Pesto and Goat Cheese Pasta

Pesto Goat Cheese Pasta (with optional shredded chicken)

Pesto and Goat Cheese Pasta (with optional shredded chicken)

This was either a moment of brilliance on my part or simple gluttony.  I actually had a dream about this dish…come to think of it…I dream about food quite a lot.  What does that mean?   I am hungry.  I am obsessed with food.  I am obsessed with new recipes.  I have nothing better to dream about.  I feel voids with food….oh wow…that escalated quickly!

Here’s the recipe….make of my dream what you will…it was delicious…both in my dream world and my real world!

Note: I made my own Kale & Arugula Pesto with Raw Almonds, it is simply a twist on my Classic Pesto.  I didn’t add garlic because I didn’t want to overpower the soft goat cheese.  I try to use “power foods” in my cooking as much as possible…Kale and Arugula are mac daddy power foods!  Feel free to change the recipe according to your liking.




For the Pesto:

2 cups packed arugula leaves

2 cups packed kale leaves

1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

For the Pasta:

1 cup of Pesto (homemade or store-bought)

4-ounces soft goat cheese

1 lb pasta: of any kind, shape or size you like

1 to 2 cups warm shredded chicken, for serving (optional)

Fresh parsley, chopped for serving

How to:

For the Pesto: Put all ingredients in your food processor except olive oil.  Press start button and puree as much as you like.  Add your olive oil and combine well.

kale & arugula pesto, such a lovely green color

kale & arugula pesto, such a lovely green color

For the Pasta: Cook your pasta according to package’s directions.  (I like mine with some “tooth” so I always cook Al Dente)  Keep 1/2 cup of cooking water.  In case your sauce is too thick you may loosen it up with a little starchy water….yummy!

For the sauce: Simply put your 1 cup pesto sauce in a large pan.  Start heating it up gently (very gently) add your goat cheese by breaking it up into little pieces.  Using a spoon or whisk gently combine the pesto and cheese until the cheese is melted.  Add your cooked pasta and gently toss to combine.  Pour your pasta into a large serving bowl and top with shredded chicken (if using) and freshly chopped parsley (also another power food).

adding the cheese to the pesto (call me Captain Obvious)

adding the cheese to the pesto (call me Captain Obvious)

nice creamy sauce

nice creamy sauce

gentle action shot!

gentle action shot!

looking amazing and smelling fantastic

looking amazing and smelling fantastic

I love love love this dish.  I love the peppery taste of the arugula, slight bitterness of the kale and the incredible creaminess of the goat cheese…and we all know I LOVE pasta more than life itself!

I love the family style serving but definitely go with what works for you

I love the family style serving but definitely go with what works for you

This makes a pretty good quantity, plenty for 5 or 6 if you ask me…or at our home 4 with delicious leftovers the next day!

Note: the Pesto recipe makes more than you need but pesto is so versatile.  You could make Green Rice: plain rice mixed with pesto (genius!), pesto is great in sandwiches, pizza pesto: substitute your red sauce with pesto, you can rub pesto over plain chicken breast before cooking them….the sky’s the limit!

first bite....ready, set, eat

first bite….ready, set, eat

Printer Friendly:  Pesto and Goat Cheese Pasta

Peace and Dream On,


For more info on Power Food:

I shared my recipe on this lovely linky party as well:


Baked Pasta Cordon Bleu

Baked Pasta Cordon Bleu

Baked Pasta Cordon Bleu

My husband requested this.  I am so nice I even found a way to lighten it up a little.  A little, let’s not go crazy.  I mean, it’s still filled with cheese and noodles and cheese!  But overall I think I did pretty good…until he said to me: “thanks for making this for me, I know it’s not your usual gourmet fancy food you like to make”….what?  Geez…thanks!  Nothing I love better than being called out when I am being nice to someone!  (Note to self: husband needs a time out!)

I like that you can make this dish ahead of time and simply heat it when you are ready.  This is also a great simple dish to give a friend who needs a hug.  It is tasty, feeds about 6-8 and leftovers are delish.

Let's dig in!

Let’s dig in!


1 lb. pasta (any kind you like: penne, farfalle, mostaccioli….I had cavatappi)

1 lb cooked chicken cubed (I had 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast that I cubed and gently sautéed)

1 lb cooked ham, cubed (preferably not sliced ham)

8 ounce light cream cheese

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

Splash hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

salt & pepper to taste

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

How to:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or spray a 8X11 baking dish.  Set aside.

