Michelle's Blog

My life as a wife, homemaker, friend, Christian

Tomato Mozzarella Casserole April 3, 2009

Filed under: frugal,Recipes — mrswade @ 10:12 am
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This one’s from my very dear friend Mikaela.  🙂  I was a little nervous about it at first because I’m really not a casserole fan, and I thought it would be really heavy because of the cheese.  NOT SO! It was AAAAAmazing! 🙂 yum!  

We took her suggestion to add some meat (but I accidentally added too much, so it didn’t all fit in the pan.  It’s ok though, because I had a make-shift spaghetti for lunch the next day with the noodles that didn’t fit. 🙂 



  • 1 lb. dry pasta (recipe calls for Ziti, but I used rotini… really, any short, sturdy pasta will work)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbls. Fresh chopped basil (or 2 tsp. dried – I used Italian Herb Seasoning instead)
  • 1/2 tsp. (or more) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 8 oz (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup. grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package in a large pot.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Put back in pot and set aside.  In a 12″ skillet, cook ground beef.  When done, drain off fat and rinse in a colander and add minced garlic cook until until tender, but do not brown.  Add tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Stir in basil, sugar, and salt.  Add sauce to the pasta and toss, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen sauce.  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread 1/2 of the pasta mixture into an oiled 9 x 13 baking pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 of each type of cheese over the top.  Spread the rest of the pasta mixture, then the rest of the cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Thanks Mikaela!

Best Husband EVER February 28, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 11:11 am
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Last night was date night and I knew Jake had something up his sleeve.  He took the date money out of the cash envelope in my purse the night before and was being rather sneaky.  

what's cookin good lookin?

I had a friend over for coffee when he got home with a paper bag and immediately banned me from the kitchen.  Occasionally he would peek around the corner and ask questions like, “what do I do with this part of the garlic after I squeeze it?” and “do I use this knife for chopping the green onions?” and there were the occasional “ah ha!”s and “Oh come on!”s.  It was very cute 🙂  Jake has made me dinner once before, I’d say over 2, maybe 3 years ago.  He made me shrimp scampi and it was delicious, so I had a sneaking suspicion that he was making me the same thing last night.  I was right 😉

how romantic :)


I’m glad he made me shrimp, we both LOVE seafood and it is definitely a special meal because shrimp is not something we can normally afford to have.  And he makes one mean shrimp scampi! 🙂  

He even set the table with candles and everything 🙂


The shrimp was amazing…and REALLY buttery…haha.  He did a wonderful job and I felt so very loved 🙂

This is the recipe he found online:


  • 1 1/2 lbs large shrimp (about  16 to 24)
  • 1/3 c clarified butter
  • 4 Tbs minced garlic
  • mushrooms (as many as you want)
  • 6 green onions
  • 1/4 c dry white wine (Jake used Pinot Gris, which was really good)
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice, fresh if possible
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


Rinse shrimp and set aside.  Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Saute  garlic until it is softened but not browned with the salt, pepper and parsley.  In a separate pan saute mushrooms in butter.  When the garlic butter is done, turn the stove up to medium-high heat and pour in the wine, lemon juice and sauteed mushrooms.  Add shrimp and green onions; cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side.  Do not overcook (no more than 5 minutes total).  Garnish with lemon slices and parsley sprigs if desired.

He served it over pasta with garlic bread 🙂





Pistachio Pesto Pasta January 4, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — mrswade @ 3:22 pm
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img_27031Disclaimer: I’m not sure the measurements I used in this recipe because I was combining two recipes.  The measurements I put are estimates, you should just use your best judgement and feel free to add or subtract if you try this recipe 🙂



  • 1/2 lb linguini pasta (whole wheat is better for you)
  • 2-ish cups of fresh basil leaves (I used 4 packs of the Fred Meyer organic fresh herbs found in the produce section)
  • 5 garlic cloves (4 – 6 depending on your love for garlic 🙂 )
  • 1ish tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
  • 3/4 cup(ish) Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese (or a combination of the two) (I couldn’t find this in the store so I just found a Parmesan, something mix that looked Italian and got it.)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Place basil leaves and garlic in food processor or blender and process until leaves are finely chopped. (This took a while for me.  Don’t try using the blender, get most of the Basil leaves chopped up in a food processor, when most of them are all chopped, then add it to the blender with lemon juice, nuts and cheese.)  Add nuts and process until nuts are finely chopped. Add cheese and lemon juice and process until combined. With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. After the oil is incorporated, turn off the machine and add salt and pepper to taste. If not using immediately, store in an air-tight container with a thin coating of olive oil on top to keep the sauce from turning dark. Pesto will keep well in the refrigerator for a week or more. 

