Category Archives: pasta

Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce (Jewish Girls can cook Chinese Food too)

FullSizeRenderThis is one of my old tried and true recipes and also one of our family’s all time favorites.   I will be making this delicious side dish for our Father’s Day Barbecue.  Perfect for a large get together and totally tasty. There are a lot of ingredients but it is very easy to put together and it’s always a hit! I made the sauce a day ahead which I highly recommend doing, it gives flavors a chance to really come together.  I had all the ingredients in the house and day of I will cook the noodles and mix together. If making sauce ahead of time , take it out of refrigerator and let the sauce sit at room temperature before mixing with noodles. I used 1 teaspoon of cayenne, but because I wasn’t sure of everyone’s taste buds for hot and spicy I left out the chili oil. If you want it spicier you can always add some hot chili oil, or more cayenne pepper.  You can actually make the sauce a few days ahead of time. Enjoy this oldie but goodie. I have played around with the recipe a lot, and have found these ingredients work the best for me. I also like to put a little fresh cilantro on the side for those who love it ( like me) and don’t leave out the chopped peanuts they give it that extra yummy crunch. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

1 lb. linguine or spaghetti ( or you can use Chinese egg noodles)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

7 tablespoons Peanut Butter ( creamy ) by the way I always use the low-fat one, it’s perfectly fine

2/3 cup warm water

6 tablespoons soy sauce ( use low sodium)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or more to specific taste

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic

3 to 4 scallions , finely chopped

*1 sliced cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned (optional) but tasty and crunchy

*fresh cilantro chopped (optional)

*sprinkle of chopped peanuts ( optional) but extra added crunch if you have them on hand

*dash of hot chili oil ( to taste) I usually just throw in a dash of this.

Directions:

In a small mixing bowl, using a fork or a small wire whisk, beat the peanut butter together with the water until it is smooth. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, sugar, and salt. Beat till smooth. If you’re adding hot chili oil this is when you would add that.

Add the chopped garlic, and stir well. Because I was using it the next day, I left out scallions till I cooked pasta .

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain immediately and rinse under cold water, until noodles are cooled down sufficiently. Place noodles in a large bowl, drizzle with the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and toss well. Refrigerate noodles until you are ready to serve. About an hour or so before I am ready to serve, I pour sauce over noodles and mix well. Make sure sauce has been left out at room temperature for a while till it’s not too cold.  Add the scallions and cucumbers and mix well. Right before serving you can sprinkle the cilantro and chopped peanuts if you like. I pour about 2/3 of the sauce over noodles and mix well, adding more sauce as I feel necessary. I definitely didn’t use all of the sauce that I made, add slowly and taste as you go along.  Right before serving I usually add some more sauce, but leave it out at room temperature. This is a deadly go to leftover the next day.

Springtime in a Bowl – Shrimp, Asparagus and Tomato Pasta

It is really Springtime now and it just makes you want to lighten up the menu a bit and my mind immediately goes to asparagus!  This recipe is a variation on my Summertime Tomato Pasta. I wanted to use some of those beautiful asparagus out there. Even though I knew Joel would pick them out , I still made this dish. The asparagus are large enough for him to easily pick out and put on my plate. This dish is light and delicious and pretty quick to prepare. It is like springtime in a bowl!  There are so very many things to do with asparagus but this just appealed to me tonite and if you leave the shrimp out you have a lovely vegetarian pasta dish. I used the shrimp.  I also used linguine in this , it just seems to hold on to the flavors nicely. Happy Spring and Enjoy. This recipe was inspired by Giada de Laurentis .

Ingredients:

1 lb. box linguine ( I used Fini Linguine , it was lighter than regular linguine and was just perfect)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 containers of little grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or any small tomato ( app. 20 oz. of tomatoes)  I cut tomatoes in 1/2.

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

* crushed red pepper ( we like the heat) use your own discretion depending on how you like it, totally optional

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1/2 cup dry white wine ( I use whatever I have open)

1 lb. Asparagus , trimmed, stalks cut on a diagonal into app. 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

fresh basil chopped ( app. 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to box directions.( Fini Linguine cooks in 6 minutes perfectly)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, app.  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and app. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft , it takes about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic. Cook for another few minutes ( don’t burn the garlic)keep on low heat and stir around. Add the wine and the asparagus. Bring to a low boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes . Taste for Salt and Pepper, if it needs more this is when I would add it, and I did. I added a bit more salt here, pepper was fine. You need to use your own discretion about the salt .

