Category Archives: Meat/ Poultry

Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes

I took it as an omen that I should try to make a pasta dish with feta cheese and tomatoes when I saw two different clips on YouTube about baked feta and tomatoes in a sauce. My version of the recipe includes spicy sausage. What can I say. My family enjoys meat. Of course this recipe can be made meatless for the enjoyment of my vegetarian friends. Either way my Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes came out a winner.

Until hubby came into my life I was never big on feta cheese. It was not a cheese I would automatically pick up at the grocery store having grown up using cheddar, Swiss, Gueryre and mozzarella cheeses. Feta just looked really bland to me so it was easy to bypass for other cheeses. I cannot say I didn’t like the taste of feta cheese because it sometimes was a topping for salads when we dined out. However, with all of the other flavors in the salad my palate must not have been sophisticated enough to distinguish its tangy taste way back when. Hubby introduced me to the delicious flavor of feta while eating at various Italian restaurants while we were dating. Now, I incorporate feta into a variety of recipes to add a level of tang and creaminess to the dish.

I think this Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes dish is quite tasty and oh so simple to make. The hardest part of prepping the recipe is browning the sausage and cooking the pasta. The feta cheese and cherry tomatoes bake together in a casserole dish with a few herbs. Once baked the tomatoes and feta are turned into a delicious creamy sauce which is tossed with the sausage and pasta. Talk about quick and easy. I can make this dish within an hour and have it on the table for my hungry crew to gobble down.

If you have pasta lovers in your house, try this recipe. They will love it!

Sausage and Pasta with Feta and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 spicy fresh sausages with casing removed

2 pints of cherry tomatoes

1 block of Feta cheese

1 box pasta. [Prepare according to cooking instructions]

1 bag baby leaf spinach

¼ cup olive oil + 1 tbsp

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil

1 tsp Sea Salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cherry tomatoes in a casserole dish and drizzle with ¼ cup of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Toss until coated with olive oil. Make a well in the middle of the casserole dish and add the block of feta cheese. Place sprigs of thyme and rosemary around the tomatoes. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until cheese is slightly golden brown and the tomatoes are roasted.

While the feta cheese and tomatoes are baking prepare pasta according to the package. Brown the sausage and drain on a paper towel then add to a bowl along with the spinach. Toss the two together and the heat from the sausage will wilt the spinach.

Once the feta cheese and tomatoes are finished baking remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and remove the sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Mash the cheese and tomatoes with a fork then mix the two together. Add sausage and pasta to the casserole dish then gently toss everything together until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Top with a little mozzarella cheese and stick in the oven a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with a nice salad.

Double Dip Fried Chicken

Okay, who besides my vegan friends does not like good ol’ home cooked fried chicken? I don’t see any hands so I am guessing just about everyone likes fried chicken. Of course, fried chicken is not something you should have often and if you want to make it seem a little healthy it is better to oven fry the chicken. Less grease. Less hassle. But, when you have a taste for some good extra crispy fried chicken you should try my Double Dip Fried Chicken. Yes, I said double dip. You will be surprised just how crispy, flavorful and tender the chicken will be.

This recipe is a twist on a recipe I saw on a restaurant cooking show. I would never have thought to double dip my chicken before frying to make it real crispy. I always wondered how some chefs were able to make their chicken crispy enough to make a crunching sound without the chicken being dry. Now, I know.

The key to tenderness is marinating the chicken in seasoned buttermilk for a few hours. Usually, after the chicken had marinated I would toss the buttermilk. Oh no, not any more. That buttermilk is golden. Once the chicken is coated with a flour mixture I dip it back into the buttermilk then coat it again with more of the flour mixture. The buttermilk helps to keep the chicken tender and the extra coating creates a wonderful crispiness to the chicken.

Next time you get a taste for some good ol’ extra crispy fried chicken grab some buttermilk, seasoned flour and try out my Double Dip Fried Chicken. I think you will like it.

