Woohoo!!! I Did A Guest Post…

For one of my favoritest (yes, that too is now a word. Please add it to your dictionary.) people. She is nice, she is funny and she actually tolerates ME. That makes her a saint by any measure.

I made this *points down*

So if you want to know what this is (Ok, I’ll tell… it’s Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Pasta With A Light Bleu Cheese Sauce… but you have to go see her to get the recipe 😛 ) as well as revisit a blogger you probably already know and love OR get to know a blogger you will soon know and love, go over to visit Ann at
Cooking Healthy For Me

. She’s on vacation in England right now *please don’t turn green with envy and yell at my blog…* which is how I was honored to get to guest post for her.

So go check her out, but don’t even think of just looking at this one post. Her whole blog is filled with wonderful recipes and a wonderful personality to match.



When You Don’t Have Time To Make Lasagna…

…this makes a good substitute. It’s not a gorgeous five star restaurant dish but oh my is it tasty. It’s homey and cheesy (and really? Need I say more if I’ve said cheese?) and comforting and appeals to adults and kids alike. Which is always a plus when you have kids and don’t feel like listening to “Ewwwww… what is this?! It’s…it’s…it’s GREEN!”

When I was a kid, I loved the canned Chef Boyardee cheese ravioli. Yes, I admit it. I even admit to having a liking for it now. Sometimes. As well as the mac and cheese. Ok, I admit it again!!!! I just like canned pasta of any sort! I also like Spam, Vienna sausages and canned chicken and dumplings. Hello, my name is Janet and I am a “preservative-holic” Sigh. I can kiss my followers goodbye can’t I? But really, there is something comforting about the mild taste and childish appeal of them. The canned pasta that is. Also, they have so many preservatives in them, that if you eat enough, you’ll be like Dick Clark and never age. I have it on good authority (as they say in the Enquirer, “we heard this from a close friend of the family”) that this is how Dick keeps his eerily youthful appearance. Canned pasta, Twinkies and Cheetos and Botox. Lots of Botox.

As I got older though, I discovered frozen and homemade ravioli. Homemade ravioli is saved for that one day a year or so when I’m feeling really ambitious. If I had a pasta machine, maybe it would be three or four days. but without one, hand rolling pasta is a bitch and a half. Seriously. Though I do love me some homemade egg noodles. So frozen ravioli comes in handy. Again, especially when you have kids. open the bag, toss it into a pot of boiling water and a few minutes later, you have what is actually quite good ravioli. So it was only natural for me, with my fetish love for cheese, that I combined cheese ravioli and cheese… massive amounts of cheese, covered in more cheese and served with a side dish of cheese. I suppose you could use beef ravioli in this, but…why would you WANT to? Just sayin’.

This goes together so easy it’s scary and again, it may not be the fanciest dish in the world but one of the things I promised when I started this blog was to help you with the basics too. this is pretty basic. if you can open jars and boil water without burning the house down, you can make this. So make it. Enjoy the cheesy goodness. 😀 This can be easily cut in half if you’re not feeding an army. You can also add a pound of cooked and sliced Italian Sausage or some cooked ground beef to this to make it meaty.



  • 2 25 ounce bags frozen cheese (or Beef I suppose) ravioli
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (just use your favorite and don’t even try to tell me you only use homemade sauce and have never used jarred. 😛 )
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil (or half a tube of the squeeze tube kind.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder (yes, you can use fresh for both the onion & garlic, but that defeats the “I want something fast & easy” idea)
  • 1 1/2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the ravioli as directed on the bag.
  3. Drain and set aside. In the same pot (why dirty more dishes right?) mix all your other ingredients, except for one cup of the mozzarella cheese and all of the Parmesan. Add the ravioli to the sauce mix and stir gently. You don’t want to mash up the ravioli just mix it with the sauce. Top with the reserved cheeses.
  4. Pour it all into a lightly greased (or better yet, foil lined because of that “why do more dishes” thing) 3 quart baking pan. As I always say, try to use glass because glass doesn’t pick up off tastes like metal can. and bake at 350 until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Eat. Enjoy. Buy more cheese. Repeat.


