Easy Weeknight Marinara Recipe

To me, nothing tastes as delicious as homemade marinara. Trust me, I won’t ever turn down a jar of Ragu, but sometimes it doesn’t hit the spot like fresh spaghetti sauce. However, I always thought marinara was complicated to assemble and had to spend an entire day simmering on the stove to turn out delicious. How wrong I was! My sweet friend Anne shared this delicious recipe with me, and I’ve since shared it with my mom and sister…we all love it! With only 5 ingredients and 30 minutes cook time, it really couldn’t be easier!

Ingredients

  • 1 large can whole peeled tomatoes (I always check to see if these are from Italy…no clue if that makes a difference, but it can’t hurt, right? ūüėā)
  • 8 garlic cloves diced (I typically use an entire head because you can’t ever have too much garlic, right?)
  • 1 TBS Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
  • Basil (1 spring of fresh basil or 1/4 tsp of dried basil)

Directions

  • Crush up the tomatoes with your hands.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of Olive Oil over medium heat in a large pot
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant (just about a minute)
  • Add in tomatoes with their juice
  • Add salt, Italian seasoning, and basil
  • Simmer covered for 30 minutes
  • Serve over your favorite pasta!

You can also add in ground beef, Italian sausage, or ground turkey (yuck.) if preferred. Note that you may need to adjust the salt or spices. I love to serve this marinara with homemade pasta, and I’m sure it would work wonderfully in baked ziti or lasagna as well!

Are there any recipes you thought would need tons of time and effort that turned out to be easy and quick? Let me know below! Also, it’s definitely not as quick and easy, but would you like a post all about my homemade pasta? It’s pictured above, and IT. IS. DIVINE.

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Get Smoothies Delivered to Your Door with GreenBlender

I was recently approached by GreenBlender and asked if I would be interested in receiving a sample shipment of their smoothie service to test out, and I immediately said I’d be very interested! With 2017 upon us, I feel like so many people have goals to live healthier lifestyles. However, adding better choices into our routines can be daunting and discouraging. GreenBlender is here to help take the guesswork and difficulty out of healthy eating.

You can sign up for one of their three plans to receive weekly smoothie shipments. These boxes come to your home packed with ice packs to ensure the contents stay nice and fresh. And trust me, you’ll want them to stay fresh because each box is packed with quality ingredients.

Before seeing the tasty ingredients though, you’re greeted with a menu of sorts. Each box comes with five unique recipes that coordinate with your box of ingredients. The recipes are conveniently labeled with various categories, so you know which smoothie is low in calories, high in protein, energizing, and more.

After reading through the weekly menu, the unboxing continues to unveil a hearty helping of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and boosters. The ingredients are almost always organic (and marked when they rarely are not), in-season, and locally sourced.

I was amazed to see how much produce they were able to fit in the shipment. I’m very picky when it comes to selecting fruits and vegetables. I’m the girl that will search through seventy apples to find the perfect one with no bruises. I was happily surprised to see most of the produce was very well selected. My clementines were pretty smashed, and my pears were rather bruised. However, that may have been due to rough package handling and not the fault of GreenBlender.

I loved how all of the ingredients were clearly labelled. It was convenient if you come across an ingredient you have not used before. Everything is also measured and bagged, so all you have to do is open it and add it to your blender! They really took all the guesswork out of smoothie making.

As you can see, there was no shortage of unique and surprising ingredients in my package. Many I had used before and several I hadn’t even heard of!¬†

The first smoothie I tried was the Goji Clementine Smoothie. Each smoothie recipe claims to make two servings (with each serving being only 12 ounces). It seemed to me more like one to one and a half servings, but maybe that just means I eat too much! Haha!  

The Goji Clementine Smoothie was citrusy and refreshing and claimed to be high protein, immune boosting, and increase glow. It definitely tasted healthy. If you love being able to taste the real ingredients in your smoothies without them being hidden behind sugar and other unnatural substances, I bet you’ll enjoy these recipes.

My second smoothie to try was the Kiwi Apple Detox. Containing ingredients like collard greens, cucumber, ginger, meyer lemon, and more, I was skeptical about how it would taste. I’m not a lemon fan, so I didn’t enjoy it, but my husband gave it slightly higher praise.

Like I said before, my box included ingredients for three other smoothies, but I won’t review them all here. Suffice it to say, if you enjoy smoothies that taste all-natural and allow the flavors of the ingredients to shine through, you’ll definitely enjoy these smoothies. If you prefer smoothies from Smoothie King that are loaded with extra sugar and preservatives (like me), they may not be your cup of tea…er, smoothie.

Final thoughts? GreenBlender is a great company that provides unparalleled convenience when it comes to making your smoothies at home. As long as you have a blender, ice, and water, you can use the ingredients they send you to create five smoothies every week without having to set foot outside. I personally think you could simply go to the store and acquire the ingredients on your own for a much lower cost, but I totally understand many people craving the convenience and ease of having a healthier lifestyle delivered right to their door.

Have you tried GreenBlender or a similar service before? Let me know your thoughts below!

I was sent this product for free to provide my unbiased review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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How to Make the Juiciest Chicken EVER!

I love baked chicken breasts as a healthy weeknight meal. However, my chicken breasts always used to come out dry, which drove me crazy. That is, until I discovered dry poaching. It’s a basic cooking technique that is used to keep the chicken moist and juicy during baking. Read on to see how easy it is!¬†

All you need is a baking dish (I use and love this one), parchment paper, and olive oil. Pour around a tablespoon of oil into the baking dish, and use a pastry brush to spread it on the entire dish.

