Author Archive

Bow Ties with Sausage and Bell Peppers

May 9, 2011

            Pasta is a frequented ingredient at our house.  Not only is it inexpensive, but it is often quick and tasty, too!  This meal is one of our favorites.  It only requires a few ingredients, but these ingredients produce a really flavorful meal.  “Bow Ties with Sausage and Bell Peppers” is also a relatively easy and quick meal to fix for dinner.  It is even a favorite of our two-year old daughter Riley!


8 oz Bow tie pasta

¾ lb Italian sausage links

2 Bell peppers

½ c Beef broth

¼ tsp Ground black pepper

1 T Dried parsley

½ c Grated parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Pour pasta into serving dish.
  2. Cut sausage into 1-inch pieces.  (Jason is super-sweet and removes the casings before cutting because I like it better that way.)
  3. Cook sausage and peppers in a large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage is fully cooked and peppers are no longer crunchy.
  4. Add broth and pepper to skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  5. Add sausage mixture, parsley, and parmesan* to pasta in serving dish and stir to combine.

Serving Size:  4

*We prefer to add the parmesan to our individual servings, mostly because I’m a cheese-aholic, and Jason prefers to be a little healthier.  This method also prevents the cheese from getting goopy from the hot pasta (in case you have that problem).

This recipe is adapted from “Bow Ties with Sausage and Sweet Peppers” in the Big Book of 30-Minute Dinners by Better Homes and Gardens.


Oh My Macaroni and Cheese

February 3, 2011

            This oh-so-delicious macaroni recipe never fails.  The eggs add richness, the different cheeses provide lots of flavor, and the Cajun seasoning topping contributes a little kick to keep things interesting.  Guaranteed to be a hit among adults and kids alike, this side dish never fails!


12-16 oz. Macaroni*

1 (1/2 cup) stick margarine or butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cheddar cheese soup**

1 cup milk

2 cups (sharp or mild) cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups Colby jack cheese (or other cheese blend), shredded***

Bread crumbs

1-2 T. Cajun seasoning

*If you’re using a regular 9X13 pan, you’ll want to use a little less than 16 oz. of pasta because it will come close to overflowing the pan.

**I’ve substituted sour cream before for the cheddar soup, and it turned out fine.

***We use a different type of cheese every time; they’re all yummy!


1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.

2.  Cook pasta according to directions on box.  Drain.

3.  Mix next 5 ingredients in your biggest bowl.

4.  Alternate adding cheese and pasta to bowl.  (This step isn’t required, but it helps blend and melt the cheese.)

5.  Stir until thoroughly blended.  Pour into greased casserole dish.

6.  Sprinkle a layer of bread crumbs over the top.  Then sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over the bread crumbs.

6.  Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

This recipe creates about 8 servings.  Our family of 2 ½ can usually eat it with three different meals.  It goes great with all types of meat and can even serve as the main dish for a meatless night.  We also take this side dish to lots of pot-lucks and always come back with an empty dish!

Southwestern Pasta Bake

November 4, 2010


            Southwestern Pasta Bake is a great go-to casserole.  This Rachel Ray meal is not your stereo-typical casserole: no cream soups, no sour cream, and no long baking time!  It takes a few minutes to prep, but once you put it under the broiler in the oven, you are only a few minutes from eating!  In total, it takes about 30 minutes to make.  This meal is great by itself or with some veggies on the side.  The Southwestern Pasta Bake makes a full casserole dish.  We get two nights’ supper out of this meal for our family of two and a half (or one supper and a couple lunches each).  Just add a little bit of milk and cheese to leftovers to freshen them up.  Enjoy!

My husband and I have adapted this recipe from Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats.

Southwestern Pasta Bake


Coarse salt

12 oz. penne pasta (about ¾ of a 16 oz. box of pasta)

2 T. vegetable oil

4 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 T. ground cumin

1 T. ground coriander

2 T. chili powder

Coarse black pepper

½ yellow onion

3 garlic cloves

1 jalapeño, seeded

2 T. butter

2 T. all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

¾ pound sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 ½ cups)

1 T. dried cilantro (or ¼ cup fresh, chopped cilantro)

1 T. dried parsley (or ¼ cup fresh, chopped parsley)


1.  Preheat your oven to the high broiler setting.

2.  Get you pasta cooking, and follow directions on box.

3.  While pasta is cooking, pour oil into skillet and heat to medium-high heat.

4.  Mix the cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Use about 2 tablespoons of this mixture to season the chicken (more or less to your taste).  Save the extra for next time.

5.  Add the chicken to the oil in the heated skillet and cook about 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

6.  Process the onion, garlic, and jalapeño in a food processor until finely chopped or chop finely by hand.  Add to chicken mixture in skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.

7.  While chicken mixture is cooking, begin the cheese sauce.

8.  Heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat (I use a little higher than medium heat on our stove).  Melt the butter and stir or whisk the flour in.  Allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly browned.

9.  Very gradually whisk in milk.  It might be a little lumpy, but just keep on whisking.

10.  Once the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Remove from heat.

11.  Drain pasta and dump back in the pasta pot.  Add the chicken mixture and cheese sauce to the pasta pot and stir to combine.  Transfer everything to a 9X13 baking dish (or comparable casserole dish).

12.  Place under broiler for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Enjoy!

Resisting the Bread of Idleness

November 1, 2010

“An excellent wife who can find?”  (Prov. 31:10)

Hopefully, you’ll find a few of them right here.  At least, you’ll find a few women who are striving for that title.  Our blogging venture begins as a way to share recipes among ourselves and with others; however, I trust it will continue as a way to remind us to serve our families diligently and willingly as the Proverb goes on to describe.  “She… works with willing hands” (Prov. 31:13).  For this reason, we have christened our recipe blog, “Cooking with Willing Hands.” 

On “Cooking with Willing Hands,” you will find delicious recipes that our ladies have cooked and served successfully to their families and friends.  Some will have been passed down through generations.  Some will have been created by our ladies.  And others will be great finds that we want to share with each other and with you. 

I eagerly look forward to trying the recipes shared here, but I also look forward to the examples of my sisters in Christ in how they care for their families.  As they work in their homes, they are like the Proverbs 31 wife who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Prov. 31:27).  Their efforts will be an inspiration as I also pursue those goals.

Finally, I ask you to read our recipes and enjoy them with your families.  Please take time to provide us with feedback.  But more importantly, as we strive to bring glory to God, I encourage you to work with willing hands, look well to the ways of your household, and resist the bread of idleness.