Ziti with Chicken and Mushrooms

Here is a quick and easy recipe for Ziti with Chicken and Mushrooms that I made last weekend. It’s pretty delicious, and perfect for these crazy temps that we’ve been dealing with the last few weeks!

Ziti with Chicken and Mushrooms
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or my preferred, bacon grease)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ to ½ tsp crushed red pepper (your desired heat)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 - 8 oz package sliced mushrooms
  • 3 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped (about three tablespoons)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ pint heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated romano cheese
  • 3 cups ziti, cooked
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh thyme leaves, optional
Instructions
  1. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the cubed chicken breast, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Saute until browned and fully cooked. Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving as much of the spices and oil as possible in the pan.
  2. Add the mushrooms. Saute until golden brown. Remove to the same plate as the chicken. Add the onions and garlic, saute until the onions are translucent.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish with butter or vegetable spray.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, butter, and sugar to the onion mixture. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the heavy cream and romano cheese. Mix thoroughly, and add the chicken, mushrooms, and ziti to the sauce. Let simmer until heated through.
  5. Pour into the prepared casserole dish, and top with shredded mozzarella
  6. Bake for about ½ hour or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  7. Top with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately.

 

Bake a Cake Giveaway!

 

You know for me, this is the time for me, right after Christmas, when I look to spend my weekends tucked away in a warm kitchen, baking away.  As long as I know that everyone is safe, it can snow and blow outside my windows all day long! So, when Katherine contacted me to be a part of this giveaway, it was just the perfect timing!

This is Katherines Corner first giveaway of 2018, sponsored by Casa Bouquet and I’m joining Katherine and some of her bloggy friends to bring you the Bake a Cake Giveaway! I just couldn’t be more excited!

Please note that you do not have to bake a cake to enter this contest!

One winner will receive an immersion blender,spring form baking pan set ,mixing bowls and $75 cash ( or Amazon gift card, winners choice)

Prizes are provided by Katherines Corner, Casa Bouquet and the giveaway hostesses.

PayPal and Amazon are not affiliated with this giveaway, but they are the means of cash or gift card distribution.

Please remember to follow Katherine, your giveaway Sponsor and ALL of the giveaway hostesses so you can get all of your entry opportunities.

Katherine-Katherines Corner

Lisa- Casa Bouquet

Lisa- Blogghetti

Marilyn-Marilyns Treats

Nina-Vintage Mamas Cottage

Laura- Not A Trophy Wife

Bev-Eclectic Red Barn

Jas- AllThatsJas

Nancy- Nancy on the Homefront

Prudy- Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs

Disclaimer from Katherines Corner-Some of Katherines giveaways have sponsors, Katherines Corner may receive compensation for reviews and advertising provided. However, no compensation will influence the outcome of any review or giveaway win. Katherines Corner provides reviews to readers in order to provide an informed decision before purchase. Katherines Corner and its affiliate Bobskatie Enterprises reserves the right to not publish a review of a product or products that do not meet the specified instructions provided to product submission companies or individuals. Reviews are posted in the appropriate section at Katherines Corner and also at Amazon.com ( subject to products availability) This in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

To enter please log into the entry form using your email address or facebook log in

Good Luck in the Giveaway!

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Homemade Pasta Rags with Italian Sausage and Spinach Ragu

 

I’ve been on vacation from work all week. It has been a lazy kind of vacation to say the least….and as I was lying in bed and watching the news yesterday morning, the weatherman said that there were something like 220 million people dealing with this deep freeze that is currently going on outside my window. Hence, my lack of interest in leaving the warmth of my comforter.

While I was lying there contemplating staying in bed all day, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. Soup? No..I had just made split pea soup on Tuesday. I knew that I wanted to make something hearty, something that was “honest to goodness, stick to your ribs, keep you warm for the rest of the night” good.

It had to be pasta for sure.
And that’s when I decided on Homemade Pasta Rags with Italian Sausage and Spinach Ragu.

It just so happened that I had a bag of baby spinach sitting in my freezer. You know, I drive myself nuts when I fill my freezer to the brim with leftovers and vegetables that have to be frozen because I can’t bring myself to toss them in the trash. But then I’m so happy when I remember that I have an ingredient like baby spinach in the freezer, and I don’t have to run to the store, or come up with something else to make! Especially on days like these when it’s so cold outside, and I don’t want to leave the confines of my warm house.

