Tag Archives: pasta

It's been a crazy, crazy week. So instead of leaving you hanging on our regular Friday Recipe article, I'm reposting an older (short) one that you may have missed! Have a great weekend!!


Food & Wine Magazine

I just got back into town and I couldn't wait to get this week's Friday Recipe posted.  It doesn't matter the time of year, I'm ready to eat pasta.  This recipe from Food & Wine Magazine is chock full of spinach which is so good for you but also luscious ricotta and creamy fontina which makes it xtra yummy.  Use the rigatoni or any other favorite pasta shape.  Just follow the link to get the full recipe.

Have a happy, relaxing weekend everyone!


Source: saveur.com via Carey on Pinterest


I don't know what it is but lately I am craving Fall dishes.  Stews, soups, & carb-laden meals, gimme.  I'm determined to enjoy this last bit of Summer to the fullest but I might dip my toe into Fall with this dish from Saveur.com.  It has some wonderful flavors: feta, nutmeg, spinach, dill and a cheese that is new to me, Graviera.  After a bit of research, I discovered that it is a fairly common cheese (iow: easy to find)  and very similar to Gruyere which is, ahem, one of my all time faves.  And it looks pretty easy, your basic stove-to-oven mac and cheese, just new ingredients.

You can find the whole recipe over at Saveur (click here).  I hope you give it a try too!

I have a full weekend planned; it's my nephew's first birthday and we have a river-tubing trip planned.  Last time I went tubing I came back with a scar on my back the size of a quarter and a compressed disc.  Pray for me!

I'm having a difficult time knowing how to share this recipe.  I came upon it in an unusual way.

A close friend of mine passed away this week.  Her name was Peggy and I loved her dearly.  She struggled with serious health problems for many years and finally went home to heaven on Monday.  Today we will gather to celebrate her love of life and family.

So... as these things go, all week gracious and loving people have been bringing meals to the mourning family and strangely enough that is how I became acquainted with this recipe.

On Tuesday, our mutual friend (and my Hallwood neighbor) Randy brought the family a feast of homemade/grilled tri tip and ribs, lots of french bread and a lovely pasta dish.  I've had a lot of pasta dishes, we all have.  This big bowl of penne, although it looked very appetizing, didn't look much different from most other big bowls of penne I have seen.  I was mistaken.

What I didn't know til I began to eat it was that it was dressed in this lemony, briny, buttery dressing that takes a regular-ole penne dish to something far more delicate and refined.  It was laced with spicy arugula and dotted with cherry tomato halves which added a summer freshness that one craves this time of year.  Really, really good pasta.  Really.

You can get the recipe from Giada  DeLaurentis at foodnetwork.com and there is also a video here.    It would be great picnic food, or a side dish or even a main course if you wanted lighter fare.  Give it a try, I'm pretty sure you'll love it.

I can't help but be sad for the loss of my friend, who more or less became my second mother after the passing of my own mother 17 years ago.  It's hard to believe that I won't see Peggy's face any more.  But I am rejoicing that she is with Jesus now and that someday I will see her again.

Until that day, my sweetest Peggy, we will travel on.


Happy Friday!! I'm so happy to see the weekend, I've got a lot to accomplish including getting my cherry tomato and basil plants in the dirt.  I've already harvested the basil once, still in the flimsy pots they came in.  It's going to be a good growing year, I just know it!

I've told you about my Uncle, right?  The one that shows up with the most random food items you can think of.  Wednesday I came home from work to find a branch off of a Rainier cherry tree sitting on the kitchen counter.  My uncle had brought it down to show how well the cherries were already ripening.  Of course I couldn't resist eating most of the cherries off of that branch, I'm quite certain that's what he intended for me to do.  And it instantly reminded me of a recipe from Sprouted Kitchen that I had seen on Pinterest.

If you didn't grow up on a cherry farm like I did you might need a little info on Rainiers.  A Rainier cherry is a reddish-yellow-orange cherry and is a cross between a Bing and a Van (not a Queen Ann as some might think).  The more sunshine the cherry sees, the more blushed it will become.  They are a hardy cherry, plump and sweet.

This Rainier Cherry Muddler Recipe from Sprouted Kitchen very smartly pairs the cherry with lemon basil, which keeps the flavors light and refreshing.  It will be a perfect drink after a hot day of gardening.  And I know just where to find some more cherries!  If you can't find Rainiers, I would try a Queen Ann cherry (yellow) or whatever fresh cherries you have available in your local markets.

I promised you a two-fer so here it goes:  we had another impromptu gathering this week and everyone was starving hungry so I perused the refrigerator to see what kind of Last Minute Pasta I could throw together this time.  Unfortunately, there was a shortage of cheese, only a hunk of Parmesan.   But I spied some bacon and that got my wheels spinning... I had just bought some basil plants so I ran outside and plucked a bunch of basil leaves... we had white wine... yep, I could make this work!