Boil your pasta Al Dente (you don’t want mushy pasta because it will continue to cook when baking and mushy is just not tasty!)  Drain pasta and put in your prepared dish.  Set aside.

In a large pan, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add your onion and cook until soft and fragrant.  Add your wine, and let cook for a minute or so.  Add your milk, chicken broth and cream cheese (I like to put it in chunks, not the whole brick)  bring this to a simmer and let cook until all melted and combined.  Add your hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

Add your cubed chicken and ham to your pasta.  Toss to combine.  Pour your sauce and shredded cheese over the mixture and using 2 large spoons gently combine everything.  You will have to be careful otherwise things will go flying everywhere.  Yeah yeah…I speak from experience!

Step one

Step one

Step two (gentle touch!)

Step two (gentle touch!)

In a medium pan melt your 2 tablespoons of butter.  Turn off the heat and add your Panko crumbs.  Gently stir until well blended.  Sprinkle over your pasta mixture.  Put in your preheated oven for 20-30 until nice and bubbly.  You may want to turn on your broiler at the end for a couple of minutes if you like a golden top but be careful and keep an eye because things will go crazy quite fast!

and then the panko, finally ready for the oven

and then the Panko, finally ready for the oven

fresh out of the oven, smells delicious

fresh out of the oven, smells delicious


Leftovers are also amazing and plentiful!

Leftovers are also amazing and plentiful!

We had a debate on chunks sizes in our home.  I like to keep the chicken and ham pieces quite big.  I want to know what I am eating.  My husband, on the other hand, wants smaller pieces.  You decide what you like.  As long as I am making it: big pieces it is 🙂

Printer Friendly: Baked Pasta Cordon Bleu

Peace and Fancy,


Red Gold Giveaway

Giveaway time…why?  Well because the lovely people at Red Gold Tomatoes contacted me and graciously offered for me to try their new and YUMMY tomatoes from the Tuttorosso collection AND offered to send a package to one lucky winner (of the US of A only).

Tuttorosso by Red Gold

Tuttorosso by Red Gold

Here is a little bit of information that I wanted to pass along.

Red Gold (an Indiana favorite!!! which makes the Tuttorosso brand) has been around since the 1940’s.  Red Gold has focused on growing local tomatoes in the Midwest (Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) where true seasons impact the flavor of tomatoes. The Midwest, while it’s cold in the winter, has the perfect growing season for tomatoes, perfect angle of the sun, perfect temps — and even the winter is good for tomatoes, as it breaks up the soil for tiny root systems.

(that’s awesome…evidently not from my silly mouth but good info none the less!!!! I do love my Indiana tomatoes!)

Also from Red Gold Tuttorosso:

They’re giving away premium prizes every day on Facebook at — — through Dec. 22nd (you must register every day for each day’s prize).  Premium prizes for the Tuttorosso Ultimate Daily Giveaway will include items such as Stock Pots by Rachael Ray, Wusthof Knives, Wusthof Sharpener, Rachael Ray Pasta and Salad Bowls, Good Grips Garlic Press, Cheese Rotary Grater by Zyliss, etc.

With these lovely products in mind, I would like to share a couple of recipes that would be delicious with the new Red Gold Tuttorosso Tomatoes.  First a classic:

Eggplant Parmesan...the "ugly" but delicious truth ;)

Eggplant Parmesan…the “ugly” but delicious truth 😉

Eggplant Parmesan


2 medium to large eggplants

kosher salt (or regular if that is all you have)

1 1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

4-5 eggs

2 cups Italian style bread crumbs

1 28-ounce can Tuttorosso Tomato Sauce by Red Gold

1 cup fresh basil chopped or shredded into small pieces

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese (for serving)

Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)

How to:

First, slice your eggplant in about 1/2-inch thick slices.  Put them in a large bowl (I had to use 2) and salt each slice with your kosher salt, on both sides. You will need about 1/2 teaspoon per slice.  Let this rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.  When ready, rinse your eggplant well and dry your eggplant completely.  I put mine on paper towels to remove all of the water.

In a large pan heat the canola oil (about 1 inch of oil) on medium heat while you get the eggplant ready.

