Chicken, Sausage and Rice Casserole

Chicken drumsticks and Italian sausage come together with other pantry staples to make a flavorful one dish meal.  I made this casserole last weekend and it got rave reviews!  It’s easy and economical.  The skillet goes from stove top, to oven to table for casual dining and easy cleanup.


4 Servings


  • 1/2 cup long grain brown and wild rice
  • 3-1/2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 5-6 chicken drumsticks
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. Italian sausage, cut into thin coins
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ coins
  • sausage seasoning (The Spice House makes a good one)
  • 1/4 cup half and half, or milk
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan



Long grain brown rice takes about 50 minutes to cook, so start the rice first.  Simmer 1/2 cup rice in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth.  While the rice cooks, start the chicken.  I used a deep, cast iron skillet that can go from stove top to oven.  First brown the chicken on all sides in a little olive oil.  Then add 1/2 cup chicken broth, cover and simmer 30 minutes.


Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate, remove meat from the bones and season.


Drain all fat and liquid from the pan, add more olive oil and begin browning the sausage.  Add the onions and carrots and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season the vegetables.


Add the rice.  It should be nearly cooked.


Add back the chicken, 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, and 1/4 cup half and half or milk.  Stir well.


Top it off with breadcrumbs and grated cheese.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350º.


The liquid will bubble and thicken to create a nice sauce.  I like to finish it off under the broiler, 3 minutes on low.  Watch that it doesn’t burn.


Mr. Extruded Noodle likes that crispy topping!  Let it rest a few minutes to set up, and bring it right to the table in the skillet.  Easy cleanup too!


Yum!  Everyone wanted seconds!  I got an A+ for my efforts in this meal but you can see how easy it really is.  Be sure to pin this one and give it a try.



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Posted in Casserole, Chicken, Comfort Food | Leave a comment

Traditional Chicken Parmigiana

Wondering what to make for dinner tonight?  You can’t go wrong with Traditional Chicken Parmigiana.  It’s the classic dish that will please everyone in the family!  Chicken is my go to for Parmigiana, but veal or eggplant are equally popular, and good!


  • 3 whole boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • your favorite marinara sauce
  • shredded cheese (Parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar)

6 Servings.  You can easily double or triple the recipe.

Preparation:  Open up each chicken breast and cut in half.  Place each half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to under 1/2″ thickness with the flat side of a meat mallet.  For a shortcut, you can buy chicken cutlets that have already been cut to size.  They are a little more expensive but you will save some time.


Set up three breading trays (or shallow bowls) with the flour, beaten eggs and a combination of Panko and seasoned Italian breadcrumbs.


Dredge each cutlet in the flour, shake off the excess.  Next dip it in the egg, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.  Repeat with all of the cutlets.


Heat a large skillet with olive oil, use enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Don’t crowd the pan, add a few cutlets at a time and cook 5 minutes per side, or until they are nicely browned.  Add a little more olive oil as needed.  Repeat with the remaining cutlets.


Place the cutlets in a rectangular baking dish or baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Heat the oven to 350°.  Spoon marinara sauce over the cutlets.


Top with cheese and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.


Dinner is served and it is going to be delicious!  Serve it up with a nice salad and your favorite pasta.


Leftovers can be served warm or cold.  I love to make extra for lunch sandwiches.  Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you have enjoyed this old classic!



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Posted in Chicken, Chicken Dinner, Comfort Food, Italian Sunday Dinner | Leave a comment

Grilled Beef Kabobs

Summer has finally arrived in RI and we are celebrating with dinner on the grill!  Beef kabobs, skewers of beef with mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper and sweet onions are brushed with seasoned olive oil and grilled for a simple, satisfying meal.


Summer also means the Farmer’s Markets are open!  We are fortunate to live in an area where there are many local farms, and we support them as much as possible by purchasing locally raised beef and vegetables.


  • 1 lb. beef sirloin tips
  • 16 button mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. reduced sodium steak seasoning
  • skewers
  • cooking spray

Note: If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water at least 1 hour before cooking.  I am using flat metal skewers that are easier to handle on the grill.


Preparation:  Cut the beef into uniform chunks 1-1/2″ in size.  Chop the zucchini, bell pepper and onion into 1-1/2″ pieces.  Cut mushrooms in half or leave the smaller ones whole, they will shrink on the grill.  Thread the kabobs onto the skewers, alternating the meat and vegetables. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.


