Smoked Sausage and Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

Smoked Sausage and Mushroom Alfredo Pasta - Cover Image - Double Knotted Apron

I have had a smoked sausage link in my fridge for the last week gawking at me every time I open the door. I just couldn’t decide when and what I wanted to use it in. Today, my husband asked me if we could make it for lunch and I said “sure, why not”! Instead of the same ole same ole of making a smoked sausage dog or even sausage gumbo I decided I would try something new…Cue the intro of the Smoked Sausage and Mushroom Alfredo (did I mention homemade Alfredo sauce) Pasta.

This is a great recipe that can easily be cooked in less than 30 minutes and satisfy the whole family. Along with the sausage I had in the fridge, I also had mushrooms, green onion, Parmesan and heavy whipping cream. Boy was it my lucky day for ingredients to have lying around. I had everything I needed to make this dish along with some homemade Alfredo sauce! Yum!

What You’ll Need: (The pasta portion of the recipe made enough for 4 servings, while the sauce makes enough for 2 servings so be sure to double accordingly for your family size.)

  • 1 smoked sausage link (I recommend the Hillshire Farm links), cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup fresh white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh green onion, chopped and divided
  • 3 cups ziti pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup freshly Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and don’t forget to salt the water when it comes to a boil. In a large skillet add about two tablespoons of olive oil and turn on medium heat. Slice the sausage link into bite size pieces and add to the hot skillet. Brown for about five minutes and then add the chopped mushrooms. Let the sausage and mushroom simmer together for about 10 minutes before adding half of the green onion. Reduce the heat to the lowest heat setting until the pasta is cooked.

In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and then add the heavy cream. Simmer for five minutes. Whisk in the crushed garlic and parmesan cheese until melted. Reduce the heat to low and whisk periodically to keep the sauce from scorching. Once the sauce has simmered and thickened add the dried parsley (or fresh if you have it) and stir.

Drain the pasta once completely cooked and add back to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta to coat each noodle. Drain the grease from the sausage and mushrooms by using a colander and then pour out on a paper towel to help absorb the remaining oil. Plate the pasta and add the sausage and mushrooms over the top. Garnish with the remaining green onion and freshly grated parmesan. Serve immediately.

Smoked Sausage and Mushroom Alfredo Pasta - Double Knotted Apron

I hope you enjoy this pasta dish as much as we did! Such a hearty meal for lunch or dinner any day of the week!! Enjoy!!

xo-M

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Buffalo Chicken Dip Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Dip Pizza

Football season is back in full swing and so are the finger foods, dips and game day snacks! One of my husband’s favorite football snacks is Buffalo Chicken Dip (BCD). He loves anything buffalo flavored and all things spicy. This dish makes him one happy camper.

I made a huge batch of BCD this weekend and we munched on it during the Georgia game (Go Dawgs!). The next day this huge bowl of orange colored dip starred me in the face all while taunting me. I thought about taking out a spoon and diving in but instead I thought about how we could turn this dip into lunch! Eureka, we did!

Below you will discover my easy-peezy recipe for BCD and then the additional ingredients and instructions needed to turn your dip into a pizza! Good luck and game on!

What You’ll Need:

Buffalo Chicken Dip Essentials:

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or equivalent hot/wing sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz monterey jack, shredded (or your choice of cheese)
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 cup ranch dressing

Pizza Essentials:

  • Prepackaged pizza crust
  • olive oil
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

To prepare the Buffalo Chicken Dip, lightly coat the chicken tenders in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Prepare a non stick skillet with a light coat of olive oil as well and place on medium heat. Add the chicken tenders and cook throughly on both sides until lightly browned. Cut up the chicken with kitchen scissors or shred the meat on a cutting board and add back to the skillet. If there are any pieces that need to continue cooking, do so. Once cooked throughly, add about a 1/2 cup of the hot sauce to the skillet and let the chicken marinate for about five minutes while on a low simmer. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, jalapeño, remainder of hot sauce and ranch dressing. Mix well. You will notice it is a chunky soup consistency which is fine. Add the chicken and mix. Pour into a casserole dish or baking dish and cover the top with the cheese you shredded. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes or until all the cheese has melted and it is bubbling.

Serve immediately with chips, celery sticks or tortilla shells. Enjoy!

Creating the Buffalo Chicken Dip Pizza

Whenever you have had enough dip and you are ready to transform it into a pizza follow the instructions below.

Prepare your smoker grill for the pizza by prepping the coals in advance. You want the grill to be hot and ready! (For more detailed instructions on how to fire grill a pizza, click here.) In the kitchen start preparing the pizza by lightly brushing olive oil on both sides of the pizza crust. Once the grill is ready, place the crust directly on the rack for 3 minutes on each side.

