Monday, August 7, 2017

Cheesy Kielbasa and Pasta Dinner

Good evening my friends!  It feels so good to bring you a new recipe last week and another one this week!  I have missed it, and all of you.

I found kielbasa at the store marked down.  1.00!  I bought a handful, ok....I bought 8,  Straight into the freezer for a good potato and kielbasa hash with a fried egg on top or something for breakfast or breakfast for dinners.  I asked you all on Facebook for your best recipes using kielbasa, and what great feedback.  I plan to give many of them a try!  I wanted to use pasta and cheese, and had never run across much of that nature so I went to work and hit this on the head, the first time and I can assure you, this might be a once a weeker in our house now!

This is a one pot show.  Everything into one hot tub and you are golden.  I even served it straight out of the pot.  Why not?  Added some crusty bread and a green salad and boom!

Feel free to trade out the can of diced tomatoes for a very large fresh tomato, diced!

1 T olive oil
1 lb kielbasa, cut into coins
1 tsp minced garlic
1- 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (feel free to swap out one LG fresh tomato, diced)
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 T onion powder
16 ounces short pasta (I used rotini)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)

In a large pot, on medium heat add in your olive oil.  Let warm for a minute and add in your keilbasa and let heat through and brown for 2-3 minutes.  Add in your garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute.  Add in your chicken stock and tomatoes (with juice).  Stir in your onion powder and bring the mixture to a boil. 

When it boils, add in your pasta, stir and cover and let simmer 8-9 minutes.

Remove lid, stir in heavy cream and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.

Mix until combined.  Add the other cup of cheddar on top and put the lid back on.  Let sit for 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese.

I served this with some nice crostini and fresh green beans!

If you enjoy this recipe you may also enjoy:

Mexican Spaghetti
Orecchiette and Sausage

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cookies and Cream Oreo Blondies

Heyyyaaaa!!  Long time no see, eh?  Been a slow summer.  Been in a transition time and just haven't been mentally at my best.  I am looking forward to fall and winter though!   Lots of kitchen time!  Lots of soup!  Lots of comfort food!  Lots of delicious goodness!

As most of you know, I have a new YouTube channel.  I would love to have you subscribe if you haven't.  Here is the link, FoodThoughtsOfaChefWannabe.  You will find lifestyle, food, hauls, Scentsy, and random videos with my littles and hubby!  That being said, I love couponing so one fo those channels I watch, Nicole Burgess and she shared this recipe from Six Sisters Stuff.  I adapted my recipe from that.  I changed it up in a way I thought we would enjoy it better!

Here is what you will need:

1 cup butter softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3.4 ounce package of INSTANT vanilla pudding
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 heaping cup of white chocolate chips
20 Oreo's roughly chopped  (I save a handful off to the side to sprinkle on top when it is in the pan)

You can do this by hand, but the mixture gets pretty thick and hard to stir, (I learned the first time).  I did it in my stand mixer this time!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

In your stand mixer cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  When it is smooth and fluffy, add in vanilla pudding mix.  Mix until completely incorporated.  Scrape down the sides as needed!

Mix together the flour, soda, powder, and salt.  Just mix for a couple of seconds and then add flour mixture into the mixer bowl half at a time and continue mixing.  Next add in your cookies and white chocolate chips, (minus that handful) Mix until just combined.  Pour out into your 9x13 and even it out as best you can.

Pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes.  It should still be a little gooey looking in the middle!  Let cool and serve up with an ice cold glass of milk!

Other Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Double Chocolate Mint Brownies
Chocolate Amaretti Trifle
Chocolate Crunch Brownies

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sweet and Tangy Macaroni Salad

Don't freak out.  You aren't imagining it.  It is me.  Four months later, I have come back to life.  You guys, SO much has been going on, I know I keep saying that but in all seriousness, it is one thing after another, it doesn't even seem real.  On a happy note, we are moved into the new digs and loving it!

I have been busy cooking all the old favorites.  Just making it homey and comforting while we settled in.  I have a full stocked pantry and my my husband noticing my abundance of dried macaroni I guess, had macaroni salad on his mind.  Notice the pasta in the photo, there are 2 kinds.  Hey, I always tell you we keep it real around here and I only had 1 of each kind so I did two kinds!  You can match your pasta or use what you have on hand.  This makes a huge batch, it really does.  He asked for specifics and you may or may not recognize much of this recipe as being my Donna's Secret Recipe Potato Salad, recipe.  He asked that I add a few things and so I gave in after probably what is now months of him asking and made it.  It turned out delish and I wanted to share it with you.

