Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

Pasta Primavera

June 13, 2010

This was delicious — DH proclaimed it to be the best new meal in a long time (acknowledging that he rarely remembers meals from week to week!)

We added some grilled chicken (seasoned with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning) to this dish as well, because DH insists on meat in all dinners. ­čÖé

Pasta Primavera

(Food Network)

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta) — I used rotini because we had it
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

-On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

-Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

-Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.


Simple Shrimp Scampi

February 3, 2010

I wanted shrimp for dinner this week, and a scampi just seemed delicious…this one fit the bill!

I did make some changes…I decreased the 5 tbsp of butter and increased the olive oil a bit. I also put a little extra lemon and chicken broth in, and then omitted the 2 tbsp of butter at the end.

That’s a heck of a lotta butter!!

Simple Shrimp Scampi

(Picky Palate)

5 Tablespoons butter (I cut this down to 3 and increased the olive oil)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (increased to 4)
┬Ż Cup finely chopped white onion
4 cloves garlic
24 medium shrimp, devained, cleaned, shell removed (fresh or frozen)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
┬Ż Cup chicken broth or white wine
2 pinches salt
┬╝ teaspoon fresh pepper
1 lb linguini pasta noodles
2 Tablespoons butter
┬╝ cup fresh parsley, chopped
┬╝ Cup fresh chives chopped


Place butter and olive oil into a large 5 qt skillet or other large pot over medium heat

– Once melted and hot saut├ę onion for 3-5 minutes until softened

– Stir in garlic for 60 seconds then stir in shrimp

– Season with salt and pepper and cook 4-6 minutes or until pink and firm and cooked through

– Stir in lemon juice and chicken broth. Reduce heat to low and set aside.

– Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and stir into shrimp

– Stir in 2 Tablespoons butter, parsley and chives

Baked Ziti

November 21, 2009

Annie’s baked ziti is the best.

Hands down.

I’ve tried dozens of recipes, and DH was never quite satisfied with it….until now. He actually told me “Don’t change ANYTHING. Do it exactly this way, again”

That means he liked it. LOL

I did make some changes, and they’re noted below…

I also made this dish completely except for cooking it (I let the sauce mixture cool before assembling) and let my DH pop it in the oven for dinner the following night. The only change is it took about 20 more minutes in the oven, since it was cold from the fridge.

Baked Ziti

(Annie’s Eats)

1 lb. whole milk or 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
Table salt
1 lb. ziti
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
20 oz. turkey Italian sausage (I used 1 lb. regular sweet italian sausage)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided (I used dried)
1 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3 cups baby spinach (I added this to the cheese mixture)

– Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350┬░ F.

– Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl, gently stir in spinach; set aside.

– Bring a large pot of water to boil. ┬áStir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes. ┬áDrain the pasta and leave in colander.

– Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. ┬áCrumble in the turkey sausage and cook until nearly browned.

– Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned.

– Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. ┬áOff the heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

– In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and heavy cream. ┬áTransfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat. ┬áBring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.

– Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella. ┬áStir to combine.

– Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.

– Transfer the pasta to a 9├Ś13ÔÇ│ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top.

– Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top.

– Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

– Remove the foil from the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer.

– Cool for 20 minutes. ┬áSprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.


Garlic Parmesan Orzo

August 29, 2009

IMG_1349This had great flavor, but I wanted it to be a little more “creamy” — I may tweak it next time I make it!

Garlic Parmesan Orzo


2 cups uncooked orzo pasta

3 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper


– Cook orzo according to package directions, and drain

– In a large skillet, sauce garlic in butter until tender, then add orzo, parmesan, milk, parsley, salt and pepper

– Cook and stir until heated through

I don’t usually make things up… (Vegetable Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce)

August 12, 2009


I don’t normally make up recipes.

I’m just bad at it.

Maybe that’s why I like baking — I love having precise measurements for EVERYTHING.

That being said, when someone on my cooking message board posted about “veggie stuffed shells in tomato cream sauce” last week, I was dying to try it.

And then she said she didn’t really have a recipe, and was just winging it.

Now, I could’ve panicked, or I could’ve just not made them.

But I foraged ahead.

And they were delicious.