While the crust is on the grill, prepare the dip by adding half of the mozzarella cheese and warming in the microwave for about 2 – 3 minutes. This will help thicken the dip into a nice base for the pizza. Stir to melt the cheese through the dip.

Once the crust has cooked for three minutes on each side, immediately bring inside and ladle on the warm BCD and then sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Lightly pour ranch dressing over the top as well and garnish with fresh green onion if you like.

Smoke the pizza for 10 – 13 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and all the cheese has melted.

Slice and serve with extra ranch for dipping and as always enjoy!!

xo – M

 

 

Ultimate Loaded Mac & Cheese

Are you looking for the ultimate comfort food or maybe just a 30 minute dinner for the weeknight? You’ve found it! This loaded macaroni and cheese recipe will have you scraping the bottom of the bowl for more. It’s super hearty and delicious with chicken, bacon, mushrooms and of course LOTS of cheese.

Loaded Mac and Cheese - Cover Photo - Double Knotted Apron

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 box rotini pasta (or your choice)
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • extra salt, pepper and garlic powder to season chicken breast

To ensure this meal is prepared within 30 minutes and that everything is ready at the same time it is key to do the following three steps first and then read the rest of the directions.

1. In a large pot begin boiling water for the pasta.

2. In a medium skillet drizzle 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil along the bottom of the pan and heat on medium.

3. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees for the bacon.

Now the rest of the directions!

Season the chicken breast with some salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Once seasoned on both sides place in the skillet and brown on both sides cooking the chicken completely.

Simply Seasoned Chicken Breast - Loaded Mac and Cheese - Double Knotted Apron

Once the oven has reached 375 degrees insert the bacon and cook for about 20 minutes. (Place the bacon on an aluminum foil covered pan to help make clean up a breeze and reduce the amount of grease spills.)

When the water comes to a boil add the box of pasta and cook until al dente. While the pasta is boiling start the cheese sauce.

In a medium sauce pan melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of flour while whisking. Next add the salt and pepper. Slowly add the cup of milk while whisking. Continue to stir until the sauce has thickened. Add the cheese and stir until melted and blended. Reduce heat to simmer and stir frequently while the pasta finishes cooking. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and return to the pot and pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. Mix and cover to keep warm.

The Best Cheese Sauce Recipe - Loaded Mac and Cheese - Double Knotted Apron

When the bacon is browned and almost crispy, remove and drain the grease.

Baked Bacon - Double Knotted Apron

Chop the bacon slices and then add to the pasta and cheese.

BACON - Double Knotted Apron

Loaded Mac and Cheese - Add Bacon - Double Knotted Apron

When the chicken is fully cooked cut into bite size pieces with kitchen scissors. I added the chicken back to the pan and the chopped mushrooms. Sauté for two or three minutes to heat the mushrooms through and absorb any chicken juices left in the skillet.

Loaded Mac and Cheese - Sauteed Chicken and Mushrooms - Double Knotted Apron

Once the mushrooms have softened and browned add (along with the chicken) to the pasta.

Loaded Mac and Cheese - Add Chicken and Mushrooms - Double Knotted Apron

Mix well and serve. Top with grated parmesan cheese if you would like.

Loaded Mac and Cheese - Double Knotted Apron

I love this recipe because it allows for so much interpretation to your favorite additions with different meats, cheeses and pastas. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as hubs and I did.

Enjoy!

xo – M

Homemade Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Angel Hair Pasta

MAMA MIA NOW THAT’S A SPICY MEATBALL! Well, not necessarily spicy, but definitely one heck of a good meatball! I can’t wait for you to try these guys out. They turn an ordinary chicken parmesan dish into a new favorite!

Chicken Parm Meatball - Click for Recipe - Double Knotted Apron

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (out of the container)
  • 1/2 cup Italian or Original bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp onion, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil flakes
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (I used a jar Bertolli Tomato and Basil, which was delicious, but you can use your own preference.)
  • 1/2 box of angel hair pasta (for two)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place aluminum foil (or as I call it, tin foil) on a large baking sheet. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray to help alleviate any sticking. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl adding the whisked egg last. Mix well with a spatula for the first turn or two. Remove jewelry, wash hands thoroughly if you haven’t already and dig in. Yes, I am instructing you to start kneading the chicken mixture with your bare hands. You will be fine, just don’t lick your fingers like you would with cake batter. Mix the chicken and other ingredients really well to blend. Once blended start forming small to medium size meatballs (1.5 – 2 inches in diameter).

