Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Archive for the category “Pasta”

Southwestern Pasta

I like black beans. I like pasta very much. I wanted to combine them together to make a delicious meal for my family. It turned being my family’s favorite meal. I even thought I had some delicious food and a nice meal to cook.


  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 can  of black beans
  • 1 pack of smoked sausage
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 jars of salsa
  • corn
  • cilantro/avocado for garnish
  • queso fresco
  • salt/olive oil for pasta

Directions: Pasta

1. Cook pasta according to pasta box

2. Add salt and olive oil to water when boiling


Directions: Sauce

1. Cut sausage about equal sizes


2. Cut peppers about the same size as sausage


3. Add sausage and pepper to pan

4. Saute sausage and pepper until brown

5. Rinse beans

6. Add beans


7. Add salsa


8. Stir and heat through


9. Serve



We did a bit of a pick your own assembly.  Ana served her pasta and sauce separately, while I added cheese, cilantro, avocado and corn to top it off. This was a win from a dinner perspective.  There were even secondary uses applied – you can use it to stuff mini sweet pepper and bake with some more cheese.  Cait liked that version even better.





Chicken Parmesan

This week Ana asked to make chicken parmesan.  I took the easy way out and suggested we use already breaded chicken cutlets. I figured it would be easier for Ana to manage with those, given the risk of hot oil and multiple pans.  Although I did give her the option in the grocery store to get chicken breasts and carefully slice them in half.  She opted not to do it.


  • chicken cutlets (we had 12 cutlets for 5 people)
  • crushed tomatoes (2 28oz cans)
  • cheese (mozzarella, parmesan)
  • basil
  • oregano
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • adobo
  • spagetti
  • olive oil


Directions (Sauce)

1.  open crushed tomatoes

2.  pour in pot

3. heat sauce over medium heat

4. crush 4 garlic cloves into sauce


5.add basil & oregano (cup hand to measure)


6. heat & taste


Directions (Chicken)

1. open chicken

2. season chicken with adobo & pepper


3. cook chicken on olive oil (so it doesn’t stick) until golden brown (each side)


4. flip chicken


5. put in pan (do not stack)

6. add sauce & cheese (we mixed the parmesan and mozzarella together)




7. put in oven

8. broil 2-3 minutes


Directions (Pasta)

1. add water to pot

2. add olive oil

3. wait until boiling

4. add salt & pasta

5. stir pasta 3 minutes

6. wait 3 more minutes

7. drain & eat



We served it with a nice salad and good bread.  Ana did a really good job.  Everybody really enjoyed it and said she could make it again.  Ana was incredibly proud of herself (as she should be) and gave herself a round of applause.  She wouldn’t let me post that picture.

Tandoori Salmon


If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love to cook and I get inspiration from anywhere. I usually ignore the magazines in the grocery store isles unless of course the headline is pretty compelling. “5 Ingredient & 15 Minute Recipes” on the Cooking Light magazine won me over. While there were a lot of weird combinations, I did find a few things I thought I would try. One was this Tandoori Salmon and another was a curry paste marinated flank steak (which I’m doing tonight and I’ll post it another day).

My youngest daughter asked for pasta to be served along side the fish. I acquiesced somewhat. I heated up some red tomato sauce for her and made a quick lemon, caper, olive oil dressing for mine. I also paired this with some roasted brussel sprouts.

I don’t have a lot of pictures because this meal was super simple to put together, and fairly quick too.


