Quick Pasta Supper…..

I love the simplicity of pasta.  This recipe is quick (takes only about 20 minutes) and you may use any vegetables you like.  I used a combination of fresh and frozen in this recipe.  Let’s not forget the sun dried tomatoes, so flavorful.  No homemade stock?   Try using Better Than Bouillion.  There is a good amount of sodium in it so taste at the end before any additional seasoning. 

Pasta With Sun dried Tomatoes, Vegetables and Cheese

12 oz. whole wheat pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup frozen petite peas
Parmesan cheese

1) Place pan for pasta over medium high heat, add salt.
2) While water is heating, slice onions, mushrooms, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes. In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil. Cook onions for about 5 minutes, add mushrooms, cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic, dried tomatoes, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook a few minutes. Add broth, spinach, and peas. Heat through.
3) Cook pasta according to directions, drain. Add vegetable mixture to pasta, toss with cheese.
Serves 4.

Simple Supper-Rigatoni with Meat Sauce…..

This is truly delicious.  You can use any combination of ground meat you like.  I recommend using hot italian sausage, after all ingredients are added, it has just a little kick.  Double or triple the recipe and freeze to enjoy on another hectic night.  Just boil pasta and dinner is on the table in minutes.  Serve with baby frozen peas, yummers!  

Simple rigatoni with meat sauce

¾ lb. lean ground beef
¾ lb. hot (or mild) Italian sausage
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 24 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 24 oz. can water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
16 oz. package rigatoni
Parmesan cheese

1) In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, cook beef and sausage until cooked through, drain well. Add diced onions and cook until translucent, 7-10 minutes. Add garlic, cook about 2 minutes.
2) Add the tomato paste to the meat mixture, cook about 7 minutes, stirring often to caramelize the tomato paste. Be sure to stir often, it can easily burn. Add crushed tomatoes, water, salt, and sugar. Cook over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, allow to simmer about 20 minutes, stir occasionally.
3) Under cook pasta by 2 minutes. Put pasta back in the pan and add sauce, cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stir gently.  Top with parmesan cheese, serve immediately. Enjoy!

Ultimate Beefy Mac n’ Cheese…..

Thank you to everyone who participated in my poll.  It seems that we are all looking for great comfort foods at this time.  I couldn’t agree more.  This recipe is the epitome of “comfort.”   You can make it ahead and warm a day or two later.  This dish also freezes very well.  As always, I recommend making a double recipe, one for immediate use and one for later.  Wrap first with cling wrap, then a layer of heavy duty foil.  You can write on the foil with a sharpe pen, label the contents and date.  Use within a couple of months.

Beefy Mac-n-Cheese

1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves fresh garlic, minced, or 2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
3 cans water (measure in tomato paste cans)
1 batch béchamel sauce, recipe below
1 lb. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 16 oz. package whole wheat elbow macaroni (Barilla Plus is excellent)

1) Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse and set aside. Prepare a large casserole baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350’.
2) In large skillet over medium high heat, cook ground meet until cooked through. Drain. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook about 10 minutes to soften onions. Add tomato paste, mix well over heat. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
3) Add water and reduce heat to low, simmer while you’re making white sauce. Stir often.
4) In same you used for pasta, make béchamel sauce. (recipe below)  Once sauce is complete, add ½ shredded cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
5) Add meat sauce and cooked pasta to pot with white sauce. Mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
6) Bake for 20 minutes.

Be ready for a very, very happy family!

*To heat after refrigeration:  Preheat oven to 350′, poke holes in top with a fork, drizzle 1 cup of milk over, bake for 40-45 minutes.
**To heat after freezing:  allow to defrost in refrigerator for 2 days.  Oven to 350′, poke holes in top with a fork, drizzle 1 cup of milk over.  Bake 45-55 minutes or until bubbly.

Wildly simple things you can do with frozen broccoli…..

I love quick and easy vegetables.  The first recipe below is for broccoli as a side dish, followed by the recipe pictured above. The beauty of it is that you can use frozen broccoli.  It is frozen at the peak of freshness. No need to buy the expensive”steam bags,” this is less expensive and totally delicious!

1 pound package frozen broccoli florets (or one large head fresh, cut into bite size pieces)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves fresh garlic or ½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
2 pinches salt
1 pinch dried pepper flakes (optional)
Lemon wedge (optional)

1) Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper flakes, cook for one minute. Add frozen broccoli and cover with lid.
2) Stir after a couple of minutes, repeat until broccoli is heated through. Taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm with a squeeze of a fresh lemon wedge.

Take it a step further……add pasta and cheese and you have a delicious vegetarian main dish or add some left over shredded chicken.  Add whatever you like!