Heat the grill on medium.  Bring tongs, spatula and oven mitts.

Carefully coat the grates with cooking spray, watch for flare-ups.  Lay the skewers on the grill leaving plenty of space in between.


Grill with the lid closed and turn the kabobs several times during cooking.  Meanwhile, get your side dishes ready.


Grill for 8-12 minutes, depending on how well done you like your beef.  About ten minutes total cook time for medium.


The vegetables should have a nice char and the beef will be pink in the middle.


Easy, delicious and on the table in under 30 minutes.  Perfect for your week night menu!


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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Dash Diet Friendly, Eat your Vegetables, Farmers Market Favorites, For the Grill, Low Carb | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Whole Roast Chicken

Everyone loves a traditional roast chicken dinner.  Roasting a whole chicken is easy and makes a beautiful presentation.  Read about how to prepare a bird that is crisp on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside.  Lemon, garlic and fresh herbs star in this family favorite.



  • 6 pound roasting chicken
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 lemons
  • several sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion



Wash and dry the lemons and herbs.  Peel the garlic cloves and slowly warm them in the olive oil over lowest possible heat.  A simmer mat is great for this application.  Turn them every 10 minutes.


Leave the butter standing at room temperature until softened.  Chop half of the rosemary and thyme and add to the butter.  Zest both lemons and add the zest to the butter.


Remove the giblets packet from the chicken.  Rinse the chicken, inside and out and pat dry.

Whole-Roast-Chicken-The-Extruded-Noodle-040Mist a large roasting pan with cooking spray and set the chicken breast side up.  Now cut the lemons in half and fit as many pieces as you can into the cavity of the chicken, along with the garlic cloves and remaining rosemary and thyme sprigs.


Rub the butter mixture all over the chicken, be sure to coat the wings and legs.  Preheat the oven to 425º.


Tie the legs together.  Quarter the onion and tuck slices under the chicken, along with any extra slices of lemon.


Roast uncovered for 1-1/2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165º.


The skin should be nicely browned.  Let it rest 10 minutes before carving.


Can you see how moist the meat is?  We had a great dinner, with leftovers for another meal and sandwiches for lunch.  The remnants went into the crock-pot for soup.


Not only was this a wonderful dinner, but you can see what a value the chicken was!  Many meals, nothing wasted.


So now you know the secret.  A layer of fat on the outside and moist fragrant lemons on the inside makes the juiciest chicken ever.  Please do try it!

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Posted in Chicken, Chicken Dinner, Comfort Food | Tagged | 2 Comments

Oven Fries

I rarely make fried food at home.  I love it, but it doesn’t love me!  Still, what goes better with a sandwich than fries?  Here is an oven baked version that you will love just as much, and I promise you won’t miss the fat!  Roasted on very high heat, with just a tiny bit of oil and sprinkle of cornmeal for a nice crunch.  They are easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes.  I baked my Oven Fries in a stoneware bar pan, which is ideal for this preparation.  Don’t crowd the pan, if you are doubling the recipe make 2 batches.



  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (I like Emeril’s)
  • 1 tsp. corn meal
  • cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 500º.  Wash and dry the potato, and cut into thin strips no more than 1/2″ wide.  I left the skins on.  Place them in a large bowl and toss well with the olive oil, corn meal and seasoning.  Mist the pan with cooking spray and spread the fries in a single layer, try not to let them touch.


Bake for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to brown all sides.


Test with a fork, and bake a few more minutes if needed.


There you are.  Everyone loves fries and here is a healthier version that you can feel good about.  Don’t they look delicious?


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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Comfort Food, Side Dish | Leave a comment

Tartine Country Loaf Bread

This weekend I baked a Tartine style Country Loaf Bread.  It is a true sourdough, that means no commercial yeast at all.  Can you believe that a mere 1 tablespoon of sourdough starter will raise an entire loaf of bread?  I have never asked my starter to perform such a feat!  


This is a 2 day process, so there was much anticipation about how the final loaf would look and taste.  I’m also showing the date/time of each step, so that you might envision how to fit this recipe into your busy schedule.  You do not need a stand mixer for this bread, although I used mine to mix the dough.  The dough is developed by a series of stretch and folds, rather than by kneading.  The loaf is baked in a Dutch oven, a heavy enameled cast iron covered pot.  



