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Category Archives: pasta

Lasagna Soup

Here in the foothills of North Carolina, we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather.  Last week I decided I wanted to make this soup and when I did my menu planning it was cold enough for soup.  On the day we planned to have it, it was close to 70 degrees.  I felt like turning on the air conditioner to let it get a little cooler so we could enjoy the soup.  However, the heartiness of the soup along with the pasta helped to make it very enjoyable even in warmer weather.

This is the first time I have made this soup and it was sent to me by my California cousin.  I used the whole wheat penne pasta in for the pasta and it has such a good rich flavor and you could imagine eating something italian while consuming it.  One of my favorite things about the soup is the fact that you don’t have to peel and chop lots of vegetables and most of us would have the ingredients in our kitchen.



Lasagna Soup

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 large green pepper chopped

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

2 14 ½ ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained

2 14 ½ ounce cans of beef broth

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 cup frozen corn

¼ cup tomato paste

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 ½ cups uncooked spiral pasta

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan cook beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another couple of minutes.  Drain.

Return to saucepan and stir in tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, corn, tomato paste and Italian seasoning and black pepper.

Bring to a boil, stir in pasta, reduce heat, simmer covered 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

I am not complaining about the warmer weather even though I have noticed my tulips are beginning to peep out of the ground.  It is my understanding the cold weather is returning next weekend.  Because our snow has melted off the grill and we are experiencing warmer temperatures, I have really wanted to start grilling again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sauerkraut Salad or Vermicelli Salad

The first time I heard of sauerkraut salad, I thought it was a crazy idea.  I have eaten it and it is very tasty.  Of course, if you look at the ingredients you will see it includes lots of sugar.  This would certainly be a conversation piece at a Christmas gathering. I don’t think I have ever eaten vermicelli salad but it sounds interesting.  It has lots of vegetables but it also includes lots of salad dressing.


In the South on special occasions we usually have potato salad or macaroni salad.  I think either one of the above recipes would be good alternatives.  But if you have a family member that would absolutely DIE if you did not make potato salad, you might need to make potato salad AGAIN!

These recipes are from my “Our Best Oakdale Club, Statesville, NC.  Thanks for stopping by.

Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

I know you have probably heard “Life happens while you are making other plans.”  That statement came to mind over the weekend as I was baking goodies and planning meals for the Christmas weekend.  I was thinking that as we are making all of the plans for the holidays we are still busy preparing meals for our family every day.  I really get to the point where my brain just gets tired of thinking.

I try to prepare simple meals as we prepare for Christmas and the crock-pot helps me to save time..  I have been wanting to make macaroni and cheese and when I saw this recipe in my “Crock-Pot The Original Slow Cooker Recipe Collection I thought it looked simple.  I think it would be a good choice if you are having guests over the Christmas Holiday. I am also including a recipe for Gratin Potatoes with Asiago Cheese that looks delicious. The bacon in that potato recipe makes my mouth water.


I hope these recipes help you to save some time during this busy season.  I think the crock-pot is one of the greatest inventions ever.

Thanks for stopping by.

Char-Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

IMG_4438When I started corresponding with my California cousin, I requested summer salad recipes that included fresh vegetables.  I wanted to make a fresh vegetable salad recipe but so many that we use in the South include mayonnaise and are actually quite similar. Now being a Southern girl, I am not bashing mayonnaise at all.  A fresh tomato sandwich with Duke’s mayonnaise is a southern tradition.

I received this recipe from my cousin and loved it.  I prepared it for us and it makes a huge portion.  I used the whole wheat penne pasta and I gave Mr. D the task of grilling the vegetables while I prepared the pasta so it was a fairly easy recipe to make.  The blending of the olive oil, pesto, lemon juice and spices in the salad is exceptional.  The charred vegetables and corn gives it a little crunch.  It will definitely be something I will make again.

Char-Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

1 box whole penne pasta

½ cup of olive oil/divided

1 each:  yellow squash, zucchini, large bell pepper, 1 ear corn, l large tomato

1 Tbsp. pesto sauce

1 lemon juiced and zest of one lemon

1 pinch salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne and garlic powder.

