Spicing Up Your Pasta! (Win $100 Gift Card)

CONTESTS | | September 1, 2011 at 10:38 am


Congratulations Mami2jcn!

By now you know I am a Ragu “Mom’s the word on Dinner” ambassador and over the next few months I will be sharing ideas with you and doing some a lot of learning too. Changing up a meal can change up the mood. I am in a bit of a funk and was thinking of actually painting my lounge this long weekend. Food, though, is much easier to kick up a notch. Sometimes when you say pasta people conjure images of a bland and boring meal whilst I just believe it to be like a canvas for anything you want it to be. Whether a casserole, soup, sauce or sweet dish – pasta has the ability to morph as you desire.

When I heard about spicing up your pasta I wanted to share what I would do to spice up pasta: surprise – it is actually SPICE! I can’t help it, it runs through my veins – I spice up everything. Whether it is my chai or food I like to pep it up. I also love to know my spice and normally buy them whole. To spice up pasta I like to give the Ragu tomato sauce a little bit of sizzle.

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 garlic minced
  • 1/2 red onion – diced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup of Ragu tomato sauce
Here’s what I did next…
I saute the onions in the oil until translucent, then add the garlic which roasts for a minute. Then I add all the rest of the ingredients except the sauce. I let the spice roast only for a quick minute, else it would burn, and then add the Ragu sauce. Heat through and turn off the heat. Now you can use this sauce for anything from veggies, meat or as is.

Now something for a lucky reader of Mommy Niri (and hint – there will be more of these coming along)!

Want to win a $100 American Express Gift Card?

To win tell me how would you spice up pasta?  Winner chose by random.org. USA  only.

To earn extra entries, after you have left a comment, do one of the following, but make sure you leave a separate comment entry for each extra thing you do (please DO NOT leave your email address within the comment!!!).

These give you additional ways to enter the contest but are optional entries. Contest closes 9th September 2011.

  • Subscribe to Mommy Niri (and verify the subscription to be valid) and leave a separate comment that you did. Already a subscriber (thank you) then leave a comment stating you are.
  • Tweet it using the green Tweet button above. Then leave a comment you did.
  • Fans of the Mommy Niri Facebook Page get an additional entry. If you are already a part of it leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to visit out other fabulous giveaways on MommyNiri.com

Disclosure: This is part of a campaign where I am an Ambassador in the Ragú® Mom’s the Word on Dinner Program. Visit www.facebook.com/ragusauce to join the conversation.


  1. 401
    ellen says:

    I am one of your FB fans ellen beck

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    ellen says:

    I am an email subscriber

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    Chase Taylor says:

    I like to spice up pasta by adding red pepper to the tomato sauce.

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    Chase Taylor says:

    I like Mommy Niri on FB.

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    Angela Winesburg says:

    I spice it up with peppers and chilis

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    Angela Winesburg says:

    Email Subscriber, thanks!

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    Angela Winesburg says:

    Liked you on FB (AngelaWinesburg)

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    When I make spaghetti I not only season the sauce but the water the pasta cooks in too. I add fresh minced garlic and Italian seasoning to the water and cook the pasta in it, I also add the same to my sauce.

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    Like Mommy Niri on Facebook- Kimberley Rose Meier

  13. 413
    Charlotte Varner says:

    To spice it up I use:

    Chopped fresh tomatoes
    Thinly sliced onion
    Sliced julienne (browned in olive oil)
    Red pepper flakes to taste
    A bit of salt
    Ground pepper
    Ragu Traditional Sauce

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    Charlotte Varner says:

    A fan of yours on fb (Charlotte V.)

  16. 416
    ronda says:

    i like to spice it up with chili and cumin

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    ronda says:

    .please excuse me i tweeted

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    Julie L says:

    I use orgegano and a little bit of red pepper flakes

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    Julie L says:

    like u on fb Julie Scott Laws

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    Julie L says:

    email subscriber

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    Sarah says:

    I add a healthy squirt of Sriracha!

    sarah.stern.13 at gmail dot com

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    daniel healey says:

    I spice up the sauce by adding a little bit of sugar and honey to the sauce. The kids love it and my wife still does not know my special ingrediant.

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    Valeen N says:

    I always add extra Oregano and some Cumen to spice it up!

