Category Archives: pasta

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli #SundaySupper

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It has been a while since I have had school age kids but I still remember the rush of getting kids to soccer, football, getting homework done, and getting a good meal on the table as quickly as possible. I mean if it wasn’t for quick school night meals we would have all been eating at 10 PM!
There of course was always the problem of not only getting a meal on the table quickly, but trying to make it a balanced meal that the kids would eat. That can really be the tough part right? I used to be good at hiding the “good stuff”. A wonderful way to do that is by making things like meatloaf and then grating up some zucchini, carrots, squash, etc. and mixing it in. You can freeze the meatloaf and then cook it on the night you want. But this is about those nights when you need/want to get meal from stove to table in under 30 minutes. For those nights I loved one pot meals. You have your protein, vegetable, and starch all together. Cook it all up and Bing Bam Boom dinner is served!!

This one has been a favorite in our house for quite some time. It is actually one of the dishes that got my kids to actually like broccoli. It is also a dish that, because it is so simple, you could have the kiddos in the kitchen helping out and still get it done quickly. I know I used to love it when my kids got into the kitchen with me, it just made it more about family and less about just trying to rush to get something on the table. I think that is why my kitchen is really the heart of my home and I love having the family with me while I cook, chopping, tasting, and talking about their day. 
You can use many different type of pasta for this dish. I prefer the tube shaped pasta with lines like penne or rigatoni, but farfalle is a great one for little ones because it looks like little bow ties and if you are trying to distract them from the fact that they are eating broccoli this can do the job.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli
1 pound pasta (penne, rigatoni, farfalle, etc.)
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (can be bought in links and the casings removed)
2 heads of broccoli cut into bite sized florets
1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested and the juice of one half reserved
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
In a large pot of boiling salted water (pasta water should taste like the “ocean”), cook the pasta according to package instructions adding the broccoli florets to the pot for the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water and then drain.
While pasta is cooking have one of the kids whisk the 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and garlic together in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Add the sausage, crumbling as you drop it into the skillet. Cook sausage until browned, stirring to break it up (although the kids liked chunky bites you can break it up as much as you like). Remove from the heat. Add pasta and broccoli to the pot. Toss with the oil mixture, using pasta water if needed to make a thin sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
ENJOY!

Just take a look at our line up of other awesome recipes.

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day on Sunday. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about Back to School Meals and ways to make meal time easier!
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us throughTweetChat! We’ll be sharing great recipes and tips all afternoon, and we’ll be talking all things Back to School Meals during our chat!
We’d also love to feature your Back to School Recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers!

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Cod with Grilled Ratatouille Pasta

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One of the families past favorites is Cod Ratatouille en Papillote. I was so happy to find a way that we all liked veggies we just don’t normally eat. Eggplant? Zucchini? Not everyday food for us in this house. I have been lucky enough to sneek them in a few dishes that everybody liked but this was a BAM in your face you are eating eggplant right now! So like I said, pleasantly shocked errr surprised that everyone fell in love with the dish. 
Now it is summertime and I am going through a grilling obsession. It is  bad, really bad, I want to gill everything!! It has gotten to the point that my dogs go to the other side of the yard when I am standing by the grill. They just aren’t going to take any chances! But my mind was not on how to grill my dogs eewwwww *shudder* but rather on this cod dish we had loved so much. How could I make that dish on the grill? I contemplated using tin foil but I decided against that since it really isn’t grilling so much as steaming something on the grill. 