Second, make a little assembly line: in 3 shallow bowls (I used pie plates) have your flour, eggs (whisked) and bread crumbs.  Working in batches, dip each eggplant slice in the flour, eggs and then breadcrumbs.  Fry your pieces in canola oil until golden brown on each side.  You will need about 2-3 minutes per side.  Please note that every time you add oil, give the oil time to heat up before adding more eggplant.  I put all my fried eggplants on paper towel lined baking sheets, I want to absorb any excess oil.  When all is done set aside.  Time to assemble the whole madness.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a large baking dish (9X13), start with 1/2 cup of sauce followed by eggplant slices, top with another 1 cup of sauce, shredded basil then cheese.  Repeat this twice and finish with cheese.  You may have to cut some pieces in half to make everything fit in your dish.  Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.  I did add some more cheese once I removed the foil because I “lost” some that was stuck to the foil…I couldn’t let that happen…I love cheese A LOT!

Note: I want to remind you of a few things.  Quality does matter here, as you notice, very few ingredients are involved so use the best you have or can find.  Also please do not skip the “salting” and draining of the eggplant.  I know it’s a pain but it is SO worth it.

My second recipe is one of my little gang’s favorite:

    American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey


1 1/2 lb ground beef

1 onion chopped

1 green pepper chopped (green is a must in my opinion…doesn’t taste the same with red or orange)

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 28-ounce can Crushed Tuttorosso Tomatoes by Red Gold

1 1-pound box elbow macaroni noodles

Salt and Pepper to taste

Shredded Cheddar cheese for serving (extra sharp at our house)

How to:

Cook noodles according to package directions…well NOT QUITE…make them until they are almost done.  We will finish in the sauce!

In a large (larger than you think), add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, melt and blend well together.  Add your onion and green pepper.  Cook until soft and fragrant, 3-5 minutes.  Add your ground beef and cook until no longer pink.  Add your oregano, garlic powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and crushed tomatoes.  Bring this to a simmer and cook uncovered for 5-10 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Add your (almost) cooked pasta to your pan and combine everything well.  Let this cook for a few more minutes until you have the desired “pasta” texture.  To serve top with shredded cheddar and enjoy!

OK the fun part…THE GIVEAWAY!!!!

Simply answer this easy and tasty question in the comment box. What would you make with these lovely tomatoes?

Contest Ends Sunday December 16 at Midnight.  Open to US residents only.

The winner will be picked at random on Sunday the 16th of  December 2012.

Of course if you feel like sharing, tweeting, Pinteresting and/or Facebooking my fun Giveaway well….well…I would love ya fo’eva…

Thanks, over and out!

Peace and Love Peeps,


Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta E Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

This is an easy way to have a delicious fall,head into winter, meal full of vegetables and low-fat.  I made this recipe which could or should feed 8.  It’s all gone.  We had a little bit leftover but Bear took it all and mentioned the dish to me twice while we were running errands the following day.  I have to tell you this coming from the child who ate pasta with butter and Parmesan (freshly shaved if available, of course!) from 3 yrs old till about 11 yrs old…I say that’s a big deal in our home!  Especially since it has beans in it…she once sat for 2 hours staring at bowl of chili simply because she refused to even taste it!  That’s the rule around here: you can’t say you hate it if you haven’t even tasted the food, you HAVE to taste it.  Yeah, yeah, I know I am a meanie but then again both our girls are now adventurous eaters with a formidable palate!

Here’s my version of this delicious Italian dish…no need to go to that “silly-wannabe-not really Italian” Garden place….just sayin’!

Is it a soup...a stew or a Rachael Ray calls it: a stoup?  ;)

Is it a soup…a stew or as Rachael Ray calls it: a stoup? 😉


1 lb Italian turkey sausage (sweet or hot which ever you prefer)

1 pound lean ground beef

2-ounce pancetta diced (or bacon if you prefer)

2 medium onion finely chopped

2 celery stalk finely chopped

1 carrot finely chopped

3 garlic cloves crushed and chopped

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable) (you may need to have another cup or so on hand)

1 28-ounce can small diced tomatoes (not drained)

2 cans (15.5-ounces each) cannellini or navy beans, well-drained and rinsed (keep 1 cup separate)

1 can (15.5-ounces) red kidney beans, well-drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dry)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry)

1 tablespoon dried basil

12-ounces small pasta (I had orecchiette but choose what you like as long as it is small)

Fresh Parmesan for serving

How to:

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook your sausage until no longer pink.  Remove to a plate and reserve.  Next cook your ground beef, once cooked remove to a plate and reserve.  In the same pot add you pancetta and cook until just crispy.  Add your onions, celery, carrots and garlic, cook on medium-low heat until soft and fragrant, do not burn or the garlic will taste bitter.  Add your meat back to your pot, along with the broth and canned tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl mash your reserved 1 cup of beans with a fork.  Add to your pot along with the other beans.  Add your herbs, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.  You may halt your soup at this point until you are almost ready to eat.

the pausing point!

the pausing point!