Sprinkle shrimp in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and continue to simmer until the shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Shrimp needs to be firm to the touch, and opaque if cut into. Stir in the chopped basil and the oregano.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.  You can always add more crushed red pepper when finished.

This was really delicious and light. Joel of course picked out every piece of asparagus, and put them in my bowl. That was fine with me because I love asparagus.

*this dish will easily serve 4, if you like you can always add another 1/2 lb. of shrimp for 4 people.

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes

I am clearly obsessed with tomatoes these days. This recipe is easy to make, pretty healthy and super tasty. I just love those little grape tomatoes and have been using them a lot lately in everything I cook. Of course, the spinach is an issue because of Joel, but he’ll just have to pick it out. He really doesn’t know what he is missing. Most of the ingredients you’ll have on hand. If you’re really trying to keep it lighter, omit the butter and increase the olive oil by one tablespoon. Just cook the chicken in the olive oil without the butter. It will be fine. Cut the chicken into small or large chunks (whatever you would prefer)just be sure they are all pretty much the same size to make cooking time is the same , put in a single layer and allow the chicken to brown up nicely (when you first put it into the skillet try not to touch it ), about 3  minutes on each side depending on the size of the chicken chunks. Enjoy this delicious meal–it’s perfect for a nice lunch, dinner, or brunch dish. Prep time is quick , about 1/2 hour. This is really a beautiful light meal .

*I cut this recipe in 1/2 this evening for just the 2 of us. This dish should feed 5 – 6  people nicely as is.

Ingredients:

1 pound small pasta ( penne, rigatoni, I used Fusilli Bucati ) I like a small macaroni as opposed to spaghetti in this recipe.

4 whole boneless , skinless Chicken Breasts ( adjust to how many people you’re serving) app. 2 lbs.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons Butter ( unsalted)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Cloves Garlic , minced

3/4 cup Dry White Wine ( I use whatever is open) ( if no white wine or you don’t like cooking with wine just double up on chicken broth)

3/4 cups Chicken Broth ( you may need a bit more so have a  little extra on hand)

1 bag Baby Spinach

2 boxes of grape tomatoes (1 pint per box) sliced lengthwise , any larger ones cut in fours

Grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish

*crushed red pepper which we love but totally not necessary

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions . Drain and set aside. I try to keep a little of the pasta water in the event I may need it at the end of cooking, just take a measuring cup and scoop out a cup of water and set aside, if you don’t use it you haven’t lost anything. Sometimes towards the end I add it to finished pasta to  add a little liquid to the pasta, especially if you cook in advance. I didn’t need it tonite because we ate it as soon as it was cooked, and it was just right .

Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ( (I prefer small chunks) Be fairly generous with Salt and Pepper.

Heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken in a single layer and don’t touch for a few minutes and let it brown up, turn over once it starts to brown and form a coating. When chicken is done, remove chicken from skillet. I prefer smaller chunks, do whatever you like, just keep them uniform for even cooking.

Turn heat down to low, add garlic and give it a quick stir, be careful not to burn garlic. Pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan, raise the heat and allow the liquid to come to a boil. Allow the liquid to boil for a bit, I let it boil for about 5 minutes, reduce the cooking liquid by at least half. I then reduce to a simmer and add the tomatoes, I let them cook for about 5 minutes till they start to release their liquid a bit, and just start to soften.  I also add Salt and Pepper again here, then I add chicken to pan . stir it around, add the bag of spinach  it will start to wilt as you toss everything , then add the drained pasta, mix well and serve. So light and delicious.

Sprinkle Grated Parmesan or Parmesan shavings are good as well.

Bowtie Pasta with Sausage, Peas, and Mushrooms

Pan with Turkey Sausage, Crimini Mushrooms, and Peas

Cremini Mushrooms roughly chopped

This is a sauceless pasta and one of my truly favorite go to meals. Ingredients are readily available even if you have to substitute a different sausage. Very light, very tasty and very easy to make. There aren’t a lot of ingredients, and it doesn’t take a long time to make. My husband, Joel, hates green things and loves this dish. And he even eats all the peas on his plate, which makes me very happy. A shout out to Giada de Laurentis for the inspiration here.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup olive oil

1 lb turkey sausages, casings removed (just squeeze all the meat out; I like Italian-style turkey sausage)