I'm not going to get too detailed but in case you find yourself needing to feed a small group you might take some inspiration from this week's Last Minute Pasta.

  • 1 box of Barilla Cellentani
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • about 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan (plus a little more at the end)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn at the last minute
  • olive oil
  • butter, 3 pats
  • splash of white wine

I set the pasta to boil then got cracking on the rest of the ingredients.  I cooked my bacon, drained off the excess grease on a paper towel then chopped it into little bits and I grated my Parmesan.  Back to the pan that bacon was cooked in, I drained off most of the grease and added a splash of white wine (maybe 3-4 tablespoons) and cooked that down a little over medium heat so the bacon bits would pick up from the bottom.  After the pasta was done I drained it and reserved about  1 cup of the cooking water.  I put the drained pasta back in the pot and dumped in all the other ingredients, tearing the basil and dumping that in as well.  At this point I checked for texture and sauce.  It needed to be loosened up a bit so I added most of the pasta water and a drizzle of olive oil and gave it all a big stir.  It still was missing a little... something.... so in went about 3 pats of butter, stirred some more.  I added just a little more Parmesan and black pepper and it was done!

I realize it was all a little unconventional, but hey, we make do!  I fed 7 people in less than 1/2 hour.  Not a bit was left.

I hope your weekend is a blast!!

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(pretend there's a picture here of a huge bowl of creamy, dreamy pasta; I didn't have time to snap a pic!)

I'm writing this last minute post to tell you about the last minute pasta we had last night because we threw a last minute Thursday night celebration.  Long story short, yesterday afternoon we received some really great news and invited a few friends over after work to share the joy.  After a few rounds of cocktails, the natives started getting hungry.  Luckily, right then some friends showed  with some delicious sausages to throw on the Webber.  But we couldn't sit around outside eating just sausages like some sort of savages.  We needed a starch to make it a civilized meal!

"Carey, think real fast!  What would go with sausages... uhhhh... how about buttered Parmesan noodles?  It's quick, it's tasty, it fills the belly, it will be perfect!"  Thus began the scrounging through the refrigerator, only to discover <gasp!> we were completely out of Parmesan!  What to do??!!

I'll tell you what you do: you treasure hunt for all the bits and scraps of cheese you can find in the cheese drawer, make a cheese sauce  and turn it into a stove top mac and cheese.

To further complicate things, I needed to cook up 2 lbs of pasta to feed the small crowd that had gathered.  The problem with that was what I  found in the pantry was one box of whole wheat shells, one box of regular white shells of a slightly different shape, a box of spaghetti, a box of corkscrew pasta and one bag of analletti (think Spaghetti O's).   I knew the whole wheat shells were going to cook at a different rate than all the rest but I took my chances and went with 2 lbs. of shell pasta.  I set that to boil and crossed my fingers.

Meanwhile, I rounded up all the leftover cheeses we had in the fridge.  It's a good thing I'm a cheese hoarder because this is what I found: 1/2 bag of shredded mozzarella, 1/2 bag of shredded "Mexican Style" shredded cheese blend, a couple slices of Swiss Cheese, about 6 oz. of sharp cheddar cheese, a couple slices of Provolone, 1 brick of smoked Gouda and 2 bags of mozzarella cheese sticks.

Yeah, we eat a lot of cheese.  You got a problem with that?

Into a medium saucepan I melted a whole cube of butter and sprinkled in about 4 heaping tablespoons of flour.  I let that cook out for about a minute then poured in enough milk to make a roux, about 4 cups.  Then I raided the newly organized spiced cabinet.  I fished out salt, pepper, ground mustard, roasted garlic powder, toasted onion powder and sprinkled a little of each into my pot of roux.

Then I stirred in the shredded cheeses.  I showed some restraint by only choosing the following cheeses:  the cheddar, the shredded mozzarella, the shredded Mexican style cheese and the smoked Gouda.

I drained the al dente pasta (thank goodness the whole wheat shells didn't overcook), but left about 3/4 cup of the pasta water in the pot then stirred in the gooey, melted cheese sauce.  I gave it all a vigorous stir so the pasta and sauce could get to know each other and it was done!

Those sausages with that pasta... well my friends... it was divine.  And I'm not just saying that because we were starving hungry (it was nearly 10pm by then).  It was a delicious feast, thrown together at the last minute and shared with 1 happy little group of friends.

The end.

Sorry I’ve been so quiet this week.  I knew it was going to be a crazy-busy week, but it was even worse than I had planned.  Oh well, maybe next week will be better, right?

