Category Archives: Pasta

Junior League Mac & Cheese

Dear Readers,

Beginning with this post, I endeavor to return to giving my little blog the love and attention it has been sorely missing lately.  I’ve barely even checked up on it or any other of my favorite blogs.  So unlike me!

Things have been a little topsy turvy in the Berner household.  In addition to us both getting sick, we also acquired a kitten that Jay found alongside the highway one morning.  Someone had obviously dumped him during the night.  Who would do such a thing to a kitten??  It boggles my mind.

The little kitten, aka the little orange terror, is going to a new home today on an acreage where he will happily run around chasing mice and where a little 5-year old girl will give him lots and lots of love.  I’ll be sad to see him go but it’ll be a more suitable home for him. 

So now that I’ve shared my news, let’s move on to talking about food, shall we? 🙂

This is another recipe from The Southern Junior League Cookbook.  I would not be exaggerating if I said this is quite possibly the best mac & cheese I’ve ever made.  Which would make me a horrible food blogger if I didn’t share it with y’all, wouldn’t it??

This one is made a little more special with the addition of bell pepper, boiled eggs, and pimientos, none of which I’ve ever had in mac & cheese before.  After making this recipe, I can now say that they are mighty fine additions, indeed! 

I highly recommend giving this recipe a try! 

Until next time, happy cooking 🙂

Junior League Mac & Cheese


  • 3 Tb butter
  • 4 Tb flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped pimientos
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup macaroni, cooked and drained


Melt butter in a saucepan.  Stir in flour to make a roux.  Gradually stir in milk and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened.  Stir in half the cheese. 

Mix sauce with remaining ingredients, except reserved cheese.  Spoon into a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle with reserved cheese.  Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.

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Filed under Casseroles, Pasta, Vegetarian

Pizza Pasta Salad

Who’s ready to start making salads of all kinds, fire up the bbq, and sit out on the deck in the warm spring sun?  *Raises both hands and waves them frantically around like a maniac*

Great, well let’s get to it then!

I love pizza.  I also love pasta.  So combining the two seems like a pretty darn good idea, dontcha think?  You do?? I’m so glad we think alike! 🙂

This is a Kraft recipe.  I don’t make many of their recipes because I find that they rely a little too much on convenience products for my taste.  A recipe that starts off with a box of Kraft Dinner? No thanks! 

But as I was looking through a stack of old what’s cooking magazines the other day, my eyes alighted on this pizza pasta salad recipe. 

It sounded really good.  I had (mostly) all the ingredients.  It was not overladen with convenience products. So I made it!  How’s that for short and to the point? 😉

The ingredients in this salad really make me long for summer.  I can’t wait to have a big, bushy basil plant growing wildly on the back deck again.  Luckily, I did have some that I’d tucked away in the freezer last summer that I was able to use.  If you don’t have any fresh basil, just sprinkle in some dried, it’ll be just fine 🙂

And don’t be afraid to add other favorite pizza ingredients like bell pepper and red onion.

Here’s my slightly adapted version. I hope y’all give this a try and enjoy it!  Until next time, happy cooking 🙂

Pizza Pasta Salad


  • 3 cups medium shell pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced or chopped pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing


Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.

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Filed under Pasta, Pizza, Salads

Poor Man’s Lasagna Rolls

Yesterday I stopped by the store to pick up a gallon of milk and was horrified (and appalled and disgusted) to find that the price of milk has increased again and I’m now paying a grand total of $4.69 for milk.  Is that not madness??   I’d never have imagined that I’d one day pay that much for a gallon of milk.

But milk is kinda one of those necessities, ya know?  Especially for those of us who belong to the fairer sex and need our calcium.  All there is to do is suck it up.  And gripe and complain about it once in a while 😉

It just makes me nervous wondering if other things are going to go up in price again too.  Am I going to end up paying $2.50-$3.00 for eggs soon? 

What all this leads me to (yes, I have a point!) is that now, more than ever, I’m focusing on making recipes that are economical and won’t require ingredients that’ll blow my budget.

