Category Archives: Pasta

Pasta. What does Pasta mean to you? For many it is a comfort food that soothes the soul and warms the heart.

Hayley’s Fave Mac&Cheese

Just about every time I go to stay with Michael and Hayley I get a request to make Mac&Chz! I wrote the recipe out on a bit of paper and tucked it under something I knew would not likely be used before I got back…there was the recipe! But now, for safe keeping, I am going to add it here!

Hayley’s Mac&Chz
12 oz (24oz) Pasta of your choice: elbow, penne, cavatappi
1/2c (1c)  cButter
2/3c (1 1/3c) Flour
1 1/2 (3) litres Milk
400 g (800g) Cheddar Cheese, grated
170g (340g) Strong Cheese, grated – Gruyere, Swiss, Asiago, Parmesan
1 tsp (2tsp) Salt
1/2 tsp (1 tsp) Chili Powder
1 Tbsp (2Tbsp) Djon Mustard
1/2 tsp (1tsp) Garlic Powder

S&P, to taste

2oz (4oz) Grated Cheddar Cheese
1tsp (2 tsp) Chili Powder

Preheat oven to 350F
Lightly spray 9×13 casserole(s) with Veg oil spray; set aside.
12 oz (24 oz) Pasta noodles of your choice

Cook pasta according to package directions.
When cooked to desired doneness, drain and set aside.

In pot used to cook pasta, melt butter over med-low heat, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute.
Add a bit of the milk and whisk until no lumps remain; add a bit more milk, whisking until no lumps remain; add  a bit more milk, whisking in until no lumps remain and heat bubbles begin to form before adding more milk, whisking until no lumps remain and cook until those little heat bubbles appear on the surface of the mixture.
Add remaining milk, and stir frequently until mixture thickens and starts to bubble on top.
(you are going to want to stir quite a bit ensuring the mixture does not stick or start to burn)
Remove from heat and season with djon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper, chili powder stirring until well combined.
Begin to add cheeses, a handful at a time,  whisking until completely melted before adding more. Continue until all of the cheese has been melted into the sauce. If the sauce becomes too cold to melt the cheese, place it over low heat but only briefly, to continue melting the cheese.
Overheating the sauce can cause it to break and become grainy.
Add cooked and drained pasta to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared casserole(s), top with second amount of grated cheese and season with a sprinkle of chili powder, salt and pepper.
Bake in preheated 350F oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Serves 8 (16)

Chicken a la King

I have been making Chicken (Turkey) a la King for as long as I can remember!  I usually serve it with pasta though I have heard you can also serve it over toast or on a bed of rice.

Over at Betty Crocker they show a lovely pic of Chicken a la King served on a wedge of toasted French Bread, and I have to say, it looks pretty amazing! I may have to try that next time!

chicken a la king
Chicken a la King

1/2 cup Butter
1 small Onion, diced
1/2 cup Flour
1 small Green Pepper, chopped
3 oz Fresh Mushrooms, sliced – Optional
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1 1/2 cups Milk
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups diced, Cooked Chicken or Turkey

3 cups  cooked hot Pasta or  cooked hot  Rice or Toasted French Bread Slices

Melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add diced onion and sauté for about 4 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add flour, salt and pepper – cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly.
Stir in half the milk  and bring it back to a boil, stirring constantly; add remaining milk, stir constantly.
Add chicken stock, half at a time, returning mixture to a boil before  the next addition of liquid, stirring constantly.
Boil and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in chopped green pepper, mushrooms – if using, chopped chicken or turkey – reduce heat and cook until heated through, stirring as needed.

Serves 4

Carrot Top Pesto

So you are trying to eat healthier, you make the most of each of your produce purchases, right? What about the greens on those fresh carrots you just bought? Did you know you could make yummy pesto out of them? Doesn’t taste all that different from a pesto made with fresh parsley!

I had two bunches of carrots in the fridge, noticed the greens were beginning to look a little less than optimum which meant I needed to use them up fast. I googled, “what to do with carrot greens” and came up with a long list to choose from. I wanted super simple and this recipe from Culinate fit the bill to the T.  I put a pot of water on to boil for some linguini and by the time it was ready, the pesto was done.

