Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: cooking

Pasta Ragu

This is a super easy one pot meal to make for your family.  My daughter looked and said she wasn’t eating it until I had to tell her it was “Cinderella Pasta”.  When she asked why it was Cinderella’s Pasta I told her because the wheels in the pasta came from Cinderella’s pumpkin coach.  I was grasping at straws to try to get her to try it and I knew once she did she would like it. 

Really, it’s more of a ragu than it is Cinderella’s anything.  I made this with diced tomatoes, bulk Italian sausage and ground beef.  Let the ragu simmer on the stove while you boil the pasta water and you have a filling meal ready in no time.  And, okay, I actually used two pots, but one had boiling water in it so I’m not counting it.

Pasta Ragu:

  • 1 lb. Bulk Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • (1) 14.5 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • (1) 29  oz. Can Crushed Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 lb. Pasta such as Wheels, Penne, Bow Ties, etc.
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Dry Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Diced
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese *optional

 In a large and deep skillet, brown the pork and beef breaking up as it browns.  Remove it to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Without washing the skillet, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.  Add the meat and all other ingredients to the skillet except for the pasta and the mozzarella cheese.  Stir together well, cover and reduce to a low simmer.

Fill a large stock pot 3/4 with water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until just al dente.  Once done, drain the pasta, add to the skillet along with the mozzarella cheese and stir well.  Serve with garlic bread.


I shared this recipe in the Saturday Swap over at Kim’s blog, Quit Eating Out

Check it out here for more great recipes!


Smothered Roast Beef

I make roast beef several different ways and this is just one of them.  This, to me, is the ultimate comfort roast beef which is simple to make and delicious to eat.  And I do something special with the leftovers I will share with you in another post.

This is a cross between a roast beef and a pot roast.  It’s slow cooked and tender like a pot roast, but instead of reaching that point where it falls apart when you take it out of the oven, this method keeps it able to slice but still super tender. 

And I will warn you now, it uses condensed cream of mushroom soup.  Don’t turn your nose up, believe me it adds to this dish and it makes a perfect gravy for the final dish.

Begin by taking your roast (I used a bottom round roast) and placing it inside a large size roasting bag placed in baking dish.  Season the roast with salt and pepper.

Take 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and spread it all over the outside of the roast.

Mix up 3/4 cup of cold water with 1 packet of brown gravy mix until well combined.  Pour over and around the roast.

Seal up the bag and place in a 275 degree oven on the middle rack and allow to roast for 3 1/2 hours. 

Once done, remove from oven and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.  Open bag, remove roast to a cutting board and pour the gravy into a serving bowl.  Slice against the grain and serve.

Smothered Roast Beef

  • 4-5 lb. Bottom Round Roast
  • 1 Packet Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup
  • 3/4 Cup Cold Water
  • 1 Large Reynold Oven Roasting Bag
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Place a large roasting bag into a baking dish.  Add the roast and season with salt and pepper.

Spread an entire can of cream of mushroom soup on top and sides of roast.

Mix 3/4 cup cold water with the packet of brown gravy mix until well combined.  Pour over and around roast in the bag.

Seal the bag with the twist tie provided in the box of bags, cut 2 or 3 slits for venting in the top of the bag. 

Place in oven on middle rack and allow to cook for 3 1/2 hours. 

Remove roast from oven and allow to sit in bag for 10 minutes.  Remove roast from bag, slice against the grain on a cutting board and serve with the gravy from the bag.



I Got Tagged And Now I’m It!

First, thank you to Mark at Caveman Cooking for putting me in this little glitch of answering questions about myself.  Luckily they are things I’m not afraid to share about myself so I don’t have to share with you all my sordid and steamy past.  Actually, my life isn’t that exciting and I’ve never had a sordid and steamy past…but still.

And my apologies to Mark for making him wait so long.  I actually had most of this post typed and waiting since the early part of November.  Sorry, Mark!

The good thing is I get to pass this on and tag it to 8 other bloggers of my choice.  And I get to pick my own questions to have them answer.  Now that is the fun part of this.  So look below to see if you have been tagged!

1. Why did you start your blog?

I have always enjoyed to cook but I was finding myself getting into a rut with what I was making each night for dinner.   Mealtime was becoming a boring chore (hence the name of my blog) and I was finding I was either making the same thing over and over or making too many convenience foods and ordering in.  Not only does that get expensive, but it’s not really a good way to feed a family. 

I have visited many cooking blogs over the years searching for new recipes and enjoying watching what others were making in their kitchen’s.  I’m also addicted to buying cookbooks.  Since I hate following the rules I found myself always changing up a recipe or tweaking it to make it my own.  I figured blogging would be a good outlet to not only share some of my family’s favorite foods but also to hold me accountable to making something different and getting out of my food rut.  It worked and I enjoy my time in the kitchen even more.