A Very Cheesy Post


I’ve always been the indecisive sort. At least I think I have. Maybe. Yeah, I have been. I’ll let you know. That inability to make up my mind has extended to food too. I will buy something at the store because it sounds oh so good and then either forget that I got it in the first place or get it home and suddenly it doesn’t look as yummy as something else. It makes me an interesting cook I guess because my family gets different treats as my mood  changes but it sure makes eating a difficult proposition.

But with this dish I don’t have to make a choice between two of my favorites. I love French Onion Soup. Well, I love cheese and onions and beef and it’s kinda silly to melt some cheese, throw some onions on top of it and add a steak instead of making yummy French Onion Soup. Actually, now that I write that, it sounds pretty darn good. I think. But getting back to the point here…

I also love Mac & Cheese. I mean, what’s not to love? Cheese, pasta, butter and did I mention cheese? So when I found this recipe that combines the two foods, I knew I had to try it. I am so NOT disappointed here. In theory I had planned to make it for Easter dinner and reheat it at my daughters house when we got there, but…ummm… I had to try it right? Quality control is a large part of cooking. Right? Right? There’s still some left. A little bit. Maybe if they take small bites….

But here it is. French Onion Soup Macaroni and Cheese. This stuff is cheese crack, I swear. It’s also a bit more in depth than other recipes I have posted but I promise you, you won’t regret taking the time to make this. It will go with any meal or just BE a meal. Just make sure you do a bit of quality control before you let anyone else try it. You have to be responsible you know.

This is adapted from Food Network

but I did make some changes to it.

French Onion Soup Macaroni And Cheese


  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bechamel Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces Swiss Cheese or Gruyere, grated or cubed
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, grated or cubed

French Onion Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large white onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine (I used a Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked (I used plain old Elbow macaroni so as to not detract from the sauce which is the star of this dish)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Topping: Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and set aside
  • Bechamel Sauce: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir to combine. Stir constantly, for about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium and whisk in the milk or half-and-half, adding a little at a time and cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Lower heat, season with the salt and pepper and add Swiss or Gruyere and Mozzarella cheeses. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Set aside.
  • French Onion “Soup:” Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add onions, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove cover, add shallots and honey, and continue to cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Remove pot from heat and add wine. Return to heat and stir to remove browned bits from bottom of pan. Reduce sherry by half, then add beef stock and thyme and cook until almost all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat.
  • Grease a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cooked pasta with onion “soup” mixture and bechamel sauce, and stir well to combine. Transfer pasta to baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumb/Parmesan topping
  • Bake until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving or do what I did and burn the crap out of your tongue because you have no patience. Eat half of this. Tell everyone else it’s horrible and they shouldn’t eat it. Hide the rest in the fridge in a container labeled “liver”.
  • I can also see making this in individual ramekins and coating the top with even more cheese. Or erhmmm, maybe the extra cheese is just a me thing.

Happy Birthday To My Hubby!

Needs more cheese. What? Why are you looking at me that way!?

My husband turned 25 in his dreams yesterday.  On birthdays in our family, the birthday person gets to choose the dinner. My teen boys of course always choose to go out to eat because they are too young to realize how much better home cooked food is most of the time 😛 My 48 25 year old husband however prefers my cooking. He’s a smart man who knows when sucking up is a good idea 😀 So he chose one of his all time favorite meals, Chicken Parmesan.  I was really hoping that he would choose Chicken Curry but I guess wanting him to choose one of MY favorite meals isn’t nice huh?

The chicken I thawed out yesterday ended up being spoiled. Don’t you just love when you get meat from a reputable store only to open it up and get a whiff of hell on a Styrofoam tray? Sooooo… he gets his birthday dinner tonight instead.

