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Dinner, Entrees, Pasta, Uncategorized

Chicken Cacciatore Bake

October 22, 2015

Here is a quick Chicken Cacciatore Bake inspired by my love for Chicken Cacciatore!  This version is very easy to make and doesn’t take as much time as my traditional Chicken Caccaitore dish.  Stayed tuned for my more traditional Chicken Cacciatore some time soon!



  • 3 to 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped into medium size pieces
  • 1 to 2 green peppers chopped into medium size pieces
  • 6 to 8 slices of mozzarella cheese or 1 to 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • homemade or store bought marinara sauce (see my homemade marinara sauce below)


  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Cut the chicken breasts in half or in thirds and spread out in a baking dish
  3. Scatter the chopped onions and green peppers over dish evenly
  4. Pour marinara sauce over the chicken, onions and green peppers enough to coat everything, but not too much where it will flow over baking dish
  5. Cut 6 to 8 slices of mozzarella and place them over the top
  6. Place baking dish in oven and cook for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Serve by itself or over your favorite pasta.
  8. Save some marinara sauce on the side to put more over the top if you like a lot of extra sauce.
  9. For all you cheese lovers, add Parmesan cheese on top once you have plated the pasta and chicken cacciatore bake.

My Basic Marinara Sauce


  • One 35 oz. can of tomato puree
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • Fresh thyme and oregano to taste or if you don’t have fresh herbs use dried Italian seasoning to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup grated or puree of carrots (optional)
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • Olive oil


  1. Add a splash of olive oil and garlic to a sauce pan at medium heat for about a minute (be careful not to burn)
  2. Add tomato puree and all the other ingredients
  3. Cover and cook on low for approximately 40-60 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and take out bay leaves.
  5. Use immediately or refrigerate.

I like my marinara sauce spicy, but you do not have to put the red chili flakes in it.  The carrots sweeten the sauce.  I don’t always use carrots, but they do add a nice flavor if you have the time to grate or puree the carrots.

Some people like chopped onions in their marinara sauce, but I usually never put it in my basic marinara sauce.  It depends on what I am using the marinara sauce for.  For my chicken cacciatore bake, it already has onions in it so I do not need to add more into the sauce itself.


Dinner, Entrees, Pasta

Spicy Chicken Pasta with Eggplant

October 6, 2015

Here is a pasta dish I was playing around with and it turned out great.  My husband is not a huge fan of eggplant, but he actually really like this spicy chicken pasta with eggplant.

Spicy Chicken Pasta with Eggplant
















  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into large pieces
  • 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, Julienne style
  • 10-15 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh oregano to taste
  • fresh thyme to taste
  • fresh basil to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 1 large can of tomato puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Baste chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper; bake chicken in the oven at 375 for 35 minutes (turn after 20 minutes); let cool and cut into bite size pieces; set aside.
  2. Cut eggplant into large pieces; place in a roasting pan; drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper; put in oven at 400 for 20-30 minutes; take out of oven and set aside.
  3. Add approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil into skillet and add chopped onions; cook at medium high heat until onions are translucent; add chopped tomatoes, and minced garlic; cook for approximately 10 minutes, and then add the eggplant, garlic and spices; cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, and then add tomato puree, heavy cream and the chicken; simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes and serve over your favorite pasta; top with fresh parmesan cheese!
Dinner, Entrees, Pasta

Pumpkin Gnocchi

October 6, 2015

Gnocchi is one of my most favorite things to make especially during the Fall season when I love to make my pumpkin gnocchi.  I know it looks hard, but it’s actually pretty easy to make if you have the time.  Here is my recipe for making pumpkin gnocchi.  If you are not a sage lover, this recipe would also go great with a white sauce or even a red sauce.

pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter sauce


  • 1 (15 oz.) Can Pumpkin Puree (drain excess water)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dash Of Nutmeg
  • 2 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Melted Butter
  • 6-7 Finely Chopped Sage Leaves
  • 1 Large Clove Garlic, Minced
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Mix together the flour, pumpkin and seasonings to make a soft dough.
  2. Add additional flour if the dough is sticky or does not hold together.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 parts, and on a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a rope about 1 inch in diameter.
  4. Cut the rope into 1 inch pieces and roll each lightly along the floured surface.
  5. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the tines of a fork to form grooves in the dough.
  6. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet. You can refrigerate the gnocchi until you are ready to cook them.
  7. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface (approximately 2 to 3 minutes).
  8. Strain and set aside.

Butter Sage Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat and add chopped or whole sage leaves.
  2. Add gnocchi to skillet and stir for a minute then take off the heat.
  3. Serve gnocchi and add freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Comfort Food, Dinner, Entrees, Pasta

Gourmet Mac & Cheese

September 4, 2015

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is one of my most favorite dishes if done right.  I experiment with many different cheeses and veggies.   I have this recipe to be my favorite out of all the versions I have done.


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered mustard
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 package Gruyère cheese, grated (approx. 12 oz.)
  • 1 package Fontina cheese, grated (approx. 12 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook macaroni in a pot and set aside.
  3. In a separate pot melt the butter and then whisk in four and mustard; continue to stir for about 5 minutes to get rid of all the lumps; stir in milk, onion, bay leaf, paprika, and cayenne pepper; simmer for ten minutes then remove the bay leaf.
  4. Temper the eggs and then stir in 3/4 of the grated cheese; add salt and pepper.
  5. Oil the casserole dish and add the pasta.
  6. Pour milk and cheese mixture over pasta evenly and top with the remaining cheese.
  7. Sprinkle Italian bread crumbs over the top and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. If you like extra cheese, I sometimes put Parmesan cheese over the top as well.  Parmesan cheese also gives it that extra crispiness I love.
  9. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Other ideas on adding to this Mac & Cheese recipe include:

  • Add Cauliflower
  • Add White Truffle Oil or Truffle Paste (Be careful because truffle flavor can really overpower the dish.  Use sparingly)
  • Change the cheeses up if you like.  I just happen to love Fontina and Gruyere best!

Fontina & Gruyere Cheese