2. Where, and how, did you celebrate your 21st birthday?

The details of this consist of a naked cop, a hotel, and one too many Tequila Sunrise’s.  Sounds exciting, right?  Get your mind out of the gutter, man.   This is not a sordid and steamy story.  (But wouldn’t it be fun and exciting if it was?) 

Two of my co-workers wanted to take me out for my 21st birthday.  Great, right?  We planned to head to the Sheraton in Mahwah, NJ because they had a really cool bar and dance spot at the time. 

As I was getting ready to meet them the doorbell rang and a cop showed up on my front porch asking for me.  I had no idea what I could have done but I was a little scared.  Keep in mind that this was around dinner time, I was getting ready to head into the shower and dressed in a t-shirt and my robe.  Oh, I was also home alone with my parents.  Turns out my co-workers thought it would be fun to send me a stripper to wish me happy birthday.  Long story short, my parents ran for the hills when they saw the guy and locked themselves in the bedroom down the hall.  I begged the man not to strip. If they did this while we were at the bar later on it would have been hysterical.  But at home in your own house, while it was still light outside with your parents hiding down the hall is not the perfect environment to get into such a thing.

Despite my begging for the guy not to strip he whipped out his stereo, put on some stripping music and began taking it all off.  I wanted to die right on the spot. Crawl into a hole and cover myself up! I was MORTIFIED!  A few minutes into his performance both of my co-workers showed up.  This made it slightly less embarrassing for me.  So I did what any self-respecting 21-year-old girl would do…I ripped off the belt to my robe and started dancing in the living room with this guy.  He actually turned out to be really funny and hung around for a bit after his performance was over and told us some pretty hysterical stories about some of the jobs he had been sent to and what some women expected.  Let’s just say it was enlightening.

We headed out later on that night and I celebrated my coming of age with one too many Tequila Sunrise’s.  I saw the sunrise the next morning over and over and over.  It wasn’t pretty.  But I definitely remember it all.

3. What brings you the most joy from life, other than your family and friends?

Other than family and friends?  Diving into a book.  I could live with a book in front of my face and have an addiction to having to look through the book selections of any store no matter where I go.  I love cleaning up the dinner dishes and then telling my husband I’m heading to Barnes and Noble, where I grab a coffee from the Cafe and sit and look through the newest books to decide what I want to start reading next.  It’s peaceful bliss!
4. What was the last sport you actually participated in?

Do tennis lessons count?  I took them in 9th grade and never played again after the lessons were over.
5. What, and where, was the best meal you’ve ever had?

That’s a hard question to answer since I have had so many. 

The first two that come to mind were both while on vacation.  One was the most fantastic Greek Salad I had ever eaten from Louis Pappa’s.  They were a greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs, FL.  The restaurant closed and turned into a chain restaurant.  But the salad, from what I understand, is still served the same way at the chain restaurants now.

The other one that comes to mind was while in Acapulco.  It was this fantastic guacamole and tuna dip.  Sounds weird, I know, but it was fantastic and I’ve never been able to duplicate it since there was more than just those two ingredients.

6. If you were given $1 million dollars that you had to give to someone else who would it be, and why?

If I knew of someone in desperate need of the money I would give it to them.  If not, I would give it to St. Jude’s Hospital.  I’ve always said if I ever hit it big I will give them a huge donation.

7. What is your favorite “deserted island” movie?

I’m an 80’s girl so I have to choose Blue Lagoon.  

8. Have you told someone what they mean to you today?

My daughter, just a few minutes ago while I was typing this.  She loves to come up to you out of the blue and just hug you and tell you how much she loves you.  I tell her how much I love her and then we go back and forth about who loves who more.

So now it’s my turn to put eight other bloggers of my choice on the spot.  What fun.  I get to choose my own eight questions for these fellow bloggers to answer so I’ll try to be creative. 

  1. What was the first entry you posted on your blog?
  2. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
  3. What is the most important thing you have learned about having a blog?
  4. What was the worst job you ever had?
  5. Name the one food you hate and absolutely will not eat?
  6. The one movie you could watch a million times without ever getting bored with it?
  7. Name one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to you?
  8. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Here are the eight lucky bloggers I get to make answer.  Can’t wait to see the answers.

Your job is now to make up 8 of your own questions, choose 8 blogs you enjoy and have them answer and do the same.  Have fun!

  •  Kathy at Polwig
    I love the uniqueness of her recipes and diversity of her blog. I’m sure she will have some good answers!
  • Colleen at Souffle Bombay
    I think we may be related and not know it. Plus, she makes me laugh.
  • Louisa at livinglou She is a 17 year-old girl cooking and blogging about it. That is inspiration for a teen!

And 5 of just some of the blogs I have recently begun follwing and enjoying!