1 pound Barilla whole grain pasta
1 pound frozen broccoli florets
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
34 cloves fesh garlic or  1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1 cup reserved pasta water
Parmesean cheese to taste (about 1/4 cup is good)

1)  Before you begin to make the broccoli, cook whole wheat pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.
2)  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil and onion.  Cook stirring often until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, salt, and pepper flakes, cook for one minute.  Add frozen broccoli and cover with lid.   Additional ingredients you can add at this time if you wish:
  Sundried tomatoes,chopped
  Shredded chicken
  Left over diced italian sausage
  Fresh or frozen, drained spinach
  Frozen peas
  Fresh tomatoes
3)  Heat all ingredients through, 3-4 minutes.
4)  After a couple of minutes add pasta water and pasta, mix well to evenly combine.
5)  Toss with grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Simplest Tomato Garlic Spaghetti

This is a wonderful side dish to serve with parmesan encrusted chicken, oven fried chicken, or oven roasted whole chicken.  This versitle pasta dish can be served on its own, as a meatless entree.  Serve with a delicious salad and you’re set.   You can also add just about any other ingredients you like, spincah, arugula, shredded roasted chicken, the possiblites are endless!   It is super simple,  as easy as any processed pasta or rice dish.  This recipe goes together in 10-15 minutes.   If you use the Barilla whole grain spaghetti you get 6 ounces of fiber per serving, it’s a very easy way to sneak fiber into the pickiest eater’s diet!

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti (I like barilla whole grain)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups pasta water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1) Undercook pasta by 2 minutes according to package instructions. (if cook time is 6 minutes cook for 4) Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid before draining.
2) While pasta is in colander draining, put pasta pot back on the stove over medium heat and add olive oil, garlic, and oregano. Cook 1 minute and add tomato paste, stir well to incorporate paste into oil and garlic mixture. Add water and salt, simmer for 3 minutes.
3) Add undercooked pasta to tomato/garlic mixture over medium heat, cook for about 2 minutes. Add parmesan cheese. Serve with additional cheese if desired. Makes about 8 one cup servings.

Hungarian Goulash

I acquired this recipe from my neighbor Mary, who acquired the recipe from her sister Kate.  Thanks for sharing!  This is soooooo delicious and incredibly simple to put together.  I suggest you double or triple the recipe and put into the freezer for later use.  The meat is incredibly tender and if you have “onion-phobes” in your family, not to worry, they disintegrate into the delicious sauce.  You could also serve this over spaghetti squash as well for an alternative.   In addition, you have the beautiful smells wafting through your house….it’s the ultimate comfort food, enjoy!

¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ lbs. onions, coarsely chopped
1 ½ lbs. stew meat
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
3 6 oz. cans of water
1 12-16 oz. package large noodles

1)  Preheat oven to 325’.

2)  Heat 2-3 quart dutch oven over medium heat add oil and onions, cook for about 5 minutes.  Add stew meat and cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.

3)  Add salt, paprika, and tomato paste, mix until well blended.   Add water and mix well.

4)  Cover pot and allow to cook in low oven for 2 ½ – 3 hours.  Stir once between, add additional water if necessary.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

5)  Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Serve goulash over hot noodles.


Parsley Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta

This is a very pretty and delicious side dish.  You can serve it warm or at room temperature.  I love to serve this with the parmesan encrusted chicken.

1 large bunch fresh parsley, rinsed and drained
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ cups frozen petite peas, thawed
1 lb. cooked whole wheat pasta, reserve 1 cup pasta water

Place parsley through pepper into a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are combined.

Cook pasta aldente`.  Drain & put back into pot.  Add pesto, pasta water, & peas; stir until pasta is thoroughly coated.  Add additional cheese to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

To toast walnuts:  Preheat oven to 275’, spread walnuts over cookie sheet & toast for 15 minutes.

Three Cheese Penne Pasta with Turkey Sausage

This recipe is soooooo good, why not double the recipe and enjoy on another hectic night! When freezing, I take a sheet of saran cling wrap and put it right onto the food to prevent freezer burn. I then cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. You can write on the foil with a sharpe pen the contents and the date. You’ll want to use within about 2 months. You could also just double the sauce portion of the recipe and freeze it, just thaw, boil some pasta and you have dinner!

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
3 T. fresh parsley
1 lb. whole-wheat penne
1 T. olive oil
1 ¼ lb. turkey sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, chopped, 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1- 28 oz. can tomato sauce,
1- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 t. dried oregano, 1 t. salt
½ t. red pepper flakes
½ t. ground black pepper
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Pre heat oven to 375’. Coat a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, combine ricotta, ¾ cup mozzarella, & parsley. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add turkey sausage, cook through. Add onion and cook until translucent, you can add a little olive oil if turkey is too dry. Add garlic, cook about one minute. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper flakes, & black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, about 15 minutes. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to box instructions. Drain well. Remove sauce from heat, add cheese mixture and pasta; mix well. Pour into prepared pan and top with remaining mozzarella & parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours, bake at 350’ covered for 1 hour. Remove foil; bake additional 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated completely through. Enjoy!