  • 1 tbsp. active 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 100 g. warm water
  • 50 g. all purpose flour
  • 50 g. white whole wheat flour

Final dough:

  • all of the Preferment
  • 350 g. warm water
  • 350 g. bread flour
  • 150 g. white whole wheat flour
  • 10 g. salt


Saturday 9:00 am – Stir together the preferment ingredients, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 7 hours.  As the day goes on, it will become increasingly puffy and bubbly.


Saturday 4:00 pm – Combine the final dough ingredients with the preferment in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.  Mix just until combined to form a wet shaggy dough, do not knead.


Transfer to a bowl (no oil), cover with plastic wrap and let it rest 45 minutes.

Saturday 4:45 pm – Set up a large cutting board, I rubbed mine with just a tiny bit of olive oil to help with sticking.  Use a bench knife to stretch and fold the dough, then return it to the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Repeat this step every 30 minutes until 8 pm.


Saturday 8:00 pm – Here is my Tartine dough, 12 hours into the process.  It is fragrant, smooth and silky.  You can hold this dough in your hands and literally feel that it is alive.  Now it will go into the fridge overnight to be baked in the morning.


Sunday 8:00 am – Good morning beautiful!  Here it is, a perfect ball of dough, full of air bubbles.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 500º.  Place the Dutch oven into the oven while it is heating for 1/2 hour prior to baking.


Sunday 8:30 am – Sprinkle the Dutch oven with cornmeal and use a stiff spatula to carefully nudge the dough from the bowl without deflating the air bubbles.  Gently place the dough into the Dutch oven, cover and return to the oven.  Reduce the oven temperature to 450º and bake for 30 minutes.


Sunday 9:00 am – Remove the cover and continue baking another 15-20 minutes.


Sunday 9:20 am – Look at this magnificent loaf of bread!  Now transfer it to a rack, it will need to cool completely before slicing.


After all the anticipation, we could hardly wait for dinner.  The crust crackled when I sliced into it and the crumb was open and soft.


I could have made a meal of just this bread with some dipping oil!  It reminded me of how good bakery bread used to taste back in the 1960′s.  Really.


Sourdough bakers,  you must try this method.  I think this is one of the best loaves I have ever baked!



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Posted in Baking, Bread, From Scratch, Italian Sunday Dinner, Sourdough, Today's Bake | Leave a comment

Beef Tenderloin Steak with Scallops and Risotto

Mr. Extruded Noodle and I really do eat like a king and queen.  Even on week nights!  Who said you can’t make an amazing dinner when you get home from work?  Check out this lovely recipe that is easy to prepare and ready in under an hour.  For a special touch I used Prosecco as an economical alternative to champagne (we already splurged on the tenderloin and scallops!) it gives a nice flavor to the risotto and the butter sauce.  If you can’t find it use a white wine that you can drink with dinner.

Dinner for two


  • 2 beef tenderloin steaks, about 4 oz. each
  • 12 sea scallops
  • steak seasoning (I like McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak)
  • 3 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 5 tsp. butter, divided
  • 2/3 cup Prosecco, divided (or substitute white wine, or champagne)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Vidalia onion, minced fine, divided use
  • 1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Carnaroli rice (or substitute Arborio rice)
  • 4 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth at room temperature
  • 1 large broccoli crown, cut into spears
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish


Start the risotto first.  Heat 2 tsp. of butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Add 1/4 cup of the minced Vidalia onions (and mushrooms, if using), and cook until they release their liquid.  Stir in the rice and toss well to coat the grains.  Cook for 1 minute then add 1/4 cup of Prosecco to the pan.  Stir until the liquid is almost evaporated.  Use a ladle to add 1/2 cup of broth to the skillet, stirring continuously until the rice absorbs most of the liquid, then continue adding one ladle of broth at a time, stirring until almost absorbed before adding the next.  Taste after about 30 minutes.  You will likely need most, but not all of the liquid.  When the rice is ready, remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with chives, transfer to a serving dish, cover and keep warm.


Steam the broccoli while the meat cooks.  It will go very quickly!  Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium, swirl 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. butter in the pan.  Add the steaks to one side of the pan, and the scallops to the other.  Season lightly and cook 3-4 minutes, uncovered.


Turn the steaks and scallops, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.


