Pasta with Broccoli and Italian Sausage


We saw something like this on a food show. I used unsalted butter rather than olive oil and used marsala instead of the broccoli cooking water. I used a full pound of Sweet Italian Sausage and all the fresh broccoli left from Christmas, about 3 cups I would guess. The pepper flakes can be added by each person if they want. I will cook the whole wheat angel hair pasta and heat it all together right before dinner. The Pickiest Eater I know tasted it and thought it was marvelous, so hurray!


I will post my plate photo and opinion after dinner. For lunch I had Tacos from the freezer with romaine and picante sauce.


Here is my bowl. I liked this very much and think it is a nice variation of spaghetti. Here is the inside of the cake:


It was very good, as I remembered it. The fondant wasn’t even bad at all.


Chicken Marsala 2

I tried to link with the Chicken Marsala recipe I had tried but the link was bad. I found a new one to try and made it today. It may have been the same as before but I didn’t dredge the chicken the first time. I followed this recipe exactly this time (except I didn’t pound it so thinly and cooked it covered for a bit longer). Megaman chose this for tonight’s dinner and also helped make it. I am going to reheat it in the oven while the bow tie pasta cooks and we will have raw veggies with it.


You can’t really see much here, I will take a photo and post it after dinner with my opinion.

The pictures from my plate didn’t turn out. But, as far as a critique, I am not sure how vital it is to use shallots over onions, but the fresh sage was so perfect. I tend to not like sage that much but it was so delicate and blended perfectly with the mushroom/marsala flavor.

For lunch, I had turkey and stuffing with gravy and raw veggies and a couple Christmas treats.

Vegetable Lasagna

Last night’s discovery of a good Stroganoff recipe reminded me I still had to try that Vegetable Lasagna clone I found. So that is dinner for tonight. Here is what I actually used:

* Exported from MasterCook *

Vegetable Lasagna

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter — melted
3 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup carrots — finely chopped
1/2 cup spinach — finely chopped
1/2 cup broccoli — finely chopped
1/2 cup onions — finely chopped
40 grams romano cheese
128 grams mozzarella cheese, part skim milk
2 cloves minced garlic
1 egg
13 1/4 ounces lasagna noodles — cooked
1 cup french fried onions

Wow! I just saw that I forgot to add the egg. I hope it still turns out. Not including that mistake, 1/8th of this is 420 calories, 1/6th would be 560. I tasted the sauce and it was even better than Stouffer’s! Here is the first layer:


Here is just before baking:


And here is my serving:


This tasted fine but was a bit dry. I think 4 layers is too many. Next time I will only use 3/4 of the noodles and make just 3 layers, and remember the egg. That should make this perfect.

Swedish Meatballs

You know who loves Swedish Meatballs? Someone. That is this person’s number one choice in frozen store-bought TV dinners. Does the phrase TV dinner date me? Anyway, dear Ros over at Cooking Up The Pantry gave us her recipe for Ikea-style Swedish Meatballs! I have not had them there as far as I can remember, but they looked good. I halved the recipe and skipped the pork, and mucked with the gravy terribly. Marsala instead of red wine, just water instead of beef broth (because I used the rendered beef drippings instead of butter). But it still looks and tastes pretty nice to me. We’ll have to see what Someone thinks. Broccoli will finish out this dinner.


Someone enjoyed this after adding salt.

For lunch I had Southwestern Eggrolls from the freezer with Guacamole salsa mixed with mayo and sour cream, about 100 calories with of tortilla chips, some roasted veggies and a store-bought jalapeno popper. I skipped ice cream. This was higher than normal but I went on a hike down and up hills and logged 8000 steps, so I think I’ll be okay.

Turkey Fettuccine Alfredo

I am making this up as I go along. The back story is about how too much turkey was defrosted for the holiday and I ended up having to cook a turkey breast. Was there something I hadn’t already made that could be made with cooked turkey breast? I haven’t done an Alfredo dish, and I just found that Olive Garden posted a recipe for the stuff! I had to try it. I will use some cubed turkey breast, steamed frozen broccoli and egg fettuccine.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 1/2 ounces I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
1/2 tablespoon Garlic
1 tablespoon Flour
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup Romano cheese — grated
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups cooked turkey breast meat
250 grams broccoli florets
4 ounces fettucine

Each of 4 servings is 385 calories and lots of vitamins. I decided to keep the broccoli on the side. The sauce tasted wonderful.


