Friday, September 25, 2020

Instant Pot Pepper Soup with Italian Sausage

I went to Sam’s Club and bought some peppers, but it’s not just some, it’s...what are we going to do with all these peppers???  It’s my favorite time of year to make soups, especially in my Instant Pot. I love a good pepper soup made with Italian sausage, onions, rice and seasonings. All you need is a side salad and some Italian crusty bread....don’t forget the wine. Serves 4 Total Time 15 minutes + time to come to pressure. 


1 lb Italian sausage
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
3 bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 15oz can tomato sauce
5 cups vegetable or beef broth 
3/4 cup long grain white or jasmine rice 


Turn on your Instant Pot to sauté add the sausage and seasonings, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until sausage has browned. Turn off sauté setting. Add in the broth and scrape any brown bits off the bottom (that’s the good stuff). Add in remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Cover, close steam valve and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before releasing steam. Open lid carefully. Serve immediately. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Quick Spinach Ravioli Bake

Want to make something quick for dinner tonight? This Quick Spinach Ravioli Bake only takes 10 minutes in the oven. Just add a side salad and some crusty Italian bread for a delicious meal. Serves 6 Total Time: 30 minutes 


19 oz pkg of spinach ravioli 
1 26oz jar of chunky pasta sauce
1 6oz bag of baby spinach 
1 tablespoon dried basil + dash or two to garnish 
8 oz shredded mozzarella 
Salt and pepper, to taste 


Cook ravioli according to package instructions. My package suggested 5 minutes if frozen or 4 minutes if refrigerated. Drain and add to a 9x13-inch oven proof dish. 

In a saucepan add the pasta sauce, basil and spinach. Cook on medium heat until spinach wilts. Pour over ravioli. Top with cheese and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 400F oven, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Garnish with a dash or two of dried basil. Salt and pepper, to taste. 

Notes: I didn’t have chunky pasta sauce so I add 4 tomatoes, I removed the skins and chopped them into bite size pieces. I cooked them with the pasta sauce, basil and spinach.  To remove the skin easily you slice an X on the top and bottom of the tomato, boil them for 5 minutes, then place them in an ice bath. You should see the skins crack while boiling. When cooled the skins should just slide right off. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Bacon Spinach Tortellini Bake

This Bacon Spinach Tortellini Bake is easy to make with only 6 ingredients, unless you want to make homemade Alfredo sauce. I’ve provided a link below for the Alfredo recipe. It’s very simple just a white roux and Parmesan cheese minus all the extra ingredients you find in a jar. Serves 6 Total Time: 70 minutes 


1 jar (15 oz) Alfredo pasta sauce 
1/3 cup water 
1 package (19 oz) frozen cheese-filled tortellini 
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped cooked bacon  
1 bag (5 oz) baby spinach, coarsely chopped 
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz) 


1 Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish generously with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix Alfredo sauce and water. Arrange half of the frozen tortellini in single layer in baking dish; top with 1/4 cup of the bacon, half of the spinach, half of the Alfredo sauce mixture and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 2 tablespoons bacon. Spray one side foil with cooking spray and cover baking dish, sprayed side down. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until bubbly around edges and hot in center.

Make your own Alfredo sauce here

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Italian Pasta Salad

Here is another cold pasta salad for those hot nights when you don’t want to cook over a stove or even a grill. This would also be great for a cookout, pot luck or a family gathering. Serves 8 Total Time: 30 minutes 


Kosher salt 
1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package instructions 
1/3 cup mayonnaise 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
1 16-ounce jar giardiniera, drained and chopped 
5 ounces provolone cheese, diced (1 cup) or real mozzarella 
5 ounces salami, diced (1 cup) 
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
Freshly ground pepper 


Mix the mayonnaise, olive oil and red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Add the cooked penne pasta and toss well. Add the giardiniera, provolone, salami, parsley and basil; toss well and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy! 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Too hot to cook a big meal? I made this Mediterranean Pasta Salad it was just enough for a hot muggy summer night. You can also serve this as a side or add a protein if you like, try pepperoni, salami (I did) or chicken and make it a meal. Serves 4-6 Total Time: 20 minutes 


3- Cucumbers medium size, cut into bite size pieces 
1-Pint Grape Tomatoes, halved  or 2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
1- Can sliced Black Olives 
1/2 jar of roasted red peppers, sliced
16-oz box of tri-colored rotini, cooked
1- Container Feta Cheese 
1/2- Red Onion, diced 
2- Tbsp Olive Oil 
2- Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar 
1- tsp Dried Oregano 


In a large serving bowl add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, roasted red peppers, black olives, cooked pasta and any protein, if using. In a small bowl combine your olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and oregano. Pour dressing over veggies and  toss until everything is coated. Sprinkle the top with feta. Chill 1/2 hour before serving. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Rigatoni with Summer Bolognese

Per Food Network, “Summer pasta dishes don’t have to all be mayonnaise drenched side dishes. Case in point: Rigatoni with Summer Bolognese. Making the most of sweet summer tomatoes, this homemade Bolognese highlights the beauty of fresh Farmer’s Market produce in a classic way. Great fresh or leftover, this dish will become a summer staple in your household.” Serves 4 Total Time: 40 minutes


Kosher salt
10 ounces rigatoni (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 small carrots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs for al dente, about 12 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking water, then drain. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ground beef, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook, breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until evenly combined, 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until almost completely dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, the tomatoes and half the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the mixture is saucy, 4 to 7 minutes. Add the cheese to the sauce, then add the rigatoni; season with salt and pepper and toss, adding more cooking water as needed to loosen. Divide among bowls and top with the remaining basil and more parmesan.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Grilled Chicken with Marsala Risotto

This chicken marsala recipe from BH&G looks like it came from a fancy Italian restaurant, but surprise: this jazzed-up risotto recipe is actually super-doable to recreate in your own kitchen. Serves 4 Total Time: 50 minutes 


2 cups thinly sliced fresh cremini mushrooms
1/2 of a large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry Marsala
2 1/2-3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
14 – 16 ounces chicken breast tenderloins
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup finely shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves


In a large saucepan cook mushrooms and onion in hot oil over medium heat about 10 minutes or until tender and light brown, stirring occasionally. Add rice and 1 clove of the garlic. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until rice begins to brown. Remove from heat. Carefully add Marsala; return to heat. Cook and stir until Marsala is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring broth to boiling; reduce heat and simmer. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the broth to rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until broth is absorbed. Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until broth is absorbed. (This should take 15 to 20 minutes)

In a small bowl combine thyme, rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and the salt. Rub the remaining 2 cloves garlic over chicken; sprinkle with thyme mixture. Lightly coat both sides of chicken with cooking spray.

Heat your grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170°F), turning once. If chicken browns too quickly, reduce heat to medium. Add cheese and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper to rice mixture, stirring until cheese is melted. Stir in spinach. Spoon rice mixture onto serving plates. Top with chicken...yummy!