Chicken Cordon Bleu – Inside Out & Easy

I learned early on in my marriage that one of my husband’s favorite dishes was Chicken Cordon Bleu.  I also learned early on that it’s a pain in the neck to make.  Getting everything rolled up inside the chicken just perfectly, making sure to bread it fully so that everything doesn’t seep out.  After awhile I just didn’t make it anymore.

A few years ago I came up with the idea of making it easier.  I had boneless chicken breasts, swiss cheese and ham in the fridge and asked myself why it had to be “inside” the chicken instead of on top of the chicken.  So I made it that way, it took minutes to do and tasted just as good, if not better.  In fact the chicken being cooked in a thin layer made it not only easier but kept the chicken more moist.

Give this a try on a night when you are pressed for time and want something delicious but easy!


  • 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all fat and filet so that you end up with 8 pieces of chicken.
  • 8 Thin slices of deli ham. (I use Boar’s Head brand since I think it’s best)
  • 8 Slices Finlandia Swiss Cheese (or your favorite swiss cheese)
  • 1 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. Milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil for browning

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Set up your station to dip and coat your chicken breasts.  Add two eggs to a shallow pie pan and the milk.  Beat together until well blended.

Trim chicken breast of all fat, then filet so you have 8 pieces of chicken.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Dip each chicken breast in the egg/milk mixture, than coat in the breadcrumbs.

In a large skillet heat a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Once hot, begin browning the coated chicken breasts.  Do this in batches of three or four at a time.  Once you have some nice browning happening, remove from the pan and place in a large casserole dish in a single layer.  I used a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

Place in a hot oven, uncovered, and allow to bake for 15 minutes, or until you are sure the chicken is fully cooked.  If the breasts are no more than 1″ thick you should be able to achieve this in 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and place a piece of ham and top with a piece of swiss cheese.  Return to the oven uncovered and allow to bake until the cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.


Broccoli, Chicken & Cheese Braid

If you have ever been to a Pampered Chef party you have probably eaten this simple but delicious dish.  The first time I ever had it was at my sister in law’s house one Christmas a few year’s back.  Not long after that I attended a Pampered Chef party my friend had and enjoyed it once again. 

If you have never tried it than you must.  It’s great as an appetizer or as a meal in itself.  Not to mention, it’s an easy way to get broccoli into your children without them complaining.   Even my husband who hates broccoli will eat this and not complain.

And don’t let the presentation intimidate you.  I’m far from artistic and even I can throw this together in a matter of minutes and have it look pretty.

Begin by mixing up all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Set this to the side.  On a large cookie sheet, or better yet, a baking stone, unroll the first package of crescent rolls.  Placing them with the widest part across the top of the cookie sheet. 

Open the second roll of crescent rolls and roll them out the same way, placing them directly under the first roll and pinching the seams together.  Roll out with a rolling-pin until all seams are sealed together and you have a large rectangle.  You can use your hands to shape this out better once you have rolled it together.

Using a sharp paring knife, begin slicing 1 1/2″ – 2″ wide by 3″ long strips down each side of the dough giving you 8 slits on each side.  This should leave you approximately 6″ of solid space down the center of the dough.  Place your filling in this center spot and shape into a rectangle.

Now begin your braiding from the top down.  At the very top you should have a small piece of dough in the center.  Take this and fold it up to the top of the filling.  Then take a strip from the left and cross it over to the right.  Take the strip on the right, and cross it over to the left, overlapping the first strip.

Continue this pattern until you have reached the bottom and have crossed all your side strips of dough over one another.

Once you reach the bottom, fold the bottom flap of dough up to the top and press together to form a seam.

When done, your loaf should look like this.  Or something like it anyway.

Beat 1 egg and brush along entire surface and sides of the dough.  Place in the oven and bake until golden brown.


Recipe from Pampered Chef

  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Fresh Broccoli, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper (I just used 1 small red pepper)
  • 1 Garlic Clove Pressed (I used 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Dried Dill (they call for 2 tsp. of their own dill mix but it tastes just as good using just dried dill)
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • (2) 8 oz. Packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1 Whole Egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. Slivered Almonds (*optional I did not use them)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.. Chop chicken, broccoli and bell pepper and add to a large mixing bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients, except for the egg and the almonds.  Mix together well.

Unroll 1 package of crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest sides of dough across width of 12″ x 15″ rectangle baking stone or cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining package of dough. Using roller, roll dough to seal perforations. On longest sides of baking stone, cut dough into strips 1 1/2 inches apart, 3 inches deep using a paring knife.. Spread filling evenly over middle of dough. To braid, lift strips of dough across mixture to meet in center, twisting each strip on turn.  Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Tuck ends under to seal at end of braid. Brush egg over dough using pastry brush. Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake 25-28 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Using a thin spatula, gently run it along the bottom of the loaf on the pan to loosen.  Place on a cutting board.  Allow to rest for another 5 minutes.  Slice into pieces using a serrated knife. 



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