One Pot Pastalaya

Pastalaya pronounced pasta-lie-a (like jambalaya) is a cross between a pasta dish and jambalaya (the Cajun sausage and rice dish). Is that confusing enough? No matter Pastalaya is delicious! My family devours it, even in its whole food incarnation with whole wheat penne pasta.

Pastalaya (slightly adapted from Budget Bytes)


1 tablespoon canola oil

12-ounce package nitrate free Andouille sausage

2 cloves garlic

10-ounce bag frozen seasoning mix

15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes

1/2 tablespoon Creole seasoning

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon thyme

Freshly cracked pepper

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 pound whole wheat penne pasta

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1/2 bunch fresh parsley

1/2 bunch green onions


Slice Andouille sausage into rounds.

Place a dutch oven on the stovetop. Add oil and turn temperature to medium. Once hot, add sausage.

Cook sausage over medium heat until it is browned, about 5-10 minutes.

Mince 2 cloves of garlic and add to dutch oven. Saute for a couple of minutes, until fragrant.

Add the bag of frozen seasoning mix and saute until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes with juices, Creole seasoning, oregano, smoked paprika, thyme, black pepper (about 20 cranks of the pepper mill), chicken broth, water and pasta to the pot. Stir until everything is combined.

Place lid on and turn the heat up to medium-high. The mixture will come to a boil. Remove lid, and stir.

Turn heat down to simmer and replace lid. Allow to simmer 12-15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir the pot once every few minutes as it simmers to prevent the ingredients from sticking.

While the pasta is simmering, chop parsley and green onions.

Once the pasta is tender, most of the liquid in the pot should be absorbed. If it’s still a bit soupy, let the pot simmer for a couple of minutes without the lid to allow some moisture to evaporate.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Stir in most of the chopped parsley and green onions, reserving some to sprinkle over the top.

Serve hot with a pinch of fresh parsley and green onions on top of each plate.


Two-Ingredient Barbecue Chicken

This recipe is straight from a food blog I love – Bowl of Delicious!. Elizabeth is a whole-foods cook. All of her recipes are from scratch and most of the time very healthy. Hey, it called balance!

When I first glanced at this recipe I thought, crispy chicken from the oven? I gave it a try, and it is indeed crispy and delicious. You have to try this, especially if you get rained out on your weekend cookout.

Crispy Oven Baked BBQ Chicken (Bowl of Delicious!)


4 chicken leg/thigh quarters (substitute any part of the chicken you wish)

2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce (I use this one)

olive oil, salt, and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Trim chicken thighs of excess fat or extra skin. Rub chicken thighs with olive oil, making sure they are fully coated. Liberally salt and pepper.

Place parchment paper on a large rimmed baking sheet. Lay chicken thighs on top of parchment paper with skin side down. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

Using a basting brush coat the top of the chicken with barbecue sauce. Flip the pieces over with a spatula gently. Baste the other side of the chicken thighs. Bake for 7 minutes.

Remove chicken thighs from oven, baste top of chicken with barbecue sauce. Place back in the oven for 7 minutes.

Repeat this process until the chicken is crispy, some parts are blackened, and it is fully cooked.


Red Beans and Rice

I have been making Red Beans and Rice since I got married 30+ years ago. It is delicious, economical, and all ages love it.

An adaptation of a Cajun classic!

Red Beans and Rice


1 pound dried red beans

4 cups water

4 cups chicken stock

24 ounces (two 12-ounce packages) nitrite free Andouille sausage

1 onion, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

hot, steamed rice

chopped, fresh parsley


Rinse beans in a colander and sort, discarding any stones, debris, or broken beans.

Slice links of sausage into 1/4 inch slices. Chop onion. Mince cloves of garlic.

Saute sausage in a large Dutch oven with onion and garlic. Cook until onions are wilted, and sausage is caramelized.

Add rinsed and sorted beans and all seasonings. Bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 3-4 hours.

When beans are done, smash 85-90 percent of them. (You can use a potato masher.) The mixture should look very creamy.

Serve over hot, steamed rice.