1 box of cremini mushrooms (Baby Bella), approx. 10 oz. (roughly chopped)

About 3/4 bag frozen peas (take them out of freezer about an hour before, just slightly thawed is perfect)

1 lb Farfalle pasta (bow ties)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Freshly grated parmesan, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large, sauté pan, heat up two tablespoons olive oil (medium to high flame). Add the broken up turkey sausage and make sure to break up the large clumps. Cook for about 10 minutes (I like the sausage browned). When finished cooking, remove sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Heat a little more olive oil (approx. 2 TBSP). Add the chopped up cremini mushrooms and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (approx. a little less than a teaspoon of each, depending on your taste. Keep in mind that sausage is naturally salty.) Sauté until all the liquid is gone—about another 10 minutes. Add the frozen peas and cook for a few minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and cook for another few minutes (I turn off the heat at this point and just let the flavors blend.)

In the meantime, cook pasta (according to package) al dente. Drain the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water from pasta (this is the trick with “sauceless pasta”) and add pasta to the pan with all other ingredients. Combine well, adding some of that pasta water at a time; as needed. Drizzle in the 1/2 cup of olive oil, mixing as you go. Taste for salt and pepper. I also add red pepper flakes, but I love spicy.

Serve with freshly grated parm cheese and you’re good to go.

*Serves 4 as a main dish and 8 as a side.

Creamy Shrimp Pasta

IMG_6744

Plated up and ready to eat

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Shrimp cooking in the sauce

IMG_6733 IMG_6735 IMG_6741 IMG_6742 This recipe got sort of just thrown together last-minute because I had purchased the shrimp earlier in the day and was in the mood for pasta. There really is no time we are not in the mood for pasta and nothing quite satisfies like the real deal. I had everything else in the fridge but these are super easy ingredients and I highly recommend this recipe to all of you. It’s creamy and delicious without being too heavy. In the mood for pasta and shrimp? this one is sure to satisfy.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp, I used under 15 (15 to a pound) for the two of us. This could probably serve 3 to 4 as a side dish, and 2 – 3 comfortably as a main dish. Leave the tails on when you peel and de-vein.  I only used 1/2 box of pasta but you can increase the pasta for more people.

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1 15 oz. can of Tomatoes, I used whole but diced would be fine. Whole was what I had in the house and I just broke with the back of a wooden spoon while it was cooking. Either one would work just fine.

3/4 cup Heavy Cream

1/2 cup white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio) just nothing too sweet

1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

*1/2 tsp. kosher salt–this is what I used but you can taste for salt and black pepper

*1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

*sprinkle of crushed red pepper–totally optional but if you like a bit of heat this works perfectly here. Use as much or as little as you like and can be added at table if you’re not sure everyone will like it.

1/2 lb. pasta–you can use capellini or fettucine or anything in between. I used fettucine because I was using what I had on hand in the pantry.

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat ( at least a 12″ heavy skillet) Heat oil until it starts to shimmer but not smokes. Cook shrimp along with garlic, oregano , app. 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and app. 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, turning the shrimp over after 2-3 minutes (as soon as shrimp curls). Stir in wine and tomatoes, scraping up any bits which may be at the bottom of the pan. Add heavy cream and briskly bring to a simmer until sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. I let the sauce sit off the heat while I prepared my pasta, you don’t want rubbery overcooked shrimp.

Meanwhile cook pasta according to box directions for al dente in a well-salted pot. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water . ( you may need water if sauce gets too thick)  Drain pasta.

I then turned on the heat and brought sauce to a low boil and added in the pasta. If sauce is too thick you can thin it out with a little pasta water. I only used a bit of the pasta water. It was divine.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta

It’s that time of year when I leave Colorado to go back to NY for the spring. I don’t want to have to go food shopping because I am leaving and hate throwing away food unnecessarily.  I had a container of homemade tomato sauce in my freezer, I had already bought the chicken cutlets so all I really needed was the fresh mozzarella .  I even had fresh basil , of course fresh parsley would also be nice but what the heck Joel picks out all the green stuff anyway. I even had a 1/2 yellow onion sitting and waiting to be tossed! I walked in the house to a very hungry gentleman and I whipped this up in a 1/2 hour! I would like this better with fresh parmesan shavings but had to make do with grated parmesan because that’s what we had in the house.