Double Dip Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

4 – 8 cleaned chicken thighs

4 cups vegetable oil

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp smoked paprika

½ tbsp Chile lime seasoning (Trader Joe’s optional)

½ tbsp onion powder

½ tbsp Adobo (optional)

½ tbsp seasoned salt

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Season the chicken on both sides with salt, ½ tbsp ground black pepper, Chile lime seasoning and smoked paprika. Place chicken in an air tight container then pour buttermilk over the chicken to cover it. Place container in the refrigerator for 2 – 4 hours or overnight.

When it is frying time, heat vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Temperature should register at 360 degrees. To test the oil the old fashion way, put a small drop of water in the oil and stand back. If it starts popping the oil is ready.

While oil is heating up take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Add flour, ½ tsp ground black pepper, seasoned salt, onion powder and Adobo to a large bowl and combine until well mixed.

Shake off excess buttermilk from a chicken thigh then place it in the flour mixture and coat both sides. Shake off excess flour and dip the floured chicken back into the buttermilk marinate. Again, shake off the excess buttermilk then place it back into the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and place on a wire rack. Repeat steps with each piece of chicken.

Add 4 – 5 pieces of chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a layer of paper towels. Repeat steps until all of the pieces are cooked. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

Roasted Pork Loin

Although last year was a tough year dealing with the new corona virus Covid-19, we had a very Merry Christmas. Instead of making another traditional holiday meal with turkey and ham I decided to make a nice Roasted Pork Loin and indeed it was nice.

I must have hit the supermarket at the right time because I found a couple of beautiful pork loins on sale. One for Christmas and one for a later date. I have to admit I wasn’t sure my hubby would like pork loin since he is not a big pork fan except for bacon. Because of that I also made my Baked Chicken with a Mango Chutney Glaze in case he didn’t like the pork loin.

The first sign that the pork loin might go over well with hubby was the wonderful smell roaming through the house as it cooked. The next was when I pulled the pork loin out of the oven and let it rest before slicing and I saw several eyeballs checking out the pork loin. I even thought I heard the smacking of lips. While I was slicing up the meat hubby came over and said that looks really good and I’m hungry. I asked if he wanted to try a piece and he happily took it and gobbled it up. His first response was “Wow, that is tender. I like it”. Then he took another small piece of meat to tide him over until dinner.

After that hubby was hooked and at dinner he praised the roast pork loin. He even went back for seconds which is rare unless it is for salad. Looks like I have a new menu item to choose from for future holidays.

Roasted Pork Loin

Ingredients:

1 pork loin

½ small onion sliced

½ cup chicken stock or white wine

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

½ tbsp ground black pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place Cajun seasoning, rosemary, oregano and olive oil in a small bowl and mix until seasonings are wet. Set side.

Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Rinse the pork loin and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper on all sides. Place in hot skillet and brown on all sides.

Place sliced onions on the bottom of a large casserole dish or Dutch oven and top with the browned pork loin. Top the pork loin with the wet seasoning mix and rub into the meat on all sides. Add the chicken stock to the casserole dish.

Place the pork loin into the oven (uncovered) and roast for approximately 45 minutes. Baste the pork loin then cover with foil and cook for another hour and 15 minutes. Baste the pork loin approximately every 20 minutes. Remove the pork loin from the oven (keep covered) and place on a platter to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before slicing..

Chicken, Yellow Beets and Pasta

Yellow Beets. Until I decided to create a new chicken and pasta dish I had not seen nor had I tasted yellow beets. During one of my treks to Trader Joe’s I spotted the yellow beets after I saw another customer pick up a package in the vegetable aisle and it looked different from other vegetables. Of course, it could also have been the posted sign saying “New Try Me” that caught my eye.

To be specific, the package contained roasted yellow beets. Immediately, I started thinking about what kind of dish I could possibly make with roasted yellow beets. Since I planned to make chicken and pasta with the lemon chicken I had already thrown into the cart, I figured why not add the roasted yellow beets for more flavor and a pop of color. To add even more color I picked up a package of snap peas to liven up the dish.

