Pass the bread and pour the wine, it’s a perfect night for a warm and comforting Italian dinner. One of my favorite pastas is rigatoni, I love how the sauce fills the middle of each piece, it’s like a saucy pocket surprise. 😉 What a great change from the tired boring spaghetti dish, let’s shake it up and add some delicious FLAVORS!
2 Servings of Rigatoni Pasta
1 Pound Lean Ground Meat
3 or 4 Cups Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 Tbs Garlic Powder
1/2 Tbs Onion Powder
1/2 Tbs Italian Seasoning
1/4 Tbs Salt
1/4 Tbs Pepper
Preheat the oven to 365°. Boil the pasta according to the box instructions. In the meantime brown the meat in a skillet with all of the seasoning. I love the smell of the seasoning as soon as it hits the hot pan, it really wakes up all those FLAVORS (it also wakes up my doggies as they stroll into the kitchen…I guess no one can resist 😉 ).
Once the pasta and meat are finished, transfer to a casserole dish. Stir in the tomato sauce and mix together. I love how the sauce attaches to the ridges of each pasta piece. Now it’s time to add in the ricotta cheese, dollop spoonfuls an inch or so apart all over the top. Adjust the amount by preference, I love a lot of that cheesy goodness! Top with mozzarella cheese and cook for about 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Let cool and garnish with parmesan cheese or fresh parsley. How elegant and delicious does that look, and it was so easy! Plus if it doesn’t all get eaten…yay leftovers!!! I know, I get too excited…it’s the small things 😉
It’s stew time!! Don’t you just love those one pot meals that you let cook all day. It smells so good and let’s you know what’s coming for dinner. I love the way it makes my whole house smell (it’s like a stew air freshener….hey, I’d buy it).
2-3 Pounds Beef Round or Chuck
5 Red Potatoes
1 Large Onion
1 Pound of Baby Carrots
2 Cups of Red Wine
2 Cups of Low Sodium Beef Stock (or chicken stock)
Water (to fill the rest of the pot)
2 Tbs of Canola Oil
2 Tbs of Smoked Paprika
2 Tbs of Onion Powder
2 Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
1 Tbs Cayenne (optional)
1 Tbs Salt
1 Tbs Pepper
This is a perfect meal to make in a dutch oven or crockpot and it feeds a crowd (or just me and my hubby…can you say leftovers…yay!) This stew also reheats so easily the next day, and lasts for a few days in the fridge.
First chop all of the veggies into large pieces and put aside. Next chop the meat into medium size cubes. You need a strong arm for this (it’s how I get my arm exercises for the day), you can ask your butcher to do this for you if you would like. Then season the meat liberally on both sides (Make It Rain!…don’t be skimpy)!
Drizzle canola oil into the pot and heat up to high. Toss the meat into the pot for just a few minutes to get the outside nice and brown. I usually brown them in two separate batches. Take the meat out of the pot and add in the veggies. Brown them also for a few minutes. Then add in the wine (some in the pot and some in my mouth…yes please!) Here is where you can scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release all of those bits of FLAVOR. Return the meat back to the pot. Let it go for a few minutes then add in the stock. Fill the rest with water till it reaches the top of the mixture. Once it comes to a boil lower the heat to low and let simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Take a peak here and there to see if you need to add a little more water.
Now it’s time to just sit back and enjoy that delicious aroma (my favorite part). Once it’s ready, serve in a bowl with some crackers. It goes great with a glass of wine (also my favorite part 😉 ).