Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Since having two babies to take care of, I’m loving meals that are good tasting, fresh ingredients, easy to cook and clean up. Once I saw this chicken parm skillet meal I knew I had to make it.  I have to admit at first I was super intimated to cook on my  cast iron skillet, but we are becoming better friends.  The key is to cook low and slow on it. You could use any skillet for this meal, you don’t need to have a cast iron skillet. This recipe made a ton, so we had leftovers for a few days and it was just as good!


1 28 ounce can of tomatoes, either peeled or diced

1 tablespoon of olive oil

6 garlic cloves, mashed

1/4 teaspoon of oregano

1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups of water

1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

12 ounce of pasta, your choice

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 chicken breast, cooked and cut into small pieces


  1. Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Using a food processor, grind the tomatoes until they are ground.
  3. Heat your skillet pan for a few minutes, then add the oil, garlic, oregano, red paper flakes and a few shakes of the salt shaker. Cook until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in the tomatoes , water, 1 cup of the broth and the pasta. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until pasta is soft.
  4. Stir in 3/4 cup of the parmesan, a shake of the pepper, and the chicken. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of broth.  Transfer to a baking dish, or if using a cast iron skillet, you can put this right into the oven, sprinkle with the remaining cheeses, bake 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly!

Adapted from See Aimee Cook



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I’ll admit it, I’m not a fan of mussels, but my husband is.  I originally bought the  Mussels for my husband as an appetizer. As I started to prepare them I thought he might like them over some pasta as a meal instead. So this ended up being his meal for dinner.  After all, I haven’t been feeling like eating lately, and that’s because(just in case you missed it), Kiley is going to be a big sister!

Back to the recipes, I just threw this together as I went a long and it came out really well.

When purchasing mussels, make sure you purchase them from a store you trust to make sure the ones you get are alive and well. Don’t eat any that refuse to open after cooking. When you get come from the store, scrub the mussel and then place the mussels into a bowl of cool water with some ice cubes until you are ready to cook them.


2 pounds of Mussels, I used

2 tablespoons of butter

1 good size tomato, diced into small pieces

3 tablespoons of minced garlic

Parsley to taste

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup whole milk, you could use cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pasta of your choice, cooked


  1. Melt butter in a large skillet, add garlic till browned. Add half of the mussels, parsley, tomatoes, wine and milk to the skillet. Cover with a lid, I have a glass lid which is nice, because you see when the mussels are opening up. They take about 4-6 minutes to open up, remove open ones with tongs and place a bowl covered with foil. Repeat until all mussels are opened. Remember if some don’t open just throw them out.
  2. At some point, start your pasta and cook to al dente. Meanwhile, after all mussels are opened, simmer leftover sauce for about 10 minutes. Grab a plate and place some pasta and then some mussles on top, drizzle some leftover sauce on top of all of that!

A Jessica Original

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We love pasta in our house.  We could eat pasta with every meal if we tried.  But we can’t.  So once a week, we try to at least have one pasta meal. This weeks meal was Baked Penne with Meatballs.  This dish reminded me of Baked Ziti, but just a different noodle and a bit healthier with less cheese!   Even Puggie liked the few pieces of penne she had. This particular recipe made 3 servings.


1/2 package of ground beef

1 cup of Italian Breadcrumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

A dash of Italian seasoning

A dash of salt

A dash of pepper

A dash of oregano

A dash of garlic

1/2 box whole wheat or whole grain penne

2-8 ounce jars of tomato sauce

1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine meat with spices and bread crumbs. Shape into 12 meatballs.
  3. Transfer meatballs to a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, turning once. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to box directions.
  4. Coat three ramekins or a baking pan with non stick spray. Add pasta, toss with meatballs, tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the cheese, divided evenly among ramekins or put in baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.
  5. Top with reaming cheese and serve.


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One word for this meal..YUM!! If I could make the text bigger I would!! So delish, so full of flavor. Who would have thought of buffalo chicken in mac and cheese, that’s homemade.  I found numerous recipes for this dish and created my own trying to be a bit healthier with what I chose to make it with. This is the orignal recipe that I based my version on. so here you go my friends. Make this TONIGHT. You won’t regret, plus you have leftovers for days!


