Not From Scratch Spaghetti Sauce

November 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Alton Brown, Italian, Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, My Own Creation, Spaghetti, Supper | Leave a comment

I haven’t cooked in weeks!  You can imagine what my kitchen pantry and freezer and refrigerator looked like when hubby and I came home from the hospital.  My mom had been staying over with our son, taking care of him and of the house and the animals….but still, there wasn’t much in the house to prepare a meal with.

I ran to the grocery store without a list – always a scary thing – and just started flinging things into the cart.  My memory told me that I had a jar of Prego spaghetti sauce at home – it was supposed to have been for something – don’t ask me what – so I decided to fix it up for supper.


1 jar Prego Arrabbiata Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound Johnsonville Italian Sausage

1 container (8 ounces) of fresh mushrooms

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 tbsp. basil

2 tbsp. oregano

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp. white sugar

Dash of salt

1/2 pound Barilla Spaghetti

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn medium heat, brown the sausage, along with the onions and mushrooms.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the spices (including the sugar) when the sausage is completely cooked and browned.

Pour in the spaghetti sauce carefully, because it could splatter.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes, allowing the spices to blend.  Taste and adjust your seasonings.  My husband sometimes tells me I don’t use enough oregano or basil.  Last night, he didn’t say anything negative about this sauce!

Boil the spaghetti in lots of hot, salted water; I used my Fasta Pasta Microwave Pasta Cooker.  It only takes about 13 minutes to prepare enough spaghetti for the three of us. If not for the pasta cooker, it would take a LONG TIME for an entire pot of salted water to boil, so I really like my pasta cooker.

Serve with Parmesan cheese and hot, buttery garlic bread.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADelicious!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, and one more thought before I go…about those mushrooms…I hear people on television and read blogs and websites warning about washing mushrooms – that instead of washing them by dunking them in water, you should “brush” them clean or wipe them clean with a wet paper towel because otherwise, they’ll “soak” up water.  Yesterday after I dunked and washed and sliced my mushrooms, I was remembering Alton Brown’s “Good Eats”, and how one night he did an experiment PROVING that mushrooms do NOT soak up any water, no matter how long they sit in water….and look what I found:  The Fungal Gourmet transcript, courtesy of The Good Eats Fan Page!  It’s amazing what you can find when you search high and low 🙂


Herb-Crusted Chicken in a Basil Cream Sauce

September 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Posted in Chicken, Italian, Main Dish, Supper | 1 Comment

Oh, wow this recipe was incredible!  We loved it.  Credit for the original idea  goes to the gals over at  Utah Munchies.


1 pound chicken breasts, pounded flat

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs

1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning

2 tbsp. freeze dried chives (which I didn’t have)

8 tbsp. butter (a whole stick – why not?  LOL)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of chicken broth

1/2 can (14.5 ounce can) of Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano

2 cups heavy whipping cream

4 tbsp. dried basil, more or less

salt and pepper

1 pound spaghetti or Fettucini

Boil salted water and cook your pasta al dente.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlace the bread crumbs and garlic and red pepper spice in one container; mix well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPour milk into another container. Prep anything else you can; I minced my garlic into a measuring cup and had made my broth and had the whipping cream open, as well as the tomatoes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPound chicken flat:  I like to put the slices into a plastic baggie and then pound them with my meat mallet.  It’s neater that way and chicken doesn’t fly all over the place.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPut the stick of butter in a skillet – I used my Lodge skillet – and turn on LOW while you get the chicken ready.  Once the chicken is pounded flat, give it all a milk bath.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet the chicken soak for a minute or so, then turn the stove up to medium heat.  When the butter begins to sizzle, start dipping the chicken into the crumb mixture (use your tongs because it gets messy!).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASet each piece of chicken in the hot pan.  Watch the temperature of the pan; Lodge cookware gets hot and stays hot, so you may need to lower the temperature of the stove.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMmm, look at all that butter!  Finish cooking the chicken; it took about 10 minutes until all of the pieces were finished.  Set them aside and keep them warm.  By this time, my spaghetti was cooked and drained, so I poured it into an 11×7 dish and topped it with the chicken. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter the chicken is all done, lower the heat to low and toss the garlic into the pan.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOooh, it smelled heavenly – I love garlic!  Saute the garlic for about a minute; add the chicken broth and boil, scraping the bottom of the pan so that all the goodies come loose.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStir the whipping cream in plus the tomatoes.  Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for a minute.  Don’t boil it too long or it will curdle.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the basil, salt and pepper.  Now the sauce is ready to pour over the chicken and spaghetti.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOooh, there was a lot of sauce!  Run carefully to the table with the serving dish and dig in.  Serve with fresh Parmesan and hot bread.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI served myself some spaghetti, put the chicken on top and then spooned sauce in the bowl.  Hubby had two servings – I wanted seconds but was too full already 🙂  We are definitely having this again!

