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Vegetarian Pasta and Tomato Toss

April 11, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Dinners, Rice and Pasta No Comments →

8 ounces elbow macaroni
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
4 Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning. Chop tomatoes into bite-size chunks and stir to coat in oil mixture. Drain pasta and toss with tomato mixture. Add cheese and toss until just melted. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Perfect Pepperoni and Penne Pasta

April 09, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Dinners, Rice and Pasta No Comments →

This simple recipe is a “reader’s favorite” and goes over well with kids too. Be prepared-they will likely request seconds!1(16 ounce) package penne pasta
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup Mexican-style cheese, shredded
1 container part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces pepperoni sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Spray a 9 x 13 -inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk eggs lightly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drain pasta and add to mixture, tossing to coat. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until edges are golden. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Brook’s Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

April 08, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Dinners, Recipe Categories:, Rice and Pasta 1 Comment →

Makes 4-6 servings

1 lb. lean ground chuck
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic (I use 2, love that garlic!)
2 cans (15 ounce) Hunts tomato Sauce
1 can (15 ounce) Hunts Tomato Sauce with Basil and Oregano
1 small can (6 ounce) Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
3 tablespoons light Brown Sugar
16 ounces pasta

Brown beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat. Drain. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT tomato paste and let simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Check for consistency - if you like a thicker sauce add paste by spoonful to reach desired consistency. (I add the whole can at this point in the cooking process.) If you add paste, stir and let simmer another 10 minutes. Sample. it should be delicious! If you like a sweeter sauce, add one more tablespoon of light brown sugar. Serve

Note: Although we only have a family of 3 and my daughter is going through her anti-sketti-sauce phase, I still make the full batch and sometimes even double it! This freezes easily and keeps for 3 months. Simply transfer from freezer the night before and then reheat in a saucepan. You can add fresh green peppers, mushrooms, garden tomatoes… to jazz up the sauce to your liking.

Joan’s Chicken in a Pot

April 04, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Chicken, Dinners, Slow Cooker Recipes 1 Comment →

6 to 8 servings
1 (3 pound) chicken, left whole
2 carrots, sliced
2 onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, with leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed basil
½ cup water, chicken broth or white wine
Put vegetables in bottom of slow cooker. Salt and pepper the chicken and put
on top of the vegetables. Pour in the ½ cup liquid and sprinkle with basil. Cover
with lid and cook on low setting 7 to 10 hours (or 3 to 4 hours on high setting,
adding another ½ cup liquid). Carefully remove chicken from the crockerystyle
pot using a spatula and place on serving platter Strain remaining cooking
juices and make gravy.

French Bread Chicken and Cheese Melts

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Chicken, Recipe Categories:, Sandwiches No Comments →

6 servings


  • One loaf French bread, *split the long way, down the middle; then each half cut into thirds, for a total of 6 individual pizza-style portions
  • 1 cup pizza sauce, such as Contadina®
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 425º. Place bread cut-sides-up on a baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bread is lightly toasted. Spread pizza sauce over bread; set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet; add garlic and chicken. Cook chicken until no longer pink. Add basil, bell pepper, and onion. Cook until heated through and onion is transparent, about 3 minutes more. Spread chicken/onion mixture evenly over French bread “pizzas.” Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and return pizzas to 425º oven. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from baking sheet with spatula and serve.

Easy Fried Rice

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Rice, Rice and Pasta No Comments →

6 servings

2 tablespoons oil
2 green onions with tops, diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
4 cups already cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon each: soy sauce and oyster sauce, or more to taste
Salt and pepper (optional)

Heat oil in skillet (or wok). Add the green onions (and peas if using them) and cook 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice and cook, tossing well, till heated through and coated–about 2 minutes more. Move rice to side of pan. Add beaten eggs to center of pan and cook and stir until scrambled. Once the eggs are scrambled, break them up and toss to mix with the other ingredients in pan. Season mixture with soy sauce and oyster sauce to your liking. Adjust with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste if you wish.

Note* Diced cooked meats (such as roast pork, ham, or chicken) may be added to this dish, to turn it into a more substantial entree, rather than a side dish. If doing so, add the meat and about 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth to further flavor and moisten the rice.

Quick and Easy Beef and Garlic

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Beef, Dinners No Comments →

4 to 6 servings

1 to 1-1/2 pounds boned sirloin steak, cut into 1/4 -inch thick strips
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups sliced bok choy
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons *low-sodium soy sauce (I like to substitute-in 1 tablespoon of Oyster Sauce, although the recipe as written does not call for it)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine beef and garlic in a bowl, cover and chill for 10 to 15 minutes. Heat a nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray over medium-heat until hot. Add beef and sauté 5 minutes or until beef is done. Remove beef from pan and keep warm. Combine bok choy and green onions in same skillet; sauté for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; simmer 3 minutes more, or until thickened slightly. Mix meat back into pan and serve.

Serve with plenty of fluffy steamed rice or cellophane noodles. (To cook cellophane noodles, just follow directions on the package. You can find cellophane noodles in the oriental section of your market.)

Pizza Family Night Friday

March 30, 2008 By: brooknoel Category: Dessert Recipes, Kids in the Kitchen 2 Comments →

“Give young children the opportunity to participate in family decision-making. Their insight will surprise you.” ~Life’s Little Instruction Book

We talk about the importance of our children within our families … spending time with them, nurturing and encouraging them, talking with them and listening to them. Today’s menu reflects another way to include our children on a quality level by letting them help with the “decision-making” about the ingredients and the preparation for a dinner. Friday night can be the perfect time to make dinner a Family Affair for all to participate in and we’ve included 2 easy recipes (a dinner pizza and a dessert pizza) to get you started.


Easy Crescent-Roll Dinner Pizza

makes 1 large pizza


2 packages tube-style refrigerated crescent rolls

1 jar pizza sauce of your choice

12 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese (I like low-fat)

Cooked and crumbled sausage or sliced pepperoni

Pat crescent roll dough out onto a 12 x 16 -inch cookie sheet, patting any seams closed to make one large crust. Spread with pizza sauce, then cooked sausage, then cheese. If using pepperoni, spread sauce, then cheese, then top with pepperoni slices. Bake in 350? oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until done to your liking


Easy Crescent-Roll Dessert Pizza

makes 1 medium pizza

1 can tube-style refrigerated crescent rolls

8 ounces cream cheese or strawberry cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

Assorted fruits; choose from: fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sliced kiwi, grapes (halved), drained mandarin orange slices, drained bite-size pineapple pieces

Spread crescent roll dough on a 13 -inch pizza pan, pinching any seams together. Bake in 350º oven until browned; cool completely. Mix cream cheese and sugar together until softened and fluffy; spread on crust. Arrange selected fruits in decorative pattern on top of the cream cheese. Store in fridge till serving time. Cut into wedges to serve.