Measurements are obviously approximate…I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in my abilities, and figured they would suck, so I didn’t really keep track LOL

Vegetable Stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce

(Me, with the assistance of StephnJohn on What’s Cooking)

1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli

1-1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 small zucchini, shredded and squeezed of all it’s extra juice

1/2 lb white mushrooms, finely diced

1 box jumbo shells

2 large cans crushed tomatoes (You can easily do it with 1 — I made two so there would be leftover sauce….I used 1 can roasted garlic flavor and 1 can basil flavor, and added some oregano, additional garlic, salt and pepper to it)

1/2 – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

16 oz part skim ricotta cheese

16 oz lowfat cottage cheese

1/2 cup – 3/4 cup light cream

1 tbsp olive oil


– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

– Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the jumbo shells according to the directions; drain and rinse and set aside to cool slightly

– Combined two cans┬á crushed tomatoes — I used one roasted garlic flavor and one basil flavor to automatically flavor the sauce. Add some oregano and a little more garlic and let simmer

– Chop up fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms, canned artichokes, fresh broccoli, and shredded fresh zucchini — really anything you like! Eggplant would be delicious….

– In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add chopped vegetables.┬á Cook it for 5 minutes or so until veggies begin to wilt/cook down.

– In a large bowl, mix the veggies with 16 oz ricotta and 16 oz cottage cheese, salt and pepper.

– Remove the sauce from the heat, and add the cream, stirring to incorporate it

– Place a small amount of sauce in your bakewear, then begin stuffing your shells and placing them in the dish

– Cover with sauce (you will definitely have leftover sauce if you use two big cans), then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

– Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Skillet Noodle Lasagna

February 17, 2009
DH and I LOVED this recipe, and it makes so much food we had it for 2 dinners, and a couple of lunches! It actually re-heats really well — better than regular lasagna!

I made it as a weeknight meal, so it’s pretty quick as well.

Our only complaint is we’d like more spinach — next time I’ll make it with fresh, chopped spinach so I can add as much as I want!

Skillet Noodle Lasagna

1/2 lb pasta, any size/shape you prefer (I used shells)
1 container (1 lb) cottage cheese
1 10 oz package frozen creamed spinach, thawed
1 lb ground meat (I used beef)
Pepper, oregano and garlic powder to taste
1 large 32 ou jar pasta sauce
1 package (8 oz) shredded cheese (I used mozzarella/provolone mix)
1/4 c grated Parmesan

– In a large skillet (12″ and probably somewith with high sides, as this layers up quickly) cook your ground meat, drain any fat and season to taste with black pepper, oregano and garlic powder.
– When done, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
– Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.
– Meanwhile – combine the cottage cheese and creamed spinach in a bowl.
– In the skillet, spread a layer of pasta sauce, about one cup, over the bottom.
– Top with about 1/3 of the noodles, then layer in your meat, and then top with another 1/3 of your noodles.
– Top those with 1/2 of the remaining pasta sauce, then add your cottage cheese mixture and 1/2 of the package of shredded cheese.
– Finally add on your remaining noodles followed by the remaining sauce.
– Cover skillet and turn to high heat and bring to a rapid simmer.
– Reduce to medium heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
– Sprinkle on your remaining shredded cheese and Parmesan cheese.
– Replace cover and simmer for another 2 minutes.
– Remove from heat and let stand for about 10 minutes.
– Serve.

"Pennsylvania Dutch" Chicken Pot Pie

October 14, 2008

A few weeks ago there was a discussion on the What’s Cooking board on TheNest about pot pie in soup form.

Most had never heard of it, and those that had were centered around a very small area of Central Pennsylvania — also known as where I currently live.

I’m not from this area, so I think this “pot pie” with no crust is a bit odd, but my husband loves it. Prefers it to my “crazy” pot pie that actually looks like a pie!

So I decided to try my hand at it. I’d never made it, and it turned out really well. The ONLY thing that would’ve made it more delicious is if I’d have had a whole day off to slow roast a chicken to use in it. Mmmm..slow roasted chicken.

Oh! And before we get to the recipe…a note about the noodles involved.

Part of what differentiates this type of pot pie from any chicken noodle soup recipe are the noodles. They’re a thick egg noodle, cut into squares.

I made these, but I did see that in the grocery store here, San Giorgio sells Pot Pie Noodles — they’re hidden on the top shelf near the egg noodle section. Check your store and see if they have them — I’m curious if they sell them anywhere but here!

Onto the recipe — and pardon the bad pictures. It’s getting dark earlier, and I’m also in the process of prepping a house for move-in, so dinner has been very late!