Lay out the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet in rows. (Wash your hands!) In a small bowl add about 1/4 cup of pasta sauce and 2-3 tablespoons of EVOO. Stir and then brush a small amount on each meatball. Place in the oven on the second rack from the top (you should have a good 8 inches or more from the top of oven) and bake for 15 minutes.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs - Double Knotted Apron

Remove and spoon just the pasta sauce over each meatball and then sprinkle some parmesan cheese on each ball. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and cut one of the larger meatballs to ensure it is completely cooked through. It should be white meat, with no pink.

Chicken Parm Meatballs - Double Knotted Apron

I paired my meatballs with angel hair pasta and the remaining tomato and basil sauce. Top with more parmesan and parsley before serving.

Chicken Parm Meatballs with Angel Hair Pasta - Double Knotted Apron

Keep in mind this recipe is for a quick dinner. If you are feeling up to the fresh challenge, substitute the grated parmesan for fresh grated or shredded parmesan, freshly minced parsley for the dried, freshly minced basil for the dried and homemade pasta sauce for the jar. Either way it is sure to be a hit!

Bon Appetit! You will love this dish!

xo – M

Homemade Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Recipe Card – Double Knotted Apron

Spicy Chili Macness

I found inspiration for this recipe from the one and only Rachael Ray. You got to love her sense of humor and style of cooking. I loved watching her 30 Minute Meals show with my mom throughout high school. Always a fun 30 minutes to share and learn. Anyway, back to the recipe. I was recently browsing her 365: No Repeats cookbook and ran across one of her recipes called Tex Mex Mac n Cheddar. It sounded so good, but it wasn’t quite what I was wanting to make. Instead of a ‘stoup’ like consistency as she calls it, I prefer ‘chili’ consistency. It’s thicker, heartier and belly-filling good. So I took her recipe and made it my own with some tweaks, dashes and pinches of change. By the way, if you aren’t a spicy fan, no problem, just leave out the cayenne, hot sauce and green chiles.

Oh! Did I mention we are pairing this with Mild Mini Quesadillas? Freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese and diced southwest peppers (mild) fresh from my garden will be the delicious center of our quesadillas!

Spicy Chili Macness - Double Knotted Apron

What You’ll Need:

Spicy Chili Macness

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. macaroni (generally 8 oz or half of the box)
  • 1/4 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 cup southwest peppers (or your choice), chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
  • 1 can unsweetened whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper

Mild Mini Quesadillas

  • 2 mini tortillas (or the number of people you are feeding)
  • 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1/8 cup southwest peppers, chopped

Ingredients for Spicy Chili Macness - Double Knotted Apron

First things first, you will need to start boiling the water for the macaroni. Follow the cooking instructions on the box and cook al dente. While the water is boiling, prepare the beef. (I made this into a One Pot Wonder Meal (minus the pot to boil the macaroni) and just used the same pot for everything, my Enamel Cast Iron 5.5 quart Dutch Oven. It was a birthday present from my parents and I LOVE it. It cooks anything and does the job really well. Oh and mine is teal blue in case you were wondering.)

Brown Beef - Spicy Chili Macness - Double Knotted Apron

Drizzle a little EVOO around the bottom of the pot and the add the beef. I usually have my heat on medium-low before adding the beef just so it cooks a little faster. Brown completely. Once browned you will add the hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, ground cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper.

Onion Addition - Spicy Chili Macness - Double Knotted Apron

Next, add the chopped onion to the mix and stir. Let all that wonderful flavor blend for about a minute before adding the garlic and peppers.

Southwest Peppers and Garlic Addition - Spicy Chili Macness - Double Knotted Apron

Toss in the garlic and peppers and blend again.

Diced Tomato Addition - Spicy Chili Macness - Double Knotted Apron

Add the can of undrained diced tomatoes and green chiles. (Note: The green chiles help give it an extra kick, you can always use regular diced tomatoes.)

Whole Kernel Corn Addition - Spicy Chili Macness - Double Knotted Apron

Time for the can of drained whole kernel corn! Mix the last two can additions really well. By now the macaroni should be perfectly cooked and ready to drain. Once drained add the pasta to the chili mix and stir. Let simmer for another 10 minutes while you make the quesadillas.

Ingredients for Quesadillas - Double Knotted Apron

Take one of the mini tortillas and butter one side lightly. Over medium-low heat place the buttered side down in a non stick skillet. Top the tortilla with the prepared shredded cheese and peppers.

Cheese and Southwest Pepper Quesadilla - Double Knotted Apron

Once you notice the cheese beginning to melt, fold on side of the tortilla on top of the other.

