Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Italian Tossed Pasta

I'm enjoying my second day off from school in a row due to a gross ice storm.  While I enjoy the free time off... I'm starting to get a little bored.  I also can't help but think about the money I could be making... Today was supposed to be the first day of my new tutoring job.  I'm still considered a substitute even though I'm not "subbing" for anyone... so needless to say, I don't get paid for snow/ice days :(  For once in my life I'm hoping that school does not get called off tomorrow!

This recipe is for a simple side dish that the fiancĂ© and I have fallen in love with.  Its nothing brilliant and I'm sure a lot of people make this all the time, but its new to us.  I tend to always go towards a potato dish as one of our sides.  I've been looking for other options and this seemed scrumptious.... and it was!  We didn't follow the recipe exactly because I didn't have parmesan cheese so we had to use finely shredded mozzarella.  We also didn't really follow the measurements... we just threw everything in and added what we thought it needed.  I'm including the original measurements but feel free to do your own thing.  We enjoyed this along with a mozzarella stuffed chicken that was to die for.  I plan on sharing that tomorrow!

Italian Tossed Pasta
Source: adapted from

2 cups uncooked pasta- rotini, penne, bow ties, etc.
1/4 cup Italian dressing (I'm pretty sure we used more)
1/4 shredded parmesan cheese (or finely shredded mozzarella)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp parsley

Cook the pasta according to the packaged directions and drain.  Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Rice

It's a Tuesday morning and I've been up since before 6am.  Thats a little early for me... I feel like I've been up forever and its only 8:30 am.  The fact that I am currently sitting in my recliner with a mug of coffee next to me makes it all better though.  I should be in a classroom preparing for students to walk into the room but thanks to an ice storm I don't have to leave the house today!  Actually, the thought of an ice storm makes me have a mini panic attack inside.  It brings back memories of 2005 when a horrible ice storm hit and knocked out our power for five days... it was a miserable time that I hope to never live again!  The good news is that we still have power even though its an ice rink outside... my panic attack can subside for the time being.

So, to the point of the post... Sweet and Sour Meatballs over rice.  I made this on a Friday night after a long day of teaching.  This was the perfect meal to have had planned because it was so quick and easy!  I've made other versions of this recipe in the past and this was definitely my favorite so far.  The sauce was very tasty and the vegetables cooked up very nicely.  I used pre-made frozen meatballs and they were just fine (especially if you want to prepare the meal quickly), but if I ever have the time I'd like to try this recipe with homemade meatballs... we'll see if that ever happens ;)

Sweet and Sour Meatballs over Rice
Source: Eat at Home

1 lb frozen meatballs, thawed
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks- reserve the juice
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
water to add to pineapple juice- enough to get to 1 1/2 cups of liquid
6 Tbsp vinegar
6 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp cornstarch
cooked rice

1.  In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil to saute the onion and garlic in.  Add in the carrots and green pepper and cook several minutes until tender.
2.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the pineapple juice with enough water to make 1 1/2 cups of liquid.  Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and cornstarch.  Add to the skillet and stir until thickened.  That will take several minutes.
3.  Add the meatballs and pineapple to the skillet and simmer until the meatballs are heated through.  Serve over rice and enjoy!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 1/31-2/5

Every week I always feel like I just typed up a Menu Plan Monday... time goes so fast!  Its already Monday morning again... but this is a really good Monday morning.  I'm only working a half day today and I get to go substitute for the teacher that I did my student teaching with this last fall.  I'm all kinds of excited to go back to this class!  I have missed them all so much!  I'm really looking forward to walking into a classroom where I know all of the kids really well and I know how everything is done.  These last couple of weeks I've been walking into classrooms that I don't know nothing about.  I'm going to enjoy this afternoon... no stress!

We'll see how dinners this week goes because I'm starting a two and a half month substituting/tutoring job on Wednesday where I'll be working five days a week.  I'm so excited but I'm totally not prepared when it comes to meal plans and house work.  Maybe we'll get a few snow days that will allow me to get caught up... but then again I don't get paid for snow days.  No snow please!