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    Claire says:

    Believe it or not.. I’ve actually heard good things about cinnamon being used in pasta sauce. I want to try it!

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    sandra says:

    with various cheeses

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    SunRae says:

    I will spice up my pasta with garlic and paprika

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    SunRae says:

    ■Fan of the Mommy Niri Facebook Page

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    SunRae says:

    ■Subscribe to Mommy Niri

  31. 431
    Deb K says:

    Tomatoes and Peppers with red sauce!


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    Deb K says:

    Email Subscriber too!


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    Allyson says:

    I love to add roasted veggies (like peppers, broccoli) to my pasta to change things up. It can take a boring pasta dinner and make it fantastic!

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    Steve Olson says:

    I spice up my pasta with pepperoni and crushed red pepper. (And of course, sauce, garlic powder, onion powder… sometimes other stuff.) I like to experiment

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    Kate says:

    I add toasted pine nuts, crushed red pepper, roasted garlic, and grate some good parmesan cheese on my Ragu!

  36. 436
    Michelle Cain says:

    I spice up pasta by throwing in some crushed garlic, minced onion, and red pepper to taste!! LOVE it!

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    Michelle Cain says:

    I follow you on facebook (Michelle Cain)

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    Holly says:

    I like to add different grilled meats and veggies to pasta, the grilling adds an interesting flavor!

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    Ellie W says:

    I spice it up by adding a dash of crushed red pepper or cayenne to pasta.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    eswright18 at gmail dot com

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    Ellie W says:

    I like you on FB (Ellie W)

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    Theresa says:

    I know it’s not a spice, but I love adding tons of mozzarella to my pasta. I love gooey, cheesey pasta!

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    Theresa says:

    I like Mommy Niri on facebook under Theresa Mahoney

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    erma says:

    I’d spice it up with the hotest peppers I can find.

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    Betty C says:

    I add a little sugar to reduce the acidity then I add sauteed onions and garlic.

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    Betty C says:

    I’m an email subscriber.

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    Betty C says:

    I’m already a Facebook fan.
    Betty Curran

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    kathy pease says:

    oh i would add all kinds of spices like oregano , garlic salt and whatever other spices i find in my cupboards..i love adding spices to everything

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    kathy pease says:

    like you on facebook kathy l pease

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    Donald says:

    Well we’re not that adventurous with spices, mostly because of my wife but she did teach me to add REAL maple syrup to tomato sauces to cut the acidity and give it great flavor!

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    Donald says:

    liked mommy niri on fb (donald light)

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    Mary Ward says:

    I love to add a spicy sausage to my pasta sauce. Something with maybe some kind of pepper in it.

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    Benjamin Dopp says:

    I like to put in Spanish churizo sausage

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    MelissaO says:

    I used crushed red pepper, onion powder, minced garlic, and whatever else I get inspired to grab in the spice cabinet.

    wolverina401 at gmail dot com

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    Selene M. says:

    I add sauteed veggies to give more nutrition and flavor, as well as a few dashes of hot sauce.

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    nancy says:

    i spice up pasta with oil & garlic tomato sauce, anchovies & capers

    nblexp ( at ) gmail (dot) com

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    Jammie says:

    I would spice up some pasta, with come cheese, and ground turkey, some ragu, and baked in the oven yummy. sweepmorey at gmail dot com

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    Jammie says:

    I subscribe via email.

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    Jammie says:

    I like you on fb Jammie M

  67. 467
    Melodic Mom says:

    I love seasonings, so I always add lots of minced garlic, oregano, basil, & black pepper.

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    Dara Nix says:

    I LOVE to spice up my pasta with LOTS of garlic and crushed red pepper!

    Dara Nix
    kitty32504 at cox dot net

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    Dara Nix says:

    I am already an e-mail subscriber – kitty32504 at cox dot net!

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    Dara Nix says:

    I already like your FB page (Dara Nix)!

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    Alice C says:

    with some hot sausages in the sauce :0)

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    Jennifer C says:

    I don’t like things too spicy but I do like to add in extra garlic and a little oregano.

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    Min says:

    I add pepper when I want to boost spice.

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    Deb K says:

    I would use the oregano that I have growing in a pot on my windowsill, and add that to my pasta sauce.

    chipper101 at hotmail dot com

  79. 479

    I spice it up by adding some meat or veggies to it. My girls love having little extras in their pasta and sauce

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    Email subscribe (ktraverse82@gmail.com)

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    Like you on FB (Karine Capobianco-Traverse)

  83. 483
    shirley pebbles says:

    I would add some cumen to it.