Pot Pie Squares (The Noodles)

3 cups flour
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
1/2 to 3/4 cup water

– Mix the flour, egg, and shortening together
– Knead the dough mixture, while alternately adding small amounts of water until the dough holds together well
– Divide the dough into two or three pieces
– Roll each piece out to about 1/8″ thick on a floured surface
– Cut the rolled out dough into squares – about 2″ to 2 1/2″ wide
– Allow the freshly made pot pie noodles to dry for about 30 minutes or more before cooking

The Soup
*3-4 cups of shredded chicken, turkey, beef, or even ham leftovers can be used instead of a whole stewing chicken for this. When using leftovers, use broth instead of the 2 quarts of water. With leftover chicken or turkey, use 4 cans of chicken broth.

1-3 lb stewing chicken
2 quarts water
5 medium potatoes – peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
2 cups chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

– Cook the chicken in water until tender
– Remove the chicken from the broth and separate the meat from the bones and skin
– Cut or shred the cooked chicken into bite size pieces
– Meanwhile, add the vegetables and seasonings to the simmering broth
– Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, then add the pot pie squares to the broth mixture, a few at a time, stirring frequently so they don’t stick together
– After all have been added, cook gently for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the noodles are tender
– Add the cut up chicken and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes longer
– Cover, and let stand for a few minutes before serving.

**The article this recipe was taken from suggests serving it on dinner plates, or in shallow bowls. Sides are recommended as a salad such as coleslaw, pepper cabbage, or lettuce with bacon dressing — if you REALLY want to do it “Pennsylvania Dutch” Style!

Skillet Beef Stroganoff

September 2, 2008

This recipe is amazing. It’s just…it’s THAT GOOD. I originally saw it over at A Taste of Home Cooking — and when she made it in back-to-back weeks, I knew it had to be good!

And it definately lived up to the hype. I could’ve eaten the whole skillet full, it was THAT good. In fact, now we’re having it back-to-back weeks!

I do reccommend sucking it up and buying the brandy for the recipe, though. I think it adds a nice depth of flavor (and I usually don’t say things like that!). I live in Pennsylvania, which means I have to go to a specific store to buy alcohol…so if I can do it, so can you! (And it only cost me $5)

I also used the ground beef, rather than steak (Same reason — I don’t like steak chunks in my pasta dishes) — and DH and I really enjoyed it that way. Using the ground beef also makes this about a 30-minute meal, which makes it perfect for weeknights.

Finally, I added some frozen peas/carrots mixture to my plate of stroganoff. I hate mushrooms, but added them for DH. So I picked them out of mine — but wanted some kind of veggie included!

Skillet Beef Stroganoff
(America’s Test Kitchen Easy Skillet Suppers, by way of A Taste of Home Cooking)

1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips, pounded and cut thin across the grain (I used ground beef)
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup brandy
1/3 pound wide egg noodles (3 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

– Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of beef until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to medium bowl and repeat with 1 tablespoon more oil and remaining beef. (I browned my ground beef and transferred it to a bowl)

– Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in now-empty skillet until shimmering. Cook mushrooms, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

– Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds, then add both broths and the brandy, and return beef and accumulated juices to pan. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until beef is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. (Once I added the ground beef I continued right on to the next step).

– Stir noodles into beef mixture, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Easiest Pasta Salad Ever

May 26, 2008

I always thought most people knew this simple pasta salad — but apparently I was wrong!

I took this to a memorial day get-together, because I was super-busy and didn’t have time to make anything fancy or anything that took a lot of prep.

You can add a lot of veggies to this — I just added what I had (and like). I’ll list some other common options below.

Easy Pasta Salad
(No idea of the true origin — I’ve been making it since I was a wee one!)

1 16-oz. box pasta (any shape, size, whatever. you can even use regular spaghetti)
1 16-oz. bottle of italian dressing (again, regular, zesty, fancy, whatever you want)
1/2 lb. salami, cubed into bite-sized pieces (you can also use pepperoni)
1/2 lb. provolone cheese, cubed into bite-sized pieces (I’ve never used any other type of cheese, but hey — go crazy)
1 tsp-1 tbsp (depending on preference) of italian seasoning (optional)
2 regular-sized tomatoes, seeded and diced (I used 4 Roma tomatoes — however much you want)
1 seedless cucumber, diced small
(**You can also add broccoli, peppers, olives, really ANYTHING you like to eat raw!**)

– Cook the pasta according to instructions
– Drain and cool pasta
– Mix pasta and veggies, meat, and cheese in a large bowl
– Pour italian dressing over it, and mix well

This pasta salad, like many, is better the longer it sits. So make sure you prep it a few hours in advance of eating it for optimal flavor — it really doesn’t taste like ANYTHING when you first mix it!


