Tag Archives: mozzarella cheese

Pasta and Goodness

This was such a delightful weekend – we had absolutely nothing to do!  After the craziness of the holiday season we look forward to a time when schedules are much more relaxed and the most pressing decision is what’s for supper?  This was another go to the pantry and fridge and see what’s available suppers!  Sometimes those are the best kind!  Penne pasta, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, croutons, red onion and  red pepper flakes from the pantry; an orange pepper, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese from the fridge.  Ritchey declared this one of my best pasta dishes ever!

  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30 pepperoni
  • 1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, or more
  • parsley
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup croutons, crushed

Bring a large pan of water to boil.  Add a handful of salt and the pasta – cook according to package directions.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add onions and saute about five minutes.  Add pepper and garlic and saute for an additional two minutes.  Add the pepperoni, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook an additional two or three minutes.  Mix well.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the pasta and parsley.  Top with mozzarella cheese and croutons.  Put under the broiler for just a few minutes – until cheese melts.  Enjoy!


Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!!!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!!!

I am so excited I’m actually giddy – and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Samuel Adams lager I’m polishing off at this very moment!  It went quite well with the pizza you see in this photo.  This, my very first homemade pizza!  A very foreign admittance to many of you – especially Linda at Savoring Every Bite since she makes pizza every Friday night!  It was her pizza dough recipe I used!  It was so easy, Linda, I believe Friday night will be pizza night for us, too!

The directions for pizza dough can be found at Linda’s website.  Her Roasted Cauliflower Pizza looks so very good, but I didn’t have the ingredients at home.  So my pizza has a different look – but the same good crust on the bottom!  Linda’s recipes always turn out exactly as the photos on her blog – I’ve tried many of them!

I used some of my frozen tomatoes to make my marinara sauce.  In a sauce pan over medium heat I cooked the tomatoes until they thickened.  A pinch of salt, a little black pepper, oregano and basil helped give it a good flavor.  My other ingredients were thinly sliced red onion, slivers of red pepper, pepperoni, about 4 ounces of shredded mozzarella, 1-1/2 cups of finely shredded Pecorino and a sprinkle of parsley.  The pizza was baked at 425 degrees for about 18 to 20 minutes.  I can’t wait to try another one next week!

Now to my second reason for excitement!  Cecilia at thekitchensgarden has nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award!  You can only imagine my surprise and delight!  Cecilia has a lovely blog that is filled not only with lots of humor, recipes and farm animals, but many thought-provoking topics  that make us stop and think – and realize ways in which we can share our blessings with those around us.  Her lovely ideas of teaching children to cook and helping others grow their own gardens – even if it starts as one plant – truly speak to my heart.

Now comes the difficult part of nominating six readers for the award – but it cannot be anyone who has already received the award – including Cecilia.  Very difficult since so many of you have received this award.  So I give it out to all my readers – from me to you with a sincere thank you for going along with me on my cooking adventures and our little side trips to the garden or Shaker Village or a tea room.  I started this blog with no idea I would meet such wonderful, interesting people – and that they would become my friends!  I do heartily thank you for including me in this blogging world of food and fun!  And since John at from the Bartolini kitchens has such faith in me, I may try homemade pasta tomorrow!

Christmas Eve Lasagna

Yes, I do know that Christmas has come and gone – and this is not the actual name of the recipe – but it’s what we had for dinner Christmas Eve!  This recipe comes from the first cookbook I bought – in 1975.  That’s telling my age, isn’t it?  This was a pre-Ritchey cookbook so it has my maiden name and the date written at the top of the first page.  It’s the recipe my family adores!  It’s from a Betty Crocker cookbook that is so stained with everything imaginable – and I gave it to Kate last year for Christmas!  She has wanted it for a long time – encrusted flour, stains and all!  It’s the cookbook she used when she started cooking!  And she almost cried when she opened her package!  This year she and Linton received a cookbook made from all my blogs – complete with photos and notes.

Kate was my number one help in the kitchen this year – can’t tell you how many times that dishwasher was filled!  But we had a wonderful weekend together, filled with lots of love and lots of food!

There are a few changes that I’ve included in my version!  And one day I will try making my own pasta – not quite brave enough to do that on Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve Lasagna

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 – 15 ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 handfuls parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 3 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 handful parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 handful oregano leaves
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

Cook and stir ground beef, sausage, onion and garlic in a large skillet until meat is brown and onion is tender.  Drain all fat.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, 2 handfuls parsley flakes, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and basil.  Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 handful parsley flakes, 1 teaspoon salt and the oregano.  Reserve 1/2 cup meat sauce for thin top layer.

In an ungreased 13x9x2 baking pan layer 1/4 each of the noodles, meat sauce, mozzarella cheese and cottage cheese mixture; repeat 3 times.  Spread reserved meat sauce over the top; sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered 45 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes after removing from oven for easier cutting.  Enjoy!