Remove the steak and scallops to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add 1 tsp. each butter and olive oil to the skillet with the remaining onions.  Cook 1 minute, then add the lemon juice and the rest of the Prosecco.  Stir together and allow the liquid to reduce by half.


Drizzle sauce over the steak and scallops.


Garnish with fresh chives.  Doesn’t that look mouth watering?


The Prosecco sauce is delicious with both the steak and the scallops.


Serve with the risotto and broccoli.


This elegant dinner is on the table in about 45 minutes.  It was absolutely fabulous!  Treat your someone special to a great meal tonight.


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Posted in Dinner for two, Elegant Dining, Under an hour | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onions have hit the markets, and they are so appealing to the eye with their pretty greens attached.  The onions come in red and white, and I love both.  You might think that you need to remove the greens and discard them when you get home, but did you know they can make a nice addition to your soup stock?  I have made this soup a couple of times and it has a nice “bite” thanks to the simmered onion greens.  If you have a cold I can attest that this soup will hit the spot!  It is a simple recipe, and will only take 1-1/2 hours to prepare.



  • 49 oz. can fat free less sodium chicken broth
  • 3 spring onions with their greens
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • Sage, thyme and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of spelt orzo, or other soup pasta



Remove the greens from the onions and wash thoroughly.  Dice the onions and set aside.  Add the greens to a large stock pot with the chicken broth.  Cover and simmer 45 minutes.


Discard the wilted greens, then add the diced carrots, celery and onion to the pot.  Season with sage, thyme and fresh ground pepper.  Simmer for 30 more minutes or until the carrots are tender.


You probably noticed that I did not add salt.  The onion greens, like all vegetables contain some level of salt, and I was surprised at how good the simmered broth tasted.  Maybe it’s the savory zing from the onions, but I thought the seasoning was just right.  You can adjust it to your own taste.


Cook the orzo or other soup pasta in a separate pot to one minute less than package directions.  Drain and add to the soup.  Keep it on lowest heat until ready to serve.


This is a nice light soup, and you can enjoy a cup with a sandwich or some bread on the side.  Even if it does not cure your cold, you will definitely feel better after a piping hot bowl of Spring Onion Soup.


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Posted in #dashdiet, Comfort Food, Dash Diet Friendly, Soup | Leave a comment

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

I  made a batch of muffins for our coffee this afternoon, and because I’m all about using things up I incorporated a couple of things that I had hanging out in the fridge.  A little pumpkin puree leftover from another recipe, a banana that is past its prime…  As a bonus, with such moist ingredients I knew I could omit the oil in this recipe.  The banana, pumpkin and eggs were enough to yield a nice moist muffin and we will save a few calories.  You will also notice that I didn’t overdo the sugar, and I used 1% milk.  I love to add just a pinch of cardamom to baked goods, it has a wonderful flavor and really brings out the sweetness.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole grain flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch (couple of shakes) of nutmeg and cardamom


Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 400º and mist a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.   Whisk together all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients, except for the milk in another.


I milled 1/4 cup each of white wheat berries, sorghum and millet for my whole grain flour.  If you do not have a grain mill you can substitute any good quality whole grain flour such as Bob’s Red Mill.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients then add the milk.


Stir and fold the batter together, just until moistened.  Don’t overwork it.


Now spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan.


You should have just enough to fill 12 muffin cups to within 1/2″ from the top.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.


I can tell that they are done, but I always check with a toothpick to be sure.  I let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes then used a spoon to remove them.


When the muffins have cooled you can cover them and store at room temperature for a couple of days.  They also freeze very well.  I wrap them 2 or 3 together in plastic wrap then store in a freezer bag.  They are delicious for breakfast on the go, lunches and snacks.



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Posted in Baking, Breakfast, Desserts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Cranberry Orange Biscotti

Biscotti are the perfect dessert for every occasion.  They are a holiday tradition at our house.  There are so many variations of this twice baked Italian cookie, and Cranberry Orange is one of my favorites.  The flavors are perfect together and even better with the addition of toasted walnuts!



  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest (or 1/4 tsp. orange extract)
  • 2 tbsp. Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1/8 tsp. orange extract


Toast the walnuts for 3-4 minutes on a baking sheet at 350º and coarsely chop.  Lower the oven temperature to 325º.  Give the cranberries 2-3 pulses in an electric chopper.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  In the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attachment, cream together the softened butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, orange zest and Triple Sec.  Gradually add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time just until incorporated, and with the last of the flour add the cranberries and walnuts.


