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Baked Ziti {freezer friendly}

7 Sep

We are expecting our second baby, and I have begun stocking my freezer with meals in preparation. I know I will be busy with a toddler and a newborn! I still want my family to enjoy home cooked meals while we transition into this new life ūüôā I have made this recipe twice now, and we all enjoyed it, even my 2 year old. I have 2 9×9 pans of this in the freezer for us to enjoy as well. I haven’t tried any of the frozen ones yet.

Baked Ziti
source: slightly adapted from Six Sisters

1 pound ziti pasta
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars of spaghetti sauce
8 slices of provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook ziti according to package directions; drain. Brown ground beef and onion powder; drain. Add spaghetti sauce to beef and simmer 15 minutes. Spray 2 9×9 inch pans with cooking spray. Layer as follows: 1/4 ziti, 1/4 sauce, 4 slices provolone, 1/2 of sour cream, 1/4 ziti, 1/4 mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 sauce. Top with grated Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.

If you plan on freezing this right away, do not bake first. Cover with 2-3 layers of foil before freezing. When ready to eat, thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. You may need to bake on a pan if ingredients are all the way to the top of the pan, so they don’t bubble out into oven during cooking.

baked ziti

American Goulash

4 Aug

I remember my mom making goulash when I was a little girl. I have been looking for a good recipe to try. She never seemed to follow a recipe, just whipped it up on her own. I do better if I have a recipe to follow. I have made the Paula Deen recipe in the past, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. This recipe was delicious! It reminded me of what my mom used to make. My 2 year old kept asking for “more”. I was pretty excited, because he generally doesn’t eat very much meat. I made this twice in 2 weeks we liked it so much ūüôā

American Goulash
Source: Slightly adapted from Gonna Want Seconds

2 pounds ground beef
1 large yellow onion (I used onion powder)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water (I added a little more as it was cooking)
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

In a large pot, cook meat over medium heat. Cook until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces. Drain grease. Stir in onions and garlic, cooking until onions are translucent.

Stir in water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, oregano, basil, bay leaves, season salt, and black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Stir in the elbow macaroni, and simmer over low heat until pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and refrigerate if possible overnight. **I served this immediately with Parmesan cheese on top.

American Goulash

Olive Garden Alfredo Recipe

30 Apr

I used to work in the Birthing Center at the hospital I still work at. There is a big binder full of recipes that the girls have shared, and I loved to go through it. I work in the nursery now, and I was thinking about that binder the other night; so I decided to go through it. I found this recipe, and decided to give it a try. My husband really loves Alfredo sauce, any time we go out for Italian he always orders it. We both thought this was really good, and I will definitely make it again. I served it over fettuccine noodles, with grilled chicken on top. To make this meal even easier, I used frozen grilled chicken from Tyson.

Olive Garden Alfredo Recipe
Source: Shantell Varone, original source unknown

1 pint heavy cream
1 stick butter
2 tbsp. cream cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
8 oz. fettuccine noodles

Combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese in a saucepan. Simmer until all is melted and mix well. Add Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Simmer 15-20 minutes on low. Season to taste with salt. Serve over fettuccine noodles.

**This recipe doesn’t make alot of sauce. It makes around 4-5 servings, using 1/2 package of fettuccine noodles**

Olive Garden Alfredo

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Penne

10 Apr

I made this a couple of months ago, and kind of forgot about it. I was going through pictures on my camera, and found it. We both liked this recipe. My husband thought it needed more garlic. I even used Parmesan cheese that had extra garlic in it. I will be making this again!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Penne
Source: Mostly Homemade Mom, adapted from Recipe Girl

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
16 oz low fat sour cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
16 oz penne pasta

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and shrimp, cook over medium heat until shrimp is almost opaque. Add lemon juice, zest, sour cream, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente and drain. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Add pasta to shrimp mixture and stir to coat pasta. Spread in baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil, stir, and sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake for an additional 5 minutes until shrimp is done.

lemon garlic shrimp penne

Sicilian Eggplant Sauce

9 Mar

I’m participating in another recipe swap, this is the second pasta themed swap we have had. I submitted a recipe for creamy chicken and artichoke pasta¬†that we enjoy, and I received this recipe. I have to admit, when I went through the ingredients for this pasta, I was a little worried. The original recipe contained cinnamon and raisins, which I didn’t see going over very well at my house. I just decided to omit them and go on with the rest of the recipe. I really enjoyed what I ended up with. My husband couldn’t even tell there was eggplant in the recipe, which was a plus. He is not a big fan of it, although I really like it. I would make this again, it’s a great way to sneak in extra veggies!

Sicilian Eggplant Sauce

Source: adapted from Adventures in My Kitchen, original recipe from Woman’s Day magazine April 2011


1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

16 oz tomato sauce

6 oz tomato paste

14.5 oz can diced Italian seasoned tomatoes

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

3/4 cup water

pasta of choice ( I used Angel hair)

Heat a large dutch oven pan over medium heat. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic and cook until beef is browned. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer for one hour. Serve over desired pasta.

Traditional Lasagna

29 Feb

I have tried lots of lasagna recipes, and for one reason or another never found one I really like…until now. I thought this recipe turned out great. It had tons of great flavor from the pasta sauce, and I love how it includes 3 different types of cheese. This makes a ton, so be sure and serve when you have guests coming over. It does take some time to prepare, so plan ahead.

