Archives for category: Pasta

I have been pretty good about planning meals a week at a time recently, which has gone well so far.  Sometimes though, I forget about a meeting or get together and either don’t have time to make dinner or we are going to be eating at our meeting.  The night I had planned to make this meal (which sounded delicious), I forgot that our Alumni Association had a Happy Hour and I had a meeting to go to at 6:30.  The husband wanted to go to Happy Hour so when I got home from work I immediately started cooking so that at least I could eat before leaving and he could eat the leftovers.

This meal actually worked out really well for us eating at separate times.  I was able to put the whole meal together for myself and then keep the components refrigerated until the husband got home and he could assemble them all then.  Basically I cooked the orzo, the cream sauce, and the chicken all separately and then assembled.  For the husband I covered the chicken on a plate, put the orzo in tupperware, and the sauce in a separate tupperware.  That way nothing got soggy and he could use as much or as little sauce as he wanted.

As always with orzo, my eyes are bigger than my stomach.  But it was good – creamy, comforting, and faster than I thought.  The husband enjoyed it too, eating everything that was leftover before I got home.  I was so glad it was such a success.

Italian Chicken Over Orzo with Lemon Thyme Cream Sauce

Recipe #: 87

Saved Since: May 2010

Recipe Count: 16 down

Husband’s Rating: 5 out of 5

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Serves 2 to 3


  • 2 chicken cutlets
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. uncooked orzo
  • Lemon Thyme Cream Sauce (see recipe below)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Boil orzo in salted water according to package directions and drain.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Mix flour, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish.
  5. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.
  6. Cook chicken cutlets until golden brown and crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Place cooked chicken on a baking sheet and transfer to oven.
  8. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until cooked through.
  9. Remove from oven and cover tightly with foil until ready to serve.
  10. While chicken is baking, Make Lemon Thyme Cream Sauce.

Lemon Thyme Cream Sauce

Source: adapted from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, originally from Food Network.


  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 3/4 c. whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring often until translucent.
  3. Add the wine to the saucepan and cook over high heat until the wine is reduced by half.
  4. Add the cream and the thyme and reduce heat.
  5. Simmer until the sauce reduces by half.
  6. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Assemble the dish: Stir the sauce into the orzo and top with the chicken.

Source: adapted from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.


I made this quick  meal the other night and it was a huge hit with the husband.  As I was cooking I wasn’t sure it would turn out well because it seemed to be missing a component that would hold everything together.  There is no real sauce or even anything that is very thick which is what I prefer.  Husband and I thought that putting a layer of shredded cheese in the middle as well as on top might help.  We also tossed around a few ideas for different dishes using similar ingredients and flavors.  I will get around to that eventually I’m sure 😉

Overall though this is delicious and if you like beef, cheese, and peppers, you’re going to love this. 

Taco Pasta Casserole

Recipe #: 98

Saved Since: May 2010

Recipe Count:  13 down, 193 to go

Husband’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Serves:  2 to 3


  • 1 c. dry penne pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 & 1/2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 c. multi-colored bell pepper strips
  • 3/4 c. salsa (your heat preference)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. 
  3. Drain and put in a square baking dish.
  4. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  5. Add onions until softened.
  6. Crumble in the ground beef and cook until browned.
  7. Add the taco seasoning, tomatoes, and bell pepper strips.  Saute until vegetables soften.
  8. Add salsa and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Pour the ground beef and vegetable mixture over the pasta. 
  10. Toss lightly to incorporate and top with shredded cheese.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes until cheese melts.
  12. Serve hot.

Source: adapted from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

I made Pecos Pasta the other night and while it was pretty good, there are a couple of things that would have made it better:

  1. kids
  2. different seasoning
  3. less pasta
  4. more cheese

For some reason this dish seemed like it could be a really kid-friendly meal.  We don’t have kids.  I wasn’t in love with it myself, but I could see kids really enjoying it.  My husband said it reminded him of an upscale Hamburger Helper meal.  I don’t remember ever eating Hamburger Helper so I can’t really speak to that. 

My main complaint with this meal is that the overwhelming flavor seemed only to come from the canned chili.  Which is okay, but I think I would have enjoyed a spicy taco seasoning taste more.  If I were going to make this again, I’d probably change a lot.  In fact, I just might try this dish again with the changes running through my head right now.  And I’d definitely use the recommended amount of pasta.  The proportion of pasta to other ingredients was off.  That was my fault for not following the directions. 

And more cheese.  You can (almost) never have too much cheese 🙂

Pecos Pasta

List #: 76 (You can see the full list on the About page).

Saved Since: April 2010

Husband’s Rating: Average, tastes like Hamburger Helper

My thoughts: Changes should be made

Recipe Count: 5 down, 200 to go


Serves 2


  • 1 c. uncooked pasta – this is the correct amount to use (any kind, I used rotini because we had it in the pantry)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can chili with beans
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese 


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook ear of corn. If still in husk, microwave for 1 minute; remove husk; cut kernels off ear.  If husk is removed, place an inch of water in a microwave safe dish and put corn in water; microwave for 1 minute; cut kernels off ear.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet.
  4. Add green peppers and onion, cooking until tender, but not brown.
  5. Add canned chili, corn, seasoning salt, and pepper.
  6. Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in cooked pasta and top with shredded cheese.
  8. Cover and heat on low until cheese is melted.

 Source: adapted from Taste and Tell; originally from Worldwide Ward Cookbook