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: mozzarella

Rainbow Chicken Roll

Chicken is a popular dish in our home and I’m always looking for new ways to make it.

  I was watching Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking the other day when she prepared this dish.  It looked simple and delicious and I decided to give it a try.  One thing that intrigued me about this dish was that it was something I could throw together early in the day, refrigerate and then pop in the oven just before I was ready to start dinner.  I love dishes like that!

I followed the recipe except for one small change.  Sandra’s recipe called for the addition of green beans.  Since there are fewer people in the family that like green beans I opted to switch out the green beans for chopped fresh broccoli instead.  It worked out perfectly.


Recipe from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tsp. Salt-Free Italian Seasoning
  • 8 to 10 String Beans (*I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh chopped broccoli)
  • 1 Small Carrot, julienned
  • 1 Red Pepper, julienned (*I used a small red pepper & had some left over)
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
  • 2 Cups Marinara Sauce (*You can used jarred or homemade)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim chicken breasts of any fat.  Lay flat on a cutting board and butterfly each breast 3/4 of the way through.  Lay each chicken breast on a cutting board, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and pound to 1/4″ thickness.

Lay chicken breasts flat on a cutting board and sprinkle with seasoned salt and Italian seasoning. Place 3 to 4 strips each of the string beans, carrots and red pepper leaving 1/2-inch on the side furthest from you. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese.  Roll chicken breast up and place seam side down in a medium baking dish.

Pour marinara sauce over chicken and place in oven. Bake 30 minutes basting with the marinara sauce halfway through cooking.

Remove breasts from pan. To serve slice each breast into 4 or 5 slices and fan on the plate with additional marinara sauce on the side.

**Note:  I did this early in the day, covered and refrigerated the dish, and then took it out when I was getting ready to start making dinner, preheated the oven and baked it. 

And additional note:  this dish took just slightly over one hour to cook in a covered casserole dish, so I would adjust the cooking time from the original recipe provided.



Baked Stuffed Shells

 This is just one of my oldest son’s most favorite meals to eat.  And it’s simple since you can throw it together early in the day, or even the day before, and then pop it in the oven to bake for a bit when you need a quick dinner on the table.

I’m not going to go nuts about giving precise measurements for this dish because I don’t really have any.  I can give hints of how much of this and that I’ve used, but in all honesty, it’s really just something you can throw together without worrying about being exact with the amounts.  Most of how I cook is really me throwing this and that in together and seeing how it comes out.  If there were one area of my blog I could say I struggle with its coming up with precise measurements for recipes.  While sometimes I’m able to provide that easily, I can’t say it always works out that way.  Sometimes I just need to make something a second or third time before I publish it so that I can really focus on exactly how much of an ingredient I’m using. 

With that being said, use this as a general guideline of ingredients and measuring and don’t make yourself crazy about how much of each you use.  It’s food, folks.  We are meant to enjoy it, not stress over it.


  • 1 – Box Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 1 – 24 oz. Container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 – 16 oz. Block mozzarella Cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Freshly Made or Store Bought Tomato/Pasta Sauce (roughly 4 – 5 cups)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

If you are making your own homemade tomato sauce, good for you.  There is nothing else in the world like it.  But, if you aren’t, use whatever brand you prefer.

In a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, spoon some sauce across the bottom.

Cook your pasta shells for half the amount of time listed on the box.  You don’t want them aldente for this dish.  You only want to partially cook these since they will continue to cook while you bake the dish in the oven.  Make sure to salt the water well before cooking the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, add the ricotta, 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella, chopped parsley, grate parmesan and salt and pepper.  Stir together well and then spoon into a large Ziploc bag.  You may want to only spoon in half the mixture to work with and then refill it with the rest when you’re done.  It makes the bag easier to manage while you are filling the shells.

Once the pasta is done, strain it and rinse with cold water.  Once cool to the touch, begin filling each pasta shell with the ricotta mixture.  You don’t want to over fill the shell’s, but put just enough in each shell so that you can easily fold the shell so that each open end meets.

As you fill and fold each shell, place them seam side down in the baking dish.  Continue repeating until you have filled the dish. 

Spoon on some tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of the shredded mozzarella. 

At this point you can either place them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them, or throw them into the oven and bake them right away.

Place them, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven and bake until heated through and bubbly and the cheese has completely melted.

Enjoy with a salad and some garlic bread!

