The BEST Homemade Pizza Sauce

Homemade sauces are the best. Maybe you’re fine with the jar kind, but don’t settle for second best when you can easily make your own! This recipe is one I use every time I make pizza, it literally takes five minutes and you’re good to go.

Here’s what you will need:
1 Jar of Crushed Tomatoes or Tomato Puree
Italian Seasoning
Basil – fresh is good but dried works too!
Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper

For the pizza: I made a margherita for me, which included fresh basil and mozzarella but you can top it with anything you like!

I make my pizza sauce the night before so the spices have time to really jive with the tomatoes but if you’re rushed on time, you can make it and eat immediately.  My recipe will make enough for two 10 inch pizzas, so if you are looking to feed more people than that, I suggest doubling the recipe.


Pour half of the jar of crushed or pureed tomatoes into a bowl for mixing. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. I really don’t measure out the rest of my seasonings – just do a generous dump of Italian, basil and garlic then mix everything up really well.

Refrigerate over night for optimal flavor.

When you’re ready to bake your pizza, spread the sauce generously over the pizza crust.

Then top with your favorite toppings! I cut up fresh mozzarella and basil for a classic margherita pizza.

Bake in the oven until crust begins to brown – usually takes about 20 minutes. Voila! You now have a delicious, home made pizza AND sauce. Enjoy 🙂

Half Liter BBQ

There’s a new hip BBQ joint in town! Half Liter Food and Beer Hall opened in Broad Ripple a few months ago; one side of the establishment is German food and the other Texas style BBQ.

The seating is open, so walk in, find a spot and start figuring out what you want to order. During the summer, the patio doors are up and if you sit outside or on the upper level, which overlooks the Monon Trail, you will have to wait in a line to order your food.

We went on a Saturday night and the place was hoppin’! Not only can you get brisket, but ribs, pulled pork, fish, sausage and chicken are all on the menu. There’s great selection of sides and some vegetarian options as well, although no meatless options for vegans.

They also have house made beer, whisky and plenty of other cocktails on the menu if you enjoy an adult beverage with your BBQ.

We both got the pulled pork platter with sides of fries, fresh fruit and macaroni and cheese. The portions were big and everything was delicious! I especially liked a few extra smoked burnt ends in my pork – that just gives it an extra kick in my opinion.

There are three different sauces to choose from – a Texas pit sauce, Bourbon and cola and the Carolina BBQ, which is mustard based. We both liked the Bourbon and cola the best – slather it on that gorgeous pulled pork!

And once you finish your meal, hang out in the game area and play some washers or corn hole with friends and family.

The BEST Strawberry Pie

The best recipes often come to you as family hand-me-downs and this one is no exception. It’s my mom’s strawberry pie recipe that she’s been making all my life. I don’t know exactly where it came from, but she’s passed it on to me and now I am passing it on to you!

I almost always try to make a home made pie crust with my pies – people comment all the time about how hard that is, but I think they are leaving out one crucial detail when they make theirs. I’ll share my secret in this post so you can make award winning crust that will knock the socks off your friends and family next time you have a get-together.

For the Single Shell Pie Crust you will need:

1 1/2 cups Flour
3/4 cup of shortening (I use Crisco)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cold water

How to make your crust:

I HIGHLY recommend making your pie crust the night before and refrigerating it. Typically, the dough will be sticky and chilling overnight helps it roll out wonderfully so it doesn’t stick all over your hands and rolling pin. If you don’t have time, at least try to chill for a couple hours.

Measure out your flour, mix in the salt, then cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender. You will want to get a crumbly mixture and make sure all the shortening is mixed in well.

Add cold water. Honestly, I never measure this. I just run some from the faucet in the flour mixture and start mixing until it seems like it’s enough. If I had to guess, 6 – 7 tablespoons of cold water.

Once a dough has formed, shape it into a ball, put in cling wrap and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Then, when you are ready to bake your pie, roll the dough out on a floured surface and transfer to your pie dish.

Bake the crust on 400 for about 20 minutes. (Another trick to making sure your crust doesn’t get bubbly in the center is to weight it down with dry beans. It will leave a funny design on the bottom but no one will see it because your pie filling will cover it up!)


What you need to make your Pie:

3/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup of water
1 package (3 oz.) strawberry Jello
fresh sliced strawberries


Line your baked pastry shell with sliced strawberries. You can add as many or as little as you like – I try to get a good layer that covers the bottom of the crust. Set aside.

Combine the Jello, water, sugar and cornstarch in a pan on the stove. Mix until thickened – this can take anywhere between 5 – 10 minutes.

Once mixture is at the right consistency, pour over strawberries in pastry shell.

Refrigerate until set – at least 5 hours. Serve by itself or with whip cream and enjoy this delicious summer favorite!

Easy Restaurant Style Salsa

I do not like salsa from a jar and believe me, I’ve tried several different kinds and pretty much find it inedible. Fresh, restaurant style salsa is where it’s at and it’s taken me several years to perfect my own recipe, which I modeled after my favorite Mexican restaurant Los Bravos.

Making your own is so easy and can easily be adapted to taste.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1 Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I like Kroger brand)
1 Can of Whole Tomatoes OR 2 cans of Diced Tomatoes
Garlic to taste
Fresh Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
Onions or hot peppers


Combine everything in a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja). I don’t add much salt, so I just recommend a pinch or two to taste. Pulse on a low speed for a minute or two until everything is mixed well.

You can eat immediately! I like to put mine in the fridge for a few hours at least until chilled. Serve with your favorite chips and enjoy.