Monday: Tomato-y Swiss Steak (from a cookbook), Mashed Potatoes, and a Vegetable
Tuesday: Chicken Marsala (one of our favorites)
Wednesday: Vegetable Soup
Thursday: Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, and Broccoli (never got to this last week)
Friday: ------
Saturday: Spaghetti Pie, Salad, and Garlic Bread
Sunday: Pizza Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Italian Tossed Pasta (I'll be posting this later this week)

Have a fabulous week and check out for more menu planning ideas!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken and Mushroom Ragu

I know, I know.  Its another chicken recipe, just bare with me please :)

One of my favorite pasta dishes to make recently has been this Balsamic Chicken Linguini from Stephanie Cooks.  When I saw that she had posted another delightful looking pasta dish I new I had to give it a try. I was a little more reserved about this dish though because it contains mushrooms.  I am not a fan of mushrooms at all!  Its not so much how they taste, its their texture... I can't stand it!  I'm glad I didn't let the mushrooms scare me away from this dish because I ended up really enjoying it.  

Next time we have this for dinner, I will make more pasta.  I had a lot of sauce left over and would have liked to have gotten seconds but I was out of fettucini.  So, if you're feeding more than two people, definitely use more pasta.  

Chicken and Mushroom Ragu

8 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces & seasoned with salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 tsp rosemary
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 28 oz. can whole-peeled tomatoes, undrained
1/2 lb fettucini
5 oz. spinach (I forgot to put this in.)

1. Mix the finely chopped mushrooms and minced garlic.  Use a food processor to combine if needed (I don't have a food processor so I just stirred the two together).  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. 
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, around 3 minutes.  Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Add the onion to the pan and cook over medium heat until tender.  Add the mushroom/garlic mixture, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper.  Cook for 4 minutes stirring constantly or until the mixture starts to brown.
4. Add the vinegar and cook until evaporated then add the chicken and tomatoes.  Let simmer while breaking apart the tomatoes and stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.  The sauce should start to thicken.
5. Stir in the spinach until wilted and then add the drained pasta and cook for 1 minute.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 1/24-1/30

This week is a busy one that doesn't leave much time left for cooking.  We still have a plan though and hopefully we'll get to follow it!

Monday: Dinner with Family
Tuesday: Ham Steak, Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli (from last week)
Wednesday: Wedding Tasting!
Thursday: Chicken Tortilla Soup (if we have time)
Friday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Rice
Saturday: Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, and a Vegetable
Sunday: Tomato-y Swiss Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and a Vegetable

Check out for many more menu planning ideas.  I hope you have a great week!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

I'm am linking up to Golden Reflections and her weekly Recipe of the Week.  She was nice enough to feature my Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Thanks so much Heather!

The recipe I'm linking up is a side dish that is extremely quick and easy.  I loved this recipe because it used ingredients I typically keep on hand so I can make it anytime I don't feel like eating another plain baked potato.  There really isn't a certain measurement for any of the ingredients.  It really depends on how many potatoes you're making and to your taste preferences.

Twice Baked Potatoes
Source: adapted from

baking potatoes, cleaned
sour cream
cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bake the potatoes in the microwave according to your microwave's directions.
3. Cut each baked potato in half and scoop the potato out of the skin into a mixing bowl.
4. Add your desired amount of sour cream, cheese, butter, and salt and pepper.
5. Spoon the potato mixture back into the skins and top with more cheese with a sprinkle of paprika.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

I'm linking up to Heather's Golden Reflection's Recipe of the Week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

White Chicken Chili

After 5 inches of snow and a current temperature of 8 degrees, I don't have to work today!  The school district that I'm subbing for finally had their first snow day of the year and I'm kind of glad to have a day at home.  I have a lot of cleaning ahead of me and blog posts to get ready but its so cold outside I don't mind... as long as I don't have to leave the house!  

I can't take credit for this chili.  The fiancĂ© made it all on his own and it was very tasty.  He's quite the cook when I let him in the kitchen ;)  

*Wow, I just noticed that the last five recipe posts on this blog have contained chicken.  I promise we eat red meat!  I also need to figure out how to use my new camera.  The pictures I've taken so far have not turned out well at all.  I can't seem to take a good picture unless I have natural light which doesn't happen a lot at dinner time in the winter.  Maybe I should get that book that came with it out and read it... or I'll just stick to trial and error!

White Chicken Chili

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 jar great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I didn't have fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1. In a large saucepan, cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until tender.
2. Stir in the broth, beans, parsley, lime juice, and cumin.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth.  Slowly stir into the chili. 
4. Add the chicken and bring to a boil.  Cook for another 2 minutes while stirring until thickened.

Serve with cheese on top and enjoy!


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