Macaroni Salad

Someone just loves my mom’s macaroni salad. And it is a side dish that goes well with what we are having for dinner tonight. It gets better as it chills so it is a dish best made early. Here is the recipe:

* Exported from MasterCook *

Mom’s Macaroni Salad

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
4 ounces black olives — chopped
4 ounces sweet pickles
2 ounces pimientos
8 large eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
12 ounces macaroni — small, salad type
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder

Cook macaroni and rinse in cold water. Chop pickles, pimientos, and eggs. Combine with macaroni and olives in a large bowl. Mix mayonnaise, mustard, onion flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing on salad and lightly toss until well mixed.


When I was young I used to pick out the pimiento, because I hate it. I substituted freshly roasted red bell pepper and used sweet pickle relish instead of sweet pickles. It needs salt, but that is best done at the table.

For lunch today I had Chicken Marsala from the freezer.


Tuna Noodle Casserole

When I was a kid, tuna was my favorite sandwich. I especially loved it with dill pickles on fluffy white bread (although anything on my mom’s homemade white bread was great) with Fritos corn chips shoved in at the table. For a fish-hater, I ate a lot of tuna. I also liked Tuna Casserole. These days I never get it because Someone thinks they hate it.  So I went looking for a recipe with ingredients that Someone loves so it would be irresistible. This one seems to be just that. Here is what I actually used:

* Exported from MasterCook *

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
6 ounces egg noodles, cooked al-dente, drained and rinsed
6 ounces spinach egg noodles, cooked al-dente, drained and rinsed
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup, condensed
1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1/4 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
12 ounces tuna in water, canned, drained
1/2 packet onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups  low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated, separated
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Frank’s hot sauce
1 cup chopped celery
1 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix all ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and folding the cooked pasta in last after everything else has been mixed well. Pour everything into a greased casserole dish, and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for thirty minutes. Serve hot – serves up to six.


This comes in at 445 calories for 1/6th of the recipe. If I sprinkle the top with 42g canned fried onion bits, that brings it up to 490 but makes it so delicious so that is what I did. Here is the picture of my bowl. Someone gave it a B+, which is pretty high praise for something previously hated.


I had a Chili Size for lunch.


Today I will only post once, since I have a busy day. For lunch I am eating a Crescent Chimichanga. But on to dinner. Everyone I know loves Gyozas or Potstickers. I have never made them before and thought I should learn how. Now, someday I will use the recipe for Cantonese Pancakes in the recipe book that came with my tortilla press, but today I am using wonton skins (my store didn’t have the round Gyoza ones). I only made a few other small changes to the recipe. I had a bunch of green onions so I used them in place of the leeks. Also, I couldn’t find miso paste and haven’t made it to the Asian Market so I left that out. Otherwise, I followed this recipe.


The sauce is rice vinegar, soy sauce and minced garlic. The pickiest eater I know gave her stamp of approval and even helped. She said they tasted a little bland, I guess that was due to not using miso paste.

Having now eaten these I must tell you how great this recipe is. They came out wonderfully. I ended up eating 8 of these. We bought some chili sesame oil and put a few drops in the dipping sauce. This was a definite success.

NOTE: I forgot to say, I had 60 wrappers and only used half the filling to make these.


Walnut Mushroom Casserole

Tonight’s meal is not my favorite, in fact I don’t know if I even tasted it, but Someone has fond memories of it. There used to be a restaurant right next to our university called The Good Earth. That is where I tasted the tea I recommended a while back. Most of the Good Earth restaurants are gone. I have tried to find a recipe for this dish in vegetarian cookbooks but never did. The kind writer here succeeded for me. I have substituted low-sodium soy sauce,  low-fat sour cream and cheeses, Marsala replaced the sherry and I used portobella mushrooms instead of button. I have been thinking of boosting our vegetable intake and the nutritional values are a bit impressive. So, I hope I agree with Someone’s taste and this can take a regular place in our menu.


This is one eighth of the batch. It looks a bit messy, but kind of delicious. I tasted a bit of the scraps from the pan and I think I am going to love it. I may revise this with my full opinion after dinner tonight.

Okay, Someone loved it. I think it is a keeper. The walnuts and water chestnuts add such a nice crunch and the portobellas were a good choice as was the Marsala.


Ravioli di Portobello

Here is another favorite meal at Olive Garden. I found this recipe and it seems to be passed around so that every recipe you find is the same. That would be okay, I guess, but I found the recipe crazy. First, who puts baking powder in pasta dough? Second, I actually made it and could have used only half of the filling, except that I threw the dough away and used my Verinica dough instead (2 cups flour, 2 eggs whites, 1/4 teaspoon salt, enough water to form a soft dough). That worked and produced 36 rather good-sized ravioli. I divided them among seven storage boxes. For the sauce, I didn’t have smoked Gouda but did have 8 ounces of Muenster that wasn’t gonna last much longer. Also, no sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste will have to do. And just because I like it, I added 1/4 cup Marsala. I guess Olive Garden serves these swimming in cheese sauce, but 2/3 of the recipe would have been just fine. Whether or not it is a good clone, it does taste good and dinner will be very appreciated by at least two of us. (We used to order this and split it every time we went to Olive Garden.)