I had just read a blog post from a friend of mine, Melissa at Chin Deep and she had just done Baba Ganoush using grilled eggplant. Yessssssss I will grill all of the veggies that were in the dish, grill the fish, and then put it all together. We have a plan working now!! I could just taste all of those wonderful flavors. Oops gotta run to the store! So I picked up a few more things to grill through the week. One of them being Melissa’s Baba Ganoush, and got home in record time! As I sit down to flip through my new Everyday Food magazine what do I see? Grilled Ratatouille Pasta! Wow here I thought I was being so original *sigh* oh well. But I did like the addition of the pasta to the game and they didn’t have fish with theirs so it is kind of a marriage of the two recipes now. I don’t really care, all I know is that it tasted very very good. There were 5 people eating and this dish got a thumbs up from all of them. How could I be any happier?
How pretty do these babies look? Is it bad when you get all giddy over fresh produce? Hhmmm maybe I need to get out of the kitchen more often.
With the grill on medium-high heat, and lightly greased, we tossed all the veggies on the grill. It takes our grill about 5 minutes or so per side but your grill times may vary so start checking after about 3 minutes or so.
See how yummy they start looking? I kept wanting to pick a tomato off and eat it but I knew I would burn myself!! But it was worth the wait for the finished dish. 
This really is an amazing dish. The fish, the veggies, the pasta? Mmmmm heaven!!
Cod with Grilled Ratatouille Pasta
4 6-ounce fish fillets
1/2 pound curly pasta
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into thick slices
1 orange bell pepper, halved, stemmed, and seeded
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into thick slices
1 small to medium red onion, halved
4 tomatoes, cut into thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for grilling
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup ( a generous handful) roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, reserve a tablespoon or so for garnish
Bring a medium pot of water to boil, salt well and add the pasta, cook according to package instructions. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the hot grill and place the vegetables on the grill. You may have to work in batches. Brush the veggies with oil and salt and pepper them. Cook on each side until browned and tender. Transfer to a cutting board to cool. 
Rough chop the veggies and add them to your cooked pasta along with the oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and the parsley and toss.
Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper and place the fillets on a clean oiled grill.  Allow to grill without moving until the fish becomes opaque about half way through. Carefully turn fish and finish cooking. 
To serve place a heaping pile of the pasta in a bowl and top with a fish fillet, sprinkle with parsley.
ENJOY!!
This recipe was also shared on;
Amee’s Savory Dish Fit and Fabulous Fridays

Cilantro Pesto Pasta

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Today’s post is a bit different than usual. A few days ago I was flipping through my Everyday Food Magazine and came across this recipe. Since Kevin has finally decided to like pesto, as long as it is homemade, I have been thinking of all sorts of combos I could make. One that had really been staying in my head was a cilantro pesto. I adore cilantro, I mean seriously love it! I could put cilantro on just about anything, and if I see it in a recipe I am game to try it no matter what it is. So you know when I saw a recipe for a cilantro pesto pasta I was a very happy girl!! I had wanted to come up with my own, but hey, you have to have a jumping off point right? I figured I would get some experience with it and then go from there. Well, it didn’t quite work that way. I never made the meal. How do I have a picture of a completed dish you ask? Good question, I will tell you. Kevin made it! Yes, you didn’t miss read, I said Kevin made the meal. 

Actually it started off as Kevin doing something nice for me, or at least it seemed that way. I was outside visiting with Dylan’s girlfriend Elitia and my friend Melissa when Kevin asked when dinner would be ready. I said I would be right in to start cooking when Kevin announced that he would be making the meal.
Me – I am on my way in, I will get it going in just a few
Kevin – No don’t worry about it, you stay outside I will make dinner.
Me – *stupid look* Waaaa?
Kevin – What?
Me – Are you sure you want to do this? 
Kevin – Ya, I said I will make it. I mean what’s the big deal? It’s not that hard.
Me – *evil glare* Oh reallllllllllllllllly?
Kevin – Ya, how hard could it be?
Me – Go get ’em big boy!!
In to the kitchen he went with recipe in hand. I hear drawers opening and closing and mumbling.
Me – Do you need some help?
Kevin – No I am fine
Me – You sure?
Kevin – Well…..where is the ginger?
Me –  In the veggie drawer
Kevin – Oh OK. Ummmm where is the cilantro?
Me – in the crisper drawer in the ziplock baggie labeled cilantro. It is wrapped in paper towels.
Kevin – Oh, great idea. Uuummm where is the red pepper flakes?
Me – in the spice drawer toward the front, laying sideways.
Kevin – It’s not here
Me – *walking in the kitchen and looking in the drawer* here it is, are you sure you don’t want help?
Kevin – No, I am fine
Me – Okaaaaaaaaaay
On to the business of prepping and cooking he went as I sat outside the kitchen window on the patio drinking a cold beer. There was a lot of mumbling, a few damn its, and I think one oh crap, but he didn’t ask for anymore help. The next time I heard from him it was to ask me how I wanted the presentation for the pictures. I was pleasantly surprised when I went into the kitchen. It was clean, nothing broken or spilled, and the food was very good! 
Me – Wow this looks really good!
Kevin – Thanks
Me – Wow it tastes really good
Kevin – See I told you it’s not that hard
Me – gggrrrrrrrr
Kevin – OK well maybe it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was
Me – Ya?
Kevin – Ya, I don’t really want to do that again
Me *satisfied grin*
Kevin – But I want to see you try to work on a car just from reading instructions
Me – *eyeroll* 