Cook pasta according to package directions, Drain, transfer to a bowl and toss to coat with 2 Tbs (ish) olive oil.

Put pesto on pasta and toss to coat.  If you want you can grill up some chicken in olive oil in a pan.  Add some pistachios and basil leaves on top for garnish.  

Other Options: If you don’t like pistachios you can use pine nuts or walnuts.  Some people prefer to toast their pine nuts. Using walnuts yields a more woodsy flavor. The amount of olive oil can be adjusted depending on the desired final consistency (thicker or thinner).


The Start of Some Yummy Recipe Sharing! November 9, 2008

Filed under: frugal,home,Recipes — mrswade @ 4:25 pm
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I was meaning to take pictures of this deliciousness, I didn’t get to it but still want to share them.


The first recipe is Pasta Primavera, given to me by my good friend, Charu, for one of my bridal showers.

Pasta Primavera

  • 1 lb Pene Pasta
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic cloves (Jake and I LOVE garlic, so i think we put in 6!)
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus cut into 1″ pieces (optional, asparagus is expensive so we skipped this)
  • 1 sweet red pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper sliced
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs grated parmesan (ALWAYS use real parmesan, not the kind from a can, it’s so much better!)


  1. Cook pasta until al dente (reserve 1/4 c of the pasta water)
  2. Heat 12 inch skillet over medium high heat.  (you can use a bigger sauce pan if you are substituting veggies or adding more than called for, this recipe is really flexible.  I suggest a sauce pan because it holds more and reduces risk of spilling once the half and half is added)
  3. Add oil & garlic, cook 1-2 mins
  4. Add carrots, cook 4 mins
  5. Add asparagus, cover, cook 8 mins (if skipping asparagus, still cover the carrots and cook them for 8 more minutes, remember to remove lid and stir frequently as to not burn the carrots)
  6. Uncover, add peppers, cook 5 mins
  7. Add Cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper.  Stir in half & half and pasta water.
  8. Drain pasta, transfer to bowl
  9. Pour sauce/veggies over pasta, sprinkle with parmesan; toss and serve

Jake and I ate this for dinner for at least 3 nights and then he had it for lunch the 5 days following that, this makes a TON of food!  And it is SOO good!


Chicken Corn Chowder (From the lovely Allissa Alvord)

In crock pot, combine

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 cans Cream of Potato Soup
  • 1 1/2 c chicken broth (you can use the broth from cooking the chicken breasts, OR you can use chicken stock, which is not the same as chicken broth.  I used my own home made stock from boiling chicken thighs (for another recipe).  After the thighs were cooked, I removed them from the water, cut off the meat and threw the bones and skin back in the water.  You may also throw in some chopped carrots, onions and celery to make a really nice stock.  Simmer for at least another hour (up to 3 hours).  Be sure to remove the white frothy stuff that comes to the surface.  Pour your stock into a glass jar and place in the fridge, the fat will form a seal at the top and your stock is ready for use whenever you need it.  When you are ready to use it, scrape off the fat from the top, the stock should have a jello-y consistency.  I think that this chowder was especially good for me because I used stock instead of broth)
  • 1 1/2 c frozen mixed veggies
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1 t dill (I didn’t have any so I didn’t but this in and it still tasted WONDERFUL)

stir well, cook on low for 6-8 hours

when I went to eat ours, it wasn’t very thick because I had added some water (about 1/2 can), I added a Tbs or 2 of flower to thicken it, I’m not sure if this was needed, but it helped make it thicker.  I also added 3 or 4 potatoes that I chopped into small pieces, which I really think helped with the flavor and thickness of the chowder.  Jake and I love onions and we had about 1/2c or so left over chopped onions from another dinner, so I threw those in as well. 

This chowder was amazing, have it with corn bread on the side.  We ate this for dinner at least 3 nights, so it serves about 6 (with the potatoes and such added, could serve less without).  I HIGHLY recommend this recipe (and it’s pretty cheap)!


Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff (another tasty treat from Allissa)

in crock pot combine

  • 1 lb Cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 c Chopped onion
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c Water

cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours

  • stir in 4 oz of Cream cheese just before serving

serve with noodles and and veggie of your choice 🙂 Serves about 6


That’s all for now, more delicious recipes to come!  (next time with pictures)