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 🙂


Creamy Chicken Soup

October 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Chicken, Leftovers, Lunch, Main Dish, My Own Creation, One-Dish Meal, Soups & Stews | Leave a comment

This lunch creation is what I fixed for myself today, from the leftover chicken soup that I made yesterday.

I think it turned out pretty good 🙂


Soup – it’s been in the fridge, so skim off any fat

5-ounce can Carnation Evaporated Milk

2 tbsp. Argo Cornstarch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrab a heavy pot and heat the soup on medium. Take out the potato chunks and smush them up (yep, just like yesterday!) and then put them back into the soup and stir well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey helped make the soup thicker, but the cornstarch mixture is going to really make it rich and creamy.

Since I knew I’d have leftovers from lunch, I just used the container that the soup had been stored in overnight and poured the evaporated milk into it.  Then, I added the cornstarch and whisked it until it was smooth.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlowly add the cornstarch mixture into the hot soup. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATurn soup up to medium-high and stir constantly.  It needs to get to an “almost boil” but, of course, you don’t want it to burn.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKeep stirring and occasionally lift the spoon to check on the soup’s thickness.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooks like soup to me!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was so good – and there are leftovers from this – which I will eat probably tomorrow for lunch!





Chicken Soup with Noodles

October 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Posted in Chicken, Chicken Noodle Soup, Crock Pot, Feeling Yucky, My Own Creation, Noodles, One-Dish Meal, Soups & Stews | Leave a comment

I wasn’t feeling good yesterday so this is what I made for myself.  Daniel decided he didn’t want any.  After posting this recipe, you will see what I did with the leftover chicken soup.


32 ounces of Swanson Vegetable Stock

Three chicken thighs

1 tbsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper Seasoning

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of PepperOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can see in the picture, I had the extra wide egg noodles out.  Well, I changed my mind about using them (it seemed too much like work) and I used a different type of noodle:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t use the flavor packet or veggie packet, though.

Okay, here are the directions:  pour the veggie broth into the crock pot and add the chicken and spices.  I used my crock pot because I wasn’t feeling well and it seemed like the easier, softer way.

Let the chicken cook in the crock pot on LOW for about four hours; remove and cut into bite sized pieces.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake one potato, slice it up and add it to the crock pot.  Turn the heat up to HIGH for another hour.  At the end of the hour, the potato will be nice and soft.  Remove the slices and smush them up.  This will thicken the soup.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReturn the smushed potatoes to the crock pot.  Now, slice up another potato and toss it into the crock pot, along with any veggies you like.

Cook on LOW for another hour or so; test the potato to make sure it’s tender but not too mushy.

Now, grab a soup bowl and the noodles; break up half of the noodles in the soup bowl:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPour some soup over the top of the noodles.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStir the soup and noodles around; it took about three minutes, maybe four, for the noodles to soften enough to eat.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup w/Amish Noodles

October 9, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Chicken, Chicken Noodle Soup, My Own Creation, One-Dish Meal, Sick!, Soups & Stews | Leave a comment

Last night, Daniel wasn’t feeling well, so I fixed some homemade chicken noodle soup.


8 cups of water

4 chicken thighs

2 packets of Knorr’s Chicken stock

1 tbsp. of McCormick Perfect Pinch Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper Seasoning

Dash of salt

Dash of pepper

1/2 package of Amish Kitchens Extra Wide Egg Noodles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPour the water and Chicken stock packets into a nice, heavy pot.  Bring to a boil and add the chicken and spices.  Bring to a simmer and cover.  Cook for about two hours. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemove chicken thighs and cut into bite-sized pieces.  If you would like, this is the time to add potatoes or veggies.  I added a potato and some corn.

Bring up to a boil and add noodles.  The bag of noodles I purchased said to let them boil for ten minutes but last time I followed those directions, the noodles were overcooked.  This time, I tested them after five minutes and they were perfect.

Serve with crackers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A-1 Roast

September 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Posted in Beef Chuck Roast, Crock Pot, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Supper | Leave a comment

The other night we were sitting around and I asked the guys what sounded good for supper “next week” and the teen requested A-1 Roast.  I didn’t quite follow the recipe (do I ever?) and here’s my take on it, which turned out pretty good, as evidenced by the fact that there were hardly any leftovers.


1 chuck roast, about 3 pounds

1/2 cup A-1 sauce

1/2 cup water

1 package of Lipton “Recipe Secrets” Beefy Onion Soup Mix

I apologize for the lack of “before” and “during” photos…hubby and I had to go to Fayetteville, so I was moving rather quickly, getting this into the crock pot.

Here are the instructions:  place the meat into the crock pot.

In a separate bowl, blend A-1 and water and soup mix together.  Pour over meat.

