Sausage Bowtie Pasta

March 20, 2010 at 2:01 am | Posted in pasta, wine | Leave a comment

I am kind of addicted to  There are so many awesome recipes and I love that I can read tons of reviews.  I also love that I can search by ingredients – for example, if I have a ton of leftover buttermilk, I can type in buttermilk and recipes come up that use it.  Fabulous! 

I found this recipe while looking in the “healthy” recipes section and I knew I had to make it.  I am a pasta fanatic so anytime I can healthy pasta up I am there!  I adapted this recipe to make it more to our liking – seemed like a little too much meat for me with the way it is on the site.  Chicken and sausage?  Meh, not for me.  I would do either or.  The Pig likes sausage so I went with that for my first attempt. 


  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked farfalle pasta
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I omitted)
  • 1 pound spicy italian turkey sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I used almost an entire 28 oz can as I like mine a little more saucy)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A dash of crushed red pepper

I never use anything but multi-grain or whole grain pastas – I don’t even notice the difference!


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Wash chicken breasts and cut into large bite size pieces. Remove casing from sausage and cut into large pieces. In a large, deep skillet over medium low heat, put oil and garlic and saute to flavor oil. Remove garlic from oil.
  3. Add chicken and sausage to skillet and brown both lightly until they are opaque. Add the tomatoes and the wine. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season sauce mixture with basil, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked, drained pasta to the skillet mixture. Toss and serve.

Pig Rating:  The Pig really likes this one!  He loves sausage and pasta so this is a good one for him.  I have made it twice and he loves it every time and gobbles up the leftovers.  Score!

Mrs. Pig Rating:  This one is really easy and as far as a pasta dish is concerned, not too terribly bad for you.   The leftovers warm up well which is great for our busy schedules.  This is definitely now in our rotation!


Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

June 11, 2009 at 12:37 am | Posted in Chicken, pasta | 1 Comment

I absolutely love Italian food as you know.  Probably a little too much!  Chicken Parmesan is one of my favorite classics – how can you go wrong with pasta, gooey cheese, chicken, and yummy sauce?  You really can’t.  I have made chicken parmesan before with a very basic recipe but I wanted to try another one as the old one was good but I wanted something a little better.  I found this recipe on Good Things Catered, one of my favorite blogs and figured we would give it a whirl. 

Recipe from Good Things Catered

4 large chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.)
1 egg (you could use egg beaters to make it a little healthier if you wanted)
1/2 c. milk
2 c. bread crumbs
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 c.pomodoro sauce ((make your own, defrost what you have or store bought is just as delicious)
1 1/2 c. shredded fresh mozzarella 

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-In a shallow dish mix together egg and milk.
-In separate shallow dish mix together bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, and salt.
-Rinse and pat chicken breasts dry.
-Pound to tenderize chicken breasts to about 1 inch thickness throughout
-Preheat olive oil in a oven proof skillet over medium heat.
-Dip chicken breasts into egg/milk mixture and then cover in breadcrumb mixture.
-Place coated chicken breast in hot oil and saute each side until lightly browned (about 1 minute per side).
-Place skillet directly into oven.
-When internal temperature of chicken reaches 160 degrees, carefully remove pan from oven and place a spoon full of sauce and 1/4 of the cheese on top of each.
-Place skillet back into the oven and bake until internal temperate reaches 170 degrees (about 15 minutes total)
-Remove from oven and serve on top of pasta.

Pig Rating:  The Pig isn’t as huge of a fan of chicken parmesan as me, but he still liked this one pretty well.  He cleaned his plate so it wasn’t too bad right?  🙂

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I thought this was a really easy and yummy recipe.  A good comfort food at least in my book.  This is the recipe I will use from now on when making chicken parmesan for sure!!  I think the kids might even attempt this one…

“World’s Best Lasagna”

December 1, 2008 at 1:08 am | Posted in Cheese, pasta, sauce, slow cooker, Turkey | 2 Comments

Italian food is my absolute favorite.  I could eat it every single day.  I probably wouldn’t be a size 4 if I did that though huh?  There are definitely times when I splurge on something that sounds amazing and I don’t care how many calories are in it.  I have seen this recipe on for “World’s Best Lasagna” for awhile now but I never got around to making it.  I always just kind of throw a bunch of stuff together normally when I make lasagna and it is always good but I wanted to try something new.  Last weekend we decorated the Christmas tree and I wanted something yummy and comfort food like for the cold evening so I decided to make this finally. 

