BLT Pasta


Okay…not exactly a BLT. I used ham instead of bacon and the basil is my lettuce. This is a simple, clean, easy, and yummy dish.One of those “threw it together with what was left in the fridge” kind of meals that turned out really good!

Pretty straight forward.

Whole wheat pasta
Drizzle of olive oil
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 ham steak, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh mozzarella, cubed
handful or more of basil. chopped
Salt and pepper.

Make pasta. In a separate pan, heat 1 T. olive oil. Add ham, tomatoes and garlic. Cook on medium for 3 minutes. Toss pasta in. Top with mozzarella, basil and salt and pepper. Serve.


Macaroni and Cheese with Collard Greens and Bacon

IMAG0388 (2)Recipe adapted from Marcus Samuelson’s original recipe as found from marcus-off-duty.html

This is indulgent but feels a little better since it has something green in it. Truthfully, I think it would be just as good to simply add steamed collard greens and cooked bacon into your best macaroni and cheese recipe.



Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Spinach


This is a delicious gluten-free pasta option and its packed with flavor. Definitely should make this for company.

Spaghetti Squash
1-2 chicken sausage (Italian spicy, Parmesan, whichever), sliced or removed from casing.
3 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Cut squash in half length-wise. Scoop out and discard seeds and pulp. Place squash, open side up, on a pan and bake in the oven at 350 for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool enough so you can touch it. Using a fork, scrape the squash to get the spaghetti.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage until done. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add spinach. Cook until wilted. Add spaghetti squash and stir to combine. Serve warm and top with Parmesan cheese.

Veggie Lasagna with Spinach Sauce


This is one of my favorite discoveries of the summer.  This was a great way to use up all the garden vegetables and greens. This dish is packed with flavor. The lasagna and/or the sauce can be easily frozen for another day.

*The picture above is of Veggie Spaghetti Pie ( I didn’t have lasagna noodles that day)

Yields: 8 X 8 in. casserole dish

1 zucchini, cubed
1 yellow squash,cubed
1/2 eggplant, cubed
1 pint mushrooms, quartered
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or any tomatoes! I imagine sun dried tomatoes would be great in this too!)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

lasagna noodles (cook as directed or us the “no-boil” noodles)
mozzarella cheese

3 cups spinach or kale (steamed and drained)
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350. In a large sauce pan, cook onion and eggplant  1-2 T. olive oil. Cook about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, squash, mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes. Cook another 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cook white sauce by melting the butter in a small sauce pan. Once melted, quickly stir in flour till combine. With a wire whisk (or spoon), slowly pour in milk while constantly stirring. Once all the milk is added, slowly turn up the heat, while stirring. Once the sauce thickens/boils, turn it off. Add Parmesan, salt and pepper. Pour spinach or kale into a food processor, add the white sauce and blend.

To assemble the lasagna, place  a small amount of the sauce at the bottom of the pan. Add a dash of milk to thin and coat bottom. Layer: noodles, veggies, sauce, cheese, noodles, veggies, sauce, cheese, noodles, veggies, cheese.



Sausage and Spinach Ziti


This is a healthy and comforting pasta dish. It’s easy to throw in the really healthy veggies like zucchini and spinach because they are coated in delicious sauce.

1/2 lb. Ziti noodles, cooked
2 chicken sausage links (I like hot, but basil, Parmesan, or sweet italian would work great too), cooked through and sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh loose spinach, roughly chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup jarred tomato sauce
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
shredded mozzarella, optional

In a large sauce pan, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add onions and zucchini and saute for about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add spinach and tomatoes. Stir until spinach is wilted. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Add the sausage and ricotta cheese and stir until combine.  Fold in the noodles.

Pour pasta mixture into an 8 X 8 in. casserole dish. Top with mozzarella and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until bubbling.

Lobster Pappardelle

pre-christmas 2012 225

From Cooking Light’s Creamy Lobster Pappardelle:

I liked this pasta dish. I made it for my family over the holidays and people loved the lobster. I substituted half and half and reduced the amount of olive oil.  This drastically reduced the fat. A heads up: this dish really isn’t creamy. The sauce is very subtle, so you get to enjoy the flavors of the lobster and the pasta.