Admittedly, I did not know how my husband would respond to this dish. He was raised a super meat eater and I think in his mind,  green stuff is, well, weird. He has come leaps and bounds over the past 15 years but I was thinking that this recipe might be a bit of a stretch. I placed his serving of Carrot Top Pesto and Linguini in front of him, watched his face closely…slight raising of eyebrows,  he asked, “What’s this? It smells very P-cheesy”…took a tentative bite and smiled. (Dear husband is NOT a fan of Parmesan Cheese, but it is a vital ingredient in this recipe, in my opinion) Whew! I didn’t tell him straight away just what it was that he was eating. He is pretty trusting that most everything I cook is pretty delish. After he had really tucked into the meal I told him what it was and he was amazed!

Wow your family tonight with this super easy Carrot Top Pesto and Linguini.

Carrot Top Pesto and Linguini
Carrot Top Pesto and Linguini

1 cup (20 grams) lightly packed Carrot Leaves, stems removed, rinsed
6 Tablespoons (90 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Salt
*3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts, toasted
1/4 cup (30grams) freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Put a large pot of water on to boil for linguini.
Cook according to package directions and drain.

While the linguini is cooking, combine carrot leaves, olive oil, garlic and salt in a food processor until finely minced.
Add nuts *(I didn’t have any pine nuts on hand and used chopped walnuts instead; it was a gamble but it worked) and Pulse until finely chopped.
Pour prepared linguini into a mixing bowl, add pesto and parmesan cheese; stir well to combine.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of hot chili flakes.

Serves 4

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce was the first Main Meal I ever cooked. I was 10 years old, home alone, starving and knew my mother would be tired when she got home from work. I thought I would surprise her and make dinner! Oh, what a disaster! I did everything right except, and it is big EXCEPT, instead of using canned tomatoes or tomato sauce I used 3 cans of tomato paste!!!! It was rather rich! Despite my rather large error,  it was game over after that; I was hooked on cooking.

Garden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce
A wonderful combination of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices.

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
3 -4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 ribs Celery, chopped
1 – 2 Carrots, grated
1 each, chopped: Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Yellow or Orange Pepper
1 Zucchini, grated
4 – 6 Mushrooms, sliced
1 (800gm) can Dice Tomatoes
1 (800gm) can Crushed Tomatoes
1 can Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon each: Basil, Oregano, Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Chili Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan; add diced onion and saute for 3 minutes.
Add garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
Stir in celery, carrot, chopped peppers, mushrooms and  zucchini.
Cook until vegetables are slightly softened.
Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste; stir well.
Reduce heat to minimum to simmer for about an hour ( I like to put a pot of Spag sauce               on the stove around 1pm and have it simmering until ready to serve at 5pm)

Stir in brown sugar, herbs and spices and let the simmering begin.
Give it a stir every now and again while it simmers away on the stove, making your house smell like an Italian Restaurante!

Serve over hot spaghetti noodles.

Serves 6

Spaghetti Sauce
Spaghetti with Garlic Toast



Macaroni and Cheese

There is nothing quite so comforting as Home Made Macaroni and Cheese. Everyone has there own twist on the recipe.  Sometimes I will add things, use different cheeses, sometimes add a breadcrumb topping, sometimes not…create your own heartwarming, soul soothing Mac and Cheese.

Mac and Cheese - Creamy Delicious Cheesy Delight

Just a note, I often double the amounts so that I can have leftovers for lunches.

6 ounces Pasta (Cavatappi is my new fave! Sea Shells are great, Bow Ties and sometimes                                 you just have to go with good ol’ fashioned Elbow)
1/4 cup Butter (Margarine)
1 small Onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 cup Flour
1 3/4 cups Milk (Soy Milk)
8 ounces Shredded Old Cheddar or a combination of cheeses: a bit of parmesan, cheddar,                  mozza.
1 – 3 teaspoons Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Paprika

Bread Crumb Topping:
2 slices Multigrain Bread
1 Tablespoon Butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon “The Mix” <- my blend of spices that I use for a lot of things

Put bread slices in processor and pulse until no chunks of bread remain.
Add melted butter, pulse for a few seconds to coat bread with butter; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F.
Lightly butter or spray a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish; set aside.

In a large pot cook pasta according to directions on package.
Pour into colander to drain; leave sitting in colander.
In the same pot, melt butter; add onion, garlic,  salt and pepper and cook until onion is soft.
Blend in flour.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
Stir in milk.
Heat to boiling over medium high heat, stirring constantly; maintain boil for about a minute, and keep on stirring.
Remove from heat; stir in mustard, paprika and cheese. Stir until all the cheese is melted.

Pour macaroni into the cheese mixture and stir to coat all the pasta.
Pour macaroni and cheese into prepared casserole dish.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
Bake uncovered in 375F oven for 30 minutes.