Monthly Archives: April 2010

BLT Rigatoni

This is a recipe from the lovely Rachel Ray. It is quick and easy and a nice twist on regular pasta.

1/4 pancetta or bacon, cut into slivers
Olive Oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 lb. penne, rigatoni or similar pasta
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
3/4 c. fresh paremesan

Cook pasta per the directions on the box.

In a medium skillet, cook pancetta for about six minutes. Put pancetta on paper towels to drain off oil.

In a medium saucepan, heat 3 tbspns. of olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened.

Add the wine and bring to a simmer.

Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat, stirring, until sauce thickens a bit.

Divide cooked pasta into four bowls (or however many servings you need). Top each serving of pasta with the tomato mixture. Top each serving with the pancetta, basil and spinach, toss, drizzle with olive oil and top with parmesan.

Did I change anything? Yes, I took out the arugula and added spinach. I am not a big arugula fan.

What does the family think? They liked it! We are pasta eaters, so that’s not a huge surprise.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Italian

Easy Mexican Casserole

I found out about this easy recipe from my friend and fellow foodie, Candy.

1 lb. ground turkey, beef or chicken
2 c. salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning
16 oz. can of chili beans, drained
3 c. tortilla chips, crushed
2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. green onion
1/2 c. chopped tomato
2 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, thoroughly cook meat. Stir in salsa and taco seasoning and let simmer for a few minutes. Stir in beans and heat through.

Spray 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

Spread crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of the dish and cover with cooked meat mixture.

Spread sour cream on top.

Sprinkle green onions and tomato on top.

Top with cheddar cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Did I change anything? I did change a few things from the original recipe. I left out the olives since we don’t do olives here. I also added the taco seasoning, which I think was Candy’s idea. I have also added a small can of corn before, too.

What does the family think? My hubby likes it, but I love this dish when it is served with guacamole. The guacamole makes this dish… or maybe it’s just guacamole makes everything taste better. 🙂 The kids aren’t too keen on it, but they will eat their required bites.


Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Mexican

Mom’s Chicken Enchiladas

This is a little labor of love. These aren’t quick (making your own enchilada sauce takes time) but they sure are yummy!

1 c. onion, chopped
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves
14.5 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 T chili powder
1 tspn. sugar
1/2 c. water
12 corn tortillas
2-3 c. cooked shredded chicken
2 c. cheddar cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Coat a large skillet with olive oil and saute the onions for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Take the skillet off the heat.

Puree the canned tomatoes in a blender. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and bring to a low simmer.

Add the chili powder, water and sugar to the tomato mixture.

Preparing Enchiladas:
In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 c. of the sauce and 1/4 c. cheese with the chicken. Set aside.

Next, dip a tortilla in the remaining sauce and coat it as well as you can.

Set the tortilla on a plate and place a couple of spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in the middle of the tortilla. Roll it up and place in an 8×12 Pyrex dish. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.

Cover the enchiladas with remaining sauce and then sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole or whatever your favorite topping are.

What does the family think? Hubby says these are the best chicken enchiladas I have ever made. The kids are so-so on them. They are a little too spicy for them.

This recipe is from

Leave a Comment

Filed under Mexican, Not so Easy

Chicken Pastina Soup

This has pesto in it and as far as I am concerned anything with pesto in it is good. 🙂

1/2 c. water
(2) 14 oz. cans of chicken broth
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces, precooked
2 1/4c. chopped carrot, celery and onion mix
Salt and pepper to season
1/4 c. uncooked pastina (tiny star-shaped pasta)
3T pesto (or more if you’d like)
2T lemon juice
1/4 c. shredded parmesan

Bring water and chicken broth to a boil in a Dutch oven.

Stir in veggies and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add pasta and cook 4 minutes.

Stir in pesto and juice and simmer for one minute.

Serve and top with parmesan cheese.

We usually have this with a yummy fresh baguette from the bakery.