Spaghetti Squash Bolognese and Rao’s Tomato Sauce recently did a taste test for best sauce: . The results voted Rao’s Homemade Tomato Basil sauce the winner! So, to give it a test taste myself and because it was on sale for $6.99 (as if that is a sale for tomato sauce), I tried it in my Spaghetti Squash Bolognese.

The sauce is not a very low-fat sauce, but it is very good and something I would buy again to dress up my spaghetti. Spaghetti squash is a great way to eat italian without all the carbs. It tastes different, but quite possibly better. BTW…great way to eat a gluten-free italian meal! Seriously though, if you haven’t had spaghetti squash like this, it is a must try!

1 spaghetti squash (serves 4-5 people…goes further than it appears)
1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 jar Rao’s tomato sauce
2 zucchini’s, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper
handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped or torn.

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise (its hard! be careful and maybe ask someone really strong to help!).  Remove the seeds and pulp. Place both halves, flesh-side up on a cookie sheet. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Meanwhile begin sauce (see below). When squash is done, remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a fork, scrape inside of squash, it looks like spaghetti! Set aside until sauce is finished.

Sauce: Brown onions, zucchini and turkey. Add salt and pepper. Add tomato sauce and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes for flavors to blend. Add squash and stir to combine. Serve warm.

Meat Stuffed Cannelloni

I was thinking about making stuffed shells, but decided to make this instead since I had these no-boil canneloni noodles from Whole Foods. The dish was comforting like lasagna. Jeff and I ate almost the whole pan last night. I really enjoyed the simple sauce on it!

lb. ground turkey
3 slices prosciutto, cubed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
half container of fat-free ricotta cheese
1 egg beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Tomato sauce: 1 can whole tomatoes, 2 t. tomato paste, 1/4 c. dry white wine (simmer for 20 minutes and cook down by almost half, crush up the whole tomatoes and season with salt)
cannelloni noodles

Start by making the filling. Saute turkey, prosciutto, onions and garlic. Cook until meat and onions are cooked, about 8 minutes.  Meanwhile, place ricotta, egg and about 1/4 c. mozzarella in a medium bowl. Add meat mixture and stir. Set aside.

Make tomato sauce (see above)

Assemble: Pour enough tomato sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish (8 by 8) to make it wet. Stuff canneloni noodles with filling and lay on the casserole dish in a single layer, don’t stack. Top with the remaining tomato sauce (all of it) and then the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Finish on the top rack, in the broiler for 2 minutes to toast up the cheese. Let it rest for about 4-5 minutes before serving.

Pork Ragu

This is exactly Sandra Lee’s Pork Ragu over Penne recipe:

This is an easy crock pot meal:) Shredded pork on pasta is amazing and a must try if you haven’t tried it. This recipe calls for tomato paste and diced tomatoes which gives the broth a slight tomato flavor, but it isn’t tomato saucy. The broth is different from typical pasta sauces but its delicious and packed with flavor from stewing for hours:) I loved this recipe, especially for company when you don’t have time to cook! This would also be a great meal to give to someone.


Meat Sauce with Zucchini

Jeff was out for the night so in an effort to still eat well and to clean out the refrigerator a bit, I made this quick meat sauce with zucchini. I love zucchini in my pasta! This dish turned out awesome and I’ll definitely make it for whole family next time.

Whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 lb. ground turkey
1 zucchini, slice in half length-wise and then again
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup Rustico jar tomato sauce (Trader Joes)
A few splashes of dry red wine
salt and pepper
fresh basil, chopped

Make pasta according to the directions on the box. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 T. olive oil. Add onions, turkey, and garlic. Cook until onion is tender and meat is browned.  Add zucchini, salt and pepper and a little bit of basil; cook another 5 minutes. Add red wine. Cook for 2 minutes. Add sauce and cook for 4 more minutes. Serve sauce over pasta. Top with fresh basil.