I mustered enough energy to get myself out of bed…AND….actually made the bed (I feel so accomplished!) and made my way downstairs to gather everything I needed. This is actually an easy meal to make. If you’ve never tried making pasta from scratch, now is the time to try! I know that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it is to prepare! And honestly, you don’t need a fancy schmancy pasta roller. A simple roller will do just fine. I’ve had mine for years, and I think when I bought it, it was $20. It still works just fine.

This sauce. I love it. There is a touch of spiciness from the sausage and the crushed red pepper, but a creaminess from the butter and cheese. I know that in the recipe I say that the butter is optional, and it really is…but I really do suggest that you do add it to the sauce right before you add the pasta. It adds a whole level of flavor and richness to the sauce that will have you going back for that “just one more bite..”. And I promise, you will.

Life is good. It’s a “Cold days and warm comforters…” kind of good.

Homemade Pasta Rags with Italian Sausage and Spinach Ragu
 
Author:
Ingredients
Italian Sausage and Spinach Ragu
  • 1 lb bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup roasted red pepper (jarred is absolutely fine)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 oz bag fresh baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp butter, cut into cubes (optional)
  • Fresh basil for garnish
Pasta Rags
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
Instructions
Italian Sausage and Spinach Ragu
  1. In a large frying pan, cook the Italian sausage, breaking it into small crumbles with a wooden spoon. Remove the sausage from the pan (reserving the grease in the pan) onto a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  2. In the same frying pan, add the onions and garlic, and sauté on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Reduce the heat if they’re browning too quickly. Add the red pepper, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, thyme leaves, tomatoes, and sugar. Simmer on low for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the baby spinach to the sauce, and toss lightly. Add the butter to the top of the sauce right before you add the pasta. Toss lightly so that the butter melts over the hot pasta and into the sauce. Serve with chopped basil and grated Romano cheese.
Pasta Rags
  1. Mix the flour and salt, and mound on a clean work surface. Make a well in the center, and add the eggs. Carefully mix the eggs and flour together, pulling more flour in with your hands, and kneading as you go. Don’t worry if it seems crumbly at the beginning, the more you knead, the more it will come together. This will form a stiff dough.
  2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliable. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes. You will find that after 30 minutes, the dough has softened enough to work with.
  3. Remove from plastic wrap, and cut the dough into fourths. As you work with each fourth of the dough, make sure that you keep the others wrapped, so that the outside doesn’t form a crust on the outer edge.
  4. Begin rolling the dough on the widest setting of your pasta machine. Pass the strip at least two times through each width of the pasta machine, ending with the narrowest width, and a smooth strip of pasta. At this point, you can cut the pasta dough into the size noodles you prefer, either by running it through the machines pasta cutter, or cutting them by hand.
  5. For this recipe, I chose to cut the pasta by hand, cutting it into strips about 1-1/2” wide.
  6. To cook: Bring a pot of water (plus about a teaspoon of salt) to boil. Add the pasta rags to the boiling water, and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes, or to your desired doneness.

 

Cranberry Gin Fizz Cocktail

This is a sponsored post in partnership with my friends at Uncommon Goods. Any opinion in this post is my own. Recipe for Cranberry Gin Fizz Cocktail.

Oh my goodness. Did I have fun with this Homemade Gin Kit from Uncommon Goods! I’m not sure what I was expecting as I was opening the box, but I have to tell you that I was absolutely delighted to find two bottles snuggled among tins of juniper berries, botanical blend, funnel, and strainer. I could feel the excitement building as I pulled the bottles out of the box, feeling a little felonious as I was about to make my own gin!

I’ve actually been binge watching the Andy Griffith Show, and I half expected a knock on my door, and Barney Fife barging into my kitchen with his wide eyes and goofy voice yelling to put my hands up while he fumbled to get his pistol out of its holster!

Seriously though, this would be such a great gift for someone…and you could give it in two different ways…. as the kit itself…or you could have all the fun in making the gin, and give the bottles as gifts!

I was actually surprised that it only took 36 hours to make this gin. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but I was wrong. The delicious flavor of evergreen came through at first sip. Delicious, a gin most definitely gift worthy!

And in the spirit of the holiday season, I thought that this festive Cranberry Gin Fizz Cocktail would be perfect to make with my homemade gin. Imagine, at your next get together, telling your friends that you made the gin! This semi-sweet / semi-not sweet drink has a delicious tart cranberry flavor with a hint of evergreen from the juniper. A true Christmas flavor!

If you’re looking for that last minute gift, you can find this Homemade Gin Kit on the Uncommon Goods website…along with the so many other very cool gifts that they offer! And if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, you can rely on Sunny, Uncommon Goods new Gift Guide to help you find just what you’re looking for!

