Pin It

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Easy and frugal dinner of Cheesy Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Saturday is normally date night right?  Well when you're married and living on a budget date night does not necessarily mean eating out or carry in.  I made a delicious, two thumbs up by hubby's rating, dinner that is a definite keeper or as hubby says "one for the recipe book."  

I found the idea on Pinterest and the recipe from  But as I said time and time again I just CAN'T leave a recipe alone.  Everyone has their own tastes and growing up with Sunday Italian dinners, anything pasta must be changed to suit your own tastes.  Some days more garlic, some days more cheese, and some days both is the best idea.  What I came up with was a little more meat and some Melody flavor. 

Ali Ebright posted a wonderful recipe but my taste tonight need a little kick that would bring me back those Sunday dinners of when I was younger.

To the right is the final product.  We like a little more sauce, a little more cheese, and a little more meat.  OK to be honest I didn't have all the pepperoni the recipe called for so I had to substitute a little.

This is what I call Cheesy Pepperoni Pasta Bake:
1/2 lb Italian Sausage, without the casing.  If you prefer you can use the sausage with the casing and slice thin after cooking.
1/2 White Onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 oz Jar Mushrooms, this is what I had available.  Normally I would prefer fresh sauteed mushrooms.
8oz Can Italian Stewed Tomatoes
8oz Can Tomato Sauce
24oz Pasta Sauce  This time I used Hunts Roasted Garlic and Onion.
1 Teaspoon Italian Seasonings
2 Teaspoons Granulated Garlic
2 Teaspoons Tomato Paste
1lb Pasta, your choice  I used penne.
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
1 1/2 Cups Five Cheese Italian Blend
18 pepperoni, sliced in half

Prep sauce in bowl.  Mix stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, Italian seasonings, granulated garlic, tomato paste and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add onion and saute for approximately 2 minutes.  Add sausage and brown.  If you're using cased Italian sausage saute onions and set aside to mix with pasta later.

Once sausage has been browned, set aside to drain and cool.  Once cool, add to sauce and let it set until pasta is done.

Cook pasta al dente according to package instructions.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix pasta, sauce, 2 cups of cheese, and a few of the pepperoni to put on top.
Place in greased baking dish.  Place remain 1/2 cheese and pepperoni on top and cover with aluminum foil and bake covered for 40 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese turns slightly golden.

We had this wonderful dish with a side salad but any veggie would do.  

Of course this dish can be made any night of the week and a good prepare ahead meal.  For this dish the one thing I definitely wouldn't skip or change is the pepperoni.  It definitely added a different flavor with a little kick.  So whether date night or any night try this recipe.  Whether you follow it to the letter or change to make it your own, remember the best ingredient is you ... Enjoy!!!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Praline Glaze For Our Own Holiday Celebration

I know ... It's a little past Christmas but I've been a little busy.  :0)  We spent this past Christmas at the in-laws in Florida.  Being and having spent all my holidays in Illinois it was definitely different and a treat to spend Christmas in capri pants and flip flops.  To drive by a pastel blue house with a a HUGE blow up polar bear with a Santa hat on.  He He He!  Though the Christmas holiday was great, hubby and I wanted to celebrate the New Year and Christmas together, just us.  We spent the day together and made breakfast together.  It was a nice day.  Dinner on the other hand was an AWESOME event and one that hubby keeps asking when I will make again.  My reply ... but honey it's ONLY for special occasions.  Oh you want to know what was for dinner?
Mashed sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, and ham with a praline glaze.  Yes I said praline glazed ham.  It was very yum!

Definitely worth the time and effort to make and a side note I would use the left over glaze on ice cream or some home made cake it was THAT good.

Praline Glaze


6 tablespoon(s) butter
1 1/2 cup(s) brown sugar
8 tablespoon(s) honey
1 cup(s) finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, stirring constantly. 
Brush over ham last 30 minutes of baking.

I cut the recipe in half but still had some glaze left over.  Definitely something to make again.  I was looking for something unusual to try and definitely found it.  This was one celebration to remember and hard to beat.  Next time though I'm going to try and tweak it a little and substitute the cinnamon, which was my addition anyway, to maybe a chai spice or cardamom.  Hmmm ... that would definitely be good on some ice cream.  However you change or substitute something in any recipe, remember the best ingredient is you ... Enjoy!