Once you are 15 minutes from serving, bring back to a boil and add your pasta.  Cook until al dente (not mushy) about 8-10 minutes.  You may want to add liquid to your soup if you like a more brothy soup or leave it be.  I like to have a very thick consistency but it’s your battle, do as you wish!

Ladle your soup and sprinkle some Parmesan.  Dig in!

simply gorgeous!

simply gorgeous!

Printer Friendly: Pasta E Fagioli

Peace and No Garden Party Around Here!


Go check out my recipe on this great linky party as well:


Linguini with Lemon-Cream Sauce

Linguini with Lemon-Cream Sauce

I would like to pat myself on the back for sticking with something for 3 consecutive months.  Bravo Isabelle.  OK, OK, I will stop that immediately since it is quite annoying when people refer to themselves in such a way.  The fact is; I am now on my third installment of Every Day Food by Martha Stewart, If you recall…. or don’t…even I don’t recall why I do the things I do!

First was: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Sesame Noodles

Second: Apple and Sour Cream Coffee Cake

And now I am on November 2010, Edition 77.

I am on a roll…well sort of.  The fact that I still feel guilty for having all those lovely little magazines in my home and that I am such a hoarder of cookbooks, might have a little something to do with this continual plan!


Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper

1 lb Linguini

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 shallots, minced

1 cup heavy cream (don’t fight me on this…it is worth it!)

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

How to:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.  Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add shallots, season with salt and pepper and cook stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add cream and lemon zest.  Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.  Add lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour cream sauce over pasta and toss, adding enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta.

I wish you could smell the lovely lemony fragrance of this sauce…heavenly!

Verdict: yummy!  I served the pasta with some chicken sausage and sauteed vegetables but this could easily be served alone.

lovely, simple and perfect pasta….my favorite

Printer Friendly: Linguini with Lemon-Cream Sauce

Peace and On a Roll,


Tomato Sauce with Butter and Fresh Pasta

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Fresh Pasta (I know this pic is horrid!)

Or in Isabelle’s world: Perfection.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love pasta, pasta with butter, fresh pasta, dried pasta, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, any sauce really, little sauce or a whole lotta of sauce, sprinkle of cheese or even a truck load…you catch my drift?

This sauce came back to me from reading Saveur Magazine.  I already knew about this sauce because it has made the rounds of every blog since the dawn of time (that might be an exaggeration!)  Listen, this sauce is a no-brainer.  It works, it’s easy, it’s scrumptious and it’s cheap.  DONE.

YET I can’t leave well enough alone.

First, I agree that the sauce, which requires a 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes, is perfect for year round satisfaction….but come on, fresh tomatoes…do we even have to discuss this?  Fresh tomatoes it is.

Second, the original recipe makes enough for 4 servings…WHAT?  no leftovers!  Double the recipe it is.

Finally, I need fresh pasta for this sauce.  Simple enough.  Fresh pasta it is.


2 pounds fresh tomatoes (peeled and cut into chunks, see reference below on how to)

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (12 tablespoons) (4 Tablespoons less than original recipe)

2 medium onions peeled and halved

1/2 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper

How to:

Put the tomatoes, onions, sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion*, add salt and pepper to taste.

already smells amazing

gorgeous sauce, nicely reduced and perfect for any occasion

Note: At this point I should tell you that I used my immersion blender because it seems the peeps (in fact the two teenage girls!) are “allergic” to tomato chunks.  Do as you wish, I think the sauce is good either way.

* Discard the onions!!!! WHAT!  Do yourself a favor; get a piece of crusty bread, put on a few pieces of onions and live a little!

Note: you could also use 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes

look at this amazing little plate of flavor!

the girls and I shared this little appetizer. AMAZING!