I knew from the beginning it was going to be a little tricky to get my youngest son to eat beets. He professes not to like them but it could be because when I made beet salad and the dish turned pink. I thought the dish looked pretty but he thought it looked unappealing at least to his eyes. Even when I just served seasoned plain beets, T would scrunch up his face and gently remove them from his plate. Like I sometimes say, we often eat with our eyes.

Mixing up the yellow beets with the chicken and snap peas was distracting enough that T didn’t really mention the yellow looking thing in the dish. By the time I told him what it was he couldn’t make a face because he had eaten half the food on his plate. I guess blending in the yellow beets is like when my girlfriend added prunes to a cake and didn’t tell me until I had gobbled it up and said how moist and delicious it tasted. I don’t care for prunes but since the cake was good what can I say.

The next time you want to jazz up one of your chicken dishes try adding roasted yellow beets. It can be our little secret.

Chicken, Yellow Beets and Pasta

Ingredients:

1 box vermicelli pasta

1 pkg roasted yellow beets cut into ½ inch pieces

1 pkg fresh snap peas

1 pkg cooked lemon or grilled chicken

2 – 3 plum tomatoes cubed

2 scallions sliced

½ cup half and half milk

½ cup chicken broth

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp Adobo

1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp olive oil

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried parsley

½ tsp dried cilantro

Prepare per package instructions and reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet along with olive oil over medium high heat. Add snap peas, salt and black pepper then stir to mix. Saute for 1 – 2 minutes then remove from skillet and place in a small bowl and set aside.

Place skillet back on the stove. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the skillet and let it melt. Add flour to the skillet and stir until smooth. Pour in milk and broth then whisk until the sauce is smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and remaining seasonings. Stir to combine. Add chicken, yellow beets, snap peas and scallions (reserve 1 tbsp of scallions). Gently stir to mix all ingredients. Add pasta water to thin out the sauce if necessary. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over pasta.

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Chicken and Cabbage Stew

One pot dishes are good for both hubby and me. Good for me because I don’t have to fuss with a lot of different pots, pans and utensils. It’s good for hubby because he usually washes dishes since I cook so less clean up for him.

When I think about it, that is how my mom and dad operated in the kitchen. My mom is an excellent chef and since she did most of the cooking my dad would wash the dishes. Like my hubby, my dad could fix breakfast but that was about it for him. I can’t complain about hubby’s lack of culinary skills because besides washing dishes hubby vacuums and will wash clothes if I don’t get to them first. My in-laws did a great job raising two sons that are productive and aren’t afraid to help around the house. God Bless my dad and in-laws. I miss them everyday.

Okay, back to my Chicken and Cabbage Stew. This is a relatively quick meal and as previously stated the beauty of it is using only one pot. The one constant in our house is chicken. Yes, I sometimes go on and on about eating so much chicken but you really cannot beat it for the price and the health benefits compared to red meats. Adding a few light vegetables to the pot just enhances the nutritional value and cuts down on calories as well as fat.

Aside from the flavors of the Chicken and Cabbage Stew I liked the colors of the dish. The bright red of the peppers. The pop of orange from the carrots and turmeric broth. Plus, the contrast of green between the cooked green peppers and sprinkle of green onions on top. Eating with your eyes is just as important as enjoying the mixed flavors of any dish.

Chicken and Cabbage Stew

Ingredients:

4 – 6 drumsticks or boneless chicken thighs

2 celery stalks diced

1 green onion diced

1 small green pepper diced

1 small red pepper diced

1 small Napa cabbage shredded

1 bag baby carrots

2 cups chicken stock or broth

3 tbsp grape seed oil or olive oil

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp seasoned salt

1 tbsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp turmeric

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

½ tsp dried parsley

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with 1 tbsp salt, seasoned salt and ground black pepper. Brown chicken then remove from dutch oven and place on a plate to cool slightly. Remove meat from drumsticks and chop or cube chicken thighs. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions (except for green onions), peppers and celery to the pot. Season with remaining salt, onion powder, cumin, dried parsley and red pepper flakes. Stir for 1 minute or until vegetables begin to soften. Add tomato paste and turmeric. Stir to blend with vegetables. Add chicken with juices along with chicken stock and carrots to the dutch oven. Let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes then add shredded Napa cabbage. Stir and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes until the cabbage is cooked and tender.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with green onion.