Scrape the dough onto a cutting board and divide it in 2 equal parts.


Press each section of dough into a long rectangle and roll it to an even 1/2″ thick.  Use a bench knife to even up the sides and the ends.  Lay each piece on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving space in between.


Bake for 25 minutes at 325º.


Cool 10 minutes and cut into slices 1″ thick, using a bench knife or a serrated knife.  Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their side.


Bake for 5 – 10 minutes more, depending on how crisp you like them.  I find 10 minutes is about right for me.  For a softer cookie 5 minutes is enough.  For a nice hard cookie go the full 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake another 5 minutes.


Cool the Biscotti on a rack.  You can enjoy them just like this, give them a dusting of powdered sugar or give them a light glaze as I did here.  Place a sheet of waxed paper underneath to keep your counter clean.  Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and orange extract.  Drizzle it over the Biscotti and let it set up for several hours at room temperature.  If you are in a hurry place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


I love how fast and easy these Biscotti are to prepare, and everyone loves them.  They are made for dunking, so put the coffee on and enjoy!  I  If you liked this post, check out another favorite of mine, Chocolate Almond Biscotti.


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Posted in Baking, Desserts, Holiday Favorites, Under an hour | Tagged | 2 Comments

Garlic Butter

Foodie Friends, I know you love bread as much as I do.  This weekend I made a garlic butter to go with our sourdough and it was fabulous!  Just a few simple ingredients and you have a wonderful garlicky spread that is as delicious on warm bread as it is for basting vegetables and potatoes.  Try it and see how good it is!


Garlic Butter

  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic and Bell Pepper seasoning such as McCormick’s Perfect Pinch
  • pinch of crushed fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over lowest heat.  You want the oil to be warm, but not bubbling.  I used a simmer mat to keep the temperature under control.  Cook the garlic cloves for 1 hour uncovered, turning every 10 minutes.  The cloves will be soft and just slightly browned.


Remove the garlic, chop it then mash with a mortar and pestle.  You can also use a fork or the back of a spoon.  The oil left in the pan is delicious, be sure to reserve it for cooking.


Combine the garlic mash with the softened butter and remaining ingredients.  I am partial to McCormicks Perfect Pinch Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper blend.  I also add a little crushed fennel seed and oregano.


Mix well to incorporate and let stand for several hours at room temperature, then place in a bowl or jar and refrigerate (or freeze) until ready to use.  You will want it to soften up before serving, so take it out 2 hours ahead.


Everyone gave the garlic butter a thumbs up.  For more bread inspiration check out some of my favorite loaves at Today’s Bake.




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Posted in Condiment, Today's Bake | Leave a comment

Roasted Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash is one of my favorites to prepare.  It’s smaller than butternut squash and that means a faster cook time and the portion is just enough for Mr. Extruded Noodle and I to have for dinner.  Roasting it in the oven means no struggling to peel the squash.  Simply cut in half, scoop out the seeds and bake.  The rest is a breeze.


  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • candied walnuts for garnish


Cut the squash in half with a sturdy knife.  This is the most laborious part of the preparation.  Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds.


Brush the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.


Place both halves cut side down and roast for 50 minutes at 400º.


When the squash is done, you will easily be able to pierce the skin with the tip of a knife.


Isn’t that beautiful?  Let it cool for a minute then use a spoon to scoop out the meat.


Place the squash in a mixing bowl and add the butter, brown sugar, pinch more salt and generous sprinkle of cinnamon.  Use an immersion blender to puree the squash until smooth.


Transfer to a serving bowl and top with candied walnuts!


It takes about an hour to prepare this side, but most of it is hands off while the squash is roasting, so you have plenty of time to put together the rest of your meal.  This is a favorite side dish for pork chops or chicken.  If you have shied away from Acorn Squash, try this preparation, and see how easy it really is.


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Posted in Dinner for two, Eat your Vegetables, Farmers Market Favorites, Side Dish, Under an hour | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Easy Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts are one of my favorite breakfast toppings.  I make a small batch every weekend for our Sunday waffles and sprinkling on yogurt.  Today I am using them as a garnish for Acorn Squash.  This is a fast and easy treat to prepare, just keep the heat on low and stir frequently so the nuts don’t burn.  You can double or triple the quantities for a larger group.  3 ingredients, 5 minutes.



