the oven with the mushrooms. I do this sometimes when I have to do a million things and don’t have the time to babysit the chicken on the stove. This is why I go to this aluminum pot- it’s oven-safe.

The chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear. The tomatoes and oil and wine will make a wonderfully acidic and tangy sauce for the chicken that’s balanced by the anise fennel.

The mushrooms add a nice richness, a nice pop of almost butteryness and fattyness as a juxtaposition against the freshness of the chicken.

Add a side salad and a glass of wine and you’re in business. Crusty Italian bread to sop up the juices for those of you not counting carbs is also recommended.

One piece of chicken per person, fennel and tomatoes scooped on top.


Mushrooms on a plate in the center of the table for popping. A crisp romaine salad on the side.

The pot goes into the sink. The foil lining the sheet gets tossed.

And the day slips away in a haze of red wine.