Turn crock pot on LOW for at least 8 hours.  Mine cooked for about 9 and the meat was fork-tender; you didn’t even need a knife to cut it!

I served it with broiled asparagus spears, baby carrots and white rice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can see the onions on top of the roast:  yum!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd if you’re wondering about the rice being brown, no, I didn’t make brown rice.  It was white rice; I cooked it with Campbell’s Soup Beef Consomme for extra flavor.  My husband used to love potatoes but they don’t always taste “right” to him, and he prefers rice, so I try to make it once a week or more and I like to change it, so it stays appealing to all of us.

Stir-Fry Beef & Veggies over Noodles

September 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Posted in Chinese, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Supper, Veggies | Leave a comment

Tonight I made my version of stir fry.  It turned out really well and there weren’t any leftovers.


1 pound sirloin steak, sliced into thin strips

3 tbsp. canola oil

1/4 cup La Choy Teriyaki Stir Fry sauce

1/4 cup Kikkoman soy sauce

1 bag of Marketside stir fry veggies

pasta:  I used linguine and made enough for 3 servingsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrab your wok!  I am so glad to have a nice wok; it works for stir fries as well as fajitas.  Pour in the canola oil and the stir fry sauce; heat on HIGH until it gets hot and shimmery:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPut the sliced meat in and let it sizzle nice and hot, for about 2-3 minutes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce the meat is all browned, lower heat to medium-high.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy stir fry mix came with carrots, snow pea pods, broccoli and broccoli strips; I decided to toss in the baby carrots, since they would take the longest to cook.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then, I covered the wok and let the meat and carrots cook for about 8 minutes while the pasta cooked in the microwave.  When the pasta was finished, I turned OFF the stove and put the rest of the veggies into the wok and covered it back up.  It steamed the veggies a bit and left them crispy and not soggy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter draining the pasta, I added it to the wok along with the soy sauce.  The teen loves soy sauce:  the more the happier he is.  Turn the stove back on, to low and gently mix everything together and let the flavors blend.  It won’t take long…maybe 2 minutes.





Wordless Wednesday

July 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Chicken, Chicken Noodle Soup, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Soups & Stews, Supper, Wordless Wednesday | Leave a comment
Spices - very necessary!

Spices – very necessary!

Bring chicken and spices to a boil; cover and put in oven for 2 hours

Bring chicken and spices to a boil; cover and put in oven for 2 hours

Let the chicken cool or else you'll burn your fingers!

Let the chicken cool or else you’ll burn your fingers!

Nice and shredded!

Nice and shredded!

Back into the pot

Back into the pot

Add the veggies and extra wide egg noodles; boil for about 8 minutes

Add the veggies and extra wide egg noodles; boil for about 8 minutes

Mmmm, it smells heavenly!

Mmmm, it smells heavenly!

Grab the crackers, time to eat!

Grab the crackers, time to eat!

Mexican Hash

July 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Corn, Hamburger, Hash, Mexican Food, My Own Creation, Potatoes | Leave a comment

This is just something I threw together…I think I shall call it Mexican Hash, since it reminds me of corned beef hash.


1/2 pound hamburger (more or less)

1 small potato, peeled and diced

Dash of McCormick Onion Powder

Dash of McCormick Garlic Powder

Dash of McCormick Cumin (we call in comino in Spanish and it has to be in meat dishes for an authentic Mexican taste)

Dash of McCormick Cilantro Leaves (definitely needed in a Mexican dish)

Dash of salt

1 tbsp. canola oil

1/2 can Green Giant SteamCrisp Super Sweet Yellow & White Corn (save remaining corn for another meal)

1 can (10 ounces) Rotel Mild Canned Tomatoes and Green ChilesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIgnore the second potato in the picture; once I had started, it was determined that one would be enough 🙂

Brown hamburger and spices in the canola oil over medium heat.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the potatoes, then stir in the Rotel Tomatoes and Chiles along with the corn.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet the mixture bubble for maybe 8 minutes, until the potatoes are done, but not soggy.  Serve with cheddar to shred on top; I needed some sour cream since the dish was a bit spicy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wish I had some pinto beans; they would have been an excellent addition to the dish, plus they would have taken away some of the spiciness, too.  Daniel couldn’t believe it when I told him we didn’t have a single pinto bean in the house.  Such a rare occasion 😦

But, it was still yummy!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, yes, and don’t forget the tortillas – Mom’s are the best!

Chili Burgers, My Way

July 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Posted in Chili, Chili Burger, Food Network, George Foreman Grill, Guy Fieri, Hamburger, Lunch, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Supper | Leave a comment

Last night, the teen and I watched a recorded Drive-Ins, Diners & Dives with Guy Fieri.  You can not watch that show without drooling and/or racing to your kitchen for something to eat.  I made popcorn last night, even though none of the places Guy went to served any.  He went to a couple of hamburger joints, though, and I think each of them served some type of chili burger.  My son didn’t like chili for the longest time but now he does and so we decided that today should be chili burger day.