  • 4 tbsp. walnuts, broken into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar


Heat a nonstick skillet over medium low and melt the butter.  Add the walnuts and turn to coat.  Turn the heat down to low and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Don’t walk away, nuts burn easily and there is no saving them once they get singed!

Candied Walnuts The Extruded Noodle 001a

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the walnuts.

Candied Walnuts The Extruded Noodle 004a

Continue stirring and cook one minute more, until the sugar melts.  Transfer to a serving dish.


At our house we regularly enjoy a small portion of walnuts as part of a heart healthy diet.  Try a sprinkle of Candied Walnuts on waffles, French toast, oatmeal, ice cream, yogurt, squash, carrots etc…  Make extra for snacking, you will love them as much as we do!



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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Breakfast, Desserts, Side Dish | 1 Comment

Multigrain Pilaf

Today I’m giving one of my favorite side dishes a healthy update using a blend of whole grains.  Pilaf is a grain dish that is cooked in a seasoned broth.  Whole grains are a staple in my pantry and now I’m breaking them all out to create a tasty combination with a nutty, chewy texture.  This is not your mother’s rice pilaf!  Check it out and maybe try some new grains in your menu.  Total time 50 minutes.  2 Servings.


1 Tablespoon Each for a total of 1/2 cup

  • long grain brown rice
  • short grain brown and wild rice mix
  • long grain brown and wild rice mix
  • farro
  • whole grain spelt orzo
  • Italian couscous (Fregula)
  • rainbow quinoa

Other ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2-1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • seasoned salt, to taste

Heat a saucepan over medium low.  Melt the butter, add the grain and turn to coat.  You can add all of the grain at once as I did here, or give the rice and farro a 30 minute head start then add the orzo, couscous and quinoa during the final 20 minutes of cooking.

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Add the seasoned salt and 1 cup of chicken broth.  Cover and bring to a low simmer.

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As the liquid is absorbed, continue adding the remaining broth 1/4 cup at a time.  Stir well with each addition.  Keep it on low heat and check every 5 minutes to be sure the bottom doesn’t burn.

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Continue until all of the liquid has been absorbed.  It will take about 50 minutes total.

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It’s ready to serve.


This is a nice change from plain rice.  It goes well with just about anything; pork, chicken, fish.  I have made it several times now and everyone thought it was tasty, and different!


Change up your side dish with a Multigrain Pilaf and try some new healthy whole grains.


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Posted in Comfort Food, Side Dish, Under an hour, Whole Grains | Leave a comment

Focaccia with Spinach and Prosciutto

Look at this beautiful Focaccia bread, filled with baby spinach leaves and prosciutto!  It is a meal in itself, great for breakfast, lunches and snacking.  Learn how to make it here with step by step instructions.



  • 2 cups whole grain flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. diastatic malt powder
  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, infused with garlic cloves
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into pieces
  • coarse salt
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • cornmeal



I began with a fully active sourdough starter.  It has been fed and looks happy and bubbly.


I milled 2 cups of whole grain flour from a blend of white wheat berries, red wheat berries, spelt berries and oatmeal.  It takes about 1-2/3 cups of grain to yield 2 cups of milled flour.  You can substitute 2 cups of a good quality whole grain flour.  A cup of bread flour is added for a total 3 cups flour.


Whisk together the flours, salt, malt powder and instant yeast.  Add the starter and honey to the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.  On low speed, begin adding the flour and warm water until incorporated.  Increase speed and knead for 5 minutes.  This is a heavy wet dough and it will not form a ball around a dough hook.


Use a stiff spatula to scrape the dough together.


Coat a large bowl with olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons.  I infused the oil with garlic cloves for extra flavor.  Turn the dough to coat with oil.


Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 2-1/2 hours.


Turn the dough out onto an oiled cutting board.  Stretch and pat the dough into a round, and top it with half of the spinach and prosciutto.


Fold the dough over letter style.


Stretch the folded dough into a rectangle and spread with the remaining spinach and prosciutto.  Fold it up again.


Tuck in the filling and pinch the seams together, then turn the dough over and shape it into a boule.


