Tag Archive | pasta

Johnny Marzetti

Ok, don’t judge me.  This was my favorite dish in the cafeteria at my high school, or was it at my first downtown job?  Either way I finally got enough nerve to ask one of the cooks in the cafeteria for the recipe.  Of course I had to do a little math to scale it down to 8 servings.  I finally pulled it out of the archives to make it for my family.   Continue reading


Saucy Chicken Thighs and Orzo



Saucy Chicken Thighs and Orzo



3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs

3 Tbsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, chopped fine

1 cup red wine

1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)

5 sprigs of thyme

1 qt. chicken stock

1 Tbsp. fresh oregano

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo

salt and pepper


Heat a large stock pot (8 qt) on medium-high and add the olive oil.  Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and place them in the pan to brown without crowding.  You may have to do this in two steps.  Once browned on both sides remove them from the pan and set aside.   Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until they begin to soften.  Turn the heat up to high and add the wine.  Stir to remove the brown bits from the pan.  Cook until the wine is reduced by half.  Return the chicken to the pan, add the tomatoes, thyme sprigs, chicken stock, oregano, tomato paste and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes add the orzo to the pan and stir frequently for about 10 minutes until the orzo is done.  Remove the thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Baked Spaghetti

This is one of those recipes that I always have the ingredients on hand.  If I think ahead I will take out some ground beef from the freezer and plan to make this family favorite for dinner.  It’s adapted from Paula Deen’s cookbook “The Lady & Sons, Too!”

Baked Spaghetti


1 – 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I like petite)

2 – 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

1 cup water

1/2 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (I use whatever I have on hand – red, yellow, orange, green)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

12 oz. uncooked spaghetti (I like rigati)

2 cups grated Colby Jack cheese


To make the sauce, in a stock pot combine the first 14 ingredients (thru bay leaves).  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.  In a large saute pan, crumble the ground beef and cook until no pink remains, drain the fat.  Add the ground beef to the sauce.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.  While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Cover the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 in pan with sauce (I use a glass pan).  Add a layer of pasta, then half of the cheese, repeat the layers, ending with the sauce (save the other half of the cheese).  You will have some pasta leftover (great to saute with butter, salt and pepper and parm. on another day).  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Top with the remaining cheese, return to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into squares.