I hunted on the Food Network website for a recipe from last night’s recording and didn’t find it, so I winged it.


1.5 pounds of hamburger

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 can of Bush’s Pinto Beans

1 can (10ounces) of Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (I used mild)

1 can (14.5 ounces) of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

2 tbsp. McCormick Chili Powder

1 tbsp. McCormick Chipotle Seasoning

2 tbsp. McCormick Onion Powder

1 tbsp. McCormick Garlic Powder

1 tbsp. McCormick Ground Cinnamon

1 stick of butter

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrown hamburger (in the canola oil)  in deep pan.  Mine was frozen so it took a bit of stirring and chopping to get it totally browned and cooked thoroughly.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd all of the other ingredients, stirring as you add them.  You may want to use MORE or LESS of the seasonings, depending on your family’s tastes.  Woo!  A whole stick of butter – I saw this on the television show last night – it sounded like a great idea until I saw how BIG the stick of butter looked in the pan.  Then I began wondering about heart attacks…..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet the flavors blend and taste again; add salt and pepper.  Blend well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover with lid and set in hot oven for at least three hours.  Time to make the burgers!  My hubby hasn’t been feeling well all weekend, so it was just the teenager and me for supper tonight.  He wanted two burgers and I wanted one.  He ate his too quickly for me to photograph it but here’s mine on the George Foreman Grill:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also toasted the buns like last night.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt does not take very long to cook a burger on the grill; maybe a total of four minutes.  Pop it on top of the bun:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the chili and if you want, some shredded cheddar:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh.  My.  Gosh.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay, I tried to be ladylike and nice and neat and sliced my first bite with a fork and knife.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy son laughed at me and said that I had to pick it up to eat it, so I did.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMmmmmmmmmmmm!  Heavenly!

After eating two burgers, the teen wanted MORE chili, so he grabbed a bowl and some crackers:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe likes chili with his crackers, can you tell?  🙂

I needed a small bowlful, too.  I like cheese and sour cream.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m so stuffed, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat until tomorrow!

Fried Chicken Wingettes

July 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Salt Brining | Leave a comment

We love fried chicken.  I don’t make it TOO often since none of us need the oil from frying, but when I make it, I make it early in the day so I can pop it into the fridge and let it get cold before dinner.  That’s the way my guys love it best.

This was the first time I’ve brined chicken.  I think it turned out good.


1 package of chicken wingettes

water to cover

1/4 cup saltOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI put it in the fridge for just a couple of hours.  Then, I gathered the other ingredients:

2 cups flour (divided)

1 egg

one 12-ounce can of Carnation Evaporated Milk

4 tbsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Chicken Seasoning (divided)

three containers:  one for one cup flour and two tbsp. of seasoning mix; second for egg and evaporated milk; third for cup of flour and remaining chicken seasoning.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ll also need a nice heavy skillet (preferably cast iron, although I need a new one)

Canola oil:  I don’t measure, I just eye-ball it to where it looks like 1/4 inch

Okay, onto the dipping and frying part….after pouring canola oil into skillet, turn it to medium HIGH and when a splash of water dances around, you’re ready to start dipping.  Dip chicken, one piece at a time.

Flour mixture first:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen into the egg and milk bath:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd finally into the last flour mixture:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, into the hot oil:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t overcrowd the chicken.  Turn stove to Medium  LOW.  Let it fry for about 8 minutes, then flip it over.  Let it fry for another 8 minutes or so.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You absolutely, positively have to get your meat thermometer out and test EACH piece of chicken and make sure they are at least 160 degrees F.  I can’t imagine how sick anyone could get eating raw chicken and don’t want to.

Continue with all of the chicken, placing on paper towels to drain.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs the first batch of wingettes fried, I dipped the other wingettes and they sat on a plate waiting their turn to get fried. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce you’ve removed the first batch of chicken, turn the heat up to medium HIGH to let it get ready for the next batch.  Once it’s hot enough for a drop of water to do its dance, put the chicken in the oil and turn the heat back down.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrying chicken can be really messy but it’s so delicious.  I completed our dinner with smashed potatoes and corn.

Oh and for those of you who know me well, I usually DO NOT purchase from Nestle.  I’ve been boycotting them since learning about their underhanded ways of tricking breastfeeding moms into using formula (read “Milk, Money and Madness” if you can and you’ll see why) but I don’t like the generic evaporated milk and our Walmart doesn’t sell any different brands.  Regular milk just doesn’t have the creaminess that I love in the evaporated milk.

Maybe I should buy my own cow?

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