This lasagna roll recipe I found in a very old Pillsbury cookbooklet, and I’m calling it Poor Man’s Lasagna Rolls because the ingredients are mainly just a meat sauce, mozzarella cheese, and noodles.  There’s not even any cottage or ricotta cheese or any other fancy ingredients.

Sure, you could just mix together your sauce and noodles, sprinkle it all with cheese and it would taste the same.  But it wouldn’t be as interesting or pretty, now would it?  It would be downright boring.  Even with the most basic ingredients, we can still turn them into something a bit fancy now and then, something a little more gourmet, can’t we? 🙂

So for those of you, like me, who would like to make something a little special sometimes but don’t have much money to spare, this recipe is for you. 

How yummy does this look??

One little thing I want to mention about the ingredients is that I didn’t have any mushrooms so instead I used about 1/2 cup of finely chopped zucchini.  Turned out great, and I would use the zucchini again instead of mushrooms.

Poor Man’s Lasagna Rolls


  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 20 ounces pasta sauce (I used a can of Hunt’s Thick & Rich and it was the perfect amount)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2.5-oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten


Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Brown ground beef along with onion in skillet.  Drain grease.  Transfer to a bowl and add 1/4 cup of the pasta sauce, 1/2 cup of the cheese, mushrooms, and egg.  Mix together.

Spread each lasagna noodle with 1/3 cup or so of the meat mixture.  Carefully roll up and place seam side down in an ungreased 12×8 baking dish.  Pour remaining pasta sauce over top.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

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Filed under Beef, Casseroles, Pasta

Zucchini Basil Lasagna

I rarely ever cook lasagna in my kitchen since a pan of lasagna is a lot for a 2-person houshold to consume.   But when I came across this lasagna recipe over at Sweet Luvin’ In The Kitchen, it sounded so good and I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand, that I decided what the heck, let’s make it.  So make it I did, and it was delicious!  Great combination of flavors. 

I just love finding new recipes to try from other cooking blogs.  Isn’t it so much fun sharing recipes with others who love to cook too? 🙂

Here’s how to make this lasagna:

First, make up the cheese part of the filling by adding the cottage cheese, basil, egg, and 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese to a food processor.  Whazz it all up, as Jamie Oliver would say (who I adore, btw), and this is what we have.

Set that aside for now, and let’s move on to the veggies.  Add them to your skillet and let them cook a few minutes, until softened.  The recipe calls for just zucchini, but as you can see, I used a combination of zucchini and summer squash.  I also threw in half a red bell pepper that was in the fridge and needing to be used.  The more veggies the better, right?

Now add the sauce.  Cook just until the sauce is heated through, then remove from heat.

Assembly time!  Spread a small amount of the veggie mixture in the bottom of your baking dish.  Layer three noodles over top.  Top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and 1/3 of the veggie mixture.

Repeat the layering two more times, then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.  I made my lasagna in a disposable foil pan because I planned on freezing it and baking it the following week.

And it’s now magically the following week!  Here’s the lasagna just out of the oven.  Doesn’t that look yummy??

Here’s the recipe 🙂  Two things I did differently here were to use cottage cheese instead of ricotta, and I used regular lasagna noodles which I pre-cooked before assembling.

Zucchini Basil Lasagna


  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 4 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (28oz) jar pasta sauce
  • 9 oven-ready lasagna noodles


Add ricotta cheese, basil, egg, and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese to a food processor.  Process just until smooth.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, saute the zucchini and onion until tender.  Stir in sauce, and cook until heated through.  Remove from heat.

Spread 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish.  Layer 3 noodles on top.  Top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and 1/3 of the zucchini mixture.  Repeat the layers two more times.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the lasagna is completely heated through.

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Filed under Casseroles, Pasta, Vegetarian

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

I had originally had a different pasta dish planned for dinner tonight, but then I stopped by the Pioneer Woman’s blog and saw her delicious looking recipe for pasta with tomato cream sauce, and I decided I just had to make that instead.  Then I ended up making so many changes that I’d just about made a whole different recipe, so rather than just linking to her recipe, I’m going to post it here with the changes I made. 