Life is good. It’s a “I’m feeling like a kid with a new toy…” kind of good!

Cranberry Gin Fizz Cocktail
 
This cocktail was making using gin made from a Gin Making Kit from Uncommon Goods! A super fun kit, and a super fun cocktail!
Author:
Serves: 4 drinks
Ingredients
The Cocktail
  • Crushed Ice
  • 8 oz cranberry juice
  • 4 oz gin
  • Cranberry flavored ginger ale
  • Sprigs of mint
  • Sugared cranberries
  • Lime wedges
The Sugared Cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 oz fresh cranberries
Instructions
The Cocktail
  1. Fill 4 stemless wine glasses with crushed ice. Add 2 oz of cranberry juice to each glass. Add 1 oz gin to each glass. Top off with the cranberry flavored ginger ale. Serve with sprigs of mint, sugared cranberries, and lime wedges.
The Sugared Cranberries
  1. In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup of granulated sugar and water to boil. Let boil for about three minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cranberries to the pan, and quickly remove to a cooking rack that has been placed over a cookie sheet.
  2. Let the cranberries dry for about 15 minutes. Add ½ cup granulated sugar to a small bowl, and roll the dried cranberries around in the sugar until coated. Place on dry surface to set.

 

Christmas Sugar Cookie Cut Outs

I know that you’ve seen my recipe for Christmas Sugar Cookie Cut Outs before, but I thought this would be a good time to bring them back around…you know…because Christmas is just around the corner. I wrote this article for the Everything Home Magazine December issue 2015:   

The holidays are officially upon us… and I’m sure in most households, holiday baking is in full swing… because we all know that the holidays aren’t truly complete until our homes are brimming with cookies! 

And the possibilities are endless… there are so many varieties, some of them laden with ingredients that just shout “flavor” of spices, nuts, chocolate, fruits, and mint… Among those varieties are the cookies with pretty strong personalities; the ones that almost always take center stage.  They are flavorful, they are pretty, and they are photogenic.  And of course, they are everybody’s first choice. But sometimes, it’s the simple cookie that makes an even stronger statement at Christmastime. It’s the old standby, and just like the girl next door, it’s the one that you knew was there all year round, but passed it by without a glance in its direction for some other cookie decked out in chocolate. But…it is also the cookie that made you do a double take after that first bite, when all of a sudden, you realized that you didn’t need to be dazzled with all of the elaborate ingredients that the other cookies had to offer, because this was the cookie that has been with you all of your life, the one that has never ever let you down.  

It’s the sugar cookie.

The cookie that has withstood the test of time. And even though sugar cookies make an appearance all year round, it is truly Christmastime when they are the most adored, when they proudly wear their icing costumes made for them in every way imaginable…from dollops of icing and piles of sprinkles spread on by sticky two-year-old fingers…to the most intricate patterns by the culinary art professional. The simple cutout adorns cookie platters throughout every household. Placed ever so lovingly on a little plate with its partner, the carrot on Christmas Eve, the sugar cookie has had the honor of feeding Santa Claus in homes all over the earth throughout the ages.

And Santa? He never, ever tires of them, because in his eyes, Christmas…isn’t Christmas… without the beloved sugar cookie.

I always agree with Santa…

This recipe is perfect for cutouts. It keeps its shape, and doesn’t puff up and spread. They can be made weeks ahead, and will stay soft and chewy for days! They’re so versatile, you can change the flavor by substituting different flavored extracts for the vanilla, such as lemon, orange, almond or cinnamon, and add food coloring to the dough to give them a festive color! Frost them with regular icing and sprinkles, or use royal icing as shown here, or don’t use any icing at all, and sprinkle them with colored sugar before baking! It doesn’t matter how you make them, they’ll be well received no matter what!

Simple royal icing and very basic decorating were used to create this winter wonderland scene. It is so easy, the most novice baker can do this! No decorating tips are necessary (the wreath on the house was made with a star tip, but simple dots would be just as pretty!), and to make clean up easy, use inexpensive disposable decorators bags! In the end, the beauty of the sugar cookie is that it doesn’t matter how you decorate them. They don’t have to be perfect to be loved. It is truly the imperfection of the decoration that gives the cookie it’s warm and rustic Christmasy charm!

This recipe will make one winter wonderland scene as shown in the photo:
1 – 6″ x 4″ 3D sugar cookie house that sits on a 6″ base
3 – Snowmen on a sugar cookie base
2 – Large Trees
3 – Small Trees
10 – 2″ Snowflakes
2 – Small bushes for the house

Click here for the recipe,

printable template and instructions!