 

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Baked Chicken with a Mango Chutney Glaze

Truth be told… baked chicken is not very exciting on its own. Yeah, you can add a few seasonings besides salt and black pepper to make it taste good. Plus, sometimes you can kick it up a notch by adding BBQ sauce. But…..

Nothing against BBQ sauce. It is always on hand when I am tired of fixing plain baked chicken. But, today I decided to make Baked Chicken with a Mango Chutney Glaze. I have been thinking about this simple recipe for awhile. The problem was I always forgot to look for chutney sauce when I went to the grocery store. It may have helped if I had put it on the shopping list and then actually looked at the list on my trips to the grocery store. Yes, I do make a list but I don’t always check it while I am shopping. Okay, moving on.

Fortunately, on a recent grocery store run I spotted a jar of mango chutney at Trader Joe’s while perusing jars of different sauces and new spices. Chutney is one of those things you have to try to know if you will really like it. There are so many varieties of chutneys it can be hard to choose which one will compliment a dish. My research showed that chutneys are a staple in Indian cultures. Often it is used as a side relish or condiment and helps bring balance to a dish. Most chutneys are a combination of vegetables, fruits, herbs, vinegar, sugar and spices. However, some chutneys are just fruits or vegetables or even minty.  I thought the chutney would be delicious if used as a glaze on baked chicken .

Spicy, sweet or minty, there is surely a chutney you will find to satisfy your tastes. For my baked chicken I added cayenne to the mango chutney sauce to spice it up a bit more. The hot spice and the sweetness of the mango helped to balance each other out to create a really flavorful dish. If you have never considered adding chutney to an old time favorite chicken dish, give it a try and see just how non-boring your chicken will taste.

Baked Chicken with Mango Chutney Glaze

Ingredients:

4 – 6 chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs

1 small onion sliced

1 jar mango chutney

4 tbsp butter

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp grape seed oil or olive oil

1 tbsp Adobo

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp cayenne (optional)

smoked paprika

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter together with grape seed oil in a small pot and set aside.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the backing dish with sliced onions and place chicken over the onions skin side down. Sprinkle chicken with half of the seasonings except for the cayenne then flip and sprinkle then season the skin side of the chicken. Pour melted butter over the chicken. Place in the preheat oven and bake for 1 hour.

While the chicken is baking place chutney in a bowl and add water and cayenne seasoning. Mix until the mango chutney is loose but has a thick soup consistency. Add more water if necessary.

After an hour of baking remove the chicken and spoon the mango chutney over the chicken. Place the chicken back in the oven and bake for another 45 minutes to 1 hour until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and nicely browned.

Serve with your favorite side dishes.

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Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage in Sauce

Let me say from the start that even though this recipe is about pasta and sweet Italian sausage this is not necessarily an Italian recipe. It is more of a combination of Italian and Mexican flavors.

Whenever my youngest son asks what’s for dinner and I say pasta he breaks into his happy dance with sound effects. I have said this more than once in my blog… my family loves pasta. Maybe the next time I make pasta I’ll see if I can film the dance and share it on my blog.

Today, I decided I didn’t want to make the usual spaghetti meat sauce using sauce from a jar. Instead, I opted to make my own sauce using canned tomatoes, veggies and sweet Italian sausage. I also wanted to create a few different textures in the sauce so I added white beans which provided both texture and more flavor. Although everything was soft in the sauce, there were different levels of softness if that makes sense. The pasta was al dente. The beans were creamy. The veggies were smooth and the sausage had a nice soft chew. Fortunately, it all worked together and had me doing my own happy dance.

Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage in Sauce

Ingredients:

2 packages Sweet Italian Sausage links

1 can small white beans drained and rinsed

1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes

1 can fire roasted tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 small green pepper diced

1 small red pepper diced

2 cups water

2 tbsp grape seed oil

2 tbsp fresh hot salsa

½ tbsp ground oregano

½ tbsp dried basil

½ tbsp Adobo

1 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Heat grape seed oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add sausages in batches and brown on each side. Slice the browned sausages then set aside. Wipe out the dutch oven if the bottom is too brown. Lower the temperature to medium. Add a little more grape seed oil to the pot then add onions ad peppers along with the seasonings. Stir and cook for approximately 2 – 3 minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes, white beans and tomato paste to the pot and stir until well blended with the onions and peppers. Cook for 3 minutes then add the sausages to the pot. Stir and let simmer for 20 – 25 minutes over medium low heat to allow the sauce to thicken.

While sauce is simmering cook pasta according to the package. Spoon sauce over a bowl of pasta and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

 

 

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Quiche

During warmer weather I shy away from always fixing meals that require me to be around the stove for any length of time. One pot meals and meals that go into the oven are my favorite things to prepare when it is hot.

Quiche is one of those meals you can quickly prepare then stick it in the oven to do its thing while you do something else. Quiche is also versatile because you can use anything you want for the filling whether it is veggies, meat, cheese or a combination of all three. The only thing I haven’t tried in a quiche is pasta. But who knows, that might work too. I’ll let you know if I ever get bold enough to try it.

I have two quiche recipes you can try for my vegetarian friends and meat eaters like me. I encourage you to experiment with the ingredients to make this your own favorite recipe.

P.S. Crab quiche is wonderful too. I’ll write a recipe on that one too sometime soon.

Quiche

Basic Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

6 extra large eggs

1 ready made pie crust (roll out to fit in pie pan)

½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese

¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup half and half

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

½ tsp mushroom seasoning (Trader Joe’s)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

¼ tsp dried parsley

¼ tsp dried thyme

2 dashes of hot sauce (optional)

cooking spray

paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pie crust in a pie pan sprayed with cooking spray. Gently tap the bottom of the pie crust with a fork to prevent puffing. Set aside.

Beat together eggs, seasonings and half and half until well blended. Fold cheeses into the egg mixture. Sprinkle with a little paprika. Place pie pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Test to make sure the quiche is cooked thoroughly by placing a butter knife in the center after 30 minutes. Cook a few minutes more if not completely done. Let the quiche cool for about 5 to 10 minutes then serve with nice soup or salad.

Additional Ideas:

Mushroom Quiche:

Saute 1 package each of baby portobella mushrooms and white button mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter or olive oil. Place on the bottom of the pie crust then pour egg and cheese mixture over the mushrooms. Bake according to basic the recipe.

Chicken and Broccoli Quiche:

Season one package of cooked diced white meat chicken with a little salt, onion powder and pepper.  Set aside.  Blanche 1 package of broccoli florets in salted water for about 3 minutes. Remove from water and place in a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and sprinkle broccoli with a little salt. Place chicken and broccoli in the bottom of the pie crust then pour egg and cheese mixture over the filling. Bake according to the basic recipe.

 

 

 

 

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Sticky Ginger Pork Chops

During the coronavirus pandemic I have had to be a little more creative with putting dinner on the table. Since most of us are shut up in the house it means cooking a lot more. Especially for those of us who had college kids return home. My youngest had to come home to complete his senior year of college (Congratulations to T on his graduation 5/21/20). The traditional mom side of me makes me want to have a nice dinner every day for the family. When it was just hubby and me I bailed on cooking dinner and opted for healthy take out food more than I probably should have done. Sorry hubby! Don’t worry, hubby really didn’t suffer because the take out was usually his favorite meal from a Korean BBQ restaurant EB told me about. Hubby could eat their food every other day if I was so inclined.

