Recipe—Rustic One Pot Veggie Pasta

Are you noticing a trend with all my new recipes? I think quick and easy has become my thing. As you may recall reading on my post, “The Diva is Back,” my blog fell to the wayside for a couple of years because life was just too crazy. Juggling work, youth sports, and well… just life, I have been all about quick, yet quality, meals. Don’t get me wrong, I still love spending time in the kitchen cooking for hours but 5 days a week I find myself short on time and energy at the end of the day.

This recipe is great for so many reasons. It only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and you end up with a veggie packed delicious dinner. This isn’t one of those “one pot” recipes where you cook something in a pot, transfer it to a plate, cook something else, transfer it back to the pot, you catch my drift. You literally throw almost all the ingredients into one pot and cook it all together. So to recap, you eat a delicious dinner and then have almost no dishes to wash. Win win! Now you can spend that extra time cozied up on the couch with a glass of wine (or beer) and unwinding from your crazy day.

1 lb spaghetti noodles
2 c white mushrooms, sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced and halved
2/3 c frozen peas
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt & pepper
1/2 c grated parmesan
1/2 c heavy cream


  • In a large pot combine noodles, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme, and 4 1/2 cups of water.
  • Season the water with salt and pepper.
  • Set the stove to high heat and bring the water to a boil.
  • Once boiling reduce the heat to medium high and simmer uncovered until the pasta is cooked through, about 9–11 minutes, making sure to stir every couple of minutes.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, remove the sprigs of thyme.
  • Stir in the parmesan and heavy creamy until well combined and the cheese melted.
  • Serve immediately topped with some extra parmesan.


Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious. 

Side Dishes

Recipe—Zucchini and Tomato Gratin

Out of all of the seasons, I love the summer most. Not just because of my lazy poolside days, baseball games, refreshing beverages, or little summer dresses, but because of the abundance and variety of incredible produce. It is something that people in California take for granted. Every year we grow a couple of cherry tomatoes plants in out backyard. My son can hardly wait for them to ripen and as soon as they do he eats them right off of the plant. Sweet, warm, vine ripened tomatoes. Yummmmmm…there is nothing like them. We seem to have a bowl full on our counter all summer long. The other veggie we seem to never get enough of during the summer is zucchini. Zucchini and tomatoes are a wonderful pair, and when you add in some quality parmesan cheese and fresh basil, delish! When I first tried this recipe for zucchini and tomato gratin I knew it was a recipe I would be making all summer long. Serve it up on it’s own with some pasta or as a side with your favorite protein, either way it is a perfect summertime dish.

sweet Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
olive oil
3 medium zucchini, sliced
1 leek, sliced and thoroughly washed
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 c parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c Italian bread crumbs
1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of large cast iron skillet.
  • Separate the onions rings, place them in the bottom of the skillet, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
  • Add half of the sliced zucchini, half of the leeks, and all of the garlic to the pan.
  • Sprinkle with a 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and a 3/4 cup of the breadcrumbs.
  • Drizzle with additional olive oil.
  • Add the remaining zucchini, remaining leeks, and all of the cherry tomatoes to the pan and drizzle with more olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and a 3/4 cup of the breadcrumbs.
  • Drizzle with a tad more olive oil.
  • Bake entire pan in the oven for 25–30 minutes.
  • Turn on the broiler and finish the dish off under the broiler for 2–3 minutes or until it is golden brown on top.
  • Garnish with fresh basil.

Recipe adapted from Proud Italian Cook.


Recipe—Summertime Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Veggies

This is one of those fabulous recipes you will want to make all summer long. Here are the reasons why I think you will love this recipe:

  1. It’s an entire dinner done in one skillet (easy cleanup)
  2. It takes under 25 minutes to make
  3. It’s incredibly healthy (low cal and low carb)
  4. It utilizes fresh summer veggies
  5. It tastes and looks fabulous!

Do you really need more reasons than that to give this recipe a try?