Cilantro Pesto Pasta
1 bunch cilantro, 1/4 cup leaves reserved for garnish
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 teaspoon light-brown sugar
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, divided
2 to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 pound spaghetti or linguine, cooked according to package instructions
In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, ginger, vegetable and sesame oils, red pepper flakes, lime zest and juice, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup peanuts. Pulse until a coarse paste forms. Season with soy sauce and pulse to combine. In a large bowl toss pesto with pasta. Roughly chop the remaining peanuts and sprinkle over pasta along with remaining cilantro leaves.
This recipe was also share on Baked in the South’s Made it By Monday

Late-Night Pasta

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Happy Friday to you all. We have been enjoying a couple of wonderfully warm days here in Western Washington. Of course today is back to rain, but when we have those days we cherish them and spend as much time outside as possible. I knew I needed a recipe for Food Star Friday but didn’t want to spend much time cooking, I just wanted to sit outside and relax. The evening went on and on until I knew I had to get something cooking. I had a few things I wanted to make, but this recipe had been screaming at me for quite sometime. I am a huge fan of Pasta Carbonara so when I ran across a recipe on the Martha Stewart website by Chef Alfred Portale of The Gotham Bar and Grill in NY I knew I had to make it. He had come up with a dish that was a cross between Pasta Carbonara and Cacia E Pepe (spaghetti with cheese and black pepper). Everything about it sounded wonderful to me so I was game to give it a shot!

Normally on Food Star Friday I make the recipes exactly as written and then just give you all my review of it. How it tasted, how easy it was, etc. Well not so much this time. I got into the kitchen and got into the mind set of if I was coming home late at night and what I would do. I would have a go to recipe like this, but I would also try to utilize many of the items I had in my fridge as well. That is where this recipe was born, between my mind and the contents of my refrigerator. I swear I am getting so bad about changing recipes up but I just can’t help it!!
It was funny because Kevin was chopping and dropping for me as I was rummaging through the fridge digging things out. It went a little like this…

Me – (mumbling in the fridge and clanging jars around)
Kevin – What in the heck are you doing? You look like you are trying to crawl into the fridge!
Me –  I am looking for ingredients for the pasta
Kevin – I though you already grabbed everything the recipe called for.
Me – I did.
Kevin – Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay then again, what in the heck are you doing?
Me – It just needs a little extra OOMF, you know what I mean?
Kevin – I have no clue so I am going to just shut up and stir.

Sometimes they just don’t get me here. But that’s OK. After this dish Kevin said he is going to call me the Mad Foodie instead of the Mad Scientist. I can go with that. Many people in my life have thought I was a bit crazy!!

Anyway, this dish is anything but crazy! It came out so incredibly good that Mr Skeptical (Kevin) ate a huge plate of it and then proceeded to finish what I had left in my bowl. Which was OK because I think I would have eaten myself into a coma if given the opportunity. Seth and Heather tried it the next day for breakfast and both wished there was more!