I decided to make Ann Burrell’s fresh pasta from her Cook Like A Rock Star cookbook.  YUMMILICIOUS!  Of course you can use your favorite store-bought fresh pasta or dry or whatever your heart desires 🙂


1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 3/4 cups)

4 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt

1 to 2 tablespoons water or more if needed

How to:

*These are Ann’s how to…I use my dough hook in my Kitchen Aid and my pasta roller also from my Kitchen Aid (see pic)

Put the flour on a clean dry work surface.  Make a hole (this is also called a well) in the center of the flour pile that is about 8 inches wide (bigger is definitely better here).  Crack all of the eggs and the yolk into the hole and add the olive oil, salt and water.

Using a fork beat the eggs together with the olive oil, water and salt.  Using the fork, begin to incorporate the flour into the egg mixture; be careful not to break the sides of the well or the egg mixture will run all over your board and you will have a big mess!  Also, don’t worry about the lumps.  When enough flour has been incorporated into the egg mixture that it will not run all over the place when the sides of the well are broken, begin to use your hands to really get everything well combined.  If the mixture is tight and dry, wet your hands and begin kneading with wet hands.  When the mixture has really come together to a homogeneous mixture, THEN you can start kneading.

Using the heels of your palms, roll the dough to create a very smooth, supple dough.  When done the dough should look VERY smooth and feel almost velvety.  Kneading will usually take from 8 to 10 minutes for an experienced kneader and 10 to 15 for an inexperienced kneader.  This is where the perfect, toothsome texture of your pasta is formed.  Get in there and have fun!

fresh pasta is simply divine!

When the pasta has been kneaded to the perfect consistency, wrap it in plastic and let rest for at least 1 hour.  If using immediately do not refrigerate.  Roll and cut the pasta into desired shape.

that’s honestly just part of the actually mess in my kitchen! It got scary! 🙂

lots of pasta!

Note: In order to peel your tomatoes you will need to boil them, put them in an ice bath and peel them.  You can follow a very helpful visual on here . (

Sorry about the bad pictures of the actual dish, no excuses just tired and late!

Printer Friendly: Tomato Sauce with Butter

Printer Friendly: Fresh Pasta from Ann Burrell

Peace and Perfection,


Heck, here’s another note (because I can) I served my perfect pasta with my favorite rustic bread from Le Creuset, you could read more about it: here

Printer Friendly: Le Creuset Bread

Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna

Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna

I was asked to review this recipe a few weeks ago.  Oddly enough I received 4 or 5 emails in the span of 1 week to review recipes, products and lord knows what.  I have to be honest with you guys; I don’t always care to review stuff because if I don’t like it I somewhat feel bad being brutally honest…yet I remind myself that this is why they contacted me.  I also don’t really care to fill my blog with reviews.  It is just boring to me.  TO ME!  Don’t send hate mail if you like to fill yours with reviews…more power to you!

Here’s the exception: this lasagna.

#1: it is DELICIOUS!

#2: Reader’s Digest Canada asked…my home land, the glorious Northern neighbor to my current “homeland”…how could I say no?  Well, I could have said no…but I said yes, if it had been tasteless or bad I would have not posted about it…turns out, it’s scrumptious!  As you know I have a weakness for anything roasted, which meant that I was already dreaming of this hitting all the right notes in the roasting department!

Here is where you can find this delicious recipe (and more!):  Readers Digest Canada


2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 Asian eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 sweet red peppers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 head garlic, top 1/4 sliced off
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups 1% milk, hot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 cups goat cheese, crumbled (12 oz)
3/4 lb  fusilli or other curly pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

How to:

Combine onions, zucchini, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes in a large bowl.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Spread on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and place on one of the baking sheets.  Roast in a pre­heated 400 degrees F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender and nicely browned.  Unwrap and squeeze garlic out of casing into vegetables.  Reserve.

that’s a LOT of veggies! I ❤ ❤ ❤ roasted vegetables

For béchamel sauce, melt butter in a large sauce­pan.  Whisk in flour and cook gently 2 to 3 minutes but do not brown.  Whisk in hot milk and bring to a boil.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper or more to taste. Season with Worcestershire and Tabasco.  Cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes.  Add goat cheese.  Stir to combine.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just tender.  Drain well.  Toss with vegetables.

To assemble, spread about 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a buttered 9- x 13-in. baking dish.  Spread pasta/vegetable mixture over pan.  Spoon sauce over top.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Oven Ready! Already smells delicious!

Place casserole dish on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven, until bubbling and lightly browned.