Chicken Parmesan is one of those dishes that has a rep for being difficult and it’s really not. If you have ever made fried chicken and a side dish to go with it, then you can make this. I mean, what is it really other than fried chicken with an Italian flair with pasta on the side? The only difference is using bread crumbs as well as a flour mix and having to flatten the chicken somewhat. And truthfully, if it’s just for family and you’re not worried about pretty, you don’t really even need to worry about the flattening step. It will still taste fantastic. This is one of those dishes that can be more complex & fancy by using homemade sauce (which I usually do but am not describing here today), fresh mozzarella and basil and flattening out your chicken or using jarred sauce you have doctored up, bagged cheese and just frying the chicken without smooshing the crap out of it. When I make it it is usually a combination of both methods. So here you go; enjoy. 🙂


This is the easy version of the classic favorite. It goes from frying pan into the oven to finish which ensures it is completely cooked as well as giving your cheese a nice golden color rather than the pale chewiness you get if you microwave it like some recipes suggest.

  1. 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2.5 pounds)
  2. 2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs
  3. 1 cup all purpose flour
  4. 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Italian Medley seasoning (you can use just plain Italian seasoning but the Mrs. Dash has more flavor)
  5. 1 tablespoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 cup vegetable oil (you may need more)
  8. 3 large eggs
  9. 1/2 cup milk
  10. 1 to 1/2 pounds dried pasta (I use fettuccine because I love it but you can use whatever shape makes you happy 😛 )
  11. 1 tablespoon salt
  12. 1 jar spaghetti sauce  (again; can use homemade but this is the easy version)
  13. 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I use garlic, basil & oregano flavor)
  14. 2 tablespoons sugar
  15. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  16. 1/4 cup chopped fresh Basil (I used the tube found in the produce section; it’s about as close to fresh as you can get if you don’t have any)
  17. 8 ozs shredded Mozzarella cheese (ok, so I use considerably more but I had to give an amount that wouldn’t make people cringe 😀 )
  • Preheat oven to 350 and line a 13×9 pan with foil.
  • In a large bowl, mix together your flour, bread crumbs, Mrs. Dash, 1 tablespoon salt and garlic powder.
  • In a smaller bowl, beat together the 3 eggs and 1/2 cup milk.
  • Dip your chicken pieces into the milk mixture. Let excess drip off then dip into the flour/crumb mixture. Repeat one more time in each. After each piece has been coated, set aside on a wire rack while you heat oil.
  • Pour the oil into a large pan, . You want at least 1/2 an inch of oil so use more than the cup if needed. Add chicken, making sure not to crowd the pan. You can always do a second batch but if you crowd, the chicken steams more than fries. When the oil reaches 300 degrees, (one of the best investments you can make for the kitchen an instant read thermometer. Trust me.) carefully lay your chicken in the pan. Let brown on one side (about 3 to 5 minutes) then carefully flip it to the other side to brown. Use tongs or a plastic spatula for this if you can because the coating is more delicate than a pure flour one would be and will fall off easily if pierced. Let brown on the other side (again, about 3 to 5 minutes) then transfer to the foil lined pan and put into the 350 degree oven to finish cooking.
  • While the chicken finishes cooking, start your sauce and your pasta. In a medium sauce pot, combine the jar of spaghetti sauce, the sugar, the can of diced tomatoes and the fresh basil. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently then turn heat down and let sauce gently simmer. Just before serving it, stir in 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions using a tablespoon of salt in the water..
  • When the internal temp of the chicken is 155 degrees f, top with the rest of the grated Parmesan and the shredded Mozzarella. Finish cooking until the internal temp of the chicken is 165 degrees F.
  • Top a serving of pasta with some sauce. Do the same with the chicken. Eat until you are ready to burst. This serves five to seven hungry people or two teenage boys, one grown man and a  not so hungry mom and toddler.

I think he liked it if the plate is any indication 😀