Everyday Recipes

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks...

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Tuna Spaghetti

This is an old family recipe.  I know it sounds weird.  TUNA spaghetti?  Well, in Italy, there are a lot of coastal towns where seafood is in abundance.  And unlike that 'Sunday dinner spaghetti sauce' that needs to cook for hours to get a really good flavor, this is a fast sauce that is easy to make even after work on a weekday. 

And as funny as it may sound, this recipe tends to be very kid-friendly.  My siblings and I loved it when we were little.  Anytime our friends came over, they always liked it.  And my own daughter enjoys it now.  It's inexpensive, quick and easy, and healthy.  It adds some protein to your meal. Some people I have passed the recipe on to have even said they like adding two cans of tuna because they enjoy the flavor and like lots of of tuna chunks in it. So feel free to tweak this recipe if you wish.  I often use a larger can of tomato paste (18 oz) when I make it because I like extra sauce.  It's also an excellent recipe for Fridays during Lent. 

This recipe has been in my family as far back as my great-grandmother, who came over to America from Italy.  There is something comforting that makes me feel so good to think that we are sitting around the table eating a family recipe that several past generations (who knows how many!) have also sat around their dinner table, way back when, in Italy, enjoying as a family.  It makes me feel connected to them, and I don't know why, but I like that.  In such a modern world, there is something to be said for things that never change. 

 I hope you enjoy!


1 lb pasta (we like angel hair, but elbow mac is very kid-friendly with this recipe, and rotini also work well with this sauce, and even wide egg noodles tastes delicious with it)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
black pepper (few shakes, depending on taste)
crushed red pepper flakes (a few shakes, depending on taste,  about 1-2 tsp)
1 tbsp minced garlic (I used dried, McCormick's, but you can use fresh)
4-5 oz can of tuna (drained)
12 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp butter (optional)

(Feel free to use as much or as little of the above spices, depending on your tastes. And always check your sauce after it's cooked a little bit, to see if you need to add a little more salt or garlic, etc.)

1. Set a large pot of water to boil.  Add salt (at least a good 2-3 tbsp)

2. Heat a medium saucepan on low heat for a few minutes, add a drizzle of olive oil to well cover the bottom of the pan (about 2 tbsp or so). Add the salt, a few shakes of black pepper (depending on how much you like), a few shakes of red pepper flakes (1-2 tsp, depending on how much of a hot bite you like, just use a light shake or two if you don't like hot Italian spice). Add the minced garlic. Let everything get warm in the oil. This only takes a few minutes. 

3. Add your can of drained tuna and can of tomato paste. Add about 2 1/2 to 3 empty paste cans full of water to the pan. Turn up heat to high and stir well.  You may need to add a little bit more water (after you stir it well) if it seems too thick, but better to add as you go along rather than overdue it in the beginning. While it's on high heat, you need to watch it as it starts to come to a boil.  Stir well to break up the tomato paste and blend it with the water, and immediately turn the heat to low once it barely starts to come to a boil (don't let it get into a rapid boil). Add the butter (if using) and stir.  Continue to cook on lowest heat while you continue to get your pasta cooked. Stir occasionally. 

For new cooks, here's a TIP: Remember, you can always add, but you can't take back. Whether it's water, salt, or anything...it's usually best to add as you go along. 

Another TIP for new cooks: Always taste as you go along.  Sometimes you need to add more of something, like salt, garlic, or butter. (This goes right along with the above tip.  Add as you go as to not overdue anything at any one time.)  

4. Once your pot of salted water comes to a boil, add your pasta. Check the package of pasta to see how long to cook it. Once cooked, pour into a colander to drain all the water.  Put drained pasta back into the empty large pot (or serving dish). Add and mix in as much of the tuna sauce to it as you like.  Individuals can always add extra sauce to their own serving if they like. (I usually put extra sauce in a gravy boat on the table so people can add more to their plate if they wish.) Serve with Parmesan cheese for those who like to sprinkle some on top of their pasta. If you like a nice bite to your meals, you can even put out a shaker of red pepper flakes on the table for anyone who likes to add more to their dish.

(the oil and spices warming for a few minutes)


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Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies  

If you like soft cookies and the hint of cheesecake, you'll love this version of chocolate chip cookies.  Be careful not to over-bake them.  They do not get very golden or brown.  And they will seem too soft and gooey when you take them out.  But they set as they cool.  Here's the recipe ~

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp 
1 C butter,  room temp 
3/4 C sugar 
3/4 C brown sugar 
1 egg 
1 tsp vanilla 
2 1/2 C flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
i pkg chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.

Combine cream cheese, butter, and both sugars until well blended.  Mix in egg and vanilla.  Next add dry ingredients and mix well.  Add chocolate chips.

Bake 11-14 minutes.  These cookies do not get very golden, they remain fairly light.  They also will seem as if they are still under-done.  But do not over-bake them (14 minutes really ought to do it).  Once you take them out of the oven, let them cool on the cookie sheet at least 10 minutes before trying to remove them.  They take time to set.  Then transfer them to a cooling rack to complete cooling.  

They are soft, moist, rich, and delicious.  You could easily make them without chocolate chips and just call them Cheese Cake Cookies.  Or to make them extra special, say around the holidays, you could add almond extract and slivered almonds to the batter.  Then thoroughly drain and gently squeeze-dry maraschino cherries and place one (or a half of one) on top of each cookie before baking. 

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Here is a recipe that is easy to whip up for any special occasion or even "just because."  My husband loves peanut butter and chocolate, and this is one of his favorite things.  You can make it with or without the chocolate chips (hubby can't decide which way is his favorite). 

                                        Peanut Butter Pie


1 pie crust (we prefer graham cracker, but you can use chocolate or any pie crust, homemade or store-bought)
1 package cream cheese (8 oz) room temp
1 container of Cool Whip (8 oz) thawed in fridge
1 c. peanut butter 
1 c. confectionery sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 bag mini chocolate chips (half of a 12 oz bag) ~ optional
1 extra chocolate bar (or other topping/garnish)

1.  Put cream cheese and Cool Whip into your mixing bowl. Mix until well blended.  Add peanut butter, confectionery sugar, and vanilla.  Blend well.  Add chocolate chips (if using) and mix just until well incorporated. 

2. Scoop the peanut butter filling into the pie crust and smooth out the top.  Grate the chocolate bar on top for a garnish. (Or you could use some mini chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, etc, to garnish or just leave plain.) 

3. Set in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving, or overnight. 

Tip - When grating chocolate, it always helps to keep the chocolate in the refrigerator before hand.  It will be colder and harder and grate nicely rather than starting to melt in your hand and on the grater. If it's summer, you could even stick the grater in the freezer for a few minutes first. 

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