Showing posts with label rigatoni. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rigatoni. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Nothing Says "I'll Miss You" Like Rigatoni

Friends, I'm afraid my time in the kitchen has come to an end.  I love my fellow bloggers and have met such lovely people through the comments, but I am so crazy busy that I don't feel I can continue giving the blog the love and attention it deserves.

So I had this big plan to go out with a splash: snazzy pictures of this awesome (and easy) rigatoni, great big pearls of wisdom to pass on to you all, maybe a few fireworks.  Apparently my laptop decided that I was getting a little full of myself and decided not to upload those snazzy pictures.  And I realized that I've gained more wisdom here than I've given.  So I'm stuck with just the fireworks.

Pretty awesome, huh?

Obviously I cannot leave you with fireworks alone.  Despite my picture disaster, I'll leave you with this versatile and delicious baked rigatoni.

The recipe is very easy to make, especially if you have a sous chef who can help with chopping the vegetables, and the dish can be adjusted to met everyone's taste.  I use eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach but you could use any combination of vegies (I'm thinking peppers and onions might be a good addition/substitution).  You can also slim down the recipe by using fat free ricotta or crumbled firm silken tofu; using a single tablespoon of olive oil; and reducing the amount of ricotta.

Speedy Vegielicious Rigatoni

1 box dried rigatoni
1/2 of a small carton of ricotta
3/4 c. parmesan
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced into 3/4 in cubes
1 zucchini, cut in half moons
1 box sliced mushrooms
5 - 6 ounces baby spinach
1 jar spaghetti sauce (something tomato, without a lot of "stuff" in it)
1 28 - oz. can chopped tomatoes
About 5 oz of shredded mozzarella (more or less to taste).
salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet well.  Add the oil and let it sit until it's shimmering.  Add garlic spices and veg (except the spinach).  Cook until most of the water has evaporated and the veggies are starting to brown a bit.  When the vegetables are done, add the spinach and toss with vegies until the spinach wilts.

Meanwhile, cook your rigatoni for about 6 minutes.  The past will not be done, but you actually don't want it to be.

After six minutes, drain the rigatoni and add ricotta and parmesan, stirring until cheese is evenly distributed.

Mix the spaghetti sauce and tomatoes together.  Spread a little of that mixture in the bottom of a 9x11 pan. Top with half the vegies, more sauce, the other half of the pasta and more sauce.

Bake about 20 minutes.  Test a piece of past to be sure it's done.  Top with mozzarella and bake another 10 minutes.


In all seriousness, I've loved being a part of this warm and generous group of authors.  While I'll be scarce here, I hope you all will visit me on Facebook at ( where I'll be posting about the Pet Boutique Mysteries, the first book to be out in January '14, and, you know pets!), and at (where I'll let you know about all my other writing projects. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pasta "casserole"ala Mom

When she got out of college, my mother wasn't much of a cook.   Her mother had done all the cooking growing up. But my mother was determined to teach herself how to cook. She understood "chemistry." I have letters written from her to her grandmother bragging about the first Jell-O salad she made!

Because Mom worked (one of the few in her group of women that did), she needed to throw things together quickly. Casseroles were a mainstay for us.  Luckily she loved pasta. {So did we.} And she adored vegetables. Often she would just chop things up and they'd all go into the meal.

In her honor, I decided to make a throw-together meal like she used to make. My tools are better. I have this fabulous "simple" chopper. It cost pennies to purchase -- I bought it at one of those home cookware events -- and it saves me countless time.

Note, this is a great way to hide vegetables for kids. Chop them up fine and they cook down so that kids don't really "see" them.



2 cups cooked gluten-free rigatoni (according to package) (I use Bionature)
1 pound ground beef
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped (seeds removed)
1 zucchini (chopped fine)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ to 1 cup Parmesan cheese


Cook rigatoni according to the package directions. {May be made ahead and heated at serving by dunking in boiling water quickly.} {Yes, for those who can eat regular pasta, go right ahead!}

In a low-temperature skillet, place hamburger. Chop into bits. Let brown for about 5-10 minutes. Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, sugar and pepper. Stir and let cook, at 200 degrees or low-low heat, for one hour.

When ready to serve, toss rigatoni with meat mixture.  Divide on four plates. Sprinkle with Parmesan. {Note: there is salt in Parmesan cheese.}


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh, yeah...dinner!

With all the prepping of "the bird" and its many
side dishes, it's easy to lose sight of the fact
that you still have to eat every other day of
the big turkey week as well.

So, here is a quick dish that my mom, another
excellent cook, taught me to make that is quick
and delicious and frees you up to work on
"the bird". Thanks, Mom!

Rigatoni with garbanzos and pepperoni


One box rigatoni
2 cans garbanzos, drained and rinsed
(Mom uses cannellini, but I'm a garbanzo girl)
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 package of pepperoni, diced
(I use turkey pepperoni)
Olive oil
1 tablespoon diced garlic
Fresh grated romano/parmesan cheese


Heat the oil in a large skillet, simmer the garlic and
pepperoni until heated through. Add the garbanzos and
tomatoes, turn the heat up to medium and cook thoroughly.
Add to a large pot of already cooked rigatoni. Mix well.
Serve in soup bowls with fresh grated romano/parmesan cheese
on top. A small side salad and a hot slice of garlic bread
really completes this meal.

Have a Happy (non-hectic) Thanksgiving!

Jenn McKinlay


March 2010 (Available for pre-order now)

aka Lucy Lawrence

STUCK ON MURDER Sept 2009 (On sale now)

(Available for pre-order now)