One more quick story about this cookbook.  A friend of mine, who could not boil water, and whose husband did all the cooking, decided one day to surprise him by cleaning and organizing the kitchen.  She came to his cookbooks, saw the Betty Crocker and decided it was too old, had too many spills, and too many pages that were just stuffed back in the book – so she threw it out!  He was so upset when he got home!  His favorite spaghetti sauce recipe was on the same page as this lasagna recipe!  She was in tears!  We checked at a bookstore, but the newer versions of this book did not have these particular recipes.  I made a copy of the one page, but there were many other recipes he used!  I started checking antique shops and used bookstores – and finally, after several months, found one!  Needless to say that was a very happy household that night!  And the moral of this story is . . .

The Friday Night Special

A one-dish meal is always a good choice for Friday night.  I love to put a big dish in the oven, let the flavors marry, and create a special dinner – while giving me time to do a couple of chores – or write a blog!  Comfort was on the agenda again tonight.  Ritchey has worked especially hard this week – last night it was 10:30 when he walked through the door!  He needs to be pampered tonight.  Today has not been the rainy day of yesterday, but it was still damp and chilly – so I wanted to serve something with warmth and depth!  Sausage, pasta, beans, tomatoes and spices – oh, and cheese!  I can definitely build on that!

The green tomatoes give this dish a unique flavor – quite unlike a ripe tomato!

For Mother’s Day Linton, my son, gave me two journals – The Gourmet – one for each of us for our recipes, cooking notes, etc.  And when we are finished we will exchange them.  He is an excellent cook and I look forward to the day when he brings me his journal!

Friday Night Special

  • 1/2 pound sausage
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked to package directions
  • 1 – 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup black pitted olives
  • 2 handfuls chili powder
  • 1 handful cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 2 light green or beginning to turn tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • sour cream
  • guacamole

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small skillet brown sausage, breaking up into small pieces.  When brown add onion and saute five minutes.  Add garlic and saute another minute.  Remove from heat.

In a large bowl combine the sausage mixture, cooked pasta, canned tomatoes, kidney beans, black olives and spices.  Stir well to combine.  Add the green tomatoes and 2/3 of the mozzarella.  Mix well.

Pour into a large dish.  Top with remaining mozzarella.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  After 15 minutes lay a sheet of foil over your dish.  Remove foil for the last five minutes.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and homemade guacamole.  Enjoy!


Autumn Is Coming

September 1st

This is the last of the zucchini – I used half for my Squash and Zucchini Casserole and half I sliced and froze.  The yellow pear tomatoes also found their way into bags and headed for the freezer!  A few things are safely put away for the winter months – to be brought out and enjoyed as a remembrance of summer’s goodness.

Our tomatoes are still producing – especially the yellow and red cherries.  They are abundant and show no signs of stopping at this point.

These are volunteer plants.  They grow along this fence, at the back of the house and on the other side of the house – oh, and one lonely plant in with the oregano – Ritchey thought he pulled them all from that bed – but he missed one!  It looks as if you have two colors of tomatoes growing on one vine, but the plants are so inter-mingled it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins!  I made cole slaw to take to Kate’s tonight and I used halved red and yellow cherries.  She was always my taste tester for cole slaw when at home – it’s hard to say it’s ‘just right’ until she proclaims it so!

Our yellow pear tomatoes – different from the yellow cherries – are almost gone.  The vines are dried – there will be no more fruit produced.  Once we pick the few that are left those plants will be pulled.  It’s been 22 days since we’ve had rain.  Last night it started with a good thunderstorm – and it continued to rain throughout the night – slowly and gently.  Much better for allowing the rain to actually soak in and nourish the plants!

There are many large tomatoes still on the vines – green – but hopefully they will ripen.  If not, there’s always fried green tomatoes!  Or chow-chow!

But perhaps we will have more like this . . .

And with that make this – a lovely hamburger made from beef from Donna and Jerry, melted mozzarella, a slice of red onion, a thick slice of fresh tomato and topped with avocado slices!  And a little mayo – my choice of condiment!  But for your burger you can choose your favorite!

Yellow Squash and Zucchini Casserole

Note by Phyllis Brown:  This is a great way to use your excess squash and zucchini!  If you prefer a vegetarian casserole just leave out the country ham.  Has anyone tried to slice and freeze either vegetable?  I have shredded zucchini and frozen it for zucchini bread and that turns out well.

Yellow Squash and Zucchini Casserole

  • 1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 2 thin slices of country ham
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 handful breadcrumbs

Mix the two shredded cheeses in a bowl.  In a 9 x 13 casserole dish make three layers of squash and zucchini, a little salt and pepper, dots of butter, torn bits of country ham and cheese.  Whisk the milk and cornstarch together and pour over casserole.  Cover wish aluminum foil.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, or until squash and zucchini are somewhat tender.  Remove foil, spread breadcrumbs on top and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Check out yesterday’s post for the baked tomatoes.