4 slices of low sodium bacon

4 chicken thighs

1/2 cup of beer, of your choice

1 pound dry whole wheat elbow macaroni

1/2 cup(1 stick) of butter plus 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup

1 1/2 cups of whole milk and 1 1/2 cups of regular milk, plus 2 tablespoons

3/4 teaspoon of sea salt

3/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper

3 cups grated Skim Shredded mozzarella Cheese

3 cups grated Skim White Cheddar Cheese

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 egg

A few tablespoons of olive oil

2/3 cup of Frank’s Red Hot, more or less depending on how flavorful you want the dish

1 cup panko bread crumbs

Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Arrange bacon on cookie sheet with foil and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Chop up when cooled down.
  3. Put the chicken and beer in a bowl and marinate the chicken for about 20 minutes, or until you are ready to dice it.
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add macaroni and cook to al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the water and put back into pot until needed.
  5. Melt 1/2 cup of butter in large pan over medium heat and add garlic, cook till golden.  Add 1/3 cup of flour and again cook till golden.  Add 3 cups of milk, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, make sure you stir! Add 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 2 cups of mozzarella(keep extra cheese for top layer)  stir until cheese is melted about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the cheese sauce, blue cheese crumbles and bacon to the macaroni until combined, pour into baking dish and smooth surface.
  7. Dice the chicken into small cubes.
  8. Put the remaining 1/3 cup of flour  in a medium bowl. In another bowl, add 2 tablespoons of milk and egg, whisk till mixed. Drain beer from chicken and dip into flour to coat, then into egg mixture then back to the flour.
  9. Add olive to large skillet over medium high heat. Fry chicken until golden brown and good through, about 5 minutes per side. If needed cook in batches. Add chicken and hot sauce to a bowl and toss till coated. Top the macaroni with chicken, sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Sprinkle with panko crumbs. Spray top layer with cooking spray. Bake for about 25 to 20 min.


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Kiley and I were out shopping most of the day and I didn’t plan on anything in particular for dinner that night, so I wanted something that was fairly quick and easy to put together. I remembered that I had some Pace Picante sauce that the awesome people at Foodbuzz had sent me awhile ago, with having Kiley I put up on the shelf and totally forgot about it until I cleaned out our pantry this week! I’m so glad I remembered it, because this dish was awesome. I wasn’t quite sure how it would taste. When I told Chris what I was doing, his response was, are you sure? Well, yes dear I am sure and guess what he was even surer!


Linguine enough for four people

1 pound of ground turkey

2 jars of Pace Picante

A handful of cheddar cheese(shredded to throw on top)


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook to al dente.
  2. In a large saucepan, cook the turkey meat, make sure it’s in crumbles.
  3. Add the picante sauce and simmer for about ten minutes.
  4. Drain pasta, place on plate and then top with meat mixture. Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top.


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Lasagna Roll Ups

We had a surplus of lasagna noodles in our pantry for some reason and we just had Sicilian Lasagna the week before, so I thought I would make roll ups instead. I never made lasagna this way and I have to admit it’s much easier! Not to mention the lasagna rolls are so cute! It’s pretty easy to make for a weeknight dinner as well.


6 lasagna noodles

2 cups of spinach

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 jar (26 ounces) of tomato sauce

1 pound of ground beef or turkey


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package, after they are done cooking, drain the water and let them cool off a bit. At the same time brown meat.
  3. Mix the cheeses together, then add salt and pepper. In a glass baking dish pour half of the tomato sauce in the bottom.
  4. To assemble the rolls, lay a noodle flat, add some tomato sauce, a layer of the cheese mixture then some spinach, then a layer of meat. Roll it up and carefully place in baking dish. Repeat for the rest of the noodles. Drizzle the rest of the tomato sauce on top of the rolls.
  5. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.


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Recently I was invited to try Lawry’s new seasoning for lasagna, called Sicilian Lasagna with Basil and Oregano.  I changed the recipe a bit, then what they exactly wanted me to follow, it still turned out great. The flavor of the basil and oregano was definitely there. The seasoning is not out on the market yet, but hopefully soon it will be!


1 package of Lawry’s Sicilian lasagna with basil and oregano seasoning mix

2 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese

1 package (8 ounces) of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

1 pound ground beef

1 can (28 ounces) of crushed tomatoes(I used 4 tomatoes from my own garden and put them in the cusinart)

9 uncooked lasagna noodles(I cooked mine first)


  1. Mix ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and egg in medium bowl until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat. Stir in seasoning mix, tomatoes and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  3. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles and 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 15 minutes longer or until noodles are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

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