*I had sauce in the house but feel free to use a jar of sauce–I won’t judge you –I promise. Raos actually makes a really good one and I use it when I am in a pinch. Just saying…..

This recipe will serve 4-6 . I actually cut it in 1/2 for the two of us and still had left-overs.

Ingredients:

1 lb. penne or rigatoni or any macaroni type pasta you have in the house

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, plus a little more for drizzling on pasta

2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into small bite sized pieces

Salt and Pepper–I use Kosher and Freshly ground Black Pepper always

1/2 onion , finely diced –I only used 1/2 because my sauce contained onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

Tomato Sauce / Marinara Sauce whichever you have on hand. 1 Jar should do it (app. 25 oz. size) I used sauce I had but I also cut recipe in 1/2

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes–you know we like the heat so adjust for your own taste buds

1/2 cup water

8 ounce container of fresh mozzarella balls, or buy 8 oz. of fresh mozzarella and cut into cubes (see photo)

Fresh Parmesan Shavings-or grated Parmesan whichever you have on hand is good and will work

Extra Parmesan for serving–I mean there is plenty of cheese here so no worries

Chopped Fresh Basil– I love the flavor and I love the color it adds to my pasta –if you have some fresh parsley (flat leaf) that would be nice as well –just mince up and sprinkle a little bit in

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium size sauce pan.  Add chicken in a single layer and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Allow chicken to cook for a few minutes undisturbed until it starts to turn golden in color. Then stir chicken around to brown all over. After a few minutes remove to a separate bowl with a slotted spatulaor spoon.

Into the same skillet over medium-high heat , add the onions and garlic and stir to cook. Cook till onion is completely broken down and transparent, it could take a few minutes. You’ll want onions to be golden brown. * hint- if the pan is too dry drizzle a little bit more olive oil.

Reduce the heat to low once onions are broken down and pour in your sauce, red pepper flakes, and the 1/2 cup of water. Stir until the onions and garlic are mixed in then add the chicken back into the pan. Stir until heated through on a low simmer, about 5-8 minutes.

Making sure the sauce is bubbly and hot , place mozzarella into the pan. Let it sit, don’t bother with it for a few minutes, just let it heat through. You’ll be able to tell that mozzarella has softened without completely melting.

Drain the pasta and either pour onto a platter or separately plate it up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle on Parmesan shavings or grated parmesan–just a little.

Pour on the sauce, sprinkle with fresh basil and serve immediately! Obviously if someone still wants extra cheese that’s their business. I left it on the table but even Joel who is a giant cheese lover didn’t need any extra.

*Just a little note on mozzarella–it should be soft but still visible and that’s why the small mozzarella balls worked out so well. You’ll want chunks to still be firm without completely falling apart.

Enjoy and this is really easy and fast!

 

 

 

Chicken and Rigatoni in One Pot–One Pot Pasta

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 (2) photo 5 (2) photo photo 2 (2) photo 1I must say that the first time I saw this recipe for one-pot pasta I was hesitant. I read up on it and found out that the actual recipe for this one-pot pasta hailed from Puglia. So for all of those “haters” out there I am just saying that I did do my homework here and found out that yes they do this in Italy and original recipe was from there. OK that’s enough of that. It doesn’t really matter where it’s from now does it? I have made 2 versions of this type of pasta and all I can say is yum. I will also add that you need to be a little bit more attentive during the cooking but the result was fabulous. We loved the creaminess and the pasta came out perfectly al dente.  You just don’t want to overcook it, taste for doneness and sit down and eat. It was delicious the next day cold out of fridge as well. Give this one a try you won’t be sorry. Joel was very happy with the clean-up detail as well because it was one pot! Whole thing took under an hour from start to finish. One pan, people!!! dry noodles, sauce ingredients, water, wine a few good things and you’ve got a delicious impressive dinner.

*I used my large Le Creuset pot. A large skillet would work fine here as well.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

app. 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breast, cut into small chunks. Just buy a regular package of chicken breasts and cut them up as I did ( see photos)

2 large roasted red peppers, sliced into thin slices ( straight out of the jar) see photos

6 cherry peppers, chopped and de-seeded , you can use hot if you like it spicy or just mild cherry peppers which is what I used (straight out of the jar) see photos

1 cup water, you will probably add about 1/2 cup more but you should start out with a cup

1 lb. rigatoni, I like the way the rigatoni works of course penne or another type of macaroni will work just fine

1 cup white wine, use what you have open as long as it’s not a sweet wine

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 cup Parmesan Cheese grated, more for serving

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons fresh basil torn, you’ll want to add a little more at the end of cooking as well.

