Mom’s always know best

As simple as a spaghetti bake might sound, it took a bit of effort.  I don’t know how the end result turned out in Bobby Dean’s kitchen however mine came out the complete opposite of a “bake”.  I could have skipped the oven portion altogether and considering we were starving, that wouldn’t have been so bad for our grumbling stomachs.

IMG_3668   IMG_3669

I followed the instructions carefully, being it was the first time making the dish. Everything was going fine until I added the crushed tomatoes, they had to simmer for 15 minutes to reduce and thicken, but neither happened in that time (I even turned up the heat half way through realizing there was no change in the sauce).  I added the spaghetti and let it marinate thinking maybe the noodles would absorb some of the sauce … nothing.  So into the casserole dish everything went, baked for 25 minutes; yeah the cheese was bubbly and melted to perfection but the spaghetti was still soupy 😦 Overall, the flavors were perfect but I have to figure out a way to improve the recipe … maybe search for a video of Bobby Dean making it (I’d like to see the end product, maybe it’s supposed to be soupy).  It’s originally his mom’s recipe but he revamped it and cut about 1/2 the calories.


Oh, a major whoopsie-oopie was using a small skillet. I forgot about the crushed tomatoes when thinking which pan to use. Fortunately the spaghetti pot was empty so I transferred everything.

IMG_3640IMG_3666 << couldn’t find chicken sausage so I used pork instead

Bobby’s recipe  << 15 minutes stove top cooking time … not enough for a sauce to reduce.

Paula’s recipe << longer stove top cooking time … BOOM. There’s the answer.

Clearly, longer cooking time has nothing to do with calories so that will be something I change next time.  I’ll follow Paula’s steps but Bobby’s ingredients (really there isn’t much difference in those either). I like the way she layers everything, rather than mixing it together. Duly noted!

I know it’s something we don’t like to admit …

IMG_3663[1]  … but mom’s always know best.



And this little tomato got burnt, burnt, burnt…

Did the creator of this recipe want me to burn the little tomatoes?


The original recipe instructs you to bake grape tomatoes for 35 minutes at 425 degrees… um, bake them to a crisp? YUMMY! Word to the wise, when using internet recipes, always read the reviews left by people who have tried it already. Usually 1 review is actually helpful but in this case, each person was fooled by the cooking instructions, burning the tomatoes and shallots… people went on to say that they still ate it! Gross. Only hotdogs are allowed to be burnt via the grill. Oh my gosh crispy hot dogs are the best.  I digress, I kept the cooking temperature but only put the tomatoes and shallots in for 12 minutes – voila, perfect.

Image (I added garlic and omitted basil)

Simple set up for tomato ravioli … 8 ingredients; takes maybe 30 minutes to prep & cook everything.  I swapped out ravioli for tortellini; it was a better value for the price.  Stuffed pasta is stuffed pasta; I don’t care if I offended you with that statement. You’ll forget all about it once you see this picture, who can resist a “kiss the cook” opportunity from Sous Chef Geno?


While the tomatoes and shallots were baking I started boiling the tortellini.  Figuring, ‘why not?!’ when dumping all the contents into the water, not thinking about the small pot I decided to use…  SH*T! It’s boiling over.

I let it go down and moved the pot to another burner… the crooked burner. The water spilled over again. CRAP! How difficult is this?!

**BEEP BEEP BEEP** No, that’s not me cursing, that’s the alarm on my phone telling me it’s been 12 minutes, ha. Yes, I use my phone as a timer because the oven timer doesn’t work nor does the microwave.  The plastic yellow pepper timer that I thought would be cute also stopped working after a few uses. Hey, there are two more things I can add to my “awesome kitchen” list.

I’m hungry, let’s eat. CRAP! I almost forgot about the balsamic vinegar, it’s ok though… only needed to drizzle some on the tomatoes and shallots after baking.  I don’t know what it is about balsamic vinegar, but it tastes so good when mixed with pasta. Now you can top the tortellini with the tomatoes and shallots, mix together. Plus make that 9 ingredients.

Here’s the finished product … take a look at our formal dining set up.  We sure are fancy folk, drinking out of gallon water jugs.  Seriously, you can take the boy out of the boonies but you can’t take the boonies out of the boy.  I on the other hand prefer to drink out of our sweet “Higby” glasses, wedding present courtesy of Danielle. Bark Busters bag is kept near by in case the sous chefs decide to sneak a peak at dinner.


As another attempt to be fancy, I made wedge salads to go along with dinner.  Maybe it’s just me but I used to think wedge salads were amaze-balls… the bees-knees… only found at expensive steak houses.  HA! What was I EVER thinking? It’s stupid $1.00 ice burg lettuce that steak houses sucker you in to paying $4.00 for. Man, what a rip off! I guess the blonde hair is taking its toll.

Some of you may be wondering what Josh did while I was preparing dinner…
HOLD THE PHONE. Jason Grilli is on the cover of S.I.