Rotini Bake

I have never been too big on leftovers, but lately I’ve been including one leftover night in my weekly meal plan just to give me a little more time to spend with Milo on the days he goes to preschool.  Although I don’t love the idea of serving my family something that was cooked previously, they don’t seem to mind too much, so I guess it’s okay…as long as I don’t do it more than once a week! 

This rotini bake is pretty simple and not fancy at all. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal paired with a nice, green salad! And if you’re into the whole leftovers thing, it keeps great for a day or two in the fridge.


Rotini Bake

1lb whole grain rotini pasta

1lb ground beef

1 28oz jar of marinara sauce (my favorite is Newman’s)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 15oz container ricotta cheese

1/2 cup of pasta water

2 cups mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta until al dente (save a 1/2 a cup of the pasta water!) and brown beef in a skillet. In a large bowl or in the pot you cooked the pasta in, combine the pasta, beef, tomato sauce, basil, parsley, ricotta cheese, water, and salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish. Mine was 3.75 qt and was up to the top. Top with mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes. This will serve 6 in one sitting, or 3 for two nights!



Vodka Cream Sauce Pasta, as Debbie Requested…

I officially have 3 days left in Kentucky before I return to my home in Okinawa.  My mother-in-law, Debbie, requested that I make this yummy pasta with vodka cream sauce, so I decided that tonight I would invite Mother over and we’d all have some pasta! Please forgive the hideous tint in the photos.  There was no natural light available and I have no idea how to fix it..haha.

Yummm..It looked better in real life.


It is sooo easy to make this pasta, but I’m telling you, you’ll want to make it all the time. You can do that! This stuff is not that great for you, so proceed with caution!

Vodka Cream Sauce with Pasta and Chicken

2 chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tlbs of chopped shallots or onion

2 tlbs of olive oil

some butter

1lb pasta of your choice ( I chose radiatori because it’s a fun pasta)

1 cup of vodka

can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)

1 cup chicken stock

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 cup whipping cream

a nice handful of chopped (FRESH) basil

In a nice sized sauteing pan, heat olive oil and butter over high heat. Saute garlic cloves and onion for a couple minutes then throw the chicken in and cook until the chicken is pretty much done, maybe a tad bit undercooked.  Add the vodka and cook until it has reduced by half (this will take a few minutes so go ahead and start your pasta water now).

After vodka has reduced by about half, and you have started the pasta water, put the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and crushed red pepper in with the vodka mixture. You can add or subtract the red pepper depending on your tolerance or desire for heat.  Let this simmer on medium heat until the pasta is done. It will get a little thicker. Oh and you might want to cover it with a lid if you’re wearing a white shirt like I was, but keep stirring it.  When the pasta is done, add the whipping cream to the vodka-tomato sauce, along with half of the fresh chopped basil.  Fix up your plates or tell your people to “come and get it” or whatever you do for dinner. If you want, add a little more basil to each individual serving.  I like to serve some kind of artisan bread with my pasta just to make it a little more fattening.  Then enjoy!

I also like to make dessert when I cook dinner. Tonight I decided to make a peach crumb pie thingy from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen blog.  You can find the recipe for that HERE and the picture below! Her pictures are much better, though, so you might want to take a peak at that post before you decide you will never, ever make this for anyone.

Peach Crumb Bars


And just to let everyone know, I am getting a purty new camera (Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.1 MP – YES!) this week so I will once again have nice photos instead of these horrible phone photos. Have a great night, everyone!!