Baked Rigatoni

June 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Italian, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Pasta, Spaghetti Sauce, Supper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tonight for supper, I grabbed the container of spaghetti sauce from the other night and used it to make baked Rigatoni.  It was yummy!


Spaghetti sauce

Rigatoni pasta

Fresh mozzarella cheeseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIgnore the tomato sauce can – I wasn’t sure if I’d need it and ended up NOT using it at all.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Boil salted water and cook your pasta.  I boiled a couple of cups of pasta and always boil it for 5 minutes less than called for on the pasta box since it’s going to continue baking in the oven.

Spray the bottom and sides of an 8×8 dish with canola oil and spread a layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom.  Top with some fresh mozzarella.  I know, in the past I’ve used the bagged and shredded mozzarella but when I have a choice and can find it, I love to use FRESH mozzarella.  Sometimes the store has it, either in pearls or sliced.  I got lucky when I went to Walmart and found it sliced!  I used two slices:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADrain the rigatoni.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpoon about half of it out, on top of the cheese.  Top with more sauce and cheese.  Then, the remainder of the rigatoni, more sauce and more cheese.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPop into hot oven, covered, for about 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, carefully uncover and bake for another 15.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes before digging in.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASuper delicious!  Serve with Italian bread and a salad.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had enough spaghetti sauce leftover and it was marked and put into the freezer downstairs for more meals!


Linguine with Garlicky Breadcrumbs

June 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Garlic, Italian, Main Dish, Meatless Monday, One-Dish Meal, Pasta, Supper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I have to admit that the reason I jumped all over this recipe had to do with the title more than anything else.  I am a garlic fiend.  Ask my husband.  There are evenings he walks into the kitchen with a gas mask on because I’ve minced more garlic than you can shake a stick at LOL

Well, this recipe calls for SIX minced cloves, so I knew I’d love it and I knew he’d react.  So, here goes nothing!

The recipe is courtesy of  My Recipes and had been in the August 2003 edition of Cooking Light.  I might have messed up the “light” part by adding more olive oil, though.  Oh, well.


2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs – make your own, per the recipe instructions or do like me and cheat

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

6 garlic cloves

8 ounces uncooked linguine

1/4 cup fresh parsley – or 1/8 cup dried, which is what I used

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI measured out 2/3 cup of plain bread crumbs.  The original recipe says that you should toast your bread in the oven after making it into breadcrumbs with your food processor.  You know what?  That sounds like a LOT of work for 2/3 cup of breadcrumbs!  So I cheated and poured out 2/3 cup of plain old bread crumbs.  Ta-da!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t go any further until your water boils and you get your pasta cooking – NO salt is necessary because you’re going to add seasonings to the finished product.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, warm about 2 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet and then add the garlic.  Let them blend for about 30 seconds or so, stirring and stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn.  Oooh, look at all of that lovely garlic!  Hubby came into the kitchen and said, “Wow, I smell garlic!” and then peeked into the skillet and asked me, “What are you making?” so I told him.  He said, “Hmm, sounds good.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay, back to the recipe:  remove the skillet and let the oil and garlic flavors meld for about 5 minutes.  Your pasta should be near to getting finished to al dente.  Now, you can return the skillet to the burner and turn back on medium and let it get warmed up again so that you can add the breadcrumbs.  Mix up gently.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooks like a lot, but trust me, it’s not.