Skillet Sweet Rolls with Orange Caramel Sauce

~This is a sponsored post in partnership with Le Creuset and Pampelonne Sparkling Wine Cocktails. Any opinion in this post is my own. Recipe for Skillet Sweet Rolls with Orange Caramel Sauce ~

Can you believe that we are just a few short weeks to Christmas? I think I’m in pretty good shape as far as shopping goes, and my house is just about all decorated. I’ve promised myself that this Christmas is going to be an enjoyable one, free from all the stress that I usually inflict upon myself at this time of year!

I admit it. I’m usually a haphazard planner. I have all the good ideas, but never have the time to implement.
Not this year.
This year, I have all the good ideas, and I’m going to make them happen!

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about, is to make breakfast for Christmas morning. Well, more like a brunch, and I’ve been working on these delicious Skillet Orange Sweet Rolls with Orange Caramel Sauce, made with Blood Orange Spritz Pampelonne as one of the things I’d like to serve.

My newly found Pampelonne are wonderful French Sparkling Wine Cocktails made from only the best natural ingredients that comes in tempting flavors such as Rose Lime, French 75, and Blood Orange Spritz being my favorite. The Blood Orange Spritz delivers delicious citrus flavor with a hint of wine to my caramel sauce which is perfect for the not overly sweet rolls, and a nice addition to any brunch table! Served with Pampelonne Blood Orange Spritz Mimosas, I think that my brunch will be a success!

I think you know how much I crush over Le Creuset, and not because of the many beautiful colors they offer, but because of the superior quality in heat distribution and retention. It’s interior always releases the food with ease, and clean up is a breeze. And, well, the colors…I’m especially in love with the Sugar Pink Matte Collection. I love to serve a meal straight from the pan, especially when it was prepared in this gorgeous pink skillet! Straight from the oven to the table. the sweet rolls will stay warm in the skillet throughout the brunch!

I love this recipe. It is just a matter of hand mixing it in a bowl, a few kneads, and letting it proof for an hour. It practically does all the work itself! No dragging out your big mixer, and best of all, no huge cleanup. Because Christmas mornings can be little busy and hectic, they can be prepared the night before.

The citrus flavor pairs so deliciously with the walnuts and cinnamon. A festive flavor for one of the most festive seasons!

 Life is good.  It’s a “Pretty in pink this brunch will be!” kind of good. 

Skillet Sweet Rolls with Orange Caramel Sauce
 
Author:
Ingredients
The Sweet Rolls
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp honey or granulated sugar
  • 2¼ tsp yeast
  • ½ cup whole milk, scalded
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3½ cups flour
The Filling
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup broken walnuts pieces
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
The Orange Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup Pampelonne Blood Orange Sparkling Wine
  • Juice of once orange
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup butter, cubed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
Instructions
The Sweet Rolls
  1. In s small bowl, add the warm water and honey, and mix together until the honey is dissolved. Add the yeast, and let it feast until it gets all giddy and bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, butter, sugar, salt and egg. Add the flour a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 2 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen, and let it proof until it has doubled in size (About an hour, hour and a half.)
  3. When the dough has doubled in size, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and generously grease your skillet. Punch the dough down, and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to a 9” x 15” rectangle.
The Filling
  1. Combine the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, walnuts, and orange zest. Spread over the surface of the dough rectangle.
  2. Beginning on the 15” side, slowly the roll the dough up, and pinch the ends together to seal. Slice the roll into about 12 pieces.
  3. Place the sliced cinnamon roll pieces closely together into the skillet. Let sit for about 45 minutes, until the rolls rise just about the pan.
  4. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool for about 15 minutes. Spread the warm rolls with orange caramel sauce. Serve immediately.
The Orange Caramel Sauce
  1. Combine the sugar, wine, and juice in a large pan, stirring over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a soft boil, and let continue to softly boil for about 10 minutes, or until it has become a light caramel color.
  2. Keeping the soft boil going, slowly add the heavy cream in small batches, stirring as you add. Add the butter in three batches, allowing the butter to melt after each addition. Let continue to cook on a soft boil for about five more minutes. Remove from heat and add the salt, vanilla bean paste, and orange zest.
  3. Allow to cool completely in pan. Use as much as you’d like on the sweet rolls. The remaining caramel sauce will keep covered in a jar for up to one week. It’s delicious over ice cream, in a cup of tea, or even on toast!

 

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