Pasta Salad with Chicken

September 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Posted in Chicken, Feta Cheese, Lunch, One-Dish Meal, Pasta, Salad, Supper | 3 Comments

I’ve made this before!  It was pretty good the first time, but this time we liked it better.  The original recipe was in the January 2008 Family Circle magazine.  I made a couple of changes from the first time.


Three chicken thighs

2 tbsp. McCormick Perfect Pinch Original Chicken Seasoning

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, you could have used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for this part, but I decided to make it myself.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8×8 baking dish with canola oil and place the chicken thighs in the dish.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of the seasoning.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes; remove from oven.  Carefully remove foil and turn chicken.  Sprinkle with the other 1 tbsp. seasoning.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover with foil again and bake for another 15 minutes.  Uncover and let the chicken cool for a bit.  Cut chicken up into small, bite-sized pieces.

Now you need to boil 8 ounces of pasta (I used bow tie pasta) in lightly salted water; the pasta will probably need to boil for about 9 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to finish the remaining steps.


3 tbsp. red wine vinegar (the original recipe called for white vinegar; I thought that red wine vinegar would give it a unique taste and it was incredible!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup dill weed

1/4 of a yellow sweet pepper

1/4 of a red sweet pepper

4-ounce package of Feta cheeseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn medium sized bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, honey, salt, pepper, olive oil and dill.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd the chicken to the dressing while the pasta finishes up.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADice up the sweet peppers; I always keep sweet peppers in the freezer.  It takes just moments for them to thaw.  Toss them into the bowl with the chicken and dressing.  By now, the pasta ought to be al dente.  Drain and rinse with COLD water.  This is the only time in cooking that pasta should be rinsed and rinsed with COLD water:  when making a cold salad.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce the pasta drains well, pour it into the salad bowl and gently stir all ingredients together. Cover the salad and refrigerate until supper.  Before serving, stir carefully and then enjoy!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI served it with hot French baguettes with real butter.  And of course, iced tea.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was super-delicious!


Skillet Mac & Cheese with Kielbasa

August 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Posted in Cheese, Main Dish, One-Dish Meal, Pasta, Polska Kielbasa, Supper | 2 Comments

This recipe is from AllRecipes, courtesy of The Kitchen at Johnsonville Sausage.  The recipe said that it would feed four people but after preparing it, I think it meant something like four football players because the three of us had TONS left over.


1 pound Polish Kielbasa Sausage (sorry, Johnsonville people, I used Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa)

1 cup bread crumbs

3 3/4 cups of water

1 can (12 ounces) of evaporated milk

3 cups elbow macaroni

1 tsp. hot pepper sauce

1 tsp. cornstarch

12 ounce package of Sharp Cheddar, shredded

8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, shreddedOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlice Polska Kielbasa into 1/4 inch coins and place into skillet; turn skillet to medium high and heat the Kielbasa for about 9-10 minutes.  Remove from skillet and place in bowl (use a paper towel to drain the sausage).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPut the bread crumbs into the same skillet and let them get a bit toasty – maybe about 5 minutes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlace them in separate bowl.  Wipe skillet with paper towels.

Pour water, 1 1/4 cup of the evaporated milk and 1/2 tsp. of salt to a simmer in the skillet over medium-high heat.  Add macaroni and cook, stirring often, for about 8-10 minutes (al dente).

Whisk remaining 1/4 cup evaporated milk with hot sauce and cornstarch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStir into pasta.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened (maybe 1 or 2 minutes).  Turn off stove, stir in cheeses.  Look at all that cheese!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd sausage to the skillet and when ready to serve, pour into serving bowl and top with toasty bread crumbs.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe!  We had lettuce wedges with blue cheese dressing and blue cheese crumbles and bacon bits, along with a French baguette.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYum!

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.”


Cube Steaks with Gravy and Rice

June 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Beef Cube Steak, Main Dish, My Own Creation, Pasta, Rice, Side Dish | 2 Comments

I haven’t fixed cube steaks in a long, long time!  So, the other day when I ran to the grocery store without a list (I know, dangerous!) and I saw a package, I grabbed them.  I knew there was a jar or two of beef gravy in the lazy susan and they would be perfect with the cube steaks.