Once your dish is coated in olive oil, place your chicken breasts in. You can marinate them beforehand, or add your chosen spices at this point. I have been loving the Grill Mates Mesquite marinade lately. 

Next, tear off a piece of parchment paper that is roughly the size of your baking dish. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil on the parchment paper, and spread it out with a pastry brush.

Finally, place your parchment paper (olive oil side down) into your baking dish and tuck it around the sides of your chicken. It doesn’t have to be tucked too tightly, just enough so the moisture won’t escape during baking.

Bake your chicken at 400 degrees for around 40 minutes (more or less depending on the size of your chicken breasts).  Once your chicken reaches 165 degrees internally, remove it from the oven and enjoy! 

I have used this method¬†time and time again, and every single time it results in moist, flavorful chicken. I promise if you’re sick of eating dry chicken, this is the answer to your prayers!

Do you have any other easy cooking techniques I should try?

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Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas!

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CHRISTMAS IS NINE¬†DAYS AWAY. Yes, you read that right. It’s rapidly rushing towards us with no signs of slowing down, and I have about 33.7% of my shopping done and NOTHING gift wrapped. Yes, I know the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but I also love the spirit of giving surrounding the holiday.

If you’re like me, and Christmas snuck up on you this year, I’m here to save the day. Below are 20 gift ideas on Amazon that should suit many of the people in your life. I grouped them into categories to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Thank goodness for Prime 2-day shipping, am I right? Happy Shopping!

For Someone Who Needs to Relax…

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1. Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candle, Eucalyptus Spearmint

2. Toms Women’s Slipper Loafers

3. Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution

4. Spa & Resort Terry Velour Bathrobe

 

For the Fashionista…

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5. Burberry Scarf

6. Zicac Women’s Fur Collar Batwing Cape

7. Sam EdelmanWomen’s Petty Ankle Boot

8. Fossil Jacqueline Stainless Steel Watch

 

For the Wannabe Chef…

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9. Adjustable Bib Apron

10. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

11. KitchenAid 6-Qt. Professional 600 Series Mixer

12. Cook it in Cast Iron

 

For the Beauty Lover…

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13. Tarte Limited Edition Tarteist Toolbox Brush Set

14. Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

15. Pink Chevron Cosmetic Bag

16. The Original Beauty Blender

 

For the Jetsetter…

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17. Eccolo Faux Leather Passport Case

18. Jessica Simpson Jewel Plaid Hardside Spinner Suitcase

19. Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphone

20. Eccolo World Traveler Style Journal 

 

There you have it! 20 gift ideas at a variety of price points that will hopefully cover some of your shopping list! Regardless, remember it’s the thought that counts! Merry early Christmas!

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3-Ingredient Roast Chicken

Roasted Chicken 0

This recipe creates the most delicious, moist chicken, with minimal time and effort. All you need is chicken, lemons, and salt & pepper! Sound too good to be true? Read on!
Roasted Chicken 2

Now, this isn’t the chicken recipe to bust out when you want to impress your friends at a dinner party. (Also, stop trying to impress your friends, they already love you…just be yourself.) It is however, simple, delicious, and goof-proof, which is EXACTLY how I like my recipes.

The only ingredients you need are a whole chicken, salt & pepper, and lemons. I usually get the Young Whole Chicken from HEB pictured below, which is roughly 3 pounds. That is more than enough for myself and my husband, but feel free to get a larger chicken if you’re cooking for more.

Roasted Chicken 3

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry your chicken and remove any of the included “innards” (I know that is the correct word, it just felt like it needed quotes.). Take your lemons and pierce¬†them repeatedly on all sides with a fork to create holes. Liberally salt and pepper your chicken inside and out, and stuff the punctured lemons into the cavity.¬†Roasted Chicken 4.5

I’ve cooked this on a baking sheet, in a dutch oven, and in a casserole dish, and each time it comes out great. The latter two are better, however, if you want to save the delicious juices to spoon over your chicken or for future recipes. Whatever you choose, lay the chicken breast-side down into a¬†baking dish you’ve brushed with olive oil or pam, and place it into the oven. Cook for 1 hour at 350, and roughly 20 minutes at 400. (Your cooking times may vary if you are cooking a larger chicken.)

Roasted Chicken 1

Once you have insured your chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees internal temperature), remove it from the oven, and let it rest on a cutting board for at least ten minutes. After that, carve into your delicious chicken, and enjoy! I typically squeeze the lemons over Louis’s chicken as he loves the citrus flavor, and you can also spoon the pan sauce over the chicken.

Roasted Chicken 4

This chicken is so delicious, moist, and flavorful without being super lemony. I’m not a fan of lemon, so I was worried when I first cooked this, but the lemon flavor really doesn’t come through. It seems they just help the chicken stay juicy while cooking.Roasted Chicken 5

This dish can be paired with potatoes, salad, vegetables, or whatever you’re craving! If you’re trying to cook a whole chicken for the first time, try this simple recipe, and I know you won’t be disappointed!

 

3-Ingredient Roast Chicken

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken
  • Lemons
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry chicken and remove innards.
  2. Pierce lemons repeatedly with fork.
  3. Liberally salt and pepper inside and outside of chicken.
  4. Insert lemons into cavity.
  5. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, and 400 for 20 minutes.
  6. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes on cutting board.
  7. Carve and enjoy!

 

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This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on these links or make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

 

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