Note:  I ended up with about 38 cooked and stuff shells.  I was able to fit 27 of them on the first layer of the baking dish.  I covered those with sauce and mozzarella and then added the remaining stuffed shells to the top of them, spaced out as evenly as possible, and topping those with sauce and shredded mozzarella as well.  You can do it this way with the extra shells that don’t fit into a single layer in the baking dish, or you can just make a smaller batch in a smaller baking dish.  Your choice.  Either way, nothing goes to waste.




Baked Penne With Sweet Italian Sausage

I think I’m just going to cook casseroles and one dish meals for the rest of this school year.  Anything that makes my life easier is on my list of things to cook lately.   This was meant to be the week I did two days worth of cooking for my freezer to make my life easier over the next few weeks, but I haven’t even been able to find the time for that.  “Maybe” next week.  At least that’s what I’m promising myself.

This was a quick meal to throw together for this evening and it’s always a big hit.  There is nothing in here that makes anyone complain when they ask me, “What’s for dinner, Mom.” 

I used penne but you can just as easily use rigatoni, ziti, or even elbow macaroni.   This is really nothing more than lasagna in easier form.  I do enjoy making lasagna every now and again, and normally use sliced meatballs or sausage for my lasagna, but this is perfect and simple for when you are short on time.

Baked Penne with Sweet Italian Sausage:

Serves 8

  • 1 lb. Penne Pasta
  • 2 lbs. Bulk Italian Sweet or Hot Sausage
  • 1 27 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
  • 12 Basil Leaves, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb. Mozzarella, shredded
  • 15 oz. Container Ricotta Cheese

Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil.

In a large sauté pan, begin browning your sausage.  Once evenly browned, drain any excessive fat from the pan.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato sauce to the pan, stir well and bring to a simmer.  Add the minced garlic and basil and stir well.  Allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Once water is boiling, salt the water and add your pasta.  Stir well.  Don’t cook the pasta to completion or based on the package directions.  You only want to cook the pasta partially since this is going to bake in the oven and complete the cooking process.  I usually allow it to boil for about 6 to 7 minutes. 

Once pasta is done, drain it in a colander and then pour it back into the stock pot, or into a large mixing bowl.  Now add the sausage mixture, 2/3 of the shredded mozzarella, and the entire container of ricotta cheese.  Stir until fully combined. 

Pour this into a large baking dish – mine was slightly larger than 13″ x 9″ – cover with aluminum foil and allow to bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees, or until hot and bubbly. 

Once done, remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the reserved mozzarella cheese.  Return the pan to the oven and allow it to cook until the cheese is completely melted. 

Remove from oven and serve immediately. 

NOTE:  This recipe makes enough for 8 people.  You can either make the full recipe if you have that many to feed, halve the recipe for a smaller dinner, or bake this up in two separate dishes where you can eat one tonight and freeze the other one for a future meal. 

Serve with a side salad and some garlic bread.


Cheeseburger Pizza Bread

My husband made a few too many cheeseburgers for the kids on Sunday, so I ended up with about 4 medium-sized grilled burgers leftover. 

Leftover burgers don’t really do it for me, so I wasn’t sure what to do with them.  Then I remembered I also had a pound of pizza dough leftover from my son’s pizza making dinner from Saturday, along with tomato sauce and cheese.  All things combined made for a super easy and delicious dinner.

Cheeseburger Pizza Bread:

Serves: 6

  • 1 lb. Pizza Dough (Mine was made fresh from the store)
  • 4 Medium sized cooked cheeseburgers, cooled and broken up
  • 1 1/2 Cups Pizza or Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheese (I used Mozzarella)
  • 2 tsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg, beaten

Begin by heating the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, crumble up the cooked and cooled cheeseburgers.  Add the tomato sauce, grated cheese and parmesan.  Stir to combine.

Roll out and stretch your pizza dough to about 15″ L x 12″ W.  Fill with the meat and cheese mixture, keeping the mixture towards the center. 

Fold your sides and ends over and in and pinch well together. 

Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and gently place the pizza dough on top. 

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and brush on the outside of the dough, covering all sides and the top.

Place in the center of your oven and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, being sure to check the dough so it doesn’t burn.   Your want the outside nicely crisp and browned.

Once done, remove from oven and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.  Slide the dough on a cutting board and slice into 2 to 3 inch slices with a serrated knife. 

We ate this with a salad and that was it.  The kids love it and it was filling enough for a main dish for dinner.

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