Baby & Toddler · Recipes

Hearty Weeknight Marinara

I call this “weeknight” marinara because it takes two minutes to throw together and you can simmer for as long or as little as you want to get a deeper flavor. I put the sauce in a pan with unthawed meatballs while Georgia is playing (or having her evening bath) with dad, then cook it on low while I put her to bed, and by the time I get downstairs from “nigh-nights” it’s ready. All that’s left to do is boil water for the pasta and dinner is served.

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With just four ingredients, you can keep this simple or customize with veggies, meat, vegan protein, whatever.

All you need is a 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes, the pasta of your choice, frozen (or pre-home-made) meatballs, and a TBSP of this seasoning by Wildtree, a certified organic food company started by a mom seeking faster, healthy options for kids with food allergies.

Wildtree’s goal is to mimic the convenience of packaged foods, without the allergens, additives and processed ingredients that can be so problematic for many families, including anyone with diabetes, heart conditions, or who has to watch their sodium or sugar intake. All the products are free of preservatives, dyes, additives, GMOs and MSG, and come from a peanut-free facility. They are designed to help working parents get fast, healthy meals on the table even if medical issues make mainstream grocery shopping difficult.

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We already have a super simple “weekend” marinara that really needs a full hour to cook on low before it tastes just right, but sometimes you want a home-cooked meal on a school night. This hits the spot. Mark had three servings.

Hearty Weeknight Marinara

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 package of turkey meatballs (I used Trader Joe’s), frozen, or 1 batch homemade
  • 1 lb. pasta of your choice (pictured is linguine)
  • 1 TBSP Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend

DIRECTIONS

Place the sauce and meatballs, not thawed, in a medium saucepan over low and add the spice blend. Stir. Cover and cook over low, simmering, for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil; add pasta, cook until at dente, and drain. Serve pasta with the sauce meatballs spooned on top. If you’re making meatballs homemade, feel free to pan-saute them or microwave them to heat up and serve in or alongside the sauce. Dig in and slurp it up!

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In other news, just this week Georgia (finally) drank her milk from a sippy cup. We’ve tried many, many times, and so has daycare, only to have her scream and throw things and yell for her “baba” (baby bottle). All it took was Mark, on his first weeknight off in months, demonstrating how much HE enjoyed drinking milk from a sippy (poor guy) then asking me for “more” using baby sign language. It worked. The things we do!!

It also got rather hot and muggy here this week, which allowed us to discover that Georgia has inherited mom’s humidity-induced waves and frizz. Lucky lady!

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I love this kid.

Interested in Wildtree? Here’s what I recommend: the Kids Cheez, a natural version of the powdered stuff that makes Kraft Easy Mac so tempting; the Taco Seasoning Blend, which in my experience tastes just as good with vegetarian meat crumbles as with real ground beef; and their Coconut Oil, which is a tremendous value for the size, and is a healthy way to replace butter in baking, pan frying and roasting. I’ve also sampled several of their dips, spreads and marinades, and recommend those, too. I tried Wildtree the first time because a friend sells their products, but I’m a loyal customer now! Please note, this is not a sponsored post, I just really love their products and wanted to share a simple recipe that’s now in our weekly rotation thanks to Wildtree. Check ’em out!

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4 thoughts on “Hearty Weeknight Marinara

  1. I have to update this with another tip! Friday night, we made a pasta casserole for dinner, with sauteed onions and zucchini on the side. Well, we decided to throw a dash of the Wildtree mix on the vegetables to flavor them, and it was OUTSTANDING! Just a little bit with some olive oil in the pan made the taste of the veggies come out. Even Mark and Georgia liked it, and they are both not big on vegetables all the time.

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