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    shirley pebbles says:

    Like on Fb as shirley greenawalt zolenski

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    Dolly Rogers says:

    jalapeno peppers,,sometimes alot..and sometimes just a pinch

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    julieh says:

    I spice up my pasta with diced hatch green chiles!

  87. 487
    julieh says:

    like you on fb (julie hawkins)

  88. 488
    julieh says:

    tweeted the giveaway (honeypie411)

  89. 489
    Rosie says:

    I use red pepper flakes and crushed garlic to give my pasta a bit more spice.

  90. 490

    Garlic and cheese!

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    Veronica says:

    I also use red pepper flakes, and I sometimes add oregano, basil, and mushrooms.

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    ashley says:

    i love to spice up my pasta with sauteed spinach and onions

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    Auriette says:

    The only spice in my cabinet is some kind of black and red pepper mix that I bought years ago (maybe decades ago) for making chili at home, which I almost never do anymore because my husband prefers canned chili. I don’t even know what spices do (other than some of the ones that make things hot, which I tend to avoid). If I can use “spice up” with its more general meaning of “make it special” then I would say that I’d add Provel cheese, which is a St. Louis speciality (seriously, we have to mail order it in) because it is soooo good.

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    Bonnigene says:

    I love to spice up my pasta and I don’t know what my kids would think if I didn’t…I usually add just a little red pepper flakes and a touch of basil…then some extra sauted onions and garlic. yumm

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    Inez Cegelis says:

    I like to chop up a jalapeno and throw it in.

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    christopher h says:

    garlic – lots and lots of garlic

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    Bam says:

    I use sweet basil, sweet italian sausage, lots of garlic, fresh tomatoes

  98. 498
    mistysunrise says:

    I add garlic, cheese, and a little jalapeno.

    itsjustme62613 at gmail.com

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    mistysunrise says:

    sub by email from heartsnflowers72 at gmail.com.

    if I win please email me at

    itsjustme62613 at gmail.com

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    mistysunrise says:

    like you on facebook as misty sunrise

    itsjustme62613 at gmail.com

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    Diana says:

    Using the freshest veggies always perks up pasta.

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    cathy miller / rewcath says:

    I subscribe nupa123atgmaildotcom

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    cathy miller / rewcath says:

    https://twitter.com/#!/rewcath/status/112157918807330816 tweeted @rewcath nupa123atgmaildotcom

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    Gail W says:

    I would use cilantro on pasta.
    dgtwight at sbcglobal dot net

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    cathy miller / rewcath says:

    http://www.facebook.com/rewcath like on facebook nupa123atgmaildotcom

  107. 507
    Courtney Conner says:

    Crushed Red pepper flakes and garlic

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    Tracey Byram says:

    I add Italian sausage and cheese, cheese and more cheese.

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    Courtney Conner says:

    Im a fan of Mommy Niri on Facebook

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    clynsg says:

    I like a spicy tomato sauce on it–like sausage, but it doesn’t like me, so use hamburger and some extra spices such as red pepper.

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    Vicki D. says:

    In my pasta sauce, I use diced tomatoes with green chilis. I also add garlic powder, chili powder, and some Italian seasoning.

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    darcie says:

    I really need this please pick me

    nice sweep

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    darcie says:


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    darcie says:


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    Mary Lee says:

    I add onions several ways to the same sauce: sauted, onion salt, dehydrated onions. Onions rule!


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    Mary Lee says:

    Facebook fan as Mary Ann Reeves Lee.

  119. 519
    Rosey says:

    Adding a little red pepper flake to the pasta sauce gives the pasta a nice spicy zing.

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    Rosey says:

    I am an e-mail subscriber.

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    Becky says:

    My father used to put jalepenos in our spaghetti…

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    Rosey says:

    I’m already with Mommy Niri on FB (Sarah Smile).

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    Samantha says:

    I would add some fresh vegetables from my garden (tomatoes, peppers, basil) and an onion.

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    Samantha says:

    I like you on FB. Samantha M.

  127. 527
    Susan E. says:

    I add red pepper and Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb.