May 12, 2008

I am not Lithuanian. I’m your generic east-coast stock — Irish, Welsh, English, German.

My DH, however, is Lithuanian — first generation American, to be exact. And, as with most cultures, that means he grew up eating traditional Lithuanian dishes — dishes that nobody ever bothered to write down!

So this is my first attempt at a Lithuanian dish. Now, granted, they’re not hard…most of the recipes are “peasant” style recipes, consisting of starch, meat, and onion…but when the last time your DH had them was when his grandmother (perfector of the recipe) made them — well, there’s bound to be some concern that you won’t get them “right”!

He tells me I did a PERFECT job on my first try, though ­čÖé

Now — education: Kulduna(Cull-doo-n-eye) are essentially meat-filled dumplings. Like the Italians have their ravioli, the Lithuanians have their kuldunai. They’re, admittedly, a little labor intensive (it took me 2.5 hours to make 60 of these suckers on my own) — but they are pretty tasty for a simple dish.

And next time, DH will roll out all that pasta dough by hand, and I’ll just do the filling – he’s been informed of such.

(My own recipe!)

(1 “batch” of the fresh pasta recipe below will make approximately 30 kuldunai — but 1 “batch” of the mix is enough for 60-70 kuldunai.)

1.5 lbs raw ground beef — finely ground if you can get it
1/2 to 3/4 cup finely diced onion
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

– Mix filling ingredients well (like mixing meatloaf) and set aside while you make the dough.

Fresh Pasta:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water, mixed

Making Dough By Hand Directions:
– In a large bowl (or on your countertop if you prefer — I do the “well” method of pasta-making in a bowl to keep my mess to a minimum), make a well in the center of the flour
– In a measuring cup, mix the eggs, water, oil and salt
– Pour the wet mixture slowly into the well in the flour and mix with a fork (or you can mix with two fingers) until all of the wet is incorporated (The dough won’t take all the flour — don’t force it! When the wet-doughy center starts to pull away from the flour around the edge, you are nearly there)
– When you have a tacky, wet-feeling dough, gently add a little more flour to the mix, then transfer to a counter top for kneading
– Begin gently kneading your dough — if it is still tacky and sticks, add a little more flour as you knead — until it is no longer tacky to the touch, but, if you push on it, it pushes back up at you
– Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, pushing down and away on it with the palms of your hands, then folding it over on itself and repeating
– Wrap your dough tightly in saran wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes (this is optional — I do it while I’m prepping the kitchen to roll the dough, get my filling in order, etc)
– Remove the dough from the fridge and the saran wrap and transfer it to a floured work surface. You may want to break the dough into two pieces to make it easier to roll out.
– Using a rolling pin, begin rolling it out — flipping it occasionally — until you’ve reached 1/8″ thickness (like a piece of cardstock, for example).

Making Dough Using A Pasta Machine:
– In a large bowl (or on your countertop if you prefer — I do the “well” method of pasta-making in a bowl to keep my mess to a minimum), make a well in the center of the flour
– In a measuring cup, mix the eggs, water, oil and salt
– Pour the wet mixture slowly into the well in the flour and mix with a fork (or you can mix with two fingers) until all of the wet is incorporated (The dough won’t take all the flour — don’t force it! When the wet-doughy center starts to pull away from the flour around the edge, you are nearly there)
– When you have a tacky, wet-feeling dough, gently add a little more flour to the mix, then transfer to a counter top for kneading
– Begin gently kneading your dough — if it is still tacky and sticks, add a little more flour as you knead — until it is no longer tacky to the touch, but, if you push on it, it pushes back up at you
– Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour prior to rolling the dough out in your pasta machine

– With your dough rolled out, use a cutter, or a knife, or even the rim of a glass to cut 3-3 1/2″ circles out of the dough
– Lay the circles out, and place approximately 1 teaspoon – 1 1/2 teaspoons of the meat mixuture on the lower half of the circle
– Dipping two fingers into the egg and water mixture, run your fingers along the bottom half edge of the circle, making it wet so it will seal
– Pull the top of the circle over, making a half-moon shape, and firmly press the two pieces of dough together along the egg wash side

To Cook:
-Bring a large pot of water to a boil
– Gently add the kuldunai one at a time
– Let the kuldunai boil for 6-8 minutes
– Drain, and toss with butter, salt, and parsley (optional)

They don’t photograph well — they’re to be served tossed in butter, so there’s no sauce, per se — but you get the idea.