Rigatoni with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Zucchini

The hubs asked me what I was making for dinner, I said “Rigatoni with Sausage” and he stopped me before I could say the rest and said, “you had me at pasta and sausage”. Love him! And loved this dinner, everyone did, highly recommend.

1 pound rigatoni

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 pound Italian sausage

5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups grape tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2 small zucchini, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

handful fresh basil, chopped (the store didn’t have any fresh basil so I just added 1 teaspoon dried basil when I added the salt and pepper)

shredded Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

1 Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when done reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

2 While pasta is cooking, add oil to a large, wide pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Add sausage, break into small pieces, and cook until brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste.

3 Add tomatoes and stock then season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cook for 5 minutes.

4 Toss pasta and sauce together and stir well to combine. Add reserved pasta water as needed. Stir in basil.

5 Serve topped with Parmesan.

recipe from Baker by Nature

Nutter Butter Reindeers

And here is Christmas treat #1, Nutter Butter Reindeers! I made them for porch treats, click here for an explanation of porch treats, and I think they came out so cute! They would be a fun treat to make with the kids.

1 package Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

1 package Red Hots

1 package candy eyeballs

1 bag mini pretzel twists

1 pouch cookie frosting, I used orange because it was the closest color to the cookies

1 Squirt a small blob of cookie frosting onto a red hot and carefully attach it to the bottom of the cookie.

2 Take a pretzel and run frosting around the bottom arc of it then carefully attach it to the top of the cookie.

3 “Glue” with frosting two eyes right below the pretzel.

4 Allow frosting to set.

Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

These were so good, almost as good as a chocolate chip cookies . . . almost.


2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 1/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked

1 (12 oz) bag maple chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans


1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 – 1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2 Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

3 In mixer bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add maple and vanilla extracts and eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add flour mixture and beat until combined. Add oats, maple chips and pecans and mix until combined. Scoop onto cookie sheets.

4 Bake 13 – 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on sheets before removing to cooling rack.

5 Whisk together glaze ingredients and drizzle over cooled cookies.

recipe from Wilton

Utah Taste Off – Churros and Fillings!

Our family had a lot of fun with this churro kit from Utah Taste Off! It came with 26 churros that you reheated in the oven and six different flavors of fillings to try plus a cinnamon and sugar mix to roll the churros in and also crushed Oreos to roll the Cookies and Cream filled churros in.

The churros came from San Diablo Artisan Churros.

The fillings came from

Fluffer Nutter from Among the Young

Cookies & Cream from Kailee Wright

Gingerbread Cookie Butter from Oh Sweet Basil

Raspberry Cream from The Manly Baker

Dark Chocolate from The Mighty Baker

Butter Beer from drewtifull

We loved the Raspberry Cream, the Dark Chocolate, and the Butter Beer!

If you haven’t tried Utah Taste Off yet, you are really missing out!

Pecan Pie Upside Down Cake

This was dessert #2 for Thanksgiving which I liked better than the cheesecake and which was finished off for breakfast the next day!


1/3 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 cup pecan halves


1 1/2 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg


1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 – 3 teaspoons milk

1 Heat oven to 350. Spray 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray then line with parchment paper.

2 For the topping, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and water until well blended. Stir in pecans to coat evenly. Pour into cake pan and spread into an even layer.

3 For the glaze, beat cake ingredients on low for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour batter over pecans in pan.

4 Bake 29 – 34 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Run knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing by putting a serving platter over pan and then turning over. Cool 15 minutes.

5 For the glaze, whisk glaze ingredients together and drizzle over cake. (I didn’t do the glaze, opting for homemade whipped cream instead.)

recipe from Betty Crocker

Impossibly Easy Toffee Bar Cheesecake

I don’t love cheesecake but the rest of my family likes it especially my daughter so I found this recipe which, as you can see, says impossibly easy so I decided to give it a go and they weren’t kidding, it really was impossibly easy and the fam loved it too so win, win!

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup Bisquick

2 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, cut into pieces and softened

3 (1.4 oz each) bars chocolate covered English toffee candy, coarsely chopped or just use part of a bag of toffee bits

caramel ice cream topping, for drizzling

1 Heat oven to 325. Spray bottom of 9″ pie plate with cooking spray.

2 In a blender, add milk, vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, and Bisquick. Cover and blend on high for 15 seconds. Add cream cheese and blend 2 minutes. Pour into pie plate.

3 Sprinkle candy over top then swirl gently with a knife to distribute candy evenly. (I used so much toffee that this wasn’t necessary.)

4 Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until about 2″ of edge of pie is set and center is still soft and wiggles slightly. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

5 Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Serve drizzled with caramel topping (and homemade whipped cream!).

recipe from Betty Crocker

Italian Sausage Pasta

I made this for dinner last night and there was only a tiny lit bit left over, the sign of a really good dinner!

16 oz pasta

1 pound milk bulk Italian sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 teaspoons minced or pressed garlic

2 cans Italian stewed tomatoes, drained and chopped

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon basil

1 cup shredded Parmesan, divided

1 Cook pasta according to package directions.

2 While pasta is cooking, cook sausage, onion, and garlic over medium heat for 4 – 5 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, drain off fat.

3 Stir in tomatoes, cream, salt, basil and 1/2 cup of cheese. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 6 – 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

4 Drain pasta and toss with sausage mixture. Serve topped with additional Parmesan.

recipe from Lil Luna

Utah Taste Off – Dinner Rolls

Utah Taste Off comes through again just in time for Thanksgiving with a Dinner Roll kit. It came with 6 rolls from each of the following vendors

Lion House Bakery

Shirley’s Bakery and Cafe

Fillings and Emulsions

Wallaby’s Smokehouse

Honey and Grains Bakery

Lehi Bakery

Here is my ranking –

#1 Lion House

#2 Shirley’s, Wallabys and Lehi Bakery

#3 Fillings and Emulsions and Honey and Grains Bakery

They were all good, but those Lion House Rolls stole my little carb addicted heart!

If you haven’t already, you really should check out Utah Taste Off. It’s a box of delicious food as well as a box of fun!

Pasta Fagioli

This soup is delicious, easy, and fast so it’s a triple win!

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 bay leaves

3 (15 oz each) cans diced tomatoes

2 (14.5 oz each) cans vegetable broth

2 (14 oz each) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup ditalini or other small pasta

grated Parmesan for sprikling

1 In a large pot or Dutch Oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in bay leaves.

2 Add tomatoes, broth, and beans. Stir in thyme, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Let simmer on low for 15 minutes.

3 Stir in pasta and turn up heat to medium. Cook until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

Chocolate Covered Oreo Turkeys

Here’s another easy and adorable treat for Thanksgiving that you could even make with the kids plus who doesn’t love an Oreo covered in chocolate?

1 bag Wilton chocolate candy melts

1 package Oreos

1 bag candy corn

1 package mini candy eyes

peanut butter chips or Reeses Pieces or smaller candy corns (for the nose or wattle)

1 Melt candy melts according to package directions.

2 Dip an Oreo into the melted chocolate using a fork to lower it in and then pull it out. Gently shake to remove excess chocolate then set on a parchment paper or wax paper covered cookie sheet.

3 Place 4 candy corns around the top of the Oreo for the feathers, carefully put 2 candy eyes under the feathers and then place a peanut butter chip or a Reeses Pieces or a small candy corn below the eyes for a nose or wattle.

4 Allow chocolate to set completely before handling.