Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

For the first time since I started this blog, one of our local grocery stores stocked hatch chilies. I feel like I’ve been watching my more-Southern food blogger friends rave about them for years and could never participate in the hatch chili fun. So now that they’re here? I’m making hatch chili everything.

First up: mac n cheese. I really, really loved this. The roasted chilies paired really nicely with the jack cheese sauce. I had split this into two pans with intentions to freeze one for later – but it all got eaten before it made it to the freezer. Oops!



Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese
(from Life’s Ambrosia)
Serves 6-8 as a side

5 hatch chilies
2 cups elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 Tbsp. flour
2 cups whole milk
3 cups shredded jack cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil

On the grill, roast the chilies over high heat until charred and blistered. Transfer to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, peel the chilies, seed, remove the membrane and dice.

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the diced onion and cook until nearly translucent. Whisk in flour until the mixture is a play dough consistency. Add milk, whisking constantly, and cook until starting to thicken, about a minute. Stir in cheeses and stir frequently until melted. Stir in cooked macaroni and diced chilies and season with salt to taste. Spread the macaroni in a greased baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the panko and olive oil. Spread over the top of the macaroni.

Bake at 350F degrees until bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Taco Spaghetti

I love kids television. I would totally pick the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon over most adult shows any day. I know what you’re thinking, what does that have to do with anything?

Well, a few years ago I binge-watched iCarly and one of their meals of choice was spaghetti tacos. Which was obviously supposed to be a show joke but since the show was so popular, it became a real thing. I’ve had it in the back of my head that maybe, possibly, at some point I’d try them… just to see.

And then I ran across this recipe and I immediately knew this would be a much better take on the iconic iCarly meal. I’m always a fan of one-pot meals and this one didn’t disappoint!


Taco Spaghetti
{from Ready, Set, Eat)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 1/2 cups water
8 oz. spaghetti, broken in half
Sour cream, for serving
Avocado, for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Add taco seasoning, tomatoes and water. Stir to combine. Stir in the spaghetti. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve topped with sour cream and avocado.

5-Minute Pad Thai Fakeout

Also known as: fancied up ramen, my favorite Lenten lunch.

I first tried this recipe when we were dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. She left us with a flooded basement and no power for a week. It was awesome. Since a fast majority of the stores and businesses were in the same boat, it was an exercise in working with what you had – and what we had was ramen. Since then, I keep the ingredients in my emergency stash – just in case. It’s a great one for that – not something I plan to make but something I can say, ah! I can whip that up instead of another grilled cheese!

I don’t think it’s technically vegetarian since it uses chicken-flavored ramen as the base, but since there’s no actual meat in it, it’s Lent-friendly.


5-Minute Pad Thai Fakeout
(from Martha Stewart)
Serves 1

1 pkg. chicken-flavored ramen with seasoning packet
2 Tbsp. chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. sriracha
Green onions, sliced

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain most of the water off. Stir in peanut butter, soy sauce and sriracha until peanut butter is melted and everything is well combined. Top with sliced green onions and serve immediately.


Rattlesnake Pasta

My Mom and Mother-in-law both got me vintage Pyrex pieces for Christmas. Since then, I’ve become mildly obsessed with casseroles. Because when you’re using dishes from the ’50s, is there anything more appropriate to make than a casserole? I think not.

My new casserole dish is small – perfect for 2-3 servings, so I’ve been using it a lot and freezing extra portions for busy nights.  I can’t wait to break this one out again!


Rattlesnake Pasta
(adapted from The Oland Girls Craft)
Serves 6

12 oz. whole wheat pasta
1 26 oz. jar Alfredo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 lb. dice, cooked chicken
1 small can diced green chilies
1 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, Alfredo sauce, garlic, Parmesan, bacon, chicken and chilies. Stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared casserole dish. Top with shredded cheddar.

Baked for 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Baked Ziti

Do you know what today is? It’s 10k day for those of us participating in NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated)  is a project to write 50k words of a novel in 30 days. It’s a little crazy and a lot fun. This is my 7th year participating in NaNo and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my past attempts, it’s that you need to plan ahead.

As part of my NaNo prep this year, I stocked our freezer with dinners. I’ve never really done much freezer cooking, but spending less time in the kitchen and more time writing sounded like an excellent idea. This is one of the meals we’ve got in the freezer for this month. The recipe makes two pans – so we ate one when I made in and froze the other. This is a pretty basic, no-frills baked ziti, but it’s a really good one. We’re really looking forward to enjoying the second pan.

I’ve got a whole lot of freezer meals on the menu this month. I’m planning to share the hits and include freezing instructions on some already-blogged recipes. Keep your fingers crossed this goes as well as planned!


Baked Ziti
(from Six Sisters’ Stuff)
Makes 2 8×8″ trays

1 lb. penne pasta
1 onion, diced
1 lb. lean ground beef, seasoned with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and minced garlic
2 (26 oz.) jars spaghetti sauce
8 slices provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions.

In a large skillet, cook the onion and ground beef over medium heat until the meat is browned and onions are translucent. Drain off any excess fat. Add in the spaghetti sauce and simmer for fifteen minutes.

If cooking it now, preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Spray two 8×8-inch pans with non-stick cooking spray. Layer in each pan: 1/4 of the ziti, 1/4 of the sauce, 4 slices of Provolone cheese, 1/2 of sour cream,  1/4 of ziti, 1/4 mozzarella cheese and 1/4 of sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, until cheeses are melted. Or, cover and freeze.