This recipe does call for quite a bit of black pepper and I knew my family loves anything with heat, but Heather loved it so that was a good sign. If you are still leery about using as much pepper as the recipe calls for, just cut it down to 2 teaspoons.

Late-Night Pasta
adapted from a recipe by Chef Alfred Portale of The Gotham Bar and Grill in NY

1/2 pound spaghetti
5 slices smoked bacon, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon black pepper
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, plus some for frying the eggs
2 cups baby arugala or spinach
1 1/2 cup grated parmesian cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 large eggs

Bring a large post of water to boil, salt well and add pasta. Cook till al dente, approx 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid.

Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium high heat, add bacon and cook until it begin to crisp and fat renders. Add the onions and cook an addition 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes then add the pepper. Stir until well combined and add the arugala and cooked pasta. Add the 3 tablespoons butter, stir until butter has melted and is well incorporated into the pasta. Add the parmesian cheese and stir. Add some of the pasta water to thin the sauce out as needed.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Carefully crack eggs into pan, 1 at a time and cook just until the whites set up. Divide pasta into 4 bowls and top each with a fried eggs. Top each with a sprinkling of pepper and chopped parsley.

Bacon Mac and Cheese

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I know today is supposed to be Food Star Friday, and well, it kinda is. I started out with a recipe. I saw Kelsey Nixon, from Kelsey’s Essentials, making this mac and cheese with bacon. OK well ya know my head swiveled around to see how she was doing it! I love bacon, bacon anything, OK well maybe I chickened out in trying the bacon milkshake, so I will say I love bacon in almost anything.

The thing is, for Food Star Friday I usually make a recipe by a food star and then review it, letting you know what we thought about it here. This recipe was too hard to follow and I just ended feeling the need to tinker with it myself. Even though I watched her prepare it on TV it was written kind of backwards and was really hard to follow and not stress out about things not going smoothly. If you want to see the original recipe you can go here to check it out. But below is my version, which I think is much more streamlined and simple to prepare. I didn’t change it very much, just switched the order in which you do things.
With that said, this mac and cheese is one of the best mac and cheese I have ever had and I wasn’t the only one that thought so. My son, Kevin’s son, and his girlfriend, all raved about it and said it was so good they didn’t ever want me to make another kind of mac and cheese. Sheeyyaa right. I am addicted to mac and cheese. I love the fact that it is so versatile. I could never see me giving up at this mac and cheese and never trying another. But I can guarantee you that this mac and cheese will be made many many times now. My son, who usually requests Chili Mac for his birthday (I know, his Mom is a food blogger but when given the choice of anything to eat for his birthday he will request chili mac more often than not!) said that this may have become his new birthday meal!
One of the things I did like about this recipe is that you make it in a skillet. No mixing things together and then having to pour it into a baking dish to go into the oven. Just more dishes to be washed right? This is all made in one pan (except for the noodles of course) so it is wham bamm thank you ma-am and in the oven it goes!
Out it comes, after 20 minutes, all bubbly and golden brown, just waiting for you to dig in and stuff your face with all of that cheesy goodness.
Don’t you just want a bowl? I know I do. Too bad there are no leftovers today!

Bacon Mac and Cheese
For the Bechamel sauce:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups hot whole milk
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of thick smoked bacon, cooked and chopped, 1/4 bacon drippings reserved
1 pound dry pasta (I used elbows but any short cut pasta will do)
1 teaspoon dry mustard (I eyeballed it)
1/4 rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper (You can use less but it didn’t make it too spicy)
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups Gruyere cheese
1 cup plus 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (Italian blend)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
In a large oven proof skillet, cook the bacon until it begins to crisp and has rendered it’s fat. Remove bacon to a paper towel to drain, when cool chop. Reserve 1/4 cup of the drippings and then discard the rest. 
Bring water to boil in a large pot. Salt the water generously and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.
In the large skillet that you made the bacon in, melt the 1/4 cup of butter. Add the 1/4 cup of flour and whisk until completely combined. Cook for a minute or so to get rid of the raw flour taste, but do not allow the sauce to brown. Stir in the hot milk a bit at a time, whisking vigorously. Once all of the milk is stirred in add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir in half of the reserved chopped bacon, the cheddar cheese, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheese. Stir until all cheeses have melted. Add the dry mustard, cayenne pepper and the heavy cream. Stir to combine. Add some (or all) of the milk if needed. Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs with the 1/4 reserved bacon drippings. Stir to combine well.
Combine the pasta with the cheese sauce in the skillet. Top with the bread crumb mixture and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the rest of the chopped bacon on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

