Category Archives: Pasta

Homemade “Spaghettios”

hsposTrue confession. I L*O*V*E Spaghettios. They are one of my guilty pleasures. I keep this under control by only allowing myself to buy this sodium and sugar laden childhood treat when I have coupons. But then I realized, I know how to cook. I don’t need no stickin’ coupons! I can make my very own Spaghettios right at home!

Homemade “Spaghettios”
1 can tomato sauce – low sodium is preferred
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice – I used Wegman’s Shredded Mexican cheeses
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1/2 of a 1 lb box of tiny pasta, cooked – I used pasta rings, naturally

1. Start cooking the pasta.
2. In another saucepan, on medium heat, combine all the other ingredients and heat until all the cheese has melted. You’ll want to stir this while it’s heating so the cheese melts through evenly.
3. When the pasta is done, drain and pour into pan with sauce.

I could not have been happier with my finished product. My Faithful Assistant was also happy with it, and he doesn’t like Spaghettios or anything resembling tomato sauce on anything.

I am totally the kind of mom who would puree other veggies and add them to the tomato sauce, but in very small quantities. Think 1/4 cup total. Carrots would be good, because they would add some sweetness you might be missing from not adding HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP to your food. (Really, Campbells?) And I would absolutely add some cut up hotdogs into them.

I could have easily doubled the recipe, but I wanted to start off with a small amount because I wasn’t sure if anyone else would like them. Now that I know, I’ll make more next time for lunch through the week.


Homemade Vegetable Pasta

hvpLast weekend, I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking through the Settlement Cookbook. I had questions spinning through my head about the origin of the cookbook and life of the woman who compiled it, Lizzie Black Kander, aka Mrs. Simon Kander. I read several stories about her, including this one from NPR.

Then my brother, who has the same cookbook, came up with an idea to make a recipe a week from the cookbook and the #SettlementCookbookChallenge was born. I was in and we got a bunch of our friends to buy the cookbook, too. I wonder if Amazon was confused about the small burst of Settlement Cookbook sales?

We were originally going to start the week after Thanksgiving but I was pretty excited about the recipe for Vegetable Noodles. I couldn’t wait. I made them today. I’ve listed the recipe below, verbatim from the cookbook.

Vegetable Noodles (2 entrees or 4 sides)
1/4 cup strained vegetables
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour

Take fresh vegetables: spinach, asparagus, peas or tomatoes. Cook until soft; drain and press dry; strain through a fine sieve. Add egg, salt and flour to this pulp and knead to a smooth dough. Let stand, covered 1/2 hour or longer. Roll very thin. Let stand and when no longer sticky, cut into 1/3 inch wide noodles. Drop into boiling, salted water. Boil 10-20 minutes or until tender. Drain, pour over melted butter or fat. 

I did make a couple adjustments to the method suggested and added a couple ingredients.

1. I used 1/2 cup frozen spinach. When it was cooked, it reduced down to about 1/4 cup.
2. I pressed the water out of the spinach but didn’t dry it completely.
3. I added a 1/2 clove of garlic and 1 tsp dried basil
4. I wish I had added the flour gradually because two cups was too much. I ended up needing water to get a true dough.
5. I rolled the dough in batches. I figured it would be easier to get it thinner that way, especially in my small kitchen. That was a good call!
6. I cut the pasta with a pizza cutter into strips and then small chunks.
7. I served tossed with chopped spinach and pesto.

My rolled out dough

My rolled out dough

My Faithful Assistant and I had this for lunch and I have to say, it was pretty good! I was concerned that the noodles would be heavy and gummy but they weren’t. They reminded me of the noodles you get in a really good German restaurant.

It occured to me after I was finished that I could have mixed some ricotta, egg, and spinach and made some fantastic homemade spinach ravioli. Clearly, this recipe of yore is one to keep!



Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese

sbmcBRRR!!!!! It was cold today. It was the perfect day to make some nice comforting Mac and Cheese. But this time, it had a twist! I added bacon and cayenne pepper to make some really amazing Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese.

Take my regular Homemade Mac and Cheese and do the following:

  • Saute 10 pieces of bacon with the onions. Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • When everything is done and combined, stir in 1/2 to 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, depending on your taste.

Are you looking for a fun little hors d’ouevres for the holidays? Take two cups or so of your mac and cheese, stir in a beaten egg and bake it in a mini muffin tin at 375 for 15 minutes. Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese Bites! Yum!

I usually use sharp cheddar in my mac and cheese because that’s what my family likes. You can add other cheeses. This would be great with a horseradish cheddar or gruyere. Try your family favorites.







Baby Spaghetti

bsWhen my boys were babies I came up with a simple recipe for a mild pasta sauce that I served on Angel Hair. I called it Baby Spaghetti. They loved it. And now I am sharing it with you.

Baby Spaghetti
2 cups prepared pasta – think tiny for a little baby with little to no teeth
3/4 cup tomato sauce – I used some with Italian Herbs
1 tbsp basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Heat the tomato sauce with the basil and Parmesan and combine it with the pasta.
2. Serve to a cute little baby with a fun little plastic spoon (or no spoon at all) and watch them love every bite.

The sauce is reminiscent of a Margherita sauce. If you are making this for adults, add some garlic and onion and maybe some mozzarella. Maybe even a little white wine.

My kids looked at the pasta, wondering what it was. They haven’t had this exact pasta since they were babies so they didn’t remember it at all. I enjoyed telling them it was the first pasta sauce I ever made for them. They didn’t seem interested in my heartwarming story. I think they wanted to know why there was no meat.


Chicken Alfredo Pasta

capYesterday, while I was with the Teenager at orchestra, I asked my husband to grill a giant pack of chicken breasts to use for dinner this week. I’ve never really done anything like this before. I am not a meal planner. I try to keep a well stocked pantry so we have options. But a friend who is a huge meal planner sold me on the benefits of this tiny amount of planning. Having just some cooked chicken does make things pretty easy at dinner time.

Tonight, I took two of my delicious grilled breasts, a cup of chopped asparagus,  and combined them with my Crazy Sexy Pasta. Huge hit! And since I used a whole box of pasta, we have lots on hand for at least one more dinner and probably a few lunches too! Win, win win! Yay me!

Chicken Alfredo Pasta
1- 16 oz box of interesting pasta like Farfalle or Gemelli
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into smallish pieces
1 cup asparagus, also chopped and cooked
4 oz of pancetta or prosciutto
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 TBSP of olive oil
1/4 cup flour
4 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 – 3/4 cup Parmesan
pepper to taste

1. Start the water boiling for your pasta. This sauce is so fast that you will have it ready in the time it takes your pasta to cook.
2. Combine oil, garlic, chicken and pancetta (or prosciutto) in a sauce pan that is big enough to hold the milk and everything else. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes on medium heat. Remove from pan, drain and set aside. Don’t forget your pasta water! You can probably add the pasta now!
3. Melt butter in the same pan.
4. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and let it soak in for a minute. Then gently mix it around.
5. Add the milk. Some people like to add milk in stages and let it thicken. You can do that or just put it all in at once. Reduce heat to medium – low. Stir frequently until it thickens.
6. When your milk sauce (I heard this term the one time I watched Rachael Ray) is the consistency of a thin pudding, add the cheese. Start with a half a cup and add more if desired. Your sauce should look like the picture below.

7. Add the pancetta and garlic into the sauce and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.
8. Your pasta is probably done! Drain it well, return it to the pot and pour on the sauce, add the asparagus and toss it around.
9. Allow people to pepper to taste.

I have a few more new chicken recipes coming your way. They’re good ones!