4 Beef cube steaks

2 jars Heinz Savory Beef Gravy (of course you can use more or less, depending on size of cube steaks)

2 tbsp. Canola oil

Salt and pepper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShake salt and pepper to both sides of the cube steaks.  Warm the skillet on medium-high heat and add the canola oil.  Place the steaks in the skillet and brown them on one side for about 5 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlip them and let them brown for another 5 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI grabbed my baster at this time and used it to get all of the grease out of the pan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee how much grease there was?  Okay, now add the gravy:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHmm, is one jar enough?  Nope, let’s add the other.  Turn the heat to simmer, cover and let the meat simmer for about 10 minutes; flip the steaks and let them simmer (covered) for another 10.  Put into serving dish with a pair of tongs to grab the meat and a spoon for the gravy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made white rice to go along with the cube steaks.  Instead of just using plain water to boil the rice, I added a vegetable packet to the water for extra flavoring.  I love using Knorr’s Homestyle Stock and Broth packets.  See how pretty the rice turned out?  And it was extra-healthy with the veggie broth!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, yes, and I had green beans and biscuits to serve alongside the cube steaks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARon really liked the rice.  It was a pretty nice change from our usual meals.








Baked Macaroni and Cheese for Three

June 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Cheese, Macaroni, Pasta, Side Dish | Leave a comment

This yummy side is courtesy of Amydoll at All Recipes.  I was fixing hamburgers for supper and hubby said he wanted mac & cheese from the blue box.  I told him I preferred to make it myself; he responded by telling me he was trying to save me time since we had traveled to Fayetteville and back today.  It’s not too much work to make baked mac & cheese, so I hopped onto All Recipes and found a recipe for Baked Mac and Cheese for One.  I changed the servings to three and here it is:


1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. uncooked macaroni pasta

water for cooking the pasta

3 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. flour

3/4 tsp. salt

3 pinches pepper

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup shredded Cheddar (I used Co-Jack)

1/4 tsp. ground mustard (I used about 1/4 tsp. Plochmann’s mustard* because I was out of ground mustard)

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

3 dashes hot sauce

1 tbsp. plain bread crumbs

3 tbsp. shredded cheese

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA*Yes, I know that’s Grey Poupon in the picture.  I changed my mind once I looked at all of the ingredients together.  See?  I’m a woman, I’m allowed to change my mind.  Often.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPreheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray baking dish with canola oil and set aside.  Boil some salted water (you don’t need a lot) in a medium sauce pan.  Cook the macaroni for about 5 minutes, drain and set aside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShred your cheese; it’s much cheaper to shred your own cheese and I happen to think it tastes better.  I don’t really measure my cheese, I just kind of guess.  Hmm, that looks to be about 3/4 of a cup…maybe a cup.  You can never have too much cheese!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the same sauce pan you cooked the macaroni in, melt the butter on medium heat.  Stir in the flour and rapidly whisk until it’s completely blended.  Slowly add the milk and seasonings.  Actually, what I did was add the dry seasonings to the flour and the wet seasonings to the milk.  Whisk everything together and slowly raise the heat and add the cheese when you’re on medium high.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen the sauce is beginning to thicken, pour in the macaroni and gently blend.  Pour the entire mixture into your prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle bread crumbs and remaining cheese on top of the casserole.  My baking dish was almost overflowing!  I ended up setting the dish on the cookie sheet that I used to toast the hamburger buns:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABake for about 10 minutes until cheese bubbles and the top of the casserole gets pretty and brown.  Let the casserole sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made hamburgers tonight.  They were delicious and so was the mac and cheese.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy the way, those are my husband’s hands on the left side of the picture.  I warned him that his hands would be in my blog and he said he didn’t mind.

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.


Sausage & Rice Skillet

May 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Main Dish, One-Dish Meal, Pasta, Rice | 1 Comment

I’m not sure where this recipe came from; I’ve got it typed up and don’t show any credit to anyone. It sounds suspiciously like a recipe my husband used to prepare that was on the Eckrich smoked sausage package. I went to the Eckrich website but couldn’t find it.


1 pound package of Eckrich smoked sausage

3/4 cup white rice – NOT instant

1 can cream of mushroom soup

3/4 cup water

1 tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. salt

1 jar of sliced mushrooms – 4 ounces – undrained

1 cup frozen green beans

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese – optional

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASlice the smoked sausage up into 1″ coins and then cut in half.  Toss into skillet along with the butter, water, rice, soup and mushrooms and green beans.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADoesn’t look too appetizing right now, does it?  Not to worry, things will only get better!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee, it looks better just after a stir or two, doesn’t it?  Turn to high and let the mixture come to a boil; lower to medium and stir for about 5 minutes.  Set on low and cover; allow to cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe with chocolate muffins.  Or blueberry.  I had chocolate muffin mix on-hand, so that’s what we had.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHubby had two servings and the teen boy had three.  I had one.  It was delish!

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.


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