Meet. The electric skillet.

My new best friend?

saute pic 1

We are still working kitchen-less out here in the country. And now. Without a kitchen sink!

Have you ever done dishes in the bathroom sink? Like, a lot?

Jealous, aren’t you?

But. We do have cabinets! And new counter tops! And appliances!

kitchen cabinets

Getting there… 🙂

But since we are still without a hooked up stove, it was time to look to my new bff the electric skillet for some dinner inspiration.

This recipe is the perfect solution to a flavorful one dish meal. Which fits the bill for a kitchen-less dinner. But also just for a super busy weeknight meal as well!

It’s super easy to throw together, and involves the use of a few short cut items…

aidells sausages

I’ve always liked these Aidells sausages. And if I can find them at a Food Lion in the midst of the cornfields, I know that you can probably find them pretty much anywhere! 😉

A couple packages of pre-cooked rice also helped with the no-stove situation too.

saute pic 2

After a few minutes in the skillet it’s time to serve things up with a little extra spice!!

sausage and rice

An easy one dish weeknight meal. Whether it’s from a plugged in skillet or a pan on the stovetop, it’ll definitely be devoured!


So appropriate, right?

Anyways Smiley

I don’t get into much work talk here on the blog for obvious reasons, but the past few days have been pretty hectic and yesterday was much of the same…hence my absence from blog land…

What wasn’t tough was walking out to my car, realizing it was not exactly where I parked it, then further realizing that it had been fully cleaned inside & out (??)

What a nice car thief, eh? Haha.

As a sweet note written on a napkin floated across the console, I realized that The Man had seriously just made my day by secretly picking up my car and taking it to get cleaned while I was working away … sometimes they really surprise you.  Am I right or am I right? 😉

I’ve also been eating this for the past two days.  Three meals in a row with no plans of stopping…

Just sayin’ 😛

Works out well considering by the time I got a workout in and settled for dinner last night it was well after 8pm.  Thank youuuu recipes that taste awesome-tacular the next day or so after being prepared!

And thank youuuu IowaGirl for introducing me to this wonderful recipe idea 🙂

Arancini Casserole

Serves 8

Recipe is a slight variation of this original recipe from Gina’s Skinny Recipes.

The casserole is based on arancini, which are fried rice balls coated in bread crumb & usually filled w/ meat sauce, mozzarella, tomato sauce and/or peas.

I didn’t have rice.  But I did have these fun little acini de pepe, which are like little pasta balls!

Pasta Layer:

  • 1 box acini de pepe
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup marinara sauce

Meat Layer:

  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage
  • 1/2 large onion (or 1 small), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste


  • 4 tblsp breadcrumb, divided
  • 4 oz. grated Mozzarella

Start by cooking the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up as you go (I had to remove from the casing), until almost cooked before adding in the onion and garlic.

Once the sausage is done, add the peas.  Plus some salt and pepper.

These Faith Farms hot Italian sausages just continue to impress.  They are so good!

Then add in the marinara sauce, turn down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the acini de pepe according to directions. 

9 minutes.

See, little pasta balls… right?!

Set aside and let cool for a few minutes.

Once the pasta is cool, add in the 1 cup marinara sauce (which should be the remainder of the jar), grated Parmesan and eggs.

Give a good stir to incorporate.

Then start your layering.

Into an oiled baking dish (just rub the bottom & sides with some olive oil using a paper towel to avoid stickage) add a layer of breadcrumb.

2 tblsp. of panko to be exact.

Then a layer of the pasta mixture (use half of it).

Followed by a layer of the sausage mixture (use it all).

Top with the remaining pasta mixture.

Plus some grated cheese and a layer of breadcrumb (the remaining two tablespoons).

Then cover, pop into a 400F oven and let it do its thing.

While the pasta was baking I prepped up some side salads using my new favorite bowls everrrrr.

Not sure why but I’m infatuated with these things?

Hey, never said I was normal.