My linguine wasn’t quite ready, so I mixed up the parsley, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper in the serving bowl; then I added the bread crumbs and mixed everything up together.  And now, this is when I added the extra 2 tbsp. of olive oil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADrain pasta and add to bowl; gently fold breadcrumb mixture into linguine.  Stir gently.  My son took this picture for me:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAh, now it’s ready for serving!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI bought a head of lettuce at the grocery store and served that alongside the linguine.  No fancy salad today, just lettuce and tomato.  Hmm, should have thrown in some bacon bits…could have had BLT salads.  Oh, well, maybe next time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I asked the guys what they thought, they agreed that the garlic wasn’t overwhelming.  In fact, the teen said, “It could use more.”


Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

June 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Italian, Meatless Monday, Spaghetti, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I read something similar in a cookbook by Lidia Bastianich, but didn’t write out the recipe.  So, while writing up my menu for the week, decided to go hunting and found this.  It was AWESOME!  It’s from Camilla Salem at YumSugar.


8 ounces of spaghetti

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACook spaghetti, until al dente.

In a small dish, start adding the spices; I didn’t use a lot of red pepper:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the salt, pepper and mince garlic to dish and mix well.  It smelled so good!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeasure out the olive oil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd oil to spices and stir; allow flavors to meld.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATaste and add any extra red pepper, salt or black pepper, or even garlic.  Drain spaghetti and put into serving bowl.  Pour oil mixture over spaghetti.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, wow!  Serve with garlic bread and salad.


I want to start doing a Meatless Monday – no promises!  It would be good for all three of us, though, don’t you think?

Italian Tilapia with Spaghetti & Marinara Sauce

June 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Posted in Fish, Italian, Main Dish, Marinara Sauce, Pasta, Spaghetti Sauce, Supper, Tilapia, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Okay, I have to be honest: this was supposed to be a homemade meal. I was planning on buying either cod or tilapia and breading it and baking it but while I was perusing the seafood at Walmart, I discovered Parmesan Encrusted Tilapia by Treasures from the Sea.  I grabbed a bag.

I’m glad that I did.


1 bag of Parmesan Encrusted Tilapia

1 pound of spaghetti

1 jar of Newman’s Own Marinara Pasta Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour marinara sauce into pot; turn on low heat.

Prepare spaghetti; I’ve got a Fasta Pasta Cooker, so it only takes me about 12 minutes to fix four servings of spaghetti.

The directions on the tilapia didn’t ask for it, but I put parchment paper down on the cookie sheet; then place the tilapia on the cookie sheet.  Spray lightly with olive oil.  Place in hot oven for approximately 25 minutes.

Serve the tilapia with spaghetti, smothered in hot marinara sauce.


Sweet Italian Sausage & Bowties, My Way

May 25, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Posted in Bow Tie Pasta, Italian, Main Dish, My Own Creation, One-Dish Meal, Pasta, Peppers, Supper, Sweet Italian Sausage, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is a creation that’s based on a recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Daniel makes it his way and I make it my way.


One pound sweet Italian sausage

One cup hot, hot water

One beef bouillon cube

Three sweet peppers:  red, yellow and orange

1/2 pound bow tie pasta

Water and salt for boiling the pasta

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlice up the Italian sausage into coins and then into fourths; it cooks faster this way.  Put into a hot skillet and brown thoroughly on medium high heat.  Start boiling water, lots of it and salt it.  I always use my big pot and cover it tightly; it seems to come to a boil quicker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMake your beef broth with the hot water and bouillon cube; set aside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlice up your peppers; set them aside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf your sausage is cooked through and browned thoroughly, turn it off.  Let the pasta water come to a rolling boil.


