People ... I know it's summer, and the heat is not conducive to cooking, but making a sauce from scratch takes approximately three minutes more than opening a can (not counting cooking time).
So here are a few easy-to-prepare summer recipes, including marinara sauce. You'll have to use your cooking genius when it comes to amounts.
Options: After the sauce is cooked, add raw shrimp, preferably with the shell intact. Yes, it's messy to eat but so much better. Substitute cod; or add cod, and a few minutes later, add shrimp. Cook until done. Eliminate the onion or the garlic. Add dried oregano (a smidgen). Improvise.
In the interest of full disclosure: This recipe is a modification of one I learned in my grandmother's kitchen. The original, with slightly different ingredients, is a family secret guarded by the ghosts of several generations of Sicilian matriarchs. You do not want to get them angry.
Simple Green Beans
Wash one pound of green beans. Snip off ends. Using a steamer, steam until crisp-tender. Finely chop three to five garlic cloves. Add to slightly heated, olive-oiled skillet.
Stir until garlic releases its scent. Add green beans, salt (optional) and freshly ground pepper. Stir; cook about one to two minutes. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature. Optional: Add red-wine vinegar, oregano.
Mojito Summer Fruit
I developed a taste for mojitos last year when my daughter introduced them to me as we enjoyed a fine lunch overlooking the Oakland Hills in California's Bay Area. I suppose you can add rum to this recipe, but I haven't (yet).
Wash a selection of summer berries to total about two cups. Dry. Slice strawberries. Place mixed fruit in a shallow bowl. Very finely chop about two sprigs of mint. Toss with fruit. Whisk about a teaspoon of sugar into a tablespoon or so of freshly squeezed lime juice. Pour over fruit. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Stir and serve. You can add sliced nectarines or peaches to this dessert.
There you have it: a complete summer meal that's good enough for guests but won't strand you in a hot kitchen for hours.