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

Crushed red pepper flakes, optional. If you like the heat add a little bit during cooking and you can always add more at end. 1/4 teaspoon to start is good.

Directions:

In a large skillet type of pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the garlic and chicken . Saute the chicken until it is just browned on the outside but not cooked through.

Stir in the roasted red peppers and cherry peppers, and sauté for another minute or so. Add in the crushed tomatoes and wine. Add in the water and the raw pasta and bring to a low boil. If you need more water you’ll know at this point , add a bit more water (a little at a time) Continue to cook, stirring very often, until the pasta has cooked to al dente , it will take anywhere from 15- 20 minutes. Taste pasta and judge how much longer it needs.

When pasta is done to your liking, reduce heat to low and add in the butter, basil and salt. When the butter is completely melted into the past, add in the cream and the cheese. Let simmer on low for another ten minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Top with additional cheese, basil and red pepper flakes if you like.

Serve warm.

Bucatini al’Amatriciana

Amatrice is a small town in Italy outside of Rome and this dish is named for it.  What I love most about this sauce is that it’s a return to simple Italian food, nothing excessive here.  This dish is intended to be made with guanciale , which is a pig jowl and it tastes like a porkier version of bacon or pancetta. I use pancetta, which now comes pre-diced in packages making for a very easy time. I also keep packages of the diced pancetta in my freezer, they defrost very quickly which makes them a perfect dinner ingredient.  I also use bucatini pasta which is thick and ropey with a hole like a straw. I wouldn’t wear white while eating this it’s a messy one. Super easy and delicious. I made it tonite with my marinated flank steak. I also used 2 containers of grape tomatoes, but you can easily substitute with 1 large  can of San Marzano tomatoes ( crushed )The cherry/grape tomatoes give it a lighter sauce, and I prefer it especially in the summer months but for the winter months or for a heavier tasting sauce use 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with juices instead of fresh tomatoes.

45 minutes from start to finish and full of bright sophisticated flavors.

serves 4 as a main dish.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 – 6 oz. diced pancetta ( or 1/4 lb. glacial)

1/2 yellow onion chopped finely

2 garlic cloves , minced

2 containers of tomatoes halved ( I used grape tomatoes , I love them ) or 1 can 28 oz. crushed or whole tomatoes with their juices. If using whole tomatoes just crush them with the back of a wooden spoon.

*1 teaspoon red pepper flakes ( we like spicy) use your own discretion , can always add at the table

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese, or any kind of Parmesan Cheese

1 lb. bucatini ( you can obviously use 1/2 pound and save any leftover sauce to freeze for another time) any thick spaghetti will do but I love this one in this recipe. Perciatelli is another good choice.

Directions:

In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly. I like my pancetta crispy, but just get it golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove pancetta into a separate bowl. Add onions to olive oil till translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes , I do this off the heat. I then add all the tomatoes, some kosher salt ( to taste) and some black pepper and add back in the pancetta. I also add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the tomatoes till they start to break down and form a sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for at least 45 minutes , up to an hour for perfect sauce.

Cook Pasta according to package directions, tender but still firm to the bite. Before draining pasta take out about 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl, I add a little of the pasta water and then I add the sauce. Toss gently and serve. I served with Parmesan Cheese .

Saucy Stuffed Shells – Baked and Meatless

Shells 004Shells 007Shells 009Shells 010OK you must be thinking is she kidding Stuffed Shells? gotta be the most fattening food to eat , and it probably is outside of lasagna, baked ziti and the like. Super delicious and sometimes you just hafta roll with it. I wanted a crowd pleaser, vegetarian and something that can easily be made ahead and frozen.  My mind wanders to yummy, gooey food with a lot of cheese because who doesn’t love a lot of cheese. Ah , yes Stuffed Shells.  I wouldn’t cook like this all the time, but once every blue moon no one is getting hurt, right? I served with a salad , no need for bread and butter here. Homemade Maple Syrup Salad Dressing ( see on blog) and it was really pretty awesome. Took a few hours to prepare, mostly because I made my own sauce ( Sunday night sauce) but feel free to use a jar of prepared sauce if you must. This is a perfect meal to make ahead of time, and just pop into oven.

Of course if you love it with meat you can make a meat sauce and follow same directions.