My box of pasta says it needs 11-12 minutes to become al dente.  Toss in your pasta and stir occasionally; set timer for 12 minutes.  When timer is down to 8 minutes, pour the beef bouillon into the sausage and turn on medium.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen the timer is down to 5 minutes, add the peppers and stir together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADrain the pasta and pour it into serving bowl.  Pour the meat and pepper mixture on top and gently blend.  Serve HOT with bread.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYum!  I didn’t have an Italian bread but had a French baguette.  Daniel sliced it up and everything was delicious.


Spaghetti Night

May 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Posted in Italian, Main Dish, Pasta, Ron's Own Creation, Spaghetti, Spaghetti Sauce, Supper, Sweet Italian Sausage, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I didn’t cook tonight.  Hubby and I ran around this morning in Springfield; when we came home, we both napped a couple of hours.  If not for the silly phone ringing, I probably could have slept longer.

I pulled out some spaghetti sauce from the freezer; hubby made it last month.  He makes really, really delicious spaghetti.  Actually, I learned how to make it by watching him.  My mom uses a McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce packet.  She’s got problems with biting into onions and stuff, so her spaghetti sauce consists of meat and sauce.  She likes mushrooms, but as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve never seen her put any in her sauce.  Oh, well.

Anyway, we had hubby’s spaghetti and it was delish.  He used Italian sausage instead of hamburger and he added mushrooms.  I love it when he cooks!

I posted my spaghetti sauce recipe and his is probably extremely similar since I learned from him.


Fettucini Alfredo

May 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Alfredo Sauce, Fettucini, Italian, Main Dish, One-Dish Meal, Pasta, Supper, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We love Italian food and I fix it often.  I don’t know how “real” it is, compared to what a true Italian mama would prepare.  We eat it, though.  Tonight I fixed Fettucini Alfredo.  We have had it before.  I found a different recipe at AllRecipes and tried it. It turned out nice and smooth and cheesy.


1 stick of butter – the real thing

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

2 cloves of garlic, minced

12-16 ounces of half and half (original recipe called for milk)

6 ounces freshly grated Parmesan

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

fettucini noodles

Boil a pot of salted water and cook your noodles.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter and cream cheese.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI went ahead and added the garlic and pepper.  Use a whisk to make sure that the butter and cheese get mixed well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the Parmesan cheese and whisk well.  The recipe from Dawn Carter said to add the milk first, but you know me, I can’t follow directions well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlowly add the half and half, continuing to whisk.  The heat should be on medium-high and the sauce should start getting nice and thick.  Add as much half and half as you wish, depending on how thick you want the sauce.

Yum!  Serve with garlic bread.




Spaghetti Sauce

April 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Posted in Crock Pot, Epic FAIL!, Italian, Italian Spices, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Pasta, Spaghetti | 1 Comment

We love spaghetti!  I make the best spaghetti sauce – my husband taught me how.  Here’s how I do it:


1 pound hamburger (or Italian sausage)

15 oz. can tomato sauce

12 oz. can tomato paste

28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes

6 oz. mushrooms, sliced

2 tbsp. basil

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp. onion powder

2 tbsp. oregano

2 tbsp. parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper


Brown meat.  Add spices.


Pour diced tomato, tomato sauce, paste into crock pot.


Add browned meat and stir gently.  Cook on LOW until you’re ready to prepare the spaghetti noodles.  I’ve got a Fasta Pasta spaghetti cooker that I love.

Now, this story would typically have a happy ending, complete with a photo of my supper table.

I have to be HONEST with you though and admit to a huge FAIL, though.

I forgot to plug in the crock pot.

So, the sauce sat at room temp ALL DAY – from almost 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Needless to say, it wasn’t the risk of feeding bad food to my family, so the whole shebang was tossed.  Oh, well.  Hubby will make some sauce for tomorrow’s supper while I am gone all day to Springfield.

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