    Lemony Pasta Salad with Peas and Bacon

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    Last night I did not have an idea what I was going to make for dinner. It was again another day that I had no idea how many people were going to be here and what I had planned only fed 4. With a possibility of there being 5 people eating I had to quickly switch gears and come up with something on the fly. I found a chicken recipe for the slow cooker that only took 4 hours to cook frozen (yes FROZEN) chicken thighs and I will post that next week. But now I am stumped. I have my main dish but what do I serve it with. I can’t just throw the chicken on the platter and say TADAAA dinner is served.

    So into my pantry I go, thanking the Lord I chose last weekend to clean it out and organize it. Do you  have any idea how messy 4 20 year olds can get a pantry? But I digress. Yes, pantry, side dish, on the fly. Oh I am back now.

    I knew I had some frozen peas and I was thinking about a pea side dish my mother used to make with them but that would take a while because you  had to  let the peas slowly defrost in the salad. Hhmmm, OK peas, pasta, bacon, green onions, yessss I am on to something. The result was a great pasta salad that everyone loved. This is on my must make again list!

    Would be great for a Memorial Day Weekend side dish!!

    Lemony Pasta Salad with Peas and Bacon
    1 (16-ounce) package of mini pasta
    6 slices smokey bacon
    3/4 cup light mayonnaise 
    3/4 cup light sour cream
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    4 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (divided)
    Cayenne pepper, to taste ( I used 1/2 teaspoon)
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
    1 bunch green onions, chopped whites and greens
    2 cups frozen peas, thawed
    8 to 16-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed (depends on how much cheese you want, we love cheese)
    Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and add the pasta, cooking as per package instructions. Drain and reserve.
    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon to crisp. Drain and let cool slightly. Chop or crumble.
    In a large bowl add the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons fresh dill, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and combine. Add cooked pasta, peas, bacon, and cheese. Mix thoroughly, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.  
    You can see this recipe plus many more on The Newlyweds Blog

    Food Star Friday – Chicken Noodle Soup

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    Hello and welcome to another edition of Food Star Friday here at Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen. I know, it is about time right? I can’t remember when the last FSF was. I really hate it when life gets in the way of my cooking and blogging! I would much rather be here with you all instead of deal with all of these pesky issues I have had to deal with!!

    Yesterday I was bouncing around the grocery store picking up all of the items I needed for this meal. I was just so excited to be doing another FSF I couldn’t contain myself!!! Unfortunately the other shoppers and store employees did not share my enthusiasm. I was dancing in the produce isles and singing little tunes to myself. I was waiting for someone to say “straight jacket on isle 5” but hey, that is who I am. I admit I am a bit ummmm quirky. It is all part of my charm (at least it sounds good when I say that right?). Oops, I was supposed to talk about the recipe right? Ok I will get back to business.

    This is a Tyler Florence recipe from the episode Ultimate Rainy Day Menu. Every single thing he made looked so scrumptious and with it raining here (of course it was raining I live in Washington!) I thought yesssss what a fabulous idea for Food Star Friday! I loved that it had the twist of cheese tortellini for the noodles and meatballs instead of chunks of chicken.

    This recipe was fairly easy to put together. I usually follow the recipes on Food Star Friday word for word because it is about reporting my feelings on a Food Star’s recipe. I have to admit that I subbed a cup of white wine for one of the cups of chicken stock. I just add white wine to all of my chicken soups so I couldn’t help myself. Other than that I stuck strictly to the recipe.