Some of these flavors may have you questioning my ability to make good food, but trust me, it just works.  Don't take my word for it, George will tell you!  Shall we?

Remember this is a big batch and this pasta will suck up everything, so trust me!

2 lbs short cut pasta
30 oz jar of Hellmann's
3 T yellow mustard
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 cup carrots (shredded or grated into strips and then cut like I did)
1 dozen eggs, hard boiled
1 to 1 1/2 cups finely chopped dill pickles  (don't cheat and try to use dill pickle relish!)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix mayo, mustard, sugar, milk and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Whisk until smooth and creamy.  I suggest having your eggs hard boiled and peeled and cut ahead of time, same with your pickles and carrots as well.  It will work best to mix the dressing in a bowl that is large enough to hold your entire batch of macaroni salad.  Prepare the pasta last and cook until al dente.  Use the lowest cook time suggested (10-12 minutes, go with 10).  Drain and pour directly into the sauce.  Add in eggs, carrots, and pickles and stir to combine.  Refrigerate at LEAST 6 hours before serving, overnight would be even better. 

It is so good to be back!  Look out for more new recipes, and join me on FB, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube!

If you enjoy this recipe, you may also like:
Blue Cheese Potato Salad
Almost Aversa's Macaroni Salad
Crabby Macaroni Salad
My Mom's Macaroni Salad 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast

Hello chefwannabe readers!  Thank you for stopping by!  Make sure to join the website, sign up for email notifications when I put out a new recipe and join me on all of my social media!!

Instagram: @ftchefwannabe
Twitter: FTofChefwannabe

My new YouTube channel is much adieu about life, and some cooking videos.  I will get more into the cooking video aspect as soon as I get some equipment that makes it easier!  I would love to have you on any or all and make sure to visit, subscribe, follow, join, and comment!

Ok, just haven't put all that info in a post lately so now, about this Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast!  YES!  It IS awesome!

Hubby had made a request, and much to my surprise, what I made was completely different than what he was requesting but we both decided it was so good, (as did my daughter in law) that I wanted to share it with you.  This would be an awesome breakfast, brunch or even dessert dish!  It is easy and can be baked, refrigerated and eaten cold or reheated!

Here is what you will need!

12 (ish) slices of Texas Toast (the fresh stuff, no garlic toast, no frozen, fresh, or you can use a loaf of bread  you slice very thick.

For the FILLING you will need:
12 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

5 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter or grease a 9x13 baking pan.  Take a knife and make a slit in the side of your bread about halfway through.  It is easier if your bread is cold or even frozen!  Do this to all of your slices.  Put aside and prepare the cheesecake filling.

Add on FILLING ingredients together and with a hand mixer, mix until combined.  You can leave out a few of the blueberries to fold in whole, or just add them all in the mixture.  Divide between all the slices of bread and fill up the pocket you created.

Now prepare the CUSTARD.  Again, combine all ingredients and beat until combined, and frothy.  Pour over your pan of stuffed french toast evenly.  It won't come above the bread probably.  No worries, just pour over and it will be fine!

Let sit just a couple of minutes and bake for 35-45 minutes.  Let cook for 10 minutes!

I sprinkled mine with some powdered sugar and served!  You get a cheesecakey side and a bread pudding side and the tops are a little crisp like french toast.  (DROOL)


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Italian Cherry Almond Cookies

ACK!  The holidays are almost here!  Are you ready?  Shopping done?  House cleaned? Tree up?  Christmas cards sent?  Guest bedrooms cleaned? BAKING done?

I have done a couple days worth of baking.  My daughter in law and I did a major baking session yesterday.  This year, seeing as it has been a hard year, I just remade some of my favorites, all of which can be found here on the website.

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies
Vanilla Snicker Doodles
Elf Hats

We also made some Rolo's melted in pretzels, peanut butter blossoms, for that I use the ol' Betty Crocker standby recipe, and tweak it just a bit!  We also made these Italian Cherry Almond Cookies my husband requested this year!

I am not going to spend to much time with chitter chatter, time is growing short, and you must make these.  Like...MUST.  Let me assure you (or warn you) this recipe makes a TON!

Here we go!

