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: tomato sauce

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.


Fusilli Pasta With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Fusilli is my favorite shape of pasta, and I attribute that to the thickness of the stands and the way it really grabs onto whatever sauce you top it with.

I have many ways of making sauce to top pasta, and this is just one of them.  It’s quick, easy, and delicious. 


  • 1 lb. Long Fusilli Pasta
  • 1 – 24 or 28oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (Half & Half works in a pinch, too)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Yes, you can use the powdery stuff)
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Dried Pepper Flakes (*Optional)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan, add the oil, onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent, and if you like it the way I do, I usually let the garlic just begin to brown a bit.  Watch the garlic since it goes from nutty and browned to burnt in mere seconds.

Once done, add the white wine and stir to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. 

Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano and parmesan cheese and stir well.  Place the burner on simmer and cover.   Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, add water that you have generously salted.  Cover and allow to come to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good rolling boil, add the pasta and stir to prevent sticking.

Uncover the sauce and add the cream, chopped parsley and basil, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.  *If you are adding the pepper flakes to the sauce, add them now and stir well. 

Once the pasta has reached al dente, immediately drain it and place it in a large bowl.  Remove the sauce from the heat and add this to the pasta.  Stir well and serve immediately.  This is especially good with some garlic bread on the side.


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.




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!

Chicken Cacciatore

Spring may have sprung, but I think it left us for a while.  Last week we had beautiful, sunny, crisp spring weather.  Since yesterday?  Rain, gloom, doom, dreary, cold and raw.  What the heck?

With that in mind I decided something warm and comforting was in order for dinner.  Chicken was on sale, so I picked up a package and the few other things I would need and headed on home.  And of course I forgot the olives.  Which I absolutely love in this dish, but I wasn’t up to running back out again to get them.

This is easily a dish that everyone in my house will eat.  Chicken, tomato sauce, served over rice or pasta.  What’s not to like about it!

I’m pretty much a white meat girl when it comes to my chicken.  And by that I mean I will normally cook with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  But for this dish, you want chicken on the bone.  It just adds to the flavor and allows the chicken to stay tender and juicy. 

I took three large split chicken breasts on the bone, and armed with my cleaver, I hacked them into smaller pieces.

This was my weapon of choice for this task:

Leaving the skin on, I first sliced each breast, through the bone, into three pieces.  I then took the two pieces that were a part of the larger side of the breast and cut those in half as well.  So each split breast gave me five pieces of chicken.  For this dish I like it smaller and easier to eat, and so do my kids.

I also rinse each piece of chicken after I have cut it.  I do this because sometimes you end up with those little shavings of bone when you cut through it, and I really don’t like picking chicken bones out of my sauce.  After rinsing I pat them dry and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.   Dredge them in a little flour and then brown them on each side in a little olive oil and butter.

After they are all browned, I remove them to a warm plate, wipe out the pan with the flour and add a little more olive oil and butter.  Throw in my diced onion, garlic and roasted red peppers with a little chicken broth, and let it reduce a little.

Once that’s done, add the crushed tomatoes, (you can use whole or diced if you prefer), oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil and check the seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if necessary.  Stir that around, and add your chicken back to the pan.

Turn this down to simmer and cover.  You can let this go for about 30 minutes, but I prefer to let it go for an hour.  I love it when the chicken is just about ready to fall off the bone.  About 10 minutes before I plan to take it off the stove I normally throw in the olives (you can use Kalamata).  Of course since I forgot them they aren’t in this dish.  But I highly recommend them if you try this out.  Their briny and salty taste really adds to the dish.  Serve over some rice or pasta and it’s delish!

Chicken Cacciatore:

Serves 6

  • 3 Split Chicken Breasts, (cut each breast, with bone and skin, into 4 or 5 pieces
  • 1 28 Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Roasted Red Peppers, Roughly Chopped (or 2 Red Bell Peppers)
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives (optional)
  • 1 Spring Fresh Thyme
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Crushed Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Sweet Basil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Take each chicken breast, and using a sharp knife (I use a Chinese Cleaver), slice each breast into three pieces, and then take the 2 larger pieces of the breast and cut those in half as well, giving you 5 pieces per each split breast.

Rinse chicken after cutting to remove any stray pieces of cut bone.  Pat dry and season with salt and pepper.  Dredge each piece into the flour and set aside.

In a large and heavy frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter together.  Add half of the chicken and brown on each side until you reach a nice golden color and the skin is crisp.  About 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan to a warm plate, add the last tablespoon of oil and the last tablespoon of butter and brown the rest of chicken.

Once all chicken is browned and removed to a warm plate, wipe out any extra flour that browned on the bottom of the pan.  Add in the chicken broth, onions, garlic, and roasted red peppers.  Stir to combine and let reduce by half.

Once done, stir in the crushed tomatoes and add the basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary and stir well.  Test for taste, and add any additional salt or pepper you think the dish needs.  Add the chicken back to the pan and spoon sauce over each piece.  Cover tightly and turn the heat to a simmer.  Allow to cook for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to an hour for more tender chicken.  Add the olives to the pan about 10 minutes before you remove it from the stove.

Serve over rice or pasta. 


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