    Now, how did we feel about this soup? It was met with mixed reviews. Everyone loved the broth and thought the cheese tortellini was a nice twist. As for the meatballs….hmmmmmm. OK 1 vote was 100% loved them, another was about 80%. Kevin and I? Two thumbs down. We did not like them at all. As I was making them I was thinking in my head “this is not going to work” but I watched Tyler make them the very same way on the show so……I did it his way.

    I will tell you why I feel they didn’t work and how I will do them different the next time (Yes there will be a next time because the rest of it was terrific). The recipe called for you to add 6 links of chicken/apple sausage to a food processor with the other ingredients for the meatballs. I just kept thinking “this is going to make the meatballs mealy and grainy” and my dear friends, I was right. Awful texture and they just fell apart. The next time I will just get the Jenny-O turkey sausage that is ground in a package, and mix my meatballs the regular way, adding a little bit of bread crumbs to help bind them. I would also bake them at 350 F for about 40 to 45 minutes VS frying them. Just my preference to save on fat. Also, keep the wine in there. Everyone LOVED the broth.

    So in conclusion, I love Tyler Florence and this recipe is a jumping of point for me. But I will do it my way next time.

    Chicken Noodle Soup

    For the soup:

    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 2 large carrots, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 ribs celery, sliced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
    • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
    • 5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for 
      • garnish
      • 4 black peppercorns
      • Kosher salt
      • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

      For the meatballs:

      • 1 medium onion, diced
      • Olive oil
      • 6 links organic chicken-apple sausage meat
      • 1 egg
      • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
      • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
      • 2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
      • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
      For the soup:
      Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs and tortellini.
      For the meatballs:
      Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, remaining garlic, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown.
      Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.

    Pasta e Fagioli

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    Hello and happy Friday everyone! I know it has been quite a while since I posted. I have been under the weather for the last week and didn’t do any cooking, so I was so happy to finally cook!! I have been wanting to make this soup for so long but for some reason I just never got around to it. But since I have been under the weather soup sounded soooo good!!

    Trust me I was so glad I made that decision. This soup is so good and is going to become one of my favorite comfort foods now. If you like soup and/or Italian flavors you have got to make this. I put crushed red pepper flakes in mine and it just gives it a little heat, but if you don’t like that you can omit them and it would be just as good.

    Make sure to have some nice crusty bread to sop up all of that tasty broth, and have your appetite with you too!!

    Pasta e Fagioli

    • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
    • 2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
    • 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
    • 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
    • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
    • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
    • Coarse salt and pepper
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
    • 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 quart chicken stock
    • 1 1/2 cups ditalini
    • 1 generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
    • Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
    • Crusty bread, for mopping
    Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup, add the parsley, and place pot on table on a trivet. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.

    Chicken and Broccoli with Garlic Alfredo

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    Last week was Kevin’s daughter’s 18th birthday. Ever since my kids were young they knew that on their birthday they got to request anything they wanted for dinner. What is funny (or somewhat annoying) is that with all of the meals I cook and the variety of food I work with doesn’t seem to matter to them. You would think they would request something extravagant or gourmet. Nope, not my kids, you know what they request more often than not? Chili Mac! Yup good old chili with some mac and cheese thrown in. They can’t get enough of it! When they were little, before I started this culinary voyage of mine, I would actually make a box of mac and cheese and throw in a can of chili and BOOM that was dinner. Once I started experimenting and trying to make things healthier I decided to change it up by making my own cheese sauce and chili. Ummm that was a mistake. They took one look at it and asked me what it was. I told them it was what they had requested. Their reply? No it’s not. *sigh* I give up!!

    So you can imagine my surprise when I asked Dakota what she wanted for her birthday dinner and her reply was “I don’t know, something with broccoli in it”. WOW you mean I actually get to cook something? Her only other request was no mushrooms. OK, I can work with that. So I set my mind to work thinking of what she might enjoy. I though about making my Chicken Divan but was afraid it wouldn’t be enough for everyone. Then I remembered she liked Italian food. Hhhmmm something with pasta. I already had chicken and broccoli on the brain so it seemed a logical choice to add my garlic Alfredo sauce to it and put it over some fettuccine. The original Alfredo recipe I came up with included mushrooms so of course I omitted those. I also doubled the sauce recipe because I was making a whole pound of pasta and the last time I made it I used it as a sauce to just cover my Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups.