1 cup shortening
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tsp almond extract
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
5 tsp baking soda
red food coloring
16 oz maraschino cherries (drained and roughly chopped)
1 cup chopped almonds
2 lbs all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer add in shortening, eggs and sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Add in extracts, half of your milk, baking powder and your desired amount of red food coloring  I chose for mine to be just a nice pink color.   Mix again until combined.  Now mix in your cherries, and your nuts.  Start adding your flour just until combined for each addition.  Mine took all 2 lbs, yours may not.  You want a nice soft dough.

Roll your cookies into balls, and place on a parchment lines cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove to a cooking rack after 5 minutes of cooling on the cookie sheet.

IDEA!  You can use some of the maraschino cherry juice, add some powdered sugar, and a little butter and make a drizzle for these cookies as well.  I did not do that but last night, while laying in bed, I thought it would have been cool!  Let me know if you do it and post your photos on FB or Instagram and tag @ftchefwannabe.

Wishing you a blessed, happy, peace filled holiday season my dear friends!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Tis the season for sniffles, allergies and colds!  WOOHOOO!

Actually I am not excited for sickness, for me or anyone of you, but IF it happens, I have the soup for you! 

This happy accident (long ago) soup is delicious.  I am a soup fanatic, and personally can NOT have to many soup recipes on hand.  Soup is always my first choice, year round actually.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!  Shouldn't be to hard to remember the recipe, eh?!

1 T. olive oil
1 lb ground chicken
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 small bell pepper chopped
1 cup fresh green beans chopped (use canned if needed)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 T. minced garlic
1  14.5  oz. diced tomatoes (add juice, more flavor!)
1 T. dehydrated onion (feel free to grate 1T fresh into the pot)
1 T. dried parsley
1 T. Italian Seasoning
5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

In a large pot, add in olive oil and ground chicken.  Cook chicken until it is halfway done and then add in carrots, celery, bell pepper, green beans, frozen peas and corn.

Stir until completely combined, then add in garlic and let cook for a couple of minutes stirring constantly.  Now add in the tomatoes, onion, parsley, Italian seasoning, and chicken stock.  I use low sodium chicken stock so I add in 1 tsp salt to start, you may need more, I did.  Also add in pepper.  Cover and simmer on medium for 20 minutes.

I think this soup is perfect for those sniffly days!  Add in some red pepper flakes, or a little hot sauce and feel the nose run, and run, and run!  It is perfect for healthy eaters and full of vitamin goodness!  I make this soup and keep it in the fridge, and eat on it for lunches or a snack.  Why not?!


Monday, December 5, 2016


Good evening friends!  I know it is a busy time of year for everyone!  I hope you are taking time to enjoy it, taking in the laughter, the conversation and the good food!

This is an old family favorite.  We always called in cavatini, not sure why, we just did.  Give me enough time and it will come back to me but as of now, it is what it is.....cavatini!  We make this with mushrooms, without them, it is not cavatini!  We also must have the radiatore pasta  You just use any short cut pasta and you will be fine!

Don't slaughter me over the canned mushrooms, they are actually my husbands favorite and some people have VERY strong opinions about them for sure! Feel free to use fresh, no biggie, your cavatini, your decision!  The red pepper flakes are a must, this is spicy, and sweet, and has beefy mushrooms and ground beef, it is so hearty and ABOVE NOT skimp on the massive amount of cheese, I won't be able to forgive myself for failing you, if you do!

16 oz pasta, cooked and drained (we MUST use radiatore)
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2, 7 oz cans of mushrooms or (16 oz fresh, sliced mushrooms)
1 lb hamburger (lean)
1  10.75 oz can tomato soup
1 16 oz jar pasta sauce
2 T sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Get your pasta cooked according to package directions and drained.  Preheat your oven to 375 while it is groovin'.

Drain your pasta and add in your butter and olive oil.  Let it begin to sizzle and add in your drained mushrooms.  Saute for a couple of minutes and then remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl.  Set aside.

Add in your hamburger and cook until browned.  Toss in your tomato soup and pasta sauce, and RINSE that pasta sauce jar, you need that bit of extra liquid anyway!  Dump it into the pot and stir.  Now for the red pepper flakes, I use usually 1.5 tsp, but start with one, or even half.  Toss them in and stir to combine and heat those babies up!  Add in your sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  Add your mushrooms and pasta in and stir until completely combined.

Pour into a buttered 9x13 casserole and smooth out the top.   Let it rain cheese and in the oven you go!  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve bubbling hot! (with crusty bread)