Ingredients:

1 box Jumbo Shells ( you won’t use all but a lot of them break, etc.)

1 lb. Ricotta ( I used Part Skim)

1 lb. Mozzarella Shredded ( I used Part Skim) if you can obtain fresh mozzarella and shred it that would make it even better! whatever works for you

1 cup grated Parmesan ( any kind you like)

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*marinara sauce or any red sauce I made my own and use my own recipe. If buying sauce and there are some delicious good sauces out there, you’ll need at least 1 jar and maybe a 1 1/2 jars. I make a big batch of sauce and freeze the remainder. It’s nice to have a little extra sauce in case you need it when you re-heat the stuffed shells.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare Pasta , cook for between 12 and 15 minutes, you’ll want them soft but not undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool for easy handling.

Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the Parmesan, parsley and egg in a bowl. Taste for Salt and Pepper.

When shells have cooled down, fill them with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in casserole dish. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex. Top Shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and grated cheese. Place shells in very hot oven . You can turn on broiler for last few minutes , it should be slightly browned and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Delicious!

Easy Skillet Lasagna

This was truly one of the most epic meals! The whole meal in under an hour, and yes that’s lasagna folks. While I love a real lasagna I didn’t have the time to put the whole thing together and deal with it. Once you have the ingredients the prep time is minimal and you aren’t using store bought sauce , this is with sauce you make and I can’t say enough about the way it tasted! This can be done a few different ways and I invite you to play around with the ingredients and spices to your own liking. All I can say is Wow!  Delicious! Joel was very happy with our Sunday night dinner, I should have taken a picture of the big smile he had on his face when he saw this on his plate.  All in one pot is truly a great way to cook, no fuss, no muss and no having to deal with cooking lasagna noodles!!!!!! Yeah!

This can easily be made with ricotta cheese and spinach or any veggies you like. I would even try it with cut up eggplant!

*You’ll need a large oven proof skillet with lid

Ingredients:

1 to 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil–I used 1 1/2 you can start with 1 and add more to onions if you need it

1/2 lb. ground beef ( I used 80/20)

3 Italian sausage links, casings removed ( I used Hot Italian Sausage) use what you like , you can use turkey or chicken sausage as well

1 onion, diced

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 8oz.can tomato sauce

*Italian seasonings , if you have Italian seasonings in a jar that’s great if not use a little dried oregano and dried basil. Italian Seasonings is available in the spice department of all food stores.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

App. 1/4 tsp. Kosher Salt and more to taste

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

app. 10 lasagna noodles, broken into 1/4’s, if it breaks up differently don’t worry it’s a very loose recipe! 8 ounces Farfalle Pasta also works if you don’t feel like using the lasagna noodles. Un-cooked Noodles!!!!!

8 oz. mozzarella balls ( fresh) I used the small ones this time. Use whatever cheese you like but these worked out beautifully.  You can always use shredded mozzarella, or just cut a large ball of mozzarella into small pieces ( as much or as little as you’d like) if using shredded mozzarella, you’ll need about 1 cup

2 cups water

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

*you can also use 1 cup Ricotta Cheese for a very cheesy version, I would use this if I was making it with spinach and going veggie.

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook till translucent, add garlic towards the end of onion process. Add ground beef to the onions, stirring occasionally till browned. I removed with slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. I then cooked up the sausage making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooked.  I then removed sausage to bowl with meat , onions, and garlic and drained all excess fat from pan.

Pre-heat oven to Broil

Return meat to pan, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spices, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt to taste, if you need more add it. Add in the meat mixture and stir, bring to a simmer and add in broken lasagna pieces and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13- 15 minutes for al dente. I stirred it gently a few times just to make certain that the noodles cooked through and didn’t stick together.

Remove from the heat . I placed my Mozzarella on top and placed in oven under broiler for about 5 mins. Check on it because you don’t want it to blacken. All ovens are different, in mine it needed about 6 minutes to just start browning without burning, but you don’t want to burn this up so set timer and keep an eye on it!

Remove from the oven and let it sit out for a few minutes. Plate it up and let everyone add their own parmesan cheese! Enjoy! you will.

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Plated up and ready to eat

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Finished Product

 

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adding mozzarella before placing under broiler

 

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placing un-cooked noodles into sauce

 

 

This would serve 4. It’s tough to double because you would need a super large pan.

This makes for an amazing leftover!