Ingredients (Don’t be scared off by the long list…)

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese (I omitted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a Dutch oven (I used my crock pot as I don’t have a dutch oven…hoping for one for Christmas!!), cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Pig Rating:  The Pig liked this but he said it was almost too sweet for him.  He said he likes the other lasagna that I make better.  He ate leftovers many times though so it must not have been TOO bad…  🙂

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I thought this was excellent!  I loved the sauce – it absolutely made the dish.  This is something that I will definitely make again – would be especially good for a carry in dinner!

Little Pig’s Rating:  Sheridan loved this!  She kept saying how good it was and she had seconds.  YAY for her finally starting to try new things!!!  Will liked it as well.  His favorite thing of mine is baked ziti though so he still likes that better.  🙂

Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

October 27, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Chicken, pasta | 4 Comments

One of my favorite chefs on the Food Network is Giada.  I adore her!  All of her food always sounds so yummy to me.  I love Italian food so I love her stuff.  I have been wanting to make this Italian Baked chicken and pastina for quite some time but kept forgetting about it.  I wanted something kind of easy for a Friday night dinner that I thought the kids would like, or at the very least try so I thought this looked like a good candidate.  One of their favorites is baked ziti and this was similar enough I thought. 

Recipe from Food Network


1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta – I used wheels)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes

Pig Rating:  The Pig thought this one was pretty good but he says he likes the baked ziti way better.  He said it reminded him of goulash – is that how you spell that?!  I am not even sure what that is…

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I really enjoyed this one.  It was light for a pasta dish and I will definitely make this again when the Pig is traveling.  I think it will make great leftovers as well!

Little Pig Ratings:  The little  pigs at least tried this which is what I want them to do – try everything.  Sheridan liked it okay but she didn’t like the chicke and tomatoes.  She basically ate the pasta.  LOL  The  littlest pig just ate salad.  He wasn’t a fan.  Bah. 


Angel Hair Pasta with Homemade Pesto

October 19, 2008 at 11:42 pm | Posted in pasta, Seasonings & Sauces | Leave a comment

I am a little bit behind in posting this, so I apologize.  This is one of the dishes that I made for my dinner party that I had recently (you know – the one where I wore my wedding dress?  Come on, that has now become legendary…ha!).  This is another recipe from my friend Andrea’s cooking class.  I don’t have the exact source, so I apologize for that, but she made this at her Tuscan class and I knew that I HAD to make it.  I love pesto and I had never made it homemade before so I figured now was a great time to try it out.  I wanted to try it before I served it to my guests so I spread some on a Triscuit cracker.  It didn’t disappoint even on a cracker!!! PS – this was my first time buying “expensive” cheese.  Who knew Parmesian -Reggiano  cost so much?!?  HA HA!

Recipe from Andrea:


1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 cup), finely grated
1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (packed) cups fresh basil (I used a little less than this as I ran out…still really good though!)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 to 6 quarts water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pound angel hair
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish


1.  For the Pesto:  Combine the gralis, pine nuts, cheese, salt and pepper in the work bowl of a food processor; pulse to make a paste.  Add the basil, and pulse to combine.  With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil through the feed tube until it forms a smooth paste.
2.  Spoon the pesto into a storage container; press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pesto, then cover the container with a lid.  Place in refrigerator until needed.  Just before serving, stir to recombine and taste. (I made this the night before the dinner party to save on time and it was still fantastic)
3.  For the Pasta:  Place 4 – 6 quarts of water in an 8-quart stock pot.  Place over high heat and bring to a boil.  When the water begins to boil, add the kosher salt and bring back to the boil.  Add the pasta and immediately stir to separate the individual pieces.  The water should return to a boil very quickly. 
4.  Cook just until al dente.  Toss the pasta with the pesto, adding 1 tablespoon of pasta water at a time as needed to moisten. (You may not need to add pasta water at all).
5.  Distribute the pasta between four dishes.  Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

Mrs. Pig Rating:  YUUUUM!  This was so good – if you like pesto.  I really love it so I enjoyed this.  This recipe makes a lot though – probably enough for 6-8 people.  I had a ton leftover, but I will definitely make this one again!