To cook from frozen: bake at 350F degrees, covered, until heated through and bubbly.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Our pasta pot was passed down to us from Mark’s parents when we moved into our first apartment. It works – so we’ve yet to replace it – but, my goodness, does that pot take a lot time to come to a boil. And I sometimes avoid making pasta because I don’t want to deal with it. Sad, but true.

It’s one of the reasons I was so drawn to this recipe – one pot pasta that doesn’t need to be made in the pasta pot! This was as easy as it gets: dump, stir, cook – done. Simple, but delicious.


One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
(from Apron Strings)
Serves 4-5

12 oz. linguine pasta
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 T. extra virgin olive oil Parmesan cheese for garnish

Add pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil to a large stock pot. Add in vegetable broth and sprinkle the pepper flakes and oregano over the top. Drizzle with oil.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until the desired amount of liquid has evaporated .

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring the pot several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I’m very fortunate. Even though I love cooking, there are nights that I just don’t want to spend time in the kitchen. When that happens, Mark is always happy to step in and take care of things. He’s a great cook.

This is one of the dinners he cooked up recently. Its a one-pot meal – you don’t have to cook the pasta separately, just keep adding things to the pan and in the end you have a creamy, spicy pasta dish. It was awesome.



Spicy Sausage Pasta
(from A Bitchin’ Kitchen)
Serves 4

1 T. olive oil
1 14 oz. package smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1/2 c. heavy cream
8 oz. uncooked whole wheat penne pasta (about 2 1/2 c.)
1/2 t. black pepper
1 1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Thinly sliced scallions
Salt, to taste

In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil until smoking.  Add the sausage and onion to the pan, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the broth, tomatoes, heavy cream, uncooked pasta and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.

While the pasta cooks, preheat the oven broiler. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Add salt to taste. Top with the scallions and remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

June is a very busy month for us. Both Mark and I are June babies, we’ve got a vacation scheduled and two of our good friends are due at the end of the month! I promised myself last month that I’d get ahead and put together some freezer meals to break out on crazy nights. And, I failed.

I’m really going to try to have at least one freezer-friendly meal on our weekly menu for the next couple weeks so when we get back from vacation I’m not totally swamped with cooking. This was last week’s meal and it turned out beautifully – although, it’s really hard to go wrong with a pizza/pasta combo!

Pepperoni and olives are my favorite, so I didn’t bother to play with other ingredients here but now I’m wondering how ham and pineapple would be. I love Hawaiian pizza – do you think it would work in casserole form?!



Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
(from Closet Cooking)
Serves 6

12 oz. whole wheat penne
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 c. marinara sauce
1/2 c. sliced black olives
4 oz. pepperoni
8 oz. ricotta
2 c. mozzarella, shredded
1/2 c. parmigiano reggiano, grated


Cook the pasta as directed on package, stopping a minute or two before fully done. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink. Add the sauce, 3/4 of the olives and 3/4 of the pepperoni to the pan and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan. Set aside.

Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray and then place half of the pasta in the bottom. Top with half of the sauce and then half of the cheese mixture. Repeat each layer, and then arrange the remaining olives and pepperoni on the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minute, until the cheese has melted.

Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

This time of year always seems endlessly dreary. It’s cold, but we’re not getting snow. The days are depressingly short and I still seem to have a holiday hangover. By the time I get home from work, I just don’t feel like cooking so I’ve been relying on old favorites like homemade pizza and ham and cheese waffles.

In an effort to jumpstart more cooking, we took a trip to Whole Foods to do some impulse shopping, We ended up getting some basil and garlic chicken sausage which was perfect for this dish. Despite being really simple, it was incredibly flavorful.


Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli
(adapted from Real Simple)
Serves 4

12 oz.  penne (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
6 oz. chicken sausage, casing removed
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets and stems sliced
1/4 c. grated Parmesan (1 ounce)

Begin cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Five minutes before the pasta is finished, add the broccoli florets and stems to the boiling water. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving some pasta water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan. Break up and cook, stirring, until browned and cooked through.

Toss the pasta with the sausage mixture, including a little of the pasta water, and the Parmesan.

Hibachi Style Noodles

I recently had my first Hibachi restaurant experience. I had no idea what I was missing. I loved everything about it – but I especially loved the noodles. They were sweet and spicy and I devoured my whole portion entirely way too fast.

I dreamed about them for a few weeks (hubby vetoed going back to the restaurant so soon) before googling to see if I could find a recipe to make them at home. When I ran across this one, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Seriously, if you can boil water, you can handle making these. They’re also rediculously quick – mine took about 10 minutes start to finish.

We served these as a side with grilled steak and veggies. They also reheated well for lunch the next day.

Hibachi Style Noodles
(from Best of the Veg*)
Serves 4 as a side

1 package fresh, Chinese-style noodles
1 T. oyster sauce
2 T. soy sauce
8 T. sugar
2 T. honey
2 T. sesame oil
1 t. chili garlic

Cook the noodles according to package directions.

Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl to make the sauce. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium/high heat. Add half of the sauce, then the noodles, followed by the remaining noodles. Toss for 2 minutes, then transfer to a serving bowl.

*Note: I’m not linking the blog here like I usually do because the last two times I visited the site, my antivirus flagged it as a site that was distributing viruses. If you’re interested in visiting the site anyway, you can find it by googling the name.