Beautiful crust and amazing aromas filling the house.

Review: Matt loved the dish, went back for seconds.  Didn’t even mention the fact that it is a vegetarian dish.  Sunshine and Bear also loved everything but the tomatoes (it was mentioned twice in their “report”!)  I also loved this dish, if I could only say one negative is that in my opinion it is not a “lasagna” but really a baked pasta dish…but I always fuss over such technicalities!  I love all the veggies and the goat cheese is such a great taste in the sauce!

Let’s dig in!

Printer Friendly: Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna

Peace and Be The Exception,


I shared my recipe on this lovely linky party, go check it out:

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Sesame Noodles

I am a recipe hoarder. (not really news…I know)

In order to “lessen” the number of recipes coming into my house and never ever leaving, I decided that I needed to have my sister in law cancel one of the magazine subscriptions she sends me for my birthday.  Although extremely nice and generous to give me such a nice gift, I feel bad because it gets lost amongst all the other magazines and cookbooks I hoard.

This is even more shameful because it is Everyday Food by the amazing Martha Stewart….I know she is not everyone’s cup of tea but she is mine.  On the other hand if you all want to take Sandra Lee for me, go ahead, she is NOT my cup of tea…

*** again do not send me hate mail because I am pro- Martha Stewart and anti- Sandra Lee & Oprah Winfrey (I had to throw that out there just for kicks…I love to stir things up) Take them both they can be yours 😉

I have kept all my Everyday Food little magazines and I have decided that I should take each one and select a meal or recipe, make it and share it with you guys…the good, the bad and possibly the ugly!

Today’s selection comes from April 2005 #21

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Sesame Noodles

Sweet & Sour Chicken


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

4 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 bell peppers (green, red, yellow, or a combination), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup broccoli cut into bite size (not in original recipe)

8 scallions, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts separated

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

How to:

In a large bowl, toss chicken with 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and cornstarch, salt, and pepper.  In another bowl, combine remaining soy sauce and cornstarch, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, and 1/2 cup water; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high.  Cook half the chicken, turning occasionally, until browned and almost cooked through, 4 minutes; remove.  Cook the remaining chicken in another tablespoon oil; remove.

Add remaining oil to the pan.  Add peppers, white parts of scallions, broccoli and garlic; cook over medium-high, stirring, until peppers are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Whisk soy sauce mixture; add to pan.  Return chicken; add scallion greens.  Cook, stirring, until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Serve immediately over sesame noodles (or rice if you prefer)

Sweet & Sour Chicken (and a whole lot of it!)

Sesame Noodles


Coarse salt

1 pound thin spaghetti

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably natural

1 to 2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 English cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

How to:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions.  Drain, and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, make peanut sauce: In a blender or food processor, blend peanut butter, garlic, pepper flakes, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil until smooth. (I did this by hand because I like trouble!)

Cut cucumber crosswise into thirds; cut each piece lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices.  Stack slices; cut lengthwise into very thin strips.  Transfer pasta to a large bowl; toss with sauce, cucumber, and carrots.  Serve at room temperature.

Sesame Noodles (pardon the messy bowl and odd picture!)

You can find these lovely recipes and more: here

Verdict: Delicious but not quite spicy enough for Mr. Man and I, both kids loved everything.  It does make a LOT so keep that in mind, you may want to cut recipe in half!  I didn’t because I also hoard food…or so it seems 😉

Lots of veggies, pretty colors and much better for you than take out!

Lots of veggies, pretty colors and much better for you than take out!

Printer Friendly Sweet & Sour Chicken: Sweet & Sour Chicken

Printer Friendly Sesame Noodles: Sesame Noodles

Peace and Hoarding is BAD!


Recipe shared on Linky Party, go check it out:


Meatless Day: Roasted Veggies Pesto Pasta

It’s not always easy.  Is it worth the effort, the planning ahead and the prep?  I’d like to think so.  What am I talking about?  Meatless Monday (or any day) of course.  I don’t know if you heard but it is said that we as citizens of this lovely world should do at least one day a week without any meat and it would change our world.  GASP…just one lonely day?  Isn’t that just awesome?  Or not.  Here’s the reality: kids, life, work, play, drink, sleep….repeat…. 🙂

Don’t worry I am just kidding.  There really shouldn’t be any excuses for at least trying to go meatless for one day.  There are so many wonderful recipes out there and you could even just order a pizza with veggies and cheese and I bet you wouldn’t even flinch!

