Baked Rigatoni with Sausage

It’s time again for the recipe swaps!! This time around it’s ‘Blogger’s Choice’ meaning you’re assigned a blog and choose a recipe that sounds great to you.

I was given Kate’s blog and found quite a few that I’d like to make but ultimately picked this one. It sounded great for fall, easy to make and nice for a weekend dinner in.  It was a huge hit with everyone who tasted it.  I lightened up the recipe a bit by using chicken sausage and part skim mozzarella.

I don’t know who thought to put the garlic bread on top of the pasta under the cheese but I’d like to meet them and give them a hug. What  a SUPER idea!!


Baked Rigatoni with Sausage


  • 1.5 lbs. sweet Italian chicken sausage
  • 8 oz rigatoni, dry, then cooked al dente
  • 4 tbsp olive oil plus 1 tsp separated
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped small
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 26oz can marinara sauce (I used Trader Giotto’s) or use homemade
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped, plus 8 whole fresh leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 3 tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 10 oz frozen garlic bread loaf, defrosted
  • 3 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cut into 8 even slices.


  1. Cook the sausage and slice into thin coins. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the 1 tsp olive oil. When hot add the onion and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Reduce heat to low and add the marinara sauce.  Let it heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes to incorporate the flavors.
  3. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the cooked sausage, cooked pasta, sauce, 1 tbsp basil, pepper and the 1/2 cup Parmesan. Stir it gently to evenly coat everything.
  6. Gently pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
  7. Make 6 even slices through the garlic bread (resulting in 12 halves top/bottom slices). Using the non-ends line 4 pieces over one half of the pasta and the other 4 pieces over the other half to have 2 rows.  Sprinkle the remaining 3 tbsp of Parmesan over the bread. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the bread and exposed areas of pasta.
  8. Place the 4 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow dish. Gently dip each tomato slice in and coat it with the oil. Shake off the excess and place one tomato slice on top of each piece of bread.
  9. Bake, uncovered, for about 15-25 minutes until cheese is melty and bubbly.  It only took about 15 minutes for me.
  10. Remove the pan and gently tip up one of the tomato slices and slide one of the remaining full basil leaves underneath it. Repeat with each tomato.
  11. Allow the dish to set for about 10 minutes.
  12. Slice and serve.

Note: I sprinkled some more grated Parmesan on the 4 end pieces of the bread, wrapped them in foil and heated them in the oven with the pasta.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Adapted from




Sausage, Egg and Cheese Panini

I love the egg sandwiches that we get at delis and bagel shops (having such great delis and bagel places here on Long Island I get spoiled) but making them at home is easy too-and better for you since you can control the ingredients and skip the butter and extra grease. I’ve heard from people visiting (the NY metro area) that egg sandwiches don’t exist where they live.  They have my full sympathy. I can’t fathom life without great delis, bagel shops and pizzerias. Here we get them on bagels or on kaiser rolls. I didn’t have either but the flatbread in my panini press worked perfectly. They’re heaven.

Feel free to use egg whites, egg beaters, bacon, different cheeses etc.. to make it your own.  Some people put ketchup on it too but I don’t.










Sausage, Egg and Cheese Panini


  • 5 large eggs, scrambled in a bowl
  • 2 tbsp milk (any is fine-skim, whole, 2%)
  • 7 sausage links or 2 patties
  • 2 flatbreads
  • 4 slices american cheese (we use the Boar’s Head brand. It melts differently than others and in my opinion has a nicer texture).


  1. Cook the sausage as to package instructions then set onto paper towels to drain. Chop into small pieces and return to paper towels and set aside.
  2. While the sausages are  cooking make the eggs. In a medium non-stick frying pan with a flat base over medium heat cook the eggs,. Using a rubber spatula frequently pull the cooked eggs away from the edge, tilt the pan to allow the raw eggs to flow to the pan surface.  Turn when needed trying to keep the eggs together. When they’re all cooked remove from the heat and set aside.  (Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper if desired but I don’t generally because of the seasonings in the sausage. )
  3. Microwave the flat bread for a few seconds to loosen it up.
  4. On one half of the flatbread place half of the cheese, eggs and sausage.  Fold the other half of the bread over the top and place on the panini press until bread is crisp and cheese has melted fully.
  5. Serve immediately.

Makes 2.

Fritatta di Saldiccia e Cipolle (Sausage & Onion Fritatta)

I am a huge lover of public television-no commercials and the programming is so great.  I don’t know if it’s like this all over but I have a spin-off of one of my regular PBS channels called Create. It’s cooking, crafts, gardening and travel. It’s got great shows-Pepin, Child, America’s Test Kitchen and so on. If you ask me Food Network could learn a lot from them-such variety.

I’m getting off the point here. Nick Stellino is one of the chefs that has a show on the channel and he makes some yummy stuff. The fritatta below was inspired by him. Pretty easy and really tasty.  The onions cook for a while so they get nice and sweet.  This is delicious warm or great at room temperature the next day or reheated.

I served it with my delicious roasted broccoli.