  128. 528
    Susan E. says:

    Like you on facebook (www.facebook.com/rogsdock)


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    Susan E. says:

    Subscribed to your email.


  131. 531
    Steph A says:

    I like to add red pepper flakes in my sauce sometimes to give it a little punch!

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    Steph A says:

    I subscribe to your emails!

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    Steph A says:

    I like you on facebook! stephanie a….

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    April Grimm says:

    I would spice up my pasta with garlic and mushrooms.

  136. 536
    Lisa G. says:

    I would like to spice up my pasta sauce with garlic and onion.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  137. 537
    Lisa G. says:

    I’m already subscribed to your emails.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  138. 538
    Lisa G. says:

    I Tweeted this giveaway: http://twitter.com/#!/lisalmg/status/112253398786641921
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  139. 539
    Lisa G. says:

    I like you on Facebook user Lisa Garner.
    lisalmg25 at gmail dot com

  140. 540
    Bob R says:

    I go for more flavor than spice, but garlic, fresh basil, fresh oregano, and red pepper make up most of my ingredients.

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    Kendra says:

    fresh herbs, garlic (gotta have it) lol

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    amy delong says:

    cheese and garlic

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    amy delong says:


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    amy delong says:

    fb fan

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    karen flath says:

    I like to add oregano and garlic salt.

    I am a email subscriber.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  147. 547
    karen flath says:

    I like you on FB!

    Thanks for the giveaway :-)

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    latisha depoortere says:

    I love to add garlic and onions my favorite with pasta!

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    latisha depoortere says:

    Liked on facebook/latisha D

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    latisha depoortere says:

    Email subscriber too

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    lauren says:

    i add a dash of olive oil.

    laureneshapiro at gmail dot com

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    carol y l says:

    I add fresh oregano and crimini mushrooms, plus olive oil and hamburger.
    spcale at yahoo dot com.

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    carol y l says:

    Subscriber spcale at yahoo dot com.

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    carol y l says:

    I already like you on Fb carol yerby lewis
    spcale at yahoo dot com.

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    Jaclyn Reynolds says:

    Would love to spice up some meals, I think my husband would enjoy the dishes more. I would use some herbs and veggies.

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    derrick may says:

    i spice up my pasta by using a bit of FRESH BASIL from my garden. YUM YUM!!

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    CATHY TRUMAN says:

    I use onions,peppers,garlic and mushrooms.

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    CATHY TRUMAN says:

    Liked you on Facebook.
    (Cathy Truman)

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    Susan Smith says:

    I like to add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes

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    Susan Smith says:

    Like you on FB Susan Smith

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    Dillon Wallin says:

    I spice up my pasta with some peppers!

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    Jaque R. says:

    This may sound a bit odd, but I always add chopped jalapenos to my pasta sauce. :-) Thank you.

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    Jaque R. says:

    I am a of the Mommy Niri Facebook Page…and love your family photos! :-) (Jaque Richards)

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    Anne says:

    I’d spice up pasta by adding lots of basil and pine nuts.

  168. 568
    Anne says:

    I subscribe by email
    ajolly1456 at gmail dot com

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    Anne says:

    I am a facebook fan (Anne Jolly)

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    Sand says:

    I spice it up with red pepper flakes or cinnamon.

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    brian e. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway…some red pepper flakes or a few tablespoons of your favorite hot chili sauce (i.e. Sriracha) can give your sauce a nice kick !

    senorpiero [at] yahoo [dot] com

  173. 573
    sheila k. says:

    capers and olive oil

  174. 574
    brian e. says:

    …”like” Mommy Niri / Facebook: bryan eason

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    meme says:

    I spice up mine with garlic and bay leaves

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    meme says:

    email subscriber

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    Sarah L says:

    I spice it up with lots of garlic and veggies.
    Thanks for the contest.

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    Sarah L says:


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    Sarah L says:

    FB like you: Slehan

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    Chris Ann says:

    I would use lots of garlic and a blend of black and white pepper

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    Chris Ann says:

    email subscriber

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    Barbara Long says:

    I spice up pasta by adding spicy sausage.


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    Angela A says:

    I spice up my pasta with cayenne pepper, cajun seasonings, and a creole onion mix (complete with chopped garlic, onion, bell peppers, parsley, and celery). YUM! Simple de Best!

    brownatural @ gmail.com