Lunch With Loni

Just another weblog

Simple Sausage Pasta Bake (aka: Unstuffed Shells) February 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 5:53 pm

My husband graciously prepped this meal by putting the sausage in the crockpot during the day.  When I came home from work, this came together really quickly and resulted in minimal dishes.  It’s nice to make things that don’t require too many ingredients, too many steps, or too much cleanup!  You could add in peppers, onions or mushrooms and make it your own.  But even with just these ingredients, you won’t feel like you’re cheating anyone out of anything!

Recipe Courtesy Of: My Lazy Self


  • 1 package Italian turkey sausage, hot or mild (I used a 19oz package)
  • 1 large can (29 oz) or 1 smaller (14.5 oz ) cans diced tomatoes (I bought a kind that had garlic, oregano & basil in it)
  • 5 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small package (approx 7 oz) frozen creamed spinach, thawed
  • 1.5 cups part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 -1.5 cups mozzarella cheese, depending on how cheesy you prefer it!
  • 1 lb medium shell pasta (could also use corkscrews, rotini, penne, etc)


1.  Place sausage, diced tomatoes and garlic in crockpot on low heat for 6-8 hours.

2.  Remove sausages from the crockpot, slice, and add back in.  At this time, stir the ricotta cheese and spinach into the sausage and sauce.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3.  Cook 1 lb pasta according to box directions for al dente.

4.  Drain pasta well and add to the crockpot mixture slowly.  Incorporate all ingredients well.

5.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray (or if you want to skip this step, most crockpots are oven safe and you can add the mozzarella directly to the crockpot and bake).  Place half of the pasta mixture into the casserole dish.  Sprinkle half of the mozzarella on top of the pasta.  Add the remaining pasta mixture and top with remaining mozzarella.

6.  Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.



Valentine’s Day Cherry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies February 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 11:35 pm

What goes well with something red and pink for Valentine’s Day?  Chocolate, of course!  These brownies were yet another Cooking Light recipe, and they turned out well.  I did deviate from the recipe a bit by using canned no sugar added cherries that I drained, chopped and stirred in.  I couldn’t find dried cherries at the store I was at, and I thought these would look pretty.  I also couldn’t locate matzo meal flour, but I am curious to try it out sometime soon.  The husband approved of this festive treat, and a little square actually is satisfying…a little goes a long way.

Recipe Courtesy Of: Cooking Light Magazine September 2012

Original Recipe Located Online At:



  • 1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries  (I substituted canned cherries.  They worked fine, but I like the idea of dried cherries…I think mine was a “brighter” flavor and the dried cherries soaked in liqueur would be a richer, deeper flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon cherry liqueur
  • 1/4 cup sugar  
  • 6 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon matzo cake meal (I substituted all purpose flour, which the recipe actually said was fine…and it seemed to be!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped   ( I used my old faithful Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces  
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites  
  • 1 large egg  
  • 3 19/50 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sugar  
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


1.  Preheat oven to 325°.

2. To prepare cheesecake, place cherries and liqueur in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 45 seconds or until boiling; let stand 20 minutes. I drained 1/2 cup canned herries (so they wouldn’t make the cheesecake part too soggy, and chopped them up.  Place 1/4 cup sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute or until smooth. Add matzo meal, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 egg; beat just until blended. Stir in cherry mixture.

3. To prepare brownies, coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray; dust with cocoa. Combine chocolates and butter in a microwave-safe dish; microwave at HIGH for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, egg whites, and 1 egg. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir the chocolate mixture into flour mixture.

4. Scrape half of the brownie batter into prepared pan. Dot half of cheesecake batter on top. Top with remaining brownie batter. Dot with the remaining cheesecake batter. Swirl batters using the tip of a knife. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.