Two Timing Pasta Bake

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I recently posted on my facebook page how Alfredo sauce in a jar tastes like crap.  One person said that it smells like feet and I would have to agree with that. People were also asking questions on how to enhance alfredo sauce and I think this recipe does a good job of that. I like the combination of alfredo sauce and marinara sauce together and with extra added cheese this dish will not smell like feet! I guarantee it! It almost reminds me of pasta dish I had once at Bocca de Beppi’s.

I’ve been really sick of Winter lately. The first day of Spring is in a couple of days and we are still expecting a lot of snow here. I’m ready for thunderstorms, the tall hills of snow banks to go away so that  we can see where we’re driving at when we turn a corner, planting my garden, and wearing my new jean jacket that I just love. Heck, I might as well just wear it and not wait for Spring to get here. It’s so cute and goes really well with colored denim!

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Recipe from Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour

Two Timing Pasta Bake


  • 1 box 16 ounces of penne pasta
  • 1 jar 15 oz alfredo sauce (your favorite)
  • 1 jar 24 oz marinara sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese


Step 1
Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Mix the sauces together in a large bowl.
Step 2
Add the mozzarella and stir to combine. Then toss in the penne and toss to coat.

Step 3
Pour pasta into 9x13 baking dish and cook on 350 for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Add extra cheese on top and bake until melted if you wish.

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo Sauce

Let’s face it. Nothing quite compares to Heavy Cream which is used as the main ingredient in Alfredo. Heavy cream can make anything bad taste good, not to mention butter and bacon. I think that Alfredo sauce is probably one of the hardest dishes to make lighter.

I used 1% milk instead of the 2% the recipe called for. That would have probably made the sauce a little bit richer. There is also fat free half-and-half, but I can never find that in the grocery stores. Is there such a think as Fat Free Heavy Cream???  It calls for butter and parmesan cheese too. HELLO?! That’s like impossible to find ingredients to replace all that yummy goodness with. I thought this recipe did a good job of trying to make it lighter and it still tasted good. Like I said before, nothing compares to the real sauce. If you ever feel like indulging this is the dish to make.

If any of you are experiencing blank pages, I’m sorry. Try loading it again in the next few moments. I have to upgrade my ram on this website and hopefully that should take care of the problem!

Servings: 4

Per serving: Calories 490; Fat 15 g (Saturated 8 g); Cholesterol 48 mg; Sodium 734 mg; Carbohydrate 66 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 20 g

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cups grated (parmesan cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Neufchtel or low-fat cream cheese
  • 12 ounces fettuccine noodles


Step 1
Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon,1 minute. Whisk in the milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the Neufchatel and parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped parsley.
Step 2
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and return to the pot.
Step 3
Add the sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and gently toss to combine, adding more cooking water as needed to loosen. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and top with parmesan and pepper.


Kid Friendly Pasta

The Food Network has been having new shows of the Pioneer Woman lately. She is one of my new favs. Ina still is in first place though, but I just love to watch her cook and learn about her life and family. Much more interesting than mine is anyway. On Saturday’s show she made this pasta. I wanted to make it right away since I had all the ingredients on hand. This pasta should be called Kid and Adult Friendly Pasta. You just don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this one. It has 3 of my favorite ingredients in there: cheese, bacon, and tomatoes. Can’t go wrong with that!

To make this pasta lighter, I used light mayonnaise and 1% milk. That was used to figure out the points plus value. If you really wanted to, you could use turkey bacon. I don’t really recommend that because I prefer the real bacon. This would be a great lunch time meal served with some fruit.

Oh yeah, go ahead and pin my recipes.  I don’t know if any one has noticed yet but I’ve placed a pin it button on every recipe. Happy pinning!


Servings: 8

Points Plus: 8

Calories 328, Fat 10.07g, Carbohydrate 39.68g, Fiber 2.4g, Protein 19.49g

Recipe from the Pioneer Woman

Kid Friendly Pasta


  • 12oz pasta (fun shaped)
  • 8 small slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved lengthwise)
  • 1/2lb cheddar (cut into small cubes)
  • 3 green onions
  • ground black pepper
  • 24 sprigs basil leaves


Step 1
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Then drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.
Step 2
Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and throw into a large skillet. Saute until slightly crisp, and then remove to a paper-towel-lined-plate.
Step 3
For the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt, and sugar if using in a small bowl.
Step 4
Stir together the pasta, dressing, tomatoes, bacon, Cheddar and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Step 5

Stir in the basil at the end.

Spicy Thai Noodles

I think this is one of the best noodle dishes I’ve ever made! It was so good.  I wish I had the cilantro and carrots to add into this and next time I’ll add in some chicken. Highly recommended if you love some Thai food. The website I got this recipe from said that you can even omit the peanut oil if you wish. The peanuts give it a nice crunch. It’s nice and spicy too.


Nutrition info was figured out using whole wheat noodles. This dish is kind of pointy but what do you expect with the sesame oil? :)

Servings: 8

Points Plus: 12

Ingredients adapted from A Small Snippet

1 – 2 Tablespoons of Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cp of sesame oil
6 tablespoons of honey
6 tablespoons of soy sauce
1/2 cup green onion
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup of cilantro
3/4 cup of peanuts

16 oz of linguini or spaghetti noodles

Boil noodles.
Cook the two oils together over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the crushed red pepper and keep the oil.
Whisk together the honey and soy sauce into the oil.

Pour mixture on top of noodles and toss together until noodles are well coated. Chop the veggies and peanuts and add them to the noodles.


Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

I was watching the Best Thing I Ever Made on Food Network this morning and saw Sunny Anderson make her mac and cheese. It looked so good, and I knew I had all the ingredients to make it besides the pepper jack cheese. Even without the pepper jack cheese it was awesome. The cayenne pepper gave it just the right amount of heat. The thing I liked most about this recipe, was the fact that it didn’t require making a roux. A roux is a mixture of equal parts butter and flour. Then you would whisk in the milk, but this recipe just required mixing a bunch of ingredients together into a bowl. The mac and cheese was rich and creamy, and it’s easy to half the recipe for just one person.

Speaking of Food Network… I don’t mind all those competition shows like Chopped, Cake Wars, and Restaurant Impossible, but do they honestly need to show the same episodes over and over again? I would rather see more cooking shows and they seem to be cutting those off at 11am CST on the weekends. Please Food Network, add more cooking shows to your line up because I get sick of watching the re-runs. Because of that, I am now a fan of Big Bang Theory. :)

I cut this recipe in half and if using 1% milk and low fat cheddar cheese and low fat colby cheese the nutrition info is as follows. It came out to 3 servings. (without croutons)

Calories 208 | Fat 5.74g | Carbohydrate 22.34g | Fiber 0.9g | Protein 15.97g

Ingredients from Sunny Anderson

  • 2 cups elbow pasta, cooked until almost al dente
  • 8 ounces Cheddar, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded
  • 8 ounces Colby cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces Monterey pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup finely grated onions
  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Special equipment: 2-quart baking dish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together the pasta with the cheese cubes and pour into the baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg. Add the sour cream, egg, heavy cream, half-and-half and onions. Pour over the pasta and cover with the shredded Cheddar. Bake uncovered until the top is just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into crouton-size squares. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add the bread cubes and toast until golden. Sprinkle the bread cubes on top of the macaroni and cheese and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

Homemade Pasta

I’m so excited that we got the pasta maker attachment for our kitchen aid mixer as a wedding gift. Thanks to Laura (my brother’s girlfriend) and her parents for getting us that. It was the last attachment that we needed and I just love it.

Anne Burrell was making fresh pasta on her show today and I tried her recipe. The pasta dough didn’t work out at all and was a crumbly mess. When it came to rolling it out, the dough didn’t flatten at all. Sorry, Anne. I decided to use the recipe that came with the pasta maker attachment and that recipe worked so well. It took two tries, and took awhile to make… but I was kind bored this Saturday and needed something to do. I made fresh ravioli and stuffed it with a ricotta cheese mixture and topped that with some marinara sauce. I also tried making some spaghetti noodles. The spaghetti noodles kind of just stuck together. I want to get one of those ravioli cutters that make it look like it the pasta has curvy edges now.

Here’s me, making pasta for the time. It was fun to watch the dough thin out and run it through the pasta maker. The attachment has different settings you can change it to, depending on how thick you want the pasta.

Here is the finished ravioli. So good.

I also tried making spaghetti noodles. They turned out more like a human brain.  See what I mean?

Here’s the recipe for the pasta dough. I had to add in almost 1/4 cup of water to get the dough to a better consistency.


3 1/2 cup of flour

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon water (I used 1/4 cup water)

Mix all ingredients and knead in your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for about 2 minutes. Take the dough out and knead with your hands. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella

This dish was missing something. Ben thinks it was meat and I thought it needed more spice. The crusty cheese on the top was my favorite part.  I know all pasta tastes the same, but I want to try it again with spaghetti noodles and try adding some more spices to it. Use a jar of store bought marinara sauce to make life so much easier. I wonder if the noodles could bake in the oven with the pasta sauce instead of boiling them in the water for a little while????

Nutrition Info: Calories 328 | Fat 10.87g | Carbohydrate 43.44g | Fiber 7.3g | Protein 17.03g

Points Plus: 8

Servings: 8 (If using regular pasta, the points plus value is 10 per serving)

Using Whole Wheat Pasta

Ingredients from Kitchen Corners
  • 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
  • 3/4 pound spagetti
  • 2 cups diced mozzarella
  • Italian seasoning
  • salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400*
  2. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
  3. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until chopped.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high and add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  5. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  6. Add Italian seasoning and salt to taste.
  7. Cook until sauces starts to thicken
  8. Meanwhile, cook pasta for 5 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot.
  9. Add tomato sauce and half of the mozzarella and toss to combine.
  10. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
  11. bake until cheese is golden. About 20-25 minutes.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

1 lb of 80% beef
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place garlic and parsley into a small food processor or chopper and pulse a few times until finely minced.

In a large bowl combine beef turkey, chopped herbs, bread crumbs, egg,  salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix well and measure 1/4 cup meat, then divide in two so you end up with each meatball 1/8 cup in size. Roll and place on a baking pan.


On top of spaghetti, all cover with cheese. I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed….. Nobody sneezed on these meat balls, don’t worry. :)

These meatballs were so so, I saw on that she had mad turkey meatballs. I kind of followed the recipe and made Italian meatballs instead. Changed up the ingredients a bit. Ben thought in order to make these meatballs tastier, they could have cooked in the tomato sauce for awhile.

The pasta sauce wasn’t anything fancy. Just a jar of roasted garlic Ragu sauce. Did you ever see the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where the Mom told everybody that her secret was a jar of store bought marinara sauce? Well, that’s my secret too. Guess it’s out now. :P

Everyone goes into the pool.

Then get’s rolled up into a ball. I can’t believe my new lens took this picture with flash on. I think it looks way better than the one I tried taking using my light studio.

These are the finished meatballs taken with my light studio. I don’t know which picture I like better.