One thing I did get a chance to see this week was a “pin” by my sister Amy about a food site called SkinnyTaste.com that looked intriguing… so I clicked over to it and wow!  The food looked so yummy and then I realized it was weight-conscious food, complete with calorie counts and everything.  I hesitate to call it “diet food” because that evokes some pretty tasteless memories.  But she (Gina) tries to do smart veggie “swaps” and use smaller amounts of the good stuff like bacon to get the flavor but not all the fat.  Plus, she lists the calories, fat, fiber, carbs and protein for each serving AND if you are a Weight Watchers follower she even lists the points right there on the recipe.

Most of the recipes I previewed looked really easy (and tasty) but this crockpot bolognese recipe looked especially simple.  I love the idea of cooking something slowly all day, letting all the flavors marry and intensify.  But I really don’t want to have to babysit it on the stove all day, I’m a busy girl.  You could do all the prep the night before and set it to cook before you leave for work the next day.  When you came home from work your sauce would be done and all you would have to do is boil up some pasta.  I would love to get better at using a crockpot and this recipe just might help with that.  I’m sure one of you will get to it before I do so let me know what you think.

And be sure to check out the rest of the recipes over at SkinnyTaste.com!

Happy Weekend, friends! 

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I have and hour and a half to get Day 21 and our Friday Recipe posted.  Nothing like cutting it close!

I was busy running errands when I got off work then I took a long, long walk but by the time I got home I was starving.  And impatient.  And that's where today's "simple thing" comes in: Go To Recipes.  You know what Go To Recipes are, don't you?  It's the dishes you cook up on the fly, without an actual recipe.  They are the meals you create by opening up the refrigerator and throwing together a bunch of ingredients.  It's not really a written-down recipe but more of a method of cooking that you have used over and over and over, so often that you know it by heart.

And that's exactly what I did tonight.  I made my Go-To-Pasta which is always comprised of the same basic ingredients: pasta, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, a protein (chicken, sausage), a fresh leafy green (spinach, arugula) or herb (basil, parsley), cheese (Parmesan or mozzarella)  and a shot of white wine.  I have made this pasta a thousand different ways, a hundred different times and it comes out great every time.  It's quick, it's healthy and it is so simple.

Here is my basic method, but feel free to switch it up to suit your tummy:

1.  Fill a large pot with water for the pasta, cook according to the directions on the box.

2.  In a large skillet drizzle enough olive oil to coat the pan, set over medium heat.

3.  Add chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the oil.

4.  turn the heat up to medium high.  Add your meat.   Cook until meat is cooked through and lightly browned.  Add a splash of white wine and allow to cook off for a minute or two.  If you are still waiting for your pasta to finish cooking, reduce the heat to low.

5.  When your noodles are ready, drain and reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.  Add noodles directly to the pan along with your cheese of choice and your greens/herbs.  Stir well to combine then if the pasta seems dry you can add back some of the pasta water.

6.  Sprinkle your cheese over the top and serve!

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone.  31 Days will continue through the weekend, only 10 days to go!

Food & Wine Magazine

I just got back into town and I couldn't wait to get this week's Friday Recipe posted.  It doesn't matter the time of year, I'm ready to eat pasta.  This recipe from Food & Wine Magazine is chock full of spinach which is so good for you but also luscious ricotta and creamy fontina which makes it xtra yummy.  Use the rigatoni or any other favorite pasta shape.  Just follow the link to get the full recipe.

Have a happy, relaxing weekend everyone!

Today I had my first harvest of mini eggplants!  Can you call 4 tiny eggplants a harvest?  Oh well, I'm going with it.  Those two purple eggplants are the infamous Bert & Ernie.  Kermit is still safe on the plant, growing a little more.  The other two are mini green eggplants whose variety ironically is named... Kermit.

One of the challenges in the garden this year was that I have never grown eggplant, full size or mini, before so I wasn't sure when to pick it.  I looked up a few articles on the internet and they all said to be sure to pick them before too many seeds form inside.  Inside?  How am I supposed to know how many seeds are inside until I pick it and cut it open?!

So I guessed and know I know that the purples ones were just the right size.  The little green ones were slightly overgrown, too many seeds.  Next time I will know better.

Bert and Ernie did not go down easily.  It turns out some of the purple eggplants have thorns on them.  After suffering a couple of puncture wounds I wrangled them into the kitchen and sliced them up along with the mini green ones and tossed them in olive oil, salt & pepper.

I let them get some good grill marks and grilled off some pencil asparagus I had picked up at Whole Foods.  I added that to some rigatoni, basil & garlic chicken sausage, freshly picked basil, fresh grated Parmesan and homemade pesto I had saved in the freezer.

It was a very satisfying and tasty Sunday dinner!

I think next week will finally yield my first red Roma tomato!!