1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon Adobo

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

4 salmon fillets

1 bag fresh brussel sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup greek yogurt

1/4 chopped cilantro

1-2 garlic cloves chopped

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 handful arugula

1 tablespoon capers

parmesan to taste

Salmon Directions

1. Mix ginger, turmeric, cumin, Adobo and pepper in small bowl

2. Rub spice mixture over salmon

3. Broil 9 minutes

Pasta Directions

1. Boil 1/2 pound pasta per package directions

2. Drain pasta

3. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice

4. Add in arugula and capers

5. Season with adobo, pepper and parmesan cheese

Roasted Brussel Sprout Directions

1. Remove any brown leaves off brussel sprouts

2. Rinse brussel sprouts

3. Place in baking dish

4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with adobo and pepper

5. Broil for 7-9 minutes on each side (there should be some charring)

Cilantro Yogurt Directions

1. Combine yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and cilantro

2. Chill for 15-20 minutes



While I know that this is a very simple tandoori, the spices worked well on the salmon and it went really well with the brussel sprouts and light pasta. My dad did a little more research and made a more traditional tandoori spice blend (from my inspiration) for his tilapia, with a side of grilled bok choy. He declared it the best meal ever, so I think it must be a winner. Hopefully, he’ll post his link as a comment.

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

As a process, cooking often starts with an ingredient. I often don’t know what I am going to do with it, until I start. This recipe was pretty indicative of that. I was planning on chicken and knew that I wanted to use my crockpot for the majority of the work as it was our annual spring karate tournament and the family would be out all day. I started searching for cockpit chicken recipes online, but it took a while for inspiration to set in. Most of the recipes were variations of smothered cream of xxxxx (you name it) soup. That seemed a little heavy for me.

My youngest daughter asked if we could have pasta so that also added another element to the mix. So this left me with only a few options for a lighter, tasty crockpot chicken recipe that could be served over pasta. I finally came across this Greek chicken recipe that I thought could make work.


3 pounds boneless chicken breast
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 jar kalamata olives
1 small can sliced black olives
1/2 bag frozen broccoli
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine
3 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp oregano
3 tsp Adobo
Feta to garnish
1 box whole wheat rotini


1. Add olive oil, white wine, minced garlic, oregano, and Adobo to crockpot and mix together
2. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat
3. Add in tomatoes, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives. Stir
4. Cook on low for approximately 8 hours (my crockpot has a meat probe that allows you to cook until the meat reaches a specific temperature. I used that but the time is also correct)
5. Add in black olives
6. Optional – thicken sauce by making a cold rue of olive oil and flour and add in a cup cooking liquid. Add back to crockpot and stir
7. Cook pasta per box instructions to al dente (approx 9 mins). Add in broccoli after 2 mins, for approx 7 mins cooking time
8. Toss with crockpot mixture

This was a great way to end our evening. Everybody enjoyed it.


Tuna Puttanesca

I got inspired by this week’s Iron Chef episode, where the secret ingredient was canned tuna.  I knew we had some canned tuna in the house and I figured that I would turn it into a puttanesca sauce.  I knew that it would work, and I had previously made sure that I had capers and anchovies in the house as staples.  I just need to swing by the store for some kalamata olives.

I was inspired by Rachael Ray’s Tuna Puttanesca, combined with Poppa John’s Puttanesca recipes. I combined recipes and threw some of my own influence in.


1 can tuna (I used albacore in water)

1 small onion

4 garlic cloves

3 anchovies

1/3 cup rum

12 small kalamata olives

1 tablespoon capers

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

 1 ice cube frozen chili pepper slurry (~2 ounces)

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)

1 tablespoon parsley


1.  Chop onions and garlic

2.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat

3.  Add onions, garlic and anchovies, saute 2-3 minutes breaking anchovies up as it cooks

4.  Add red pepper flakes, tuna.  Break tuna up with spoon as it cooks

5.  Chop olives.  Add olives and capers to pan and cook for 1-2 minutes

6.  Add rum and let it cook down

7.  Add pepper slurry and tomatoes.  Thoroughly mix and let simmer for about 5 minutes

8.  I added the penne pasta directly into the pan to allow it to cook for last couple minutes and soak up the sauce

I served the pasta with a little bit of cheese on top and a side salad.


My husband was a little skeptical until he tasted it.  He decided it was good and that he wanted some leftovers for lunch.  For a man that really doesn’t like leftovers, this was a good outcome.

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