Spaghetti … and Meatballs! 🙌🏻

A tale of four pots!

Dear Friends,

Where have you been all my life? 

Register for the 30 Days to Effortless Entertaining workshop, and you may be saying the same thing! This workshop participant went on to say that although she loved to entertain, she found it stressful. Who needs that? No one! She now feels at ease welcoming friends to their new beach home! I want YOU to enjoy entertaining too. I want it to be easy, fun, and stress-free. It can be. I promise!

Join me for the next workshop! We start Monday, January 31st, so sign up right away. Why delay? Let’s get ready now for spring and summer entertaining. If you’re wondering if this workshop is for you, check out today’s Instagram video and our website. With the EE workshop, you’ll not only be ready but you’ll be energized and excited to entertain … effortlessly. You’re going to have as much fun as your guests! 💃

To wrap up our snowmageddon spaghetti weekend … I loved hearing from so many of you who made the spaghetti. Yay you! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

And as for the “Tale of Four Pots.” As many of you know, I didn’t stop with spaghetti; I ended up making The Defined Dish Meatballs in Marinara. And if that wasn’t enough, edthedad wanted tomato soup. What to do when I didn’t have any in the pantry? Figure out how to make it! It was delish, and I think so much better than store-bought. Because it was snowing like crazy and cold, I had to make more soup, so a fourth pot for the Lentil Soup. As promised, all the recipes are below!

And more good news … when you make a delish sauce, soup, stew, chili, etc., you will often have extra to freeze, especially if you double the recipes, which I usually do. So you will have an easy, at the ready dish when you want to entertain! Adding simple sides such as a salad and bread to the spaghetti or maybe grilled pimento cheese sandwiches for a game day stew or chili makes any of these super easy to serve. On New Year’s Day, I served Reubens right off the griddle with the Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, and everyone raved!

Now … enjoy these recipes all winter, and be sure to jump over to the website and register for the workshop! You’ll be so glad you did … Spring and summer fun is right around the corner!


From our home to yours,

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My Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

Serves 6 – 8 Adapted from Jim Kroncke’s Famous Spaghetti Sauce
Stirring Performances


¼ cup olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp dried parsley
½ lb ground chuck
1 lb Italian sausage
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 16 oz can tomatoes
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp pepper
1 – 2 tbsp sugar
1½ tsp salt



1 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs fresh mushrooms, sliced
8 tbsp dried parsley
2 lbs ground chuck
4 pounds Italian sausage
4 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 32 oz cans whole tomatoes
4 12 oz cans tomato paste
4 tsp dried basil
8 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper
8 tsp sugar
6 tsp salt

* I often increase this recipe by 4 so that I can freeze what we don’t use. Not only does this make for a quick dinner for 4, it is also a nice thing to take someone who is homebound.


In a large Dutch oven or Le Creuset® slowly sauté onion, garlic, mushrooms, and parsley in oil for 5 minutes.

Remove mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pot, brown ground chuck and sausage. Drain well.

Combine mushroom mixture with beef and sausage in same pot.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Simmer, covered for 3–3½ hrs, stirring often.

DeeDee’s Notes:

  • For the tomatoes, I prefer Tuttoroso or Hunt’s.
  • Best when made a day or two in advance.
  • May sauté and brown ingredients in a large skillet and transfer to a crockpot to simmer.
  • I serve off the stove or from a crockpot.
  • I often increase this recipe by 4 so that I can freeze what we don’t use. I freeze 4 cups to a quart-size bag. Not only does this make for a quick dinner for 4, it is also a nice thing to take someone who is homebound.

Italian Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

Adapted from Alex Snodgrass,



2 lbs ground beef
2 eggs, whisked
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup almond flour
1 tbsp cassava flour
2 tbsp olive oil



2 tbsp olive oil
¼ yellow onion, finely diced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
28 oz whole, peeled tomatoes (preferably san marzano)
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
2 large basil leaves, chiffonade
¼ cup beef broth



Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pot over med heat. Add onions, crushed red pepper and season with a little salt and pepper. Sauté until onions are tender, about 3 min.

Add the tomato paste and garlic. Sauté 1-2 more min.

Add the whole peeled tomatoes and using a wooden spoon break up the whole tomatoes by mashing them up.

Add in the tomato sauce, oregano, parsley, basil, beef broth and a little more salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce it to a slight simmer.

Meanwhile, cook the meatballs (methow below) and once the meatballs are browned, add them to the sauce. Simmer, uncovered for 30-45 min with the meatballs in the sauce.



In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients except the olive oil. Using your hands, gently mix the meat until it is well combined.

Scoop out 2 tbsp of meat and roll into meatballs. Set on parchment paper.

In a large skillet heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add meatballs and brown on 2 sides for about 2-3 min per side. You may need to cook multiple batches so do not overcrowd the pan.

Add browned meatballs to the sauce and let simmer until fully cooked through, another 15-20 min.

Easy Tomato Soup

Yields ~2 quarts.         Adapted from


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt (more or less, to taste)
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper (more or less, to taste)
1 bay leaf
¼ cup whole coconut milk, optional

Optional toppings: grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and/or croutons


In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 4 min, stirring constantly. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 sec), continuing to stir.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes with juice, oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir well to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to maintain a simmer.

Cover and simmer for 15 min. Remove and discard bay leaf. Purée to desired consistency with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender place soup in small batches in a blender or food processor (exercise caution while blending hot liquids – blend small amounts at a time and hold down the top of blender pitcher or food processor while blending because there is a risk of the top blowing off and hot liquids to blow out!).

Top with desired toppings.


Lentil Soup

Yields ~2 quarts


1 pkg Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils
1 lb link, rope, or Italian sausage
¾ cup chopped onion
4 – 6 cups chicken broth
½ – 1 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper


Heat lentils in microwave according to package instructions. In a med pot, brown sausage over med-high heat. Add onion, sauté until tender. Add lentils, broth, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the broth to the soup consistency you like.

DeeDee’s Notes:

  • You may prepare in advance. Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days.
  • You may substitute Trader Joes’ with 3 cups lentils of your own preference.
  • You may also make with Kielbasa or pulled roasted chicken, or without any meat.
  • You may add additional vegetables such as sliced or shredded carrots, celery, red bell pepper, kale. You may also add additional seasonings to make it more flavorful or spicy. I like to add a little Tabasco when I serve.
  • Freezes well.