Did I change anything? No! This recipe is perfect and simple as is. However, if you don’t have pastina, I am sure you could use some other little pasta. Also, sometimes I can’t find the celery, carrot, onion mix in the freezer section at the grocery, so I will either just make my own mix of veggies or use the Italian frozen veggie mix that has zucchini in it.

What did the family think? Hubby and I love this soup. The kids aren’t too keen on soup of any kind.

Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

Leave a Comment

Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Italian, Stew/Soup, Super Easy to Make

CrockPot Veggie Lasagna

I got this recipe from A Year of Slowcooking, my favorite place to get CrockPot recipes. Enjoy!

26 oz. jar of pasta sauce
10-12 oz. container of ricotta cheese
8 slices of mozzarella cheese
2 c. shredded Italian cheese mix
1 large eggplant, don’t peel
3 summer squash, don’t peel
1 bag of baby spinach
2 T warm water

Slice the squash and eggplant into long thin pieces about 1/4 in. thick. (These are going to be your “noodles”).

Pour about 1/4 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of the CrockPot.

Layer in a few pieces of eggplant and squash.

Smear some ricotta on top.

Add a couple slices of mozzarella and a handful of baby spinach.

Top with more of the sauce and continue layering until your CrockPot is full and/or you’ve run out of ingredients. Make sure you leave enough pasta sauce to cover the top and then put the Italian shredded cheese of top of that.

Measure two tablespoons of warm water into the spaghetti jar, cover it, shake it and pour the water on top.

Put the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 5-8 hours. (The veggies need to be tender and the cheese melted.)

Did I change anything? I did change a few things from the original recipe. I left out the mozzarella cheese just because it sounded like a lot of cheese. Also, the original recipe called for sliced mushrooms and I left those out because hubby doesn’t like them.

What did the family think? Well, I learned something about hubby the night I made this… he doesn’t like eggplant. I had no idea. He couldn’t eat it…it set of his gag reflex. I, on the other hand, thought it was one of the best lasagnas I had ever eaten. Go figure.

1 Comment

Filed under Italian, Vegetarian

Taco Soup CrockPot Recipe

This is a great soup to make if you want to have leftovers or if you are going to have company. It makes A LOT of soup, makes your house smell fantastic and tastes yummy, too.

2 cans of kidney beans, drained
2 cans of pinto beans, drained
2 cans of corn
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
1 lb. of ground turkey or hamburger
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Brown the meat until it is thoroughly cooked.

Add cooked meat to crockpot.

Sprinkle seasoning packets on top of meat.

Add the beans, tomatoes and corn.


Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.

Before serving stir well.

Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream as garnishes.

Did I change anything? I think the only thing I changed was that I crushed up some tortilla chips and sprinkled those on top. The crunchy and salty of the chips is good with the spiciness of the soup.

What does the family think? Sean and I both really like this soup. Our oldest thinks it’s too spicy and the youngest isn’t too keen on it either which is too bad for them because it is GOOD.


Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Spicy, Stew/Soup, Super Easy to Make

Nutty Noodles

We are in the middle of moving, so I have not been doing a lot of cooking the past few days. This dish I found a few years ago in Parents magazine. I haven’t made it in a long while, but it will probably be one of the first meals I cook in our new house.

8 oz. multigrain thin spaghetti or soba noodles
1 c. crinkle-cut carrots
2 c. frozen shelled edamame
1 c. snow peas, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/2 c. Thai peanut sauce
2 tbspn. creamy peanut butter
2 tbspn. soy sauce
Chopped fresh cilantro

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. Place the carrots in the pot to cook with the noodles. Cook for five minutes and add edamame and snow peas to pasta and carrots. Cook 3-5 minutes longer or until pasta and veggies are tender. Drain and return to saucepan.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together peanut sauce, peanut butter and soy sauce. Stir the peanut sauce into the pan with the noodles and veggies. Dish into individual bowls and top with fresh cilantro.

Did I change anything? It has been a while since we ate this, put I think I added some red pepper flakes for a little heat and I think I also added some shredded chicken for more protein.