Fritatta di Saldiccia e Cipolle


  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1&1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (I used part sweet part hot) out of the casings
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese


  1. Cook 3 tbsp oil in an oven-safe 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot add the onions, red pepper flakes and thyme and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to avoid sticking.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  3. While the onions are cooking brown the sausage. When it’s cooked put the sausage in a strainer to drain of excess fat.  Discard the fat and keep sausage on the side for use later.
  4. In a bowl beat the eggs with 1/2 tsp salt and set aside for use later.
  5. When the 20 minutes for the onions is up add 1/2 tsp of the salt, the pepper and 1 tsp of the garlic, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 more minutes stirring every few minutes again.   Then pour the mixture into a large bowl.  Wipe the pan clean.
  6. Add the cooked sausage and parsley to the onions and mix well. Then add the beaten egg mixture and the remaining garlic and mix well.
  7. In the pan wiped clean cook the 3 remaining tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. When it’s hot pour the contents of the bowl into the pan. Cook for 2 minutes then stir. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until just set then transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes then remove, sprinkle the cheese on the top, and return to the oven for another few minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

Serves 4-6

I always worry about burning the hell out of my hand by grabbing the handle of the pan after it’s out of the oven and cooling so usually I keep the handle turned way in so that I can’t grab it. How I never thought to just put an oven mit over the handle before is beyond me.  Now I don’t have to worry (and yes those are margaritas on the oven mit :).



Sausage, Peppers & Onions in the Slow Cooker

Sometimes you just want a nice big sandwich.  I found the original recipe on Melissa’s great blog in the Top Posts of 2012 post and I immediately printed it out. I adapted it a bit with the cheese and rolls. Slow cooker on Sunday? Yes.  Sausage, onions and peppers on a roll? Yes. And I added the cheese.  Super easy, super yummy.  Would be great for football-watching days.


Sausage, Onions & Peppers in the Slow Cooker

  • small amount of oil for browning
  • 3lbs Italian Sausage (I  used 2 lbs hot and 1 lb sweet but use any combo you’d like) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 bell peppers, cut into thin strips (I used 2 red and 1 green)
  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • sandwich rolls (mine were hot dog sized from Hot & Crusty). You’ll need substantial rolls to hold up to the sauce and contents.
  • provolone cheese


  1. In a large skillet heat a bit of the oil and brown the sausage on all sides. (This may have to be done in batches) Then place sausage in slow cooker.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for at least 4 hours.
  4. Half rolls, place cheese on either one or both sides, and toast until the cheese melts.  Spoon sausage mixture onto rolls and enjoy.

Note: my slow cooker is a 5qt and it was just about to the top of the insert so if you have a smaller cooker I’d make less.

Breakfast Burritos-make ahead and freeze!!

For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking of making something for breakfast (other than just toting an apple to work) that I can make ahead, freeze and then just pull out and zap in the morning. It also has to be something that the Husband loves. So I looked around at some online recipies and got an idea to make Breakfast Burritos. I used the recipies on line for only an idea of how to wrap and how long to heat up etc.. so this is my own recipe-and first try.  I made them last night-took maybe an hour, and ate one this morning and it was delicious.  This is a photo of the one that I ate this morning after I heated it up.

Breakfast Burritos


  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, casing removed
  • 1 16oz bag frozen hash browns
  • Cheddar cheese-freshly grated-the amount is up to you
  • Sandwich Wraps/Burritos/Tacos-large
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pan (it has to be large enough to hold all of the sausage, eggs and hash browns) cook the sausage and crumble into small pieces as it cooks.  When it’s completely cooked remove from pan and place on a plate with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  2. In the same pan cook the hash browns as per instructions on the bag.  
  3. While the hash browns are cooking crack all of the eggs into a medium bowl, add milk, salt and pepper to taste, whisk and set aside.
  4. When the hash browns are completely cooked add the sausage back to the pan and then add the eggs.  Stir gently until the eggs are completely cooked. Remove pan from heat.
  5. Set one wrap on the counter and spoon about 1.5 cups of the eggs onto the left/middle of the wrap.  Sprinkle with the desired amount of cheese.  Fold the left and the right side of the wrap over the ends of the eggs, push the egg mixture in a bit and then roll towards the empty end of the wrap.  ( It should be tightly wrapped-if not you didn’t push the egg mixture together enough or you put too much–dont worry it will still freeze it will just come out a bit. )  Place burrito on a length of plastic wrap and roll it along folding in the sides as you go. Place in freezer immediately.  Repeat until all of the wraps or egg mixture is used up.

To heat: remove from freezer and unwrap completely. Wrap it in a paper towel and put it on a plate in the microwave for about 2 minutes. At the end of 2 minutes turn it over and heat for another minute. Remove, cut in half, and heat for another minute or until it’s heated all the way through.

I only bought one pack of wraps for this as I didn’t know how many it would make.  I could’ve made about 4 more because I had a lot of egg mixture left. But my Husband doesn’t mind, he can eat all of the leftovers for breakfast 🙂 original