2 large or 4 small, boneless skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and black pepper
3 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped and divided
1 tbsp olive oil
2 yellow squash or zucchini, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 c green beans, cut in half
2 lemons
1/4 c white wine


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • In a small bowl combine 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the rosemary.
  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the seasoning mix.
  • Drizzle the olive oil in the skillet and add the prepared chicken breasts.
  • Cook chicken on both sides until cooked through.
  • Add the squash, carrots, and green beans to the skillet.
  • Squeeze the juice of the two lemons into the skillet and add in the white wine.
  • Season the veggies with the remaining tablespoon of rosemary and some additional salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken breast on top of the vegetables and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the veggies are cooked to desired doneness.

Recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian.


Recipe—Ratatouille Lasagna

My last recipe post was for very fabulous ratatouille. Well if you are like me you probably had leftovers. The leftovers can be used for a whole plethora of things but my favorite has to be lasagna. I love the big hearty pieces of vegetables cooked together with Italian sausage and some rich cheeses. This ended up being the best lasagna I have ever had! You can make one large lasagna in a 9” x 13” baking dish or two small ones in 8” x 8” dishes. I opted to make 2 so that I could freeze one for another night. That means I get to enjoy this delish dish twice! Oh lucky me! Gotta love this French meal turned Italian.

Note: When I make lasagna I like to double up the noodles on the top and bottom layers. I feel like it helps hold it together better for ease of serving. This requires that you cook one and a half boxes of noodles since just one isn’t enough for this method. If you don’t want to double up then one box is completely adequate.

1 lb Italian sausage
15 oz can tomato sauce
4 c leftover ratatouille
1 1/2 boxes wavy lasagna noodles
15 oz container ricotta cheese
1/4 c fresh basil chopped
salt and pepper
4 c mozzarella, shredded


  • In a large skillet brown your sausage and drain off any excess grease.
  • Add tomato sauce and ratatouille to skillet and warm through over medium heat.
  • While the ratatouille is heating through cook your lasagna noodles according to the package instructions, drain, and separate.
  • In a small bowl combine the ricotta, basil, salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Prepare a 9” x 13” baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of the cooked noodles and then place a second layer of the cooked noodles on top of that going the opposite direction.
  • Spoon in about 1/3 of your ratatouille sauce over your lasagna noodles and spread evenly.
  • Top sauce with half the ricotta mixture and sprinkle a handful of the mozzarella over the top of the ricotta.
  • Place a single layer of noodles over the ricotta and spoon in about 1/3 of your ratatouille sauce over your lasagna noodles and spread evenly.
  • Top sauce with half the ricotta mixture and sprinkle a handful of the mozzarella over the top of the ricotta.
  • Top the lasagna with cooked noodles and place a second layer of the cooked noodles on top of that going the opposite direction.
  • Spoon remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the top is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Dinners, Side Dishes


Ratatouille Over Penne

When most people hear the word ratatouille they think of a movie about a little rat named Remy who dreams about becoming a chef. Ratatouille is not just a very cute Pixar movie; it is also a delicious dish loaded with succulent Mediterranean vegetables that your family is sure to enjoy.

Ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable stew that originated in Nice. The full name is ratatouille niçoise. It is a flavorful, hearty, low calorie fare that can be served as an excellent main dish, to accompany a protein, or tossed with pasta. This recipe is a great way to utilize all those wonderful summer garden veggies that are in season. Aside from all the chopping this recipe is very easy to prepare.


I will state that this makes a pretty hearty amount so you will probably have leftovers unless you are serving a whole army. The leftovers are incredible, as the flavors seem to intensify with time. I made lasagna with my leftovers and I must say it is one of the best lasagnas I have ever had! The big chunky vegetables were awesome, especially when I paired them with Italian sausage and some ricotta. I will be sure to share that recipe with you next. Delish!

1/4 c olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped


  • In a large pot that has a lid, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Cook onions until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook for about 1 min.
  • Add in eggplant and zucchini and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and simmer stirring once until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in bell peppers, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in tomatoes and thyme and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.
  • Stir occasionally until vegetables are cooked to desired consistency. Mine take about 12–15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in basil, and serve immediately.