Handful of chopped parsley

Cook pasta until el dente, drain and toss with ¼ cup of olive oil

Using a grill pan on stove or outdoor grill:  grill squash, zucchini and bell pepper.  Let cool.  Meanwhile shave corn off cob and then dice all vegetables including the tomato.

Toss vegetables and pasta together in large bowl.  Add pesto, lemon zest, lemon juice and remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and spices.  Toss all together and garnish with parsley.

You can add diced chicken or ham to the dish to make a great meal.

I think this would be good for any summertime meal and I am so thankful to my California cousin for inspiring me to try new things.  Is it Southern? Probably not but he does live in Southern California.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Grilling Favorite – Chicken Bruschetta

One of the great things about living here in the foothills of North Carolina is being able to use our grill year round.  Even though we have cold winters, there are days that we can still fire up that grill.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a family favorite.  The marinade is easy to make and I really do like the Kraft sun-dried tomato vinaigrette dressing for this and other summer recipes.  I will confess that I turn the grilling over to Mr. D and I am the one that does all the other preparation. (Not really that much for me to do). This is especially good in the summertime when fresh tomatoes are available. I know you can tell by this recipe that it has been used a lot.

ckn brushetta

I have never served this with spaghetti as is recommended in the recipe.  We usually eat it with brown rice and some type of grilled vegetable.  I know Memorial Day is approaching fast and this would be a great option for a family cookout.

I think another reason I like this recipe so much is because I love to say “bruschetta.”  Can’t you imagine how it sounds with my southern accent? Thanks for stopping by.

Dunbar Macaroni By Pat Conroy

Last week as I was browsing through The Pat Conroy Cookbook, I saw the recipe for Dunbar Macaroni.  Technically, it is macaroni and cheese with tomatoes.  I do recall eating it at sometime in the past but I don’t remember the occasion.  I can say that it isn’t something that is extremely popular here in Catawba County and I don’t recall eating it when I was growing up in Rockingham.  I do remember that I liked it.

As I read over the recipe, I realized it would be a good choice for Mr. D as we could use the whole wheat macaroni and adding another vegetable would help to balance the carbs of the macaroni.  I did use the San Marzano tomatoes and mine were cubed so I didn’t have to mash them very much as is recommended in the recipe.  By the way, Mr. D and I loved the results and I think it will be a favorite for us in the future.

This is picture of my version of the Macaroni.


Below is the introduction to the recipe as Pat Conroy described it and I have to say I had never heard of Dunbar Macaroni. I have to agree with Julia that the recipe is exceptionally good without the addition of meat.

dunbar macaroni

Below is the recipe from the cookbook:

dunbar macaroni 2

This recipe was easy to make and with Easter arriving shortly I can imagine this as being a wonderful side dish for that special meal.  I do believe the flavor of the san marzano tomatoes made this especially good.

Thanks for stopping by.


Summertime Is Party Time In The South

In the summertime it seems as if party time escalates in the South.  There are weddings, reunions, anniversary celebrations, garden parties, picnics and so many other occasions to prepare and share food.  I have really enjoyed reading the By Invitation Only Cookbook by the Junior League of Pensacola, Florida. The book is beautifully illustrated and honestly, I think there is a menu of wonderful recipes for every occasion.  I had every intention of sharing recipes that would be good possibilities for weddings; however, I have chosen several different recipes to share with you that would be great for many different special occasions.

I love Vidalia Onions and I can imagine making this onion dip for a picnic or neighborhood block party.

vidalia onion dip

I think the egg salad sandwiches would be great for a luncheon or a wedding or baby shower.


The Orange Tiramisu would be great for a family reunion and the peaches in wine would be great for just about anything.


I love the salad dressings and they would be so good for those wonderful summertime vegetables.




What about serving this pasta salad as a surprise dish for a mid-week meal.

SW pasta salad

I hope you enjoyed these recipes as much as I have enjoyed sharing them to you.  Here is North Carolina we have been having very warm days and it seems more like August.  I hope it starts to rain soon and we can have more enjoyable days outdoors.  Right now, I am just very thankful for air conditioning.

Thanks for stopping by.

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