I’m tellin’ ya, summer must be just around the corner based on the looks of the veggies so far this spring! 🙂

After the casserole has been in the oven for 20 minutes, covered, uncover it and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Finished product.

Gorgeous 😀

Check out all those layers!

What I liked about this casserole was (1) the flavor – so so good! I credit the recipe plus the quality Italian sausages, they are seriously the best  (2) the unexpected “pop” of the peas (3) the crust that formed on the edges of the casserole (4) acini de pepe!!!!  why haven’t I used this fun little pasta before?

The one thing I would change would be the liquid ratio.  I found it to be a teeny bit drier than I would have liked, so maybe some more sauce next time?  Seriously no big deal though because this was quickly remedied for leftovers purposes by adding a few spoonfuls of water to the dish before microwaving!

Alright folks, busy day ahead… but at least after work tonight I have a fun dinner meetup to look forward to 🙂 More to come…!

Happy *almost* Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

End of the week, how did you creep up on me so fast?  Phew it was a busy one, so I am happily welcoming the weekend (yea yea, what’s new haha) 😉

I’m also super excited to share this recipe I made tonight with you guys!

Let’s just say that after making it through today’ early evening horrific storm (again?!??) I was ready to release some tension in the kitchen.  We had flash floods, severe winds & lightening and even tornado warnings all starting around 5pm.  Fun Thursday no?

My Dad’s car battery also died right in the midst of the worst of the storm – right where said tornado warnings were – and somehow he got it jump started and made it home through what he said was one of the worst drives of his life.  As soon as he pulled in the driveway, turned off the car, tried to start it again – guess what?  Car dead.  Thank you higher power for watching over him and getting him home safely!

Same w/ The Man, who was also coming from the southside of town where the storm was the worst.  A car got struck by lightening on the highway he takes home – while he was driving home.

Let’s just say I was one happy camper when my 2 main men made it home safe and sound.  Homegirl does not handle that kind of stress well 😛

Okay, back to dinner!

Tomato, Ricotta & Italian Sausage Penne

This recipe was inspired by one I spotted on, one of my favorite recipe websites!

It featured some of my favorite farmer’s market Italian sausages, which I’m sure ya’ll all know how much I love (hello all meat, no “parts!” tmi?)

The stars of the show included:

  • 4 Italian sausages
  • 1 package whole wheat penne
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tblsp EVOO
  • 1 container chopped tomatoes (260z.)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parm
  • red pepper flakes
  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • fresh basil
  • S&P

I know I know, sounds like a lot of ingredients, but seriously most of this stuff you probably already have in your pantry!

I’ve also steered away from canned tomatoes these days after reading this article, so was excited to find these Pomi tomatoes which comes in a box and doesn’t present the BPA dangers their fellow canned versions do 🙂

I got things started by giving the onions a saute in the EVOO, adding the garlic towards then end when they were soft/cooked.

I also cooked the sausages stovetop until done and boiled the pasta while the veggies were cooking.  Then got ready to assemble the sauce!

After taking the sausages out of the sauce pan and draining the small amount of grease remaining, I added the tomatoes, wine, onion/garlic mixture and brought to a boil (soaking up all the flavorrrrrr!)  Then turned the heat down to medium and added in the spices.

Next I sliced up the sausages and added them into the sauce mixture as well, along with the fresh basil!  At this point I turned the heat down to medium-low before adding the remaining ingredients.

Last, but most certainly not least, in went the shredded Parm and ricotta cheese to blend.

And the sauce was ready!  Ready to pour over some delicious whole wheat pasta that is 😛

Spectacular!  I loved the flavor/texture that the creamy ricotta added to this dish and the sausages really gave it such a nice Italian touch too 😉

Of course I couldn’t forget my veggies, which included some cute summer squash that needed using!

A quick microwave trip w/ water, oregano and black pepper for a few minutes and these were ready for eatin’

Delicious dinner to end such a crazy day!

And now I’m off, Real Housewives of D.C. (hello neighbors!) and my fave GTL crew have my attention tonight 😀

See you for Friday!