Oil a round stoneware baking pan with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Place the dough in the center of the pan, cover and set aside to rise again for 45 minutes.


The dough will expand to fill the pan.


Preheat the oven to 375º.  Now use your fingers to press dimples into the dough. Brush the top liberally with 1 tbsp. garlic oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and a little chopped fresh rosemary.


Bake it for 45 minutes and cool in the pan.


Transfer to a rack until ready to serve.  Doesn’t that look great?


Slice the Focaccia into wedges for serving.  It has a nice open crumb, and you can see the prosciutto and spinach in every slice.


A closeup.


Thanks for stopping by my page.  I hope you enjoyed today’s bake, and that I have made you just a little bit hungry!  Your comments are always welcome.


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Posted in Baking, Bread, Comfort Food, From Scratch, Sourdough, Today's Bake, Whole Grains | 1 Comment

White and Sweet Potato Gratin

Look at this beautiful Potato Gratin, perfect for a family meal and pretty enough for your Holiday table.  Alternating layers of white and sweet potato brushed with butter and layered with cheese, all baked to perfection.  I used a mandolin to create thin even potato slices.  A nice oval baking dish goes from oven to table.  6 Servings.


  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • seasoned salt
  • cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 400º and melt the butter in a small sauce pan.  Sprinkle the butter with seasoned salt.  Coat an oval baking dish with cooking spray.  Peel the sweet potato and leave the skin on the russet for a nice texture.  Slice the potatoes very thin, using a mandolin or sharp knife.  Begin layering the potato slices, alternating the white and sweet potato.  Brush each layer with the melted butter.


Sprinkle shredded cheese between the layers.


Continue layering until all the potatoes are arranged in the pan and finish the top with more shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 400º.  Remove the foil and bake 20 minutes more, or until the top is nicely browned and the edges are beginning to crisp.


And there you have it.  A most impressive side that tastes as good as it looks!  Even the most finicky eaters will like it!


With just a few simple ingredients and easy prep, Potato Gratin is a nice addition to your holiday menu or family dinner!




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Posted in Casserole, Comfort Food, Holiday Favorites, Side Dish | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties

For years I have purchased breakfast sausage links at the supermarket, but not any more!  Homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties are the bomb!  I always say homemade is best   but why would you go to the trouble of making sausage patties?  For starters, you control the fat, you control the salt, no chemicals, no nitrites, no preservatives.  And with no casings needed they are easy to make.  You can buy breakfast sausage seasoning (The Spice House makes a good one) or make your own.  Experiment with different spice combinations to find the one you like best.  Be sure to use real maple syrup.



  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp. sausage seasoning mix (purchased or make your own)
  • 4 tbsp. maple syrup
  • fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

Sausage Seasoning:

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

Combine the pork and turkey in a large bowl and blend together lightly with 2 forks.  Don’t compress the meat.


Drizzle the maple syrup and sprinkle the seasoning over the ground pork, again using the forks to incorporate.


Use a tablespoon to scoop 1.5 oz. balls, then press into patties.  You will have about 2 dozen patties.  Sprinkle with additional seasoning.


Prepare the patties and refrigerate one day ahead for brunch.  The patties will keep for several months in the freezer,  freeze them on a baking sheet then transfer to a freezer safe bag.  I made this batch for a brunch but I like to have them on hand for hubby and I to enjoy on the weekend.

Cook sausage patties 4 minutes per side in a nonstick skillet, with the cover on.  Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.


For a healthy breakfast idea, serve one sausage patty with a whole grain waffle and fresh fruit.


Or, how about with scrambled eggs and toast?  Our Saturday Morning breakfast just got a little happier!


Add some homemade goodness to your family breakfast table with this easy recipe.  If you enjoyed this post, check out some of my favorite brunch ideas to feed a family or a crowd!


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Posted in 30 Minutes or Less, Breakfast | Leave a comment

Quick Soup!

Saturday started off so cold and dreary, and around mid-morning I decided that I wanted a nice hot cup of soup for lunch.  Fortunately, not all soup takes hours to prepare, especially if you have a well stocked pantry.  Here is a quick recipe that I threw together from ingredients I had in the house.  I always have carrots, onion, celery and garlic.  From my freezer I defrosted some stock that I had made a few months ago, and some frozen corn.  Rice and canned tomatoes are always in the pantry.