Chicken Fettuccine A La Fuente

This is an old regular meal, also from the Pillsbury Bake-Off site here. I made a number of changes starting with using chicken thigh instead of chicken breast. The reason behind this is that Someone is not terribly fond of this dish but does love everything I make using thighs, so perhaps it will change the underwhelmed reaction into enjoyment. I used 6 ounces of whole wheat penne for the pasta, I used half-and-half instead of cream and I mixed my own taco seasoning, but it is very similar to store-bought. I divided this into 5 servings.


I have a good amount of tomatoes and so I will slice them and marinate them in that lovely vinegar and oil I bought at Oil & Vinegar.

(I had a boiled egg between lunch and dinner to curb my hunger.)

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Tomato Mascarpone Sauce and Sausages

Another Capricciosa favorite was something like this. I started with my in-laws’ potato gnocchi recipe with canned pumpkin substituted for potatoes and butter.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Potato Gnocchi

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds potatoes — peeled and boiled
2 large eggs — beaten
1 dash salt
1 cup flour
1/2 ounce butter
1 dash pepper

Mash potatoes and add butter. Gradually add flour, beaten eggs and seasonings. Roll between floured hands into logs the thickness of your finger and cut into 1-inch pieces. Drop gently into boiling water and boil for 3 minutes, or until they rise to the top. Transfer with slotted spoon to dish and serve with tomato sauce.

I ended up using 400g pumpkin, 1 egg, and 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (to add fiber and because the pumpkin should cover the difference in taste). Though the recipe doesn’t say it, they used to leave the gnocchi out on the table; presumably to let them dry a little to prevent disintegration in the boiling water. Mine were quite soft so I let them sit for a couple of hours.


Then the sauce is just the sauce from yesterday with mascarpone stirred in. I had about 1 cup left and added a 15-ounce can of tomato sauce then stirred in 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese. I have made this with just tomato sauce and the cheese and it is good. Lastly, I stirred in a 14-ounce package of Hillshire Farms’ lil’ smokies. Sliced Polish sausages would work as well, but these little sausages are the closest to what the restaurant served. And I divided this into 8 servings having under 500 calories. (Each serving had 11 gnocchi and 5 sausages and a couple of big spoons of sauce.)

(I just tasted the sauce and it is so delicious! I can’t wait for dinner!)


Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna

I am grabbing this from the freezer. We were lazy one day and cooked up this family-sized feast. It is filling for the calories and satisfied everyone. I froze the leftovers and want to get it out of the freezer. But while I was searching for the nutritional info I came across this copycat recipe! I think I will try it soon. This serving is under 400 calories. So after lunch I tried a new Dreyer’s Slow Churn Ice Cream flavor, Mississippi Mud Pie. It was nice and creamy and potently chocolate, but I still like my Double Fudge Brownie the best.


Last night I was trying to determine if I am alone in my love for Kirkland Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bars and my dislike for the Chocolate Brownie Bars that are packed with them. It seems most people share my preference but are ok with the others. Then I came upon the solution to my stockpile of 40 Brownie Bars! (Yes, I actually ate the Chocolate Chip Bars and left the Brownie Bars 4 times!) In the comments on this post someone suggests cutting the bars into pieces and baking them in a 350 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes.


They puff up into actual cookies! And while they are much better than the Tootsie-Roll-like-textured raw bars, I still want to go buy another box so I can have my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!

Penne Alfredo with Bacon & Sundried Tomato

Chris, from Don’t Go Bacon My Heart visited my blog for the first time yesterday. I go to return his visit and what do I find? The perfect dinner for Someone whose birthday is today! I was considering making a clone of Olive Garden’s Fettuccine Alfredo (as well as one for spinach-artichoke dip). But my loved one is crazy about sun-dried tomatoes! The recipe is here. And the only changes I made are I omitted the butter, since the bacon grease was enough fat, used half-and-half instead of double cream and whole wheat penne. I used 8 ounces of the penne and I made this into 8 servings. (I always figure 1 ounce of dried pasta as a serving.) Thanks, Chris!


The guest of honor also loves artichoke hearts so I went ahead with the dip. I am serving pita chips and zucchini slices for dippers. Here is Todd Wilbur’s recipe for the dip. I only substituted canned artichokes for frozen and used nonfat Greek yogurt instead of 2%.