My First “Dinner Party”

October 13, 2008 at 12:56 am | Posted in appetizer, Cakes, Cheese, Dessert, Fun, Menus, pasta, pizza, wine | 11 Comments

I use the term “dinner party” loosely because really it was me and two of my awesome co-workers who also happen to be very good friends of mine.  I decided I wanted to have them over for dinner so we turned it into a fun event – we all dressed up and made it a true “girls night” and had waaaaaay too much to drink.  And by that I mean that I had a bottle and a half of wine.  On a Thursday night.  I felt miserable on Friday.  Stupid, stupid.  HOwever, we had an absolute blast!!!  We are already planning our next one – Asian inspired food with a prom night theme…HA!

Here was my menu:


Bruschetta with Fresh Marinated Mozzarella

Garlic Bread
Port Wine Cheese Ball with crackers

Stuffed Shells
Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Pesto (recipe to follow)
Margherita Pizza (recipe to follow)

Chocolate Lasagna
Assorted Milano cookies (I couldn’t help it…I adore them!!!)


Pinot Grigio


Oh yeah, did I mention that I wore my wedding dress?  Yeah, I drink wine in it often so I decided it would be a riot to answer the door in it with an apron on.  My friends loved it!  HA!  That’s right.  I’m insane.  You know you love me.  : )

Spicy Garlic Herbed Pasta

October 6, 2008 at 2:26 am | Posted in Chicken, pasta | 1 Comment

I saw this recipe on Katie’s blog (I know, surprise…I am obsessed with her blog, what can I say?!  She knows I’m not stalking her, it’s okay…HA!) and I knew I wanted to try it.  I originally was going to try it as a side dish to a chicken recipe but I then decided to try to mix chicken in with is somehow.  So I kind of just added to this recipe.  I made the pasta just as Katie’s blog says to, but I added some chicken.  Basically all I did was cut up chicken breast into chunks and cook them in the exact same oils, herbs, etc. as the pasta was cooked in, then I mixed the chicken chunks with the pasta for a meal. 

From Katie’s Blog:

1 lb pasta of choice (I used rotini)
2 tsp olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/8 c. fresh thyme, minced
juice 1/2 lemon

-Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil.
-Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, according to package instructions.
-Reserve 1 c. pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.
-Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.
-Add garlic to skillet and cook until beginning to brown, about 1 minute.
-Add red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.
-Add butter to skillet, stirring until melted, and stir in herbs and lemon juice.
-Remove skillet from heat.
-Toss pasta well in large bowl, adding some of reserved cooking water if necessary to keep moist.

Pig Rating:  The pig wasn’t a HUGE fan of this, but he isn’t normally a fan of pasta without a cream sauce.  He isn’t as concerned about bathing suits and jeans looking good as me apparently!  HA! 

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I really enjoyed this one.  Adding the chicken really made this a yummy dish!  One note – I wouldn’t add the red pepper flakes to the chicken mixture – it was REALLY spice having it in both that and the pasta!  : )  I will definitely make this again for me – likely when Tommy is traveling sometime!

Penne and Chicken Tenderloins with Spiced Tomato Sauce

September 24, 2008 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Chicken, pasta | 1 Comment

My lovely friend Cheyenne reminded me that it’s been awhile since I updated my blog so I figured that I had better oblige her a bit here.  : )  I made this a couple of weeks ago but am just now getting around to posting it.  But never fear…fall baking season is upon us and I have tons of recipes printed out to start baking this weekend.  I love fall baking – pumpkin, apples…mmm….I can’t wait!  I will also be hosting a very small dinner party (think 3 people) in about two weeks so lots of yummy recipes will come out of that as well. 

This is a Cooking Light recipe – I’ve been really trying to utilize their website lately for dinner recipes since we are always trying to find yummy, healthy things.  Pasta and chicken are nearly always winners in my book! 

From:  Cooking Light, April 2006

Picture from my kitchen (did the lack of natural light give it away?!  LOL)

Ingredients (I halved everything as it was just Tommy and I)

  • 1  teaspoon  ground fennel seed
  • 1  teaspoon  dried basil
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  pound  chicken breast tenders, cut into (1-inch) pieces (I used grilled chicken breast instead of breast tenders)
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4  cups  canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  cup  white wine
  • 8  ounces  uncooked penne (I used wheat pasta)
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh basil



Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; rub over chicken.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat; set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds or until garlic is soft. Add tomatoes and wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken, and simmer 5 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Toss pasta with sauce in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Pig Rating:  The pig liked this one.  He said it wasn’t as good as something like baked ziti, but still pretty good for a somewhat healthy pasta recipe.  He ate it the next day too so it must have not been too bad.  : )

Mrs. Pig Rating:  This was pretty yummy!  I will definitely make this again.  Pretty easy and lots of flavor.  Great weeknight dinner recipe!

Angel Hair Pasta Salad

August 25, 2008 at 11:54 pm | Posted in pasta, salads, Yummy Veggies | 2 Comments

I cannot tell you how much I adore the blog of My Kitchen Cafe.  She always has such great, tried and true recipes and she has kids which helps me out a lot as I’m always looking for variety for my little picky ones.  : )  However, tonight, my husband is traveling and I am home alone so I picked something that no one in the house would like other than me!  Fun to do that every now and again!

Copied from My Kitchen Cafe (I halved this since it is just me – that is enough for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow just to give you an idea of how much this one makes)


1 pound angel hair pasta (I used wheat angel hair)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (I used light)
2-3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 4 oz. package pine nuts, lightly toasted (you can do this over medium-low heat in a non-stick skillet) (I omitted these…just forgot to buy them)
Coarse salt


Boil water for pasta. When water starts boiling, add a handful of rock salt (i.e. ice cream salt). Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain pasta and place in serving bowl. While pasta is boiling, saute garlic in olive oil until sizzling and lightly browned (don’t burn the garlic or it will taste bitter). Pour garlic and olive oil over warm pasta and toss. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so (to taste) of coarse salt over the noodles and add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Toss again. Let noodles cool slightly. Right before serving, top noodles with diced tomatoes, pine nuts, torn basil and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Very lightly toss, being careful not to let all the toppings go to the bottom. Serve.

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I am pretty sure that I could eat this until I was sick.  Oh wait.  I think I just did.  Seriously, this is really easy and really great.  I halved the recipe for just me but I think I would put in the full amount of tomatoes, but that is just me.  I love tomatoes.  I used on the vine for the recipe.  I will be making this one over and over again.  Make this.  NOW.

Stuffed Shells

July 9, 2008 at 1:01 am | Posted in pasta, Turkey | 3 Comments

We love Italian food.  I think we could live on that and Mexican food easily.  Of course, my waistline wouldn’t be as small so I try to limit our intake of both types.  Such a shame that everything that tastes SO good is SO bad for you!  I have been wanting to make these stuffed shells for quite some time so last week I decided to just do it and and try to make it as healthy as possible.  I found this recipe from Good Things Catered whose blog I worship.  She is fabulous.  Period.  Katie, if you are reading this, picture me bowing at your feet.  : ) 

Here is the recipe copied from Katie’s blog – my changes in red


1 box large pasta shells (we prefer Barilla if store-bought)
1.5 – 2 lb. ground beef, turkey, or chicken (I used ground turkey)
4 c. pre-made or 1 jar store bought pasta sauce
4 c. mozzerella cheese, shredded
1 small sweet onion, diced
8 oz. small white mushrooms, quartered
1 c. spinach, blanched and chopped (I omitted)
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp. parsley, minced
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (I omitted…not a fan of nutmeg outside of baked goods)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 egg


-Bring about 8 c. water to a boil and cook shells to al dente according to package instructions, reserving 1/8 cup pasta water.
-While the pasta is cooking, place ground meat in a hot pan to brown.
-Remove meat from pan and over medium-high heat cook onions until translucent (about 5 min).
-Add mushrooms to begin to brown (about 2 min).
-Add garlic and cook until just fragrant (about 30 sec).
-Stiring constantly add reserved pasta water to pan to release all flavor/brown bits from bottom of pan.
-Add meat back to the pan along with spinach and cook 3 min additional to reduce liquid.
-Remove from pan and let cool completely.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray the bottoom of a large baking dish with cooking spray and spread 1 c. sauce on bottom to coat evenly.
-Once meat mixture is cooled completely, add parsley, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and egg and mix to combine completely.
-Add 3 c. mozzerella and combine.
-Stuff each shell with as much as it can hold and place into baking dish.
-Once all shells are stuffed and set in pan, spoon extra sauce on top of each shell.
-Cover with foil and place in oven to cook for 30 mins.
-Remove foil, sprikle remaining 1 c. of mozzerella evenly over each shell and place back into oven, uncovered to cook for 5 min.
-Remove from oven and serve!!

Pig Rating:  The big liked these a lot!  He is normally not a fan of jar sauce but with it mixed in with everything in this recipe he thought these were definitely a keeper.

Mrs. PIg Rating:  You can’t go wrong with pasta and sauce with me.  Period.  This was so yummy and it’s pretty if you ever want to impress.  : )

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