Category Archives: Pasta

Comfort Dinner- Mac and Beef “re-vamped”

For anyone who is a busy soul like I am you know the importance of quick, simple but still delicious meals. I really enjoy cooking but I do it for a living and after slaving away for 8+ hours a day in a hot kitchen, then to come home to the ever famous…”I’m hungry, what’s for dinner?” I feel I need to have at least a few of these quick meals that I can just whip up. 

Take the traditional Macaroni and Beef we all know from not only school hot lunch but from our moms go to meals when we were young. Filling, yes, comforting, yes, tasty, not always. As I remember this was a very bland meal. Overcooked pasta, poor quality ground beef, jarred tomato sauce with chunks (if you like chunks, by all means keep them), pre shredded cheese. Sorry to say, but yuck. 

The following is my version of Re-Vamped Mac and Beef. 

1 box pasta (any kind will do, I used radiatori )

1-1 1/2 lg onion or 5-6 sm onion thin sliced

2T olive oil

2lbs lean ground beef

1 lg can(28oz) plain tomato sauce

1 sm can tomato paste

1c each cheddar and mozzarella cheese, shredded (or more if you like it cheesy, I added more cause I’m a cheeseaholic) 

*spices to taste, optional, oregano, basil, rosemary, tarragon, chopped garlic, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper*


Preheat oven to 350.

Par cook the pasta less than al dente.  Meanwhile in a small pan sweat the sliced onions in 2T olive oil. Add a pinch of salt if you like. When the onions are almost done add the beef. Brown the beef fully. 

When pasta is par cooked, drain fully and return to pot. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Season with spices if you like and to taste. 

Add beef and onions. Stir to combine well.  

Taste to make sure it has the flavor you like, adjust accordingly. 

Top with cheese. 

Pour mixture into un-greased 9×13 pan, glass preferable. Bake at 350 until nice and brown and bubbly on top.

Serve with crusty bread and butter if you like.

Wishing you comfy eating!!


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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Beef, Cheese, Pasta


To sugar or not to sugar?

If any day can be considered lazy, it was yesterday.

What is more fun then spending the day in and around an in-ground pool, hanging with family and eating food? That was my Sunday.

We packed ourselves, hubby, his daughter and I, into my truck and drove up to the Poconos area to visit his aunt and cousin. The two girls played in the pool while the adults lounged around catching some sun. Next thing I know I’m in the pool in my shorts and sports bra (I don’t have a suit) cause the girls decided it would be fun to splash and squirt water at us. Since I was already wet I figured it was the only thing left to do. 

Soon it was time for lunch. 

It was a feast of grilled sausage with sauce and peppers, hot dogs, beans, tortilla chips and potato salad. For a second I had loss of brain and said yes I would love some potato salad. Forgetting that I am in PA, land of the dreaded sugar induced potato and macaroni salad. 

Don’t get me wrong, if you grew up here or were raised on the sweetened cook out must haves then it is ok but if you are like me, I am from CT, we do not use sugar in our salads.

I made this mistake when I first moved here roughly a year and a half ago. We went grocery shopping and hubby wanted macaroni salad, he went in search of some. He brings back this delicious looking salad with elbow mac, carrots, a bit of green pepper all encased in this velvety looking mayonnaise with a hint of yellow, which is fine by me because it means a touch of mustard. I like that, it adds a nice flavor. We get home, make lunch and he puts a scoop of the salad on my plate, I can’t wait to dig in. I am a carb whore. I put a forkful in my mouth and before I even started to chew I excused myself and spit it out. I tell him I think someone played a mean joke on the maker of the salad, they switched the mayo or salt with sugar. It was horrible. He took a bite and was very much in love with it. He has lived here his whole life. He is used to the sugared salads. GROSS!!! I found out that if something is labeled Amish or Dutch it is sweet, and if it looks shiny it most likely has sugar in it. I now always ask to try some before buying or I read the ingredients first. 

So back to the potato salad for lunch, I put a small fork full to my mouth, hoping and praying it wasn’t overly sugared. Surprise!!! No sugar. I was in heaven. It was almost like my gram used to make. Perfectly cooked potatoes, fresh parsley, celery, a hint of s+p, a tad bit of onion and mayo. Delicious. That made my day. 

Later on we stopped by a good friends parents house, who also happens to be my hubby’s “adopted” parents house. The gang was all there, mom, dad, Mike his wife and kids and his brother. Hubby made it through the house and out to the back yard but before I could make it out the door mom came in and asked if i would like some potato salad. I said yes please, I love your potato salad. It too is not sweet, she uses a  mix of mayo and sour cream, celery, onion and egg. Yum. I was in heaven yet again. 

I love my new family and will gladly eat their unsweetened salads anytime of the year. so when the hubby gets a craving for macaroni or potato salad, unless I taste it first, I buy the the ingredients, and whip up my own, this way there is no sugar. Sometimes he gives me a break and buys a small dish of his salad and jokingly asks me if I’d like a bite, to which he knows my answer. Absolutely no thank you. 

To all of you picnickers, hope you have a wonderful time but if you invite me please, please, please do not add sugar to your salads if you want me to try them. Sugar is for desserts not salad.

Happy Eating!!!!

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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Grill, Pasta, Veggies


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Comfort Food!!

So last night we decide to have comfort food, spaghetti and homemade meatballs with homemade garlic bread. Ahhh, so tasty after a very stressful week.

Nothing out of the ordinary to really write about except that it seems that no matter your mood or what has been going on comfort food does just that…comfort. 

I like to make my own meatballs by combining ground meat, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, egg, oregano and dried onion. It’s very simple for a quick meal. Nothing spectacular or even honestly note worthy for this blog but they did taste good and that’s all that counts right?

We did add browned ground hamburg to the sauce and I browned up some mushrooms in butter for the hubby. 

For the garlic bread we sliced up Italian bread and I sauteed some fresh garlic in butter, he placed a couple of pats of butter on each bread slice and added the garlic some parsley and Parmesan cheese and baked in a 375 oven for 15 minutes to brown the bread melt the butter and really make the meal. As usual I forgot that we were going to have garlic bread and since you have to prep it and bake it it should be done before making the rest of the meal but oops I forgot. So I had to stop boiling water and browning meat/mushrooms for a bit to get the bread done. Thank goodness for hubby!! He was a huge help.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!! 

Happy Eating!

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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Beef, Pasta


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