    I was a bit nervous because I rarely get to cook for her. She doesn’t live with us, so pretty much the only time I get to cook for her is at the holidays. I really wanted her meal to be something special and memorable. I guess I was silly to worry because she, along with the rest of us, loved this dish! I would suggest a small side salad to go along with it but that wasn’t on the requested menu plan so we had some garlic bread on the side.

    This recipe is super simple and full of flavor. I hope you will give it a try. Maybe for a special family meal?

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    Chicken and Broccoli with Garlic Alfredo
    1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
    2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 for the sauce
    Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
    2 large heads of broccoli, cut into florets
    10 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 sticks unsalted butter
    2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
    4 cups heavy cream
    Fresh ground nutmeg, to taste
    1 pound fettuccine noodles
    1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


    In a large pot heat water to boil, add salt and the pasta and cook per package directions. Drain pasta and reserve in pot.

    In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Season chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet cooking for about 14 minutes (7 minutes per side). Remove the chicken breasts and set them aside to rest. Once cool slice the chicken breasts in thin slices.

    Add the last tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet you cooked the chicken in and raise the heat to medium-high.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the butter and once it melts add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, broccoli, and nutmeg. Stir to combine and pepper to taste. Simmer until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the sauce and cook just long enough to heat the chicken through. Remove from heat and pour the sauce over the pasta. Stir to combine. 

    Serve topped with chopped parsley and extra Parmesan cheese if desired.

    Not Your Momma’s Tuna Casserole

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    This casserole has seriously become one of my favorite casseroles of all time. It is inexpensive (hello, canned tuna) and sooooo very tasty!

    It came from my desire to revamp some of the recipes from my childhood. Everyone’s Mom used Cream of Mushroom soup for just about every casserole they made right? You know I have an issue with that just because you lose control of the sodium and fat content of your dish. No I am not a control freak, OK well maybe just a little, but mostly I don’t like hidden anything in my meals. By using fresh mushrooms and making a bechamel sauce you have a “cream of mushroom” feel but it is so much healthier.

    The other thing I love about this recipe is you can pretty much throw any veggies at it you like. Have some leftover broccoli or red bell pepper? Go for it! Artichoke hearts would be awesome in this as well. You can also change up the cheese you use. Also, I used panko bread crumbs for the topping of mine but I know many people use crushed up potato chips. I read a little blurb in one of my food magazines about using salt and vinegar chips on top. I didn’t do it but it sure sounds good!

    Other great things about this recipe, you can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge until the night you want to make it. Take it out to warm up at room temp while you are preheating your oven, pop it in and away you go. The only thing I would change if you make it ahead is do your bread crumbs the night you bake the casserole so they stay nice and crunchy. Also this reheats wonderfully and tastes just as good the next day!

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    Not Your Momma’s Tuna Casserole
    • 1/2 cup butter, divided
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 (12 ounce) package uncooked wide egg noodles (I use No-Yolks)
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 stalk celery, finely chopped
    • 3 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • fresh grated nutmeg
    • 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained and flaked (I use tuna in oil, it saves the flavor of the tuna)
    • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish with non stick spray.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and the noodles. Cook as package directs for al dente. Drain and return the noodles to the pot.

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add butter. Once the butter is melted, add your onions, celery, and garlic, cook until soft, about 5 mins. Raise the heat to medium-high and add your mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms begin to brown and release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add mixture to the pot with the noodles

    Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to cook about 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth. Add some freshly ground nutmeg (just a bit) and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tuna and peas. Pour into pot with the noodles and mushroom mixture. Stir to combine and pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the shredded cheese

    In a small sauce pan or skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook just till they begin to brown. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the top of the casserole.

    Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.