Dos Quesadillas - Double Knotted Apron

Lightly brown the tortillas on both sides until everything has melted and the outside is a beautiful golden brown. Serve immediately with a hot bowl of the Spicy Chili Macness. Top with cheese and sour cream and as always, enjoy!

Spicy Chili Macness Served - Double Knotted Apron

xo – M

Spicy Chili Macness Recipe Card – Double Knotted Apron

Homemade Lasagna – Extra Cheese Please!

Homemade Lasagna - Extra Cheese Please!

 

OK, so I know what you are thinking… and yes it tastes soooo much better than it looks. But let’s face it, when you see a perfectly cut lasagna with no overflow of meat or cheese it’s just not reality. Doctored photos or a food stager, which would be an awesome job by the way, is the way that is accomplished. Kudos to them for making it look heavenly, but I am a real girl making real good food. So there you have it, a picture of my homemade lasagna in its rare form. Simply delicious!

Let’s get down to business. Here is what you will need.

(This recipe is plenty for a family or four or less. My husband and I had two servings and still have over half a lasagna left over.)

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 15 oz. container of ricotta cheese (I used the low fat, skim milk version)
  • 1 cup parmesan, grated
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (or your meat of choice)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the lasagna noodles. Boil until they are cooked al dente. Remove from the boiling water and drain. Lay each noodle out flat on a cookie sheet to let cool. (I drizzled a little EVOO on the cookie sheet before placing the noodles so they don’t stick).

While the noodles are cooking start prepping your cheese mixture. In a medium bowl add the whole container of ricotta, 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella. Mix until partially blended. Add the egg to the mixture as well as the garlic powder, parsley, basil and oregano. Blend until smooth and creamy.

In a large skillet drizzle a little olive oil in the pan and the add the diced onion. Cook until translucent. Add the ground beef and italian seasoning. (Go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.) Brown meat well and then drain remaining olive oil. Add 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce to the meat and warm on low.

Spray a glass 13×9 baking dish on all sides and bottom. Spread 1/2 of the remaining spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Add your first layer of noodles. Three noodles fitted long ways on the bottom of the baking dish. Add almost half of the cheese mixture and spread evenly. Cover with half of the meat and sauce mixture. Add the next layer of three noodles and repeat cheese (reserving 1/4 of what is remaining) and meat addition. Add the last layer of three noodles and spread remaining cheese mixture over the top. Cover with the remaining pasta sauce.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375. Remove after 20 minutes and add the remaining shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the top. Recover and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy with some tasty garlic bread or just your fork!!

Bon Appetit!

xo-M

Homemade Lasagna Recipe Card – Double Knotted Apron

Fire Grilled Pizza at Home

Hubs impressed me big time last night! Let’s just say he not only can grill up some delicious wings and ribs, he can also grill a DELICIOUS pizza! It was so good and super easy! If you love pizza and you love not having to pay the price at your local pizza place then give this a try. We made our own pizza for less than $10.

Note: You will need a smoker/grill combination to be able to cook a pizza on the grill correctly. Proper coal height placement and venting is required to achieve a ‘brick oven’ pizza outcome. Here is a link to a similar grill we use at home.

Grilled Pizza Ingredients

 

You will notice in the image above the ingredients we used were pre made pizza crust, pepperoni, freshly shredded mozzarella, grated parmesan, fresh jalapeño and fresh basil (minced) from my garden. Unfortunately the pizza sauce didn’t get the photo memo and missed out on the group shot, but I figure that is a given that you need sauce. 🙂 We bought pre made crust and the pepperoni but had most of the other ingredients already. This is how making pizza at home can be so affordable. Most of the ingredients you need you will already have in your pantry or fridge. Keep in mind this is were your creativity comes into play. Add whatever you love on your pizza.

Next time we are going to use fresh diced pineapple and ham. Hubs favorite!! I also want to try a meat lovers and margarita style as well!

Grilled Pizza Progression

The process is super easy, as you can see in the progression above. Hubs reminded me to mention that you must close the vents to your grill almost completely to help contain all heat while grilling the pizza. Your smoker/grill will act as a brick oven for cooking after allowing the coals to get extremely hot. Remember when you remove the crust from the first placement with the EVOO coating to act quickly with placing the toppings. A tip from experience is to have ALL toppings, sauce and cheeses ready to go when the crust is brought inside. Grill the pizza for about 10 – 12 minutes and remove. Let cool for 3 minutes before cutting and then enjoy!!

This was seriously one of the best pizzas I have ever had. We can’t wait to make another!!

Fire Grilled Pizza at Home - Double Knotted Apron

Enjoy! xo-M