Here’s my “go to” meatless meal.  It’s fairly cheap, cheerful and will actually fill up even the hungriest teenagers around!

Roasted Veggies and Pesto Pasta


1 lb asparagus cut into 2-inch sticks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch stick

1 zucchini, cut into 2-inch sticks (are you getting the idea?)

1 green pepper cut into…blah blah blah

1 red pepper, you know the drill

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper (or not)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 to 1 1/2 cups basil pesto (homemade or favorite store bought) *see below for recipe

1 pound pasta, I like capellini, linguini or spaghetti for this but use what you have or like

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Set aside.

Once you have cut and prepped all your veggies into the same 2-inch size (for even cooking) toss the veggies with your salt, pepper and olive oil.  Lay your vegetables on your prepared sheet and put in your preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir things up.  Put back in oven for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how soft your team likes their veggies)

vegetables ready to go

all roasted!

Meanwhile back at the ranch (!) cook your pasta al dente (meaning not mushy/with a little bite to it).  Once your pasta is cooked toss it with your pesto and roasted veggies.  Serve in a large platter (or not) and let everyone help themselves.  Top with Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper and fresh chopped basil.

So pretty and filled with amazing flavors

Easy Classic Pesto:

4 cups packed basil leaves

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

5-6 garlic cloves roughly chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

How to:

Put everything in your food processor and give it your best shot! 🙂

Printer friendly: Roasted Veggies and Pesto Pasta

Printer Friendly: Classic Pesto

Peace and Go topless….ooops I mean meatless 😉


Spaghetti Bolognese

I have a HUGE weakness for Spaghetti Sauces.  When I was a young girl (sounds like the beginning of a song doesn’t it?)  I would walk to my Grandma’s house for lunch.  My elementary school was a 10 minute walk and I always loved having her all to myself for lunch.  My grandpa worked and wouldn’t come home for lunch, which meant my grandma and I would have some alone time.  As some of you know from my previous post my grandma passed away this past Wednesday May 30.  So tonight I decided to make a delicious bolognese sauce in her honor.  My grandma would make me spaghetti and bolognese sauce pretty much every day I would have lunch with her….even if I would be there 5 days in a row she still would make it for me.  That’s the kind of grandma she was and that’s the kind of grandma I want to be.

I found this delicious recipe in a book called: The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry.  Lots of wonderful recipes along with a sweet story by writer: Kathleen Flinn.  I know some of you have already seen this recipe and probably made it….it doesn’t lessen how tasty and fabulous it is.  Make it again, maybe this time with someone that has filled your life with loving memories 🙂

Bolognese Sauce & Rigatoni (my fave…today!)


2 large onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 bottle dry red wine (go for it….trust me you will love every single bite of this amazing dish!)

4 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon Italian herbs

1 cup heavy cream

Salt & Pepper to taste, at least 1/4 teaspoon of each

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or basil (optional) I usually put both

1 pound spaghetti, cooked & drained (or any pasta you like)

Parmesan, grated

How to:

In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, cook the onions in olive oil over medium heat until softened.  Stir in the garlic, add the beef, and stir until the meat cooks through and separates into crumbly pieces.  Add the wine and turn the heat up so that the wine bubbles continuously.  Reduces by about half.  Skim off any gray foam.  Add the tomato paste and stir.  Cover and turn the heat down very low, and cook for a minimum of two hours and up to four hours. Stir from time to time, scraping the bottom to ensure that nothing sticks to it or burns.  Shortly before serving, stir in the cream and Italian herbs.  Taste, and then add salt and pepper.  Let simmer uncovered another ten minutes.  Taste again, adjusting seasonings as necessary, and stir in the parsley.  Serve with pasta, sprinkled with Parmesan.

just added the wine: time to reduce

nicely reduced and ready for more flavors

ready for the lovely pasta 🙂

Spaghetti/Rigatoni or any “noddleli” Bolognese 🙂

Note; This sauce may surprise a few by the fact that it doesn’t contain tomatoes but it is a true bolognese: meat sauce.  Give it a try you will be amazed at the wonderful flavor combination.

Another note: The sauce is absolutely amazing as a “pizza sauce” completely different than a tomato sauce but scrumptious nonetheless.

Printer Friendly: Bolognese Sauce

Peace and Love,


I shared my recipe here as well, please go check it out: