Italian Sausage Bake

Ive had this recipe saved for a little while. I found it on the blog, Fake Ginger. Ive made just a few small changes. The next time I make this, Ill probably add some bell peppers and some baby bella mushrooms. Feel free to experiment!
This meal is a great weeknight meal thats actually pretty figure friendly. It tastes like you’ve been cooking all day. It has a really rich, hearty flavor. The little garlic breads on top are a MUST!


3/4 lb rotini pasta

1 lb italian turkey sausage, removed from casings

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

2 tbsp italian seasoning blend

1 ladle starchy cooking water from pasta

salt and pepper

1 cup shredded italian blend cheese

1 french baguette

3 tbsp butter

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp italian seasoning blend


Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water heavily and cook pasta to al dente. Before you drain the pasta, be sure to reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water for sauce.

In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add turkey sausage, onion, and garlic cloves to pan and cook until turkey is fully cooked. Pour in tomato sauce and add in 2 tbsp italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and starchy cooking water. Stir to combine. Turn off heat. Add mozzarella to turkey mixture and stir. Drain pasta and add to sauce.

Spray 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour pasta and sauce into pan. Slice baguette into thin slices.

In small bowl, combine the butter, 2 cloves garlic, and 1 tsp italian seasoning. Spread garlic butter on each bread slice. Arrange on top of pasta. Bake 10 mins. 


French Style Mac-N- Cheese & A Giveaway!

Mac and cheese is a food that I ate lots of growing up. It was never any type of gourmet style mac and cheese though, just a certain blue box version that had a neon colored cheese powder with it. As Ive gotten older and my palette has changed, that kind of mac and cheese really doesnt appeal to me very much anymore. Dont get me wrong though, occasionally Ill still have a small portion with my dinner when Jeremy asks for it.


1 lb penne pasta

1 clove garlic, peeled and halved

5 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

salt and pepper

pinch of nutmeg

1 1/2 cups gruyere cheese, shredded

1/3 lb brie cheese, rind removed, cut into chunks

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp thyme leaves plus additional for garnish

big chunk of a french baguette

handful of italian parsley, roughly chopped


Preheat broiler.

Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil. Heavily salt the water. Drop pasta and cook to al dente.

Rub inside of of saucepot with cut sides of garlic. Heat pot over med heat. Melt in 3 tbsp butter. Stir in flour and cook out 1 min. Whisk in milk and cook to thicken. Season sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in cheese to melt. Add in mustard and thyme leaves. Remove from heat.

Drain pasta and put it back in hot pot. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and toss to combine.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in microwave. In food processor, pulse baguette until you get some chunky breadcrumbs. Toss breadcrumbs with butter and parsley.

Place pasta in casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs and a sprinke of thyme leaves. Place mac and cheese under broiler for about 2 mins.


Now, onto my giveaway. This will be my first one and Im so excited! This isnt a food related giveaway though. Not long ago I ordered some stuff from Forever21 and accidentally ordered 2 of the exact same beret so Im passing along the extra one to one lucky reader! I even made a french style meal to set the mood! LOL  Even if this isnt your style, you can always enter and give it away to someone for Christmas!

To enter this giveaway leave me a comment  by Friday Nov. 13  answering this question:

What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving???

The winner will be decided by Good Luck!!!


Lasagna with homemade sauce

Its been chilly and rainy here today so I thought making a huge pan of homemade lasagna would fit the bill perfectly. I decided I was gonna make homemade sauce to use in this instead of sauce from a jar. I adapted the sauce recipe from Amy’s over at the petite filet blog.  I served this with Rachael Rays green gobble ems!


1 box no boil lasagna noodles

1 15 oz. container cottage cheese- I used fat free

1 small bag of shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

dried herbs- 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp basil, salt and pepper


1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 med onion, diced

5 very large cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. ground beef

dried herbs- 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp garlic powder

fresh herbs-big handful flat leaf italian parsley, about 15 leaves fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper

2 tbsp evoo


In large soup pot, heat evoo. Add in ground beef and brown. Add in onion and cook about 4 mins. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, dried and fresh herbs, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook on low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350.

In med. bowl, combine cottage cheese with egg, 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp basil, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp parm cheese.

Now its time to arrange the lasagna.

Spoon about 3/4 cup sauce in bottom of 13×9 pan. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread some of the cottage cheese mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with a little mozzarella and some parmesan. Spoon on some more sauce.  Repeat 2 more times. Top with remaining 3 lasagna noodles. Spread remaining meat sauce over pasta.  Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 35 mins. Remove foil and bake 15 more mins to brown.


Brown Butter Ravioli with Pumpkin

This meal is knock your socks off good. Its a very fancy looking meal that highlights some of the best flavors of fall.


1 2lb sugar pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1 in. cubes

3 tbsp evoo

salt and pepper


1/3 lb pancetta, diced- I used bacon

1 1/2 lb fresh cheese ravioli

6 tbsp butter

20 fresh sage leaves

parmigiano reggiano cheese

balsamic drizzle-recipe below


Preheat oven to 400.

Arrange pumpkin cubes on large cookie sheet and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of evoo. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Roast 15 mins. Turn. Roast additional 15 mins.

After you turn the pumpkin, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat a tbsp of evoo in small skillet. Add in bacon or pancetta and cook until crispy. Drain on paper towels and wipe skillet clean.  Drop pasta and cook 5 mins.

Melt butter in skillet. Add in sage leaves and crisp, about 2-3 mins. Reserve crisped sage.  Reduce heat and brown the butter. This doesnt take long, about 3-5 mins. Drain pasta and toss with butter.

In large serving plate, gently toss together the pumpkin and ravioli. Top with parm cheese, crumbled sage leaves, and balsamic drizzle.

Recipe for balsamic drizzle:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

Combine vinegar and sugar in small saucepan and cook about 20 mins or until thick.


Homemade Pasta with Bolognese

I finally ventured into the world of making homemade pasta. I must admit, it was harder than I thought it would be. I saw this on the Pioneer Womans blog and it looked so easy. Well it is, until you start rolling the dough. I dont have a pasta maker so I had to roll the crap out of the dough and it did take some time. My arms are sore and very tired from all the rolling!  It was worth it though. I also made bolognese sauce and breadsticks to go along with it.


2 cups flour

4 eggs


Lightly flour large work surface.  Lay out the 2 cups of flour. Make well in the center of the flour and add eggs. Lightly combine with fingertips until combined. Knead, knead, knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky. Let the dough rest on the counter for about 15 mins or so. Using rolling pin, roll the dough out as thin as you can possibly get it. This did take some time but I promise its worth it. After you get the dough rolled out, roll into loose log. Using a sharp knife, cut the pasta dough into thin strips. Drop into heavily salted boiling water. Cook 2-3 mins.


Above is the pasta in all  its naked glory!

Here it is covered with bolognese sauce (recipe below)


I adapted this recipe from the pioneer womans bolognese.


3/4 cup grated carrots

1 onion, chopped

3 tbsp evoo

1 lb ground beef

2 tbsp dried basil

2 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red wine

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes

1 small can mushrooms

salt and pepper


In large pot, heat evoo over med heat. Add carrots and onion and cook about 3 mins. Add ground beef and brown. Pour in wine to deglaze pan. Cook 1 min. Add in dried herbs, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms,worcestershire,tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 20 mins.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I needed to make a quick meal and had some ground turkey in the fridge so I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs. There are several variations of meatball recipes so I just threw in what I had on hand.  These are very good and pretty figure friendly.


1 lb. ground turkey

1 jar spaghetti sauce- I used Ragu Organic

1 lb. spaghetti

1 small onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3-1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tbsp dried oregano

salt and pepper



In large saucepot, bring water to a boil, enough to cover spaghetti. Heat 2 tbsp evoo in skillet over med. heat. In large bowl combine turkey, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, dried herbs, and salt and pepper. Combine.  Roll into balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Add meatballs to skillet. Cook about 4 mins per side, turning a few times. Once browned, add pasta sauce and simmer 15-20 mins.

While meatballs and sauce are simmering, salt the boiling water and drop pasta. Cook about 7-9 mins or until al dente. Drain.

Serve big mound of spaghetti with a few meatballs and some sauce. Top with some grated parm cheese!


Baked Orzo

I was getting tired of the same ol side dishes and saw Giada De Laurentiis make this. I couldnt find the fontina cheese this recipe calls for so I substituted gouda. I also didnt thaw the peas before adding them to the dish because I think it makes them soggy. I just throw em in frozen. It only takes a minute or two for the hot pasta to heat the peas!


Neapolitan Baked Lasagna

Tomatoes were the ingredient of choice for the WC Ingredient Challenge on a cooking board I visit. My mother in law sent over tons of tomatoes from the garden so I wanted to use them in a sauce.  This recipe is originally a baked ziti but I didnt have any ziti on hand. I just used lasagna noodles and layered it as a lasagna. I served this with homemade ciabatta garlic bread.


Pizzaiola Ragu

Ive had this recipe bookmarked for a while so I finally decided to give it a try. Im so glad I did. It was soo good and rich. Im really not much of a wine drinker but I do love to cook with it as I find it gives the dish a different depth of flavor.  This made a huge amount of food.



Stuffed Shells

Ive had a mad craving for some italian food lately so  I made these shells which are awesome. I seriously could have ate the whole pan but I settled for 2!  The recipe makes 10 shells.

10 dried jumbo pasta shells

1 cup ricotta cheese

3/4  cup  shredded mozzarella

3 tbsp grated reduced fat parmesan, divided

1 large egg white

2 tsp  finely chopped parsley

1/4 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

2 1/2 cups marinara sauce, recipe below


Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and reserve.  Mix ricotta, 2 tbsp parmesan, mozzarella, salt peper, egg white, parsley, and garlic powder together. Stuff each shell with about a heaping tbsp. of the ricotta mixture. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce into bottom of 10 in. round baking pan. Lay stuffed shells side by side, open side up. Pour remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on the top.


Marinara Sauce:

1  1/2 tbsp evoo

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, grated

3 14 oz cans whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp parsley

1 tbsp sugar

salt and pepper

7 basil leaves, torn

Saute onion and garlic in evoo until tender, about 5 mins or so. Add everything else to the pan and simmer about 2o mins.