a simple n fulfilling dinner

happy monday, everyone! i am over here hoping and even praying for the wildfires to be contained and a bit of normalcy to return to life. being stuck inside with the windows shut all weekend was not an ideal moment in time. we didn’t make it to the beach or dog park once! i feel really bad for my pup, gary! even though we were mostly stuck inside, we did eat a lot of good food, including mac and cheese from homeroom! thank god for delivery right now, even though i try not to rely on it too heavily. ordering straight from the restaurant and avoiding third-party apps (like door dash, uber eats, etc) charging a huge service fee to the restaurant, is the way to go if you’re going to order takeout, in my opinion.

anyway, sometimes i find myself focusing so much on finding fun recipes to cook, that i forget there are some i just know how to cook and always have on hand, an option for when i don’t want to order takeout but don’t really feel like cooking. lately with my mental state unraveling (jk kind of), i need to remember that there are simple and straight-forward dishes that are not time-consuming to prepare. i can’t take credit for having that top of mind though, because last night, char was the one with the idea. we were considering our dinner options (takeout or cook?), and he was like, i’ll just make some pasta. and i was like …with what? and he was all, just some onions with crushed tomatoes and some noodles.

and he did cook us up some pasta, and it was lovely! he added some leftover red wine to sautéed carrots, onions, and celery, which is a very holy trinity of ingredients. adding wine to pretty much any dish adds a depth of flavor that for some reason drives my taste buds wild. mmm! [this is also making me reminisce on baking beer bread… it’s so good!] once the veggies were sautéed and the wine evaporated, the tomatoes were added and then everything simmered for half an hour. so simple yet so good.

pasta for dinner, masterminded by char

i also want to post my favorite tomato sauce recipe, because it is the simplest recipe i’ve ever seen and is a true ingredients-transforming dish. it consists of crushed or whole peeled tomatoes (28 oz-can), an onion, butter or olive oil, and salt. the following recipe is my take (with a few options for subs), and it is based on the truly iconic recipe by marcella hazan:


  • 1 28-oz can whole-peeled or crushed tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp butter or olive oil (the original recipe calls for butter)
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • salt


  • bring tomatoes, butter, onion, and salt to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes, cooking uncovered
the sauce served with homemade gnocchi, alongside caesar salad, pate, and charcuterie

how simple is that! then you can boil up some pasta and serve the sauce combined with a bit of the leftover pasta cooking water, and you’ve cooked yourself a divine treat. if you have some parmesan (or nutritional yeast!) or fresh basil, add them! you won’t regret it. i was also in for a divine treat regardless, because char did all of the cooking! i merely chopped a few carrots trying out my new “roll cut” which i have certainly not mastered. there were just some big chunks of carrot in there. 🙂 a huge shoutout to char, because after a week of not being able to go on a run, not going anywhere outside really, and having headaches and shortness of breath due to the ‘extremely unhealthy’ air quality, i was just not in the mood for cooking.

also, how about that orange day on wednesday?! things are feeling a bit more surreal every day. here’s a photo i snapped around 11am on wednesday from my desk:

around 11am in oakland on 9/9

the weekend was definitely not all bad though — i loved watching Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem win the US Open! both made major comebacks and it felt inspiring to witness.

do you have any favorite last minute or super simple meals that you cook on the regular? share with me! i need to add some more to my repertoire. amy chaplin’s recipe for pasta with kale, caramelized onions, and goat cheese is quickly making its way to my list!

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