Traditional Lasagna

Source: adapted slightly from Taste of Home


1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound bulk pork sausage

3 cans (8oz each) tomato sauce

2 cans (60z each) tomato paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons dried parsley

3 cups 2% small curd cottage cheese

8 oz ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

9 oven ready lasagna noodles

10 slices provolone cheese

3 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, divided

In a large skillet, cook beef and pork sausage together over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the tomato sauce, paste, garlic, sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, combine eggs and parsley. Stir in the cottage cheese, ricotta, and parmesan cheese.

Spread 1 cup of meat sauce in greased lasagna pan. Layer with 3 noodles, provolone cheese, 2 cups cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup mozzarella, 3 noodles, 2 cups meat sauce, remaining cottage cheese mixture and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with remaining noodles, meat sauce and mozzarella.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces.

Baked Ziti

17 May

I was pleasantly surprised with the way this baked ziti¬†turned out. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. In the past, I have always thought baked ziti¬†was a little bland and dry for my tastes. This ziti¬†was moist and delicious. I loved the hidden layer of provolone cheese and sour cream that is included. I think it really gives it a special twist. I assembled this a day before I baked it, and kept in the refrigerator. It turned out great, I just had to double the baking time. This dish would probably freeze really well for future use.¬†Enjoy!

Baked Ziti

Source:Adapted from See Jane in the Kitchen


1 pound Smart Taste pasta, I used mini penne

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 pound lean ground beef

2 jars spaghetti sauce

6 ounces sliced provolone cheese

1 1/2 cups fat-free sour cream

6 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat¬†oven to 350 degrees. Cook ziti¬†until al dente, drain and set aside. Cook the ground beef with the onion powder until browned. When the ground beef is almost done, add in your minced garlic cloves. Drain if needed (I used the leanest ground beef, and there was nothing to drain). Add the spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning to the beef. Let simmer for 15 minutes. In a 9×13 inch pan, add a layer of the spaghetti sauce to the bottom of the pan. Next, layer 1/2 of the ziti, all of the provolone¬†cheese, all of the sour cream, and half of the spaghetti sauce. Next add the rest of the ziti, the rest of the spaghetti sauce, and the mozzarella cheese. Top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

**I think this recipe would taste great without the beef too**

Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

6 Apr

I signed up for a recipe swap last week¬†on a cooking board I frequent. The theme was “pasta”. I shared a Pampered Chef recipe that I love called Creamy¬†One Pot Pasta, and I received a recipe for Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake. I was really excited to try this recipe out, and put my own little spin on it. I have been craving artichokes lately, and I thought this recipe would taste delicious with the addition of them! Be sure and check out A Taste of Home Cooking for a roundup of all the pasta recipes.

Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

Source: Adapted From The Love Life Cooks, originally from


8 oz whole wheat penne pasta

1 (10 oz) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 15 oz can artichoke hearts, chopped

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 8oz container of chive and onion cream cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, and saute over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides. Cut into bite sized pieces.

In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, cubed cooked chicken, chopped artichoke hearts, drained spinach, and cream cheese. Stir well. Season with Italian seasoning, and salt/pepper to taste.

Transfer to a greased 9×13 in pan. Top with shredded mozzarella. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through.

Mom’s Stuffed Shells

23 Feb

My Mom used to make this recipe when I was growing up, and it is a favorite of mine! I would often request this recipe after I moved out for birthdays or special occasions. I just love the flavor of the cheese, ham, and pasta sauce. This is great served with a big salad and a warm loaf of fresh bread on the side.  This makes quite a bit. When I make it for my husband and I, I freeze half of it before baking for a later meal.

Mom’s Stuffed Shells


1 (12oz) box of  jumbo shells

4 cups of small curd cottage cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, save 1/2 cup for top of shells

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for top of shells

3 eggs

1 tablespoon dried parsley

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

32 oz spaghetti sauce (I used meatless garlic flavor)

5 oz baked ham, diced

Preheat¬†oven to 350 degrees. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan and set aside.

Cook jumbo shells, according to package directions (I cooked them al dente). Drain and rinse with cold water.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the ham, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Fill each shell with the cheese mixture. Place open side down in the spaghetti sauce prepared 9×13 inch pan.

Drizzle remaining spaghetti sauce over the tops of the stuffed shells. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese as desired over the top of the shells. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese over the tops of the shells.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover shells and bake until cheese is melted completely.

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

18 Jan

I grew up watching my Dad cook spaghetti on a weekly basis. My dad is a great cook, and he doesn’t use recipes that I have ever seen. When I make spaghetti sauce, like my Dad, I just eyeball everything. The problem with this regimen is that you never end up with a consistent end product. You may produce an excellent spaghetti sauce, but will you be able to repeat it again?¬† I spotted this recipe on, and thought it looked alot like something Dad or I have made in the past.¬† Eric thought the spaghetti sauce had too many seasonings, I thought it was just right.¬†The next time I make this I will cut down on the spices.¬†I halved this recipe, and omitted the ground pork. I think it would be wonderful with the addition of the pork, and I will probably add¬†it the next time I make this sauce. This makes a very large amount of sauce, so be sure and make it when you are having guests over.

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

Source:, user Hey Jude


1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice

2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste

2 ( 8 oz) cans tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

5 garlic cloves, pressed

4 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons dried basil

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • ¬†Brown meats and onion in a skillet and drain well.
  • ¬†Transfer to your crock pot.
  • ¬†Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • ¬†Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • ¬†Serve over hot spaghetti noodles.