Anyway, back to the Sticky Ginger Pork Chops. Growing up, pork chops were one of my favorite foods. My dad used to tell people I could eat five pork chops in one sitting. Yes, he was exaggerating because my mom usually only made two pork chops per person. So, unless someone else was giving up their pork chops I couldn’t eat five of them at one time. Granted, I am a meat eater and if I only had a plate of pork chops for dinner and no side dishes, I might have been able to eat at least three chops in my younger days. Today, I eat only one unless I am super hungry then I could eat two.

Sticky Ginger Pork Chops came from a recipe I saw on the Test Kitchen show. They showed how to make Sticky Pork Spareribs instead of pork chops. I used pork chops because my local grocer had a fantastic sale on a large package of chops for less than $4.00 so I couldn’t pass them up. When it came time to cook the pork chops I decided to tweak the Sticky Pork Spareribs to create my own recipe.

My recipe has the basics of the Test Kitchen recipe but with a few changes based on what I had in the refrigerator and pantry. The end result was a thumbs up so I knew the recipe was blog worthy. Enjoy!

Sticky Ginger Pork Chops

Ingredients:

4 – 6 bone in pork shops

3 scallions diced

½ cup chicken stock or broth

2 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp slice fresh ginger

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp rice wine

1 tbsp garlic powder

½ tbsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season pork chops with sea salt, garlic powder and cracked black pepper. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add pork chops in batches and brown on both sides (place browned pork chops on plate while cooking other pork chops). Lower heat to medium and place all pork chops back in the skillet. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and ginger slices. Drizzle with honey, soy sauce, rice wine and rice vinegar. Sprinkle with scallions and then pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Cover the skillet with foil then place in the oven to bake. Baste the pork chops after the first 15 minutes and cook for 15 minutes more. Remove the foil then baste again and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

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Skillet Baked Spaghetti

I am dedicating this post to my hubby and mother-in-law (may she rest in peace).

Hubby and I were discussing our childhoods the other day and reminiscing about the comfort foods our mothers would make. One of the comfort foods my hubby mentioned was the baked spaghetti his mom would prepare for the family. Mom B. had a special frying pan with rings in the bottom that she would use to bake the spaghetti in. I kind of remembered a similar pan from my childhood my mom would use but I don’t think she used it for baking.

Skillet Baked Spaghetti was pulled together based on how Mom B. would make her baked spaghetti. As always, I added my own twist to the recipe but hubby said my version did remind him of his mom. What a great compliment. I was happy that we could share a moment from his childhood and feel the same warmth and comfort his mom’s cooking would bring to the family.

Fast forward to today and now I have a recipe I can share with my kids and grand kids that makes them feel the comfort we felt from old family recipes. Pasta is usually a hit with my family. Add spice to the mix and a crispy cheesy topping and it’s a home run.

Thanks Mom B. for leaving hubby with a wonderful memory and giving me a delicious recipe.

Skillet Baked Spaghetti

Ingredients:

1 box vermicelli pasta (prepare per package instructions and save ½ cup pasta water) al dente and drained

1 pkg hot sausage links (casing removed)

1 pkg Italian sausage links (casing removed)

1 large jar spaghetti sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the sausages in medium non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Remove most of the grease from the skillet then add the spaghetti sauce, ketchup and seasonings (except for the red pepper flakes). Stir to mix then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.

After preparing pasta drain it and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Place the pasta back in the pot and add the spaghetti sauce. Mix well and add a little pasta water if the spaghetti seems dry. Spray a large cast iron skillet with cooking spray and drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of the pan.

Place have of the spaghetti in the skillet then top with ½ of the shredded mozzarella and ½ of the Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining spaghetti and sprinkle with the remaining cheese along with the red pepper flakes. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the top is slightly crispy and golden browned.

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