Next time? The next time I make this I think I am going to make more sauce. It is better to have too much sauce than not enough.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again

Penne with Blue Cheese, Pesto and Asparagus

I am ready and willing to try anything with pesto and I absolutely love blue cheese, so I knew this one was going to be a winner before I even tasted it.

8 oz. penne
1/2 c. pesto
1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
1/2 lb. frozen or fresh asparagus spears

Cook pasta per the directions on the box.

Put pesto and blue cheese in a mixing bowl and mash them together with a fork.

During the last 3 minutes of the penne cooking time, add asparagus to pot and cook until bright green and crisp-tender. Drain penne and asparagus well in colander. Add to the bowl with the pesto and stir to coat them well.

Did I change anything? Yes. The original recipe called for walnuts. We didn’t have any walnuts so I didn’t make it that way. I am sure it is tasty either way.

What does the family think? The first time I made this I made it just the way it’s described above. My hubby said he felt like it needed some meat, so the next time I added a little shredded chicken in it and we have been eating it that way ever since. Either way it’s good. Our children are kid of purists when it comes to pasta…if it doesn’t have red sauce then it’s not pasta.


Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Italian, Six Ingredients or Less

CrockPot Pizza Soup

I had a Crockpot for about five years before I even took it out of the box. Now I probably use it at least once a week and it’s usually on days when I know we are going to be getting home late and it’s so nice to have dinner ready and waiting for us. I also love how awesome our house smells when we walk in the door. 🙂 I found this recipe over at my favorite CrockPot website.

14oz. jar of pizza sauce
3 empty jars of water
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 already cooked Italian sausage links
1 c. pepperoni, cut into quarters
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 T dried oregano
1/2 c. macaroni noodles (or a pasta about that size)
Shredded mozzarella

Wash and prepare green peppers. Dump them into the crockpot. Cut up the sausage into small pieces–I sliced, then cut the pieces in fourths. Add to crockpot. Cut up the pepperoni, add it, too. Add basil and oregano. Pour in the pizza sauce, and follow with three empty jars of water.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. Everything in this is already cooked, so you are really only heating through and allowing the flavors to meld.

Thirty minutes before serving, add the dry pasta, and turn to high. My pasta only took 20 minutes to soften quite nicely.

Garnish/top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Variation: The great thing about this is that you can add whatever you would normally put on a pizza. The original recipe called for mushrooms and onions, but we don’t get those on pizza so I left them off. There is a lot of room to play around with this recipe and add/take away whatever “toppings” you do/don’t want.

What did the family think? Sean and I liked it. I told the boys it was like pizza so they ate it.


Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It, Italian, Super Easy to Make


A few years ago we took a Spring Break trip to San Antonio. While we were there I noticed that mijas was on the menu always and often. So when we got back home I looked it up and this is what I found. What’s so great about it is that there are so many different ways you can make it. This is how we have been making it lately:

6 eggs
1 T water
1 T chunky salsa
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
4 6in. corn tortillas
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 lb. chorizo
4 oz. can chopped green chilis
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
2 tspn. fresh cilantro
2/3 c. cheddar cheese
Sour cream

In a small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs, water and salsa, and set aside.

In a small skillet, brown chorizo until thoroughly cooked.

Warm the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add the tortilla pieces and sauté until softened. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it is transparent. Stir in the chopped green chiles and cooked chorizo.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and “scramble” until eggs are done. Remove the skillet from heat, and sprinkle the chopped tomato, cilantro and cheese into the eggs, again stirring well.

Garnish with avocado, additional salsa and sour cream.

Variations: You can put just about anything in migas and they will still be tasty, such as: green peppers, bacon, ham, diced potato, green onions and garlic.

What does the family think? Hubby and I really like this dish. The kids like scrambled eggs, but aren’t too keen about all the other stuff that’s in there. I think there are just too many flavors going on in there for them. Translation: It’s yummy! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Filed under Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Mexican