I had some fresh spinach on hand, so I added a few cups worth to the sauce, used half and half instead of heavy cream (I generally cook a little healthier than PW) and I also made it more weeknight friendly by greatly reducing the simmering time.  I also used Ragu pasta sauce instead of regular tomato sauce since I happened to have an opened jar in the fridge.  All in all, this took less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish.  And I must admit that I pretty much inhaled it once it was done.  It was delicious!  I’m going to be putting this recipe in my binder with my other favorite recipes, because this will certainly be made again in the future. 

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce


  • 3/4 lb pasta (I used gemelli pasta)
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 14 ounces of pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup or so of pasta water.

Melt butter and olive oil in a saucepan.  Add the onion and cook until softened.  Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.  Add spinach, and cook until spinach starts to wilt.  Pour in the pasta sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, with the lid on, for 10 minutes.  You want the pasta sauce to be heated through and the onions to be completely softened.  Remove from heat and stir in the half and half. 

To make clean up easy, return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, then pour in the sauce.  Stir to make sure it’s all coated, adding some of the reserved pasta water if it’s too thick.  Sprinkle servings with Parmesan cheese.

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Filed under Pasta, Stove-Top Meals, Vegetarian

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Herbs

Good morning!  I feel like I’ve been neglecting my little blog lately and not posting as much as I would like. I’ve been under a bit of stress and haven’t felt like I had much in the way of good recipes or positive thoughts to share.  But today I’m back 🙂

This is a nice recipe for those of you, like me, who like to grow fresh herbs in the summer.  It’s an easy way to doctor up a cheap can of tomatoes and turn it into something a little fancier.  This sauce is very versatile as well, you can use it on all sorts of things, it’s even a good pizza sauce.  In the past I’ve made several large batches and frozen them for later.  Pop open a jar and have the fresh taste of summer herbs in the middle of winter!

I have to say that I’ve been a bit dissapointed with my basil this year.  I usually buy sweet basil, but I decided to try something different, so I bought some spicy globe basil.  While I like the taste of it just fine, it’s not been nearly as prolific as the sweet basil.  And with basil being one of my favorite herbs, I like to have large bunches of it to freeze at the end of summer.  Note to self for next year:  buy sweet basil first and then experiment with different varieties!

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Herbs


  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tb chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • red pepper flakes, optional


Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan.  Add onion and garlic to pan, cooking until they have softened.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Season with salt to taste.

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Filed under Pasta, Pizza, Stove-Top Meals, Vegetarian

Spaghetti Frittata

A few days ago Jay and I stopped by Kuhlman’s, a large market garden just down the road from where we live.  One of the things I love about the rural area I live in outside the big city is the numerous market gardens nearby.  The few times I tried to brave the super crowded downtown farmers market was a nightmare, so I’m loving having Kuhlman’s nearby. I know for many of you, your farmers markets and country stores are already overflowing with fresh produce, but since we live so far north here, our season is only just now beginning.  Of the few things ready so far at Kuhlman’s, one was spinach, and I ended up coming away with a huge bunch of it which I needed to start using up quickly.

I decided to make this recipe for Spaghetti Frittata from the newest cookbook by Ellie Krieger called So Easy.  I’ve liked most of her recipes I’ve tried so far, and I especially liked this one.  And despite being a lighter dish, my meat and potatoes husband really liked it as well.  That’s a winner in my book!  The only thing I altered in the recipe was to use all whole eggs rather than half egg whites.  I know that’s where all the fat is, but my frugal self just can’t stand throwing away half the egg!

I thought it made a lovely summer meal 🙂  Enjoy!

Spaghetti Frittata


  • 5 large eggs
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 small onion, sliced into half moons
  • 5 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese


In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites.  Set aside.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened.  Add the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute.  Combine the cooked spaghetti and marinara sauce, and add to the pan, stirring to combine everything.

Lower the heat to medium-low and pour over the beaten eggs.  Cook until the edges are set on the edges but not in the middle, about 6-8 minutes.

Preheat the broiler.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over top, and place under the broiler.  Cook until the top is set and golden brown, 2-3 minutes.  Cut into wedges to serve.

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Filed under Pasta, Stove-Top Meals