  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into coins
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, cooked down to 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 tsp. each sage and thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed


Heat a little olive oil in a medium stock pot.  Stir in the carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.


Stir in the stock, tomatoes, sugar, sage and thyme.  Simmer on low heat for 1 hour.


While the soup cooks, prepare the rice according to package directions.  Add the cooked rice and corn to the soup.  Heat through and serve.


Here is my lunch, it took about 90 minutes start to finish.  It will taste even better tomorrow!


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Posted in Comfort Food, Soup | Leave a comment

Braised Lamb Shanks

Today I’m making a hearty lamb stew, braised for hours in a covered skillet.  It is the kind of recipe that fits right into my busy day.  The entire dish can be prepared in one pan.  After some initial prep, the meal is pretty much hands off until dinner time.


I used hulled barley in this dish, it is a versatile whole grain and a staple in my kitchen.  You can substitute any whole grain such as farro, spelt, or wheat berries.  Use a Dutch oven or a covered skillet that can go from stove top to oven.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 1.5 lb. lamb shanks (1 large or 2 small)
  • 1/4 cup flour for dredging
  • salt and pepper
  • butter and olive oil for browning
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup hulled barley, rinsed


Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper then dredge in the flour.  Shake off the excess.  Heat a heavy skillet or Dutch oven and add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter.  Brown the lamb on all sides and set aside.  Sauté the carrots and onion in the same pan.


Return the lamb to the skillet with the vegetables and add the barley.


Whisk together the wine, broth, garlic, rosemary and thyme.  Pour over the lamb and vegetables and add the bay leaf.  Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours at 350º.


Add the peas during the last half hour of cooking.


The braising liquid will create a rich and flavorful sauce while the lamb is cooked to perfection!


Doesn’t that look delicious?  The meat is so tender and the vegetables are full of flavor.  Lamb is a special treat at our house and this is my favorite way to prepare and enjoy.



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Posted in Comfort Food, Dinner for two, Elegant Dining, Whole Grains | 2 Comments

Asian Shrimp with Spinach

For lunch today we are having a Shrimp and Spinach combo that is served over whole wheat farfalle pasta.  This recipe definitely has an Asian flair!  If you are not a fan of spinach this preparation may just change your mind.  I wilt tender baby spinach in a little bit of Mirin (rice wine) and it is mild and sweet tasting.  Mr. Extruded Noodle liked it a lot.  I thought the dish was light, delicious and dare I say healthy?  This lunch will not weigh you down!  Have all your ingredients ready because once you start cooking it will all come together quickly…


Serves 2


  • 3 oz. (1-1/2 cups) whole wheat farfalle pasta
  • 2 tbsp. pignoli (pine nuts), toasted
  • 8 oz. (20-24) medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce, divided
  • pinch of cayenne pepper, garlic powder and ginger
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
  • pinch of garlic powder, ginger and salt
  • 1-1/2 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water


Toast the pignoli in a dry skillet over medium low heat.  Stir constantly and don’t walk away, they burn easily.  Remove and set aside for garnish.


Combine the shrimp, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, pinch of cayenne pepper, garlic powder and powdered ginger in a small bowl.  Let it sit for 15 minutes then thread the shrimp onto 4 skewers.


Cook the pasta in 1-1/2 cups chicken broth for 2 minutes less than package directions.  Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the pasta will be coated with starch.  Don’t rinse!  Keep it warm while you cook the shrimp and spinach.


Heat 2 tsp. of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium low.  Cook the shrimp skewers 2 minutes per side or just until they turn pink.  Remove to a plate and sprinkle with more seasoning.


Wipe the skillet clean.  Combine 1/4 cup of Mirin, pinch of garlic powder, powdered ginger and salt.  Add the Mirin to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Add all of the spinach, cover and cook 1 minute, just until wilted.


Divide the spinach and pasta between 2 bowls and toss well.  Top each bowl with 2 shrimp skewers, drizzle with 1 tbsp. soy sauce and 1 tbsp. pignoli.


Our lunch was delicious.  The Asian inspired seasonings are perfect with shrimp and spinach.  The whole grain pasta and pignoli added great texture and nutty flavor.  Make it today for your favorite spinach lover!




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Posted in #dashdiet, 30 Minutes or Less, Asian Inspired, Dash Diet Friendly, Seafood, Whole Grains | Tagged , , | Leave a comment