Tag Archives: sausage

Italian Pasta

I feel a bit awkward writing this post since it’s been a good four months since I’ve written anything!  Let’s just say a haitus was necessary.  Between caring for my mom and step-father and writing two genealogy blogs a day, I felt the need to release some of my responsibilities for a bit.  Ritchey has been able to eat as soon as dinner was ready – I haven’t even been photographing my food!  But tonight I felt it was time to return – not an every day post as before – but as an occasional blogger, when there’s something special to share.

Another reason for tonight’s reappearance is a new blog – Food, Flowers, Herbs and Life – The Next Generation!  Yes, my daughter Kate has a new blog.  She has taken up the pen, the skillet and the camera – and brings the world her way of cooking and living life!  We’ve very different in many ways, but deep down we’re very much alike – as it should be!

Tonight’s supper was a throw together twenty minutes before Ritchey got home.  But I’ve come to love those last minute, throw something in the skillet meals!  This was a basic pasta dish, with some good things sauteed in the skillet while the pasta was cooking.  Paired with a great wine, it was all we needed for a great meal!  That’s all you can ask for!

  • 1 pound sausage
  • 2 handfuls pine nuts
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound tiny, fresh green beans
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/8 pound Parmigiano Reggiano, cut into small cubes
  • oregano
  • 1/2 pound medium pasta shells, cooked according to package directions

In a large skillet brown the sausage, cutting it into small pieces.  Put the water on for the pasta while the sausage is cooking.  When the sausage is starting to brown add the onions and pine nuts.  Add the green beans and cook for about five minutes – or until crisp-tender.  Remove the skillet from the stove.  Add the tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano and stir well.  Add cooked pasta.  Sprinkle with oregano.  Enjoy!


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!


Vivian’s Stuffed Zucchini

Note by Phyllis Brown:  My niece, Vivian, asked for this recipe – so I named it for her!  Stuffed zucchini can be fixed a myriad of ways, but this is my favorite.  It can be a meal in itself – with perhaps a salad – or, it can be used as a side dish.  Tonight I used it as the entree and served Sour Cream Potato salad and fresh buttered beets as sides.

Vivian’s Stuffed Zucchini

  • 1 ten inch zucchini
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 pound sausage
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sage
  • 1 14 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 cup Pepperidge Farm bagged stuffing
  • Pecorino Romano, shredded

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the pulp area with seeds, leaving a good amount of flesh on the zucchini.  Drizzle a little olive oil in a glass baking dish, long and deep enough for the zucchini.  Sprinkle the zucchini with a little salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet over medium high heat crumble the sausage and add chopped onion.  Cook until browned, continuing to break up sausage with spoon.  Add raisins and sage – let infuse for just a moment.  Add about 1 cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Immediately add stuffing, mix well.  Remove from heat.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the zucchini halves.  Fill center of zucchini with stuffing mixture, piling it an inch or so high.  A regular tablespoon works well for this – you can round and push down to make more stuffing fit.  Add a little chicken broth to the bottom of the dish – this will steam the zucchini and make it tender.  Cover dish with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  At this point check with a fork to see if zucchini is tender.  If so, remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes to brown.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with Pecorino Romano and serve.  Enjoy!

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables

This meal takes very little time to fix.  Serve with a multigrain bread and perhaps a bowl of fresh fruit.

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables

  • olive oil
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, cut into large chunks
  • a small handful of oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • a handful of fresh spinach leaves – more or less!
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta

Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, drizzle a little olive oil.  Crumble sausage into skillet.  Add onion and garlic.  Stir occasionally to brown sausage on all sides.  Add yellow pepper.  If heat is too high, turn down just a bit.  Add canned tomatoes heat through.  When water boils add a handful of salt and the pasta.  Cook according to package directions.  Add oregano and a small sprinkle of salt and pepper to skillet mixture.  About five minutes before pasta is done add fresh spinach to skillet.  When pasta is finished remove skillet from heat and add pasta, using a large slotted spoon.  Mix well.  Enjoy!