Meatballs and Rigatoni

I got this recipe from Gary's sister's blog. I've had them at her house before...they were fabulous and when I made them myself the other day, they were just as wonderful as I remember them being when SHE made them. So it's possible!

Meatballs with Rigatoni
2 slices white bread, remove crusts, cut in small pieces
1/4 C. milk
1 Pound ground Pork
1/2 Medium Onion, finely chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1/2 lemon
8 sprigs of fresh flat-leif parsley (italian parsley), chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 lb. rigatoni noodles
Red Hot Tomato Sauce (see recipe below)
Parmesan Cheese to serve on top.

1. Place bread in a bowl; pour milk over it. In another bowl, mix port, onion, garlic, zest, and parsley. Add salt and pepper (Mix with hands). Mash bread mixture to form paste; add to meat mixture. Mix; add egg. Combine Well.
2. Heat oven to 350. Form mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. To form the balls I used a cookie scoop (looks like a small ice cream scoop)
3. Brown Meatballs (on stove) and then transfer to a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.
4. Cook Red Hot Tomato Sauce
5. Cook Rigatoni
6. Serve. Layer Noodles, sauce, meatballs, parmesan cheese. I served with garlic bread, and green salad. If I had some frozen veggies, it would have been on the table too!

Liz mentioned that she makes more than one batch and then freezes the meatballs and also the extra sauce for a quick meal on another day. I took her advice and just doubled it...same amount of work anyhow, might as well. They are in the freezer calling my name today actually! She also BEGS (and after making it myself, I do too) that you do NOT skimp on the sauce. MAKE THE SAUCE! Store bought sauce will just not do the meatballs justice. The sauce is fabulous...I really liked it a lot!

Red Hot Tomato Sauce
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. cab crushed tomatoes
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 Tbs. basil (I'm sure fresh would be fabulous in this, but I just used dried)

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, stirring so that it does not brown, until soft and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring another minute.
2. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid. Season with salt, pepper, and red-pepper flakes. Add 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened and has a deep, rich tomato flavor, about 20 minutes. Stir in basil just before serving.

(Don't you worry, Picture to come!)


Sweet and Sour Chicken

Today is your lucky day! My friend Angela gave me this recipe and I made it...and loved it! MUCH easier than other Sweet & Sour Chicken recipes I've tried (and much lower in fat as well!)

Sweet & Sour Chicken
1 Tbs. Veg. Oil (OR, you can just spray your pan)
1 lbs. chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces
3 C. Veggies (Bell Pepper, Carrots, Tomatoes, Celery, Onion, etc.)
1 8-oz. Can Pineapple Chunks, drained (Save the juice)
Rice & Chow Mein Noodles

Heat Wok over High Heat. Add Oil.
Add Chicken; stir fry about 3 minutes or until no longer pink in the center. Add Veggies (If you're adding onions, I would add them first for a bit longer than the rest - unless you like your onions crisp-tender like the rest of the veggies); stir fry veggies about 2 minutes or until crisp-tender (I did this a little bit longer than 2 minutes...maybe more like 5). Stir in pineapple and sweet and sour sauce (se below) ; cook 1 minute.\

Angela uses the canned Sweet & Sour Sauce and I totally would have myself if I could find some! I did come across this recipe online somewhere and wrote it down...I used it for this and it tasted fabulous! (Usually every sweet & sour recipe I try does NOT turn out yummy)

Sweet & Sour Sauce:
1/2 C. Vinegar (I used white)
1/3 C. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 C. Orange Juice (I didn't have Orange juice, so I used what pineapple juice I had left and topped it off with water)
1/4 C. Pineapple Juice (I just used the juice from the can of pineapples)
1/4 C. Ketchup
2 Tbs. Cornstarch

This will be runny but will turn out fabulous. When you add your sauce to the chicken and veggies and cook for a few minutes, the sauce will thicken...delightful! (In fact, I'm eating my leftovers right now!)


Easy Fruit Salad

Everyone knows by now that I like to make easy stuff, right? Well here is a super easy fruit salad.
I gotta admit, the picture doesn't make it look that great, but it really does taste good.
All I do is cut up whatever fruit I have (this morning I used an apple, orange, banana, and some grapes) into bite-sized pieces, and pour yogurt over it and mix it around. I used strawberry mango yogurt this morning.
Totally healthy, easy, fast, and yummy.

Hawaiian Haystacks

I know this isn't a new recipe to anyone, but I thought I'd put it on here just for an idea of something easy to make. I am all about making easy recipes. The ones with lots of ingredients taste good and are fun to make as well, but I don't always have all that stuff on hand. For this recipe, I do!

All you need is:
  • Rice
  • Chicken Sauce (Cream of Chicken soup, 3/4 can milk, chicken)
And then you can add whatever toppings you have on hand. Last night I used:
  • Mandarin Oranges (a must...for us anyway)
  • Pineapple
  • Green Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Cheese

I also like to use:

  • Chinese Noodles (we're out right now)
  • Celery
  • Raisins
  • Peas


Taco Soup

Today we blessed Austin and had family over for lunch afterward. This was the perfect soup to serve with lots of toppings to make it a filling meal.

Paula Deen's Taco Soup
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
  • 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Corn chips for serving ( we love Frito's with this!!)
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Grated cheese, for garnish
  • Chopped green onions, for garnish
  • Pickled jalapenos, for garnish


Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot.

Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.

To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

NOTE: I found that there wasn't enough liquid, so I added some water and tomato soup.