Pizza in a Pot

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, February 2015, Main Course, Pasta


My friend Wendy from work shared this recipe with me one day (I MISS YOU WEN!). It very very quickly became one of our favorites. It is extremely adaptable…even for different tastes within the same family.

I haven’t changed much. But of course I just had to fiddle with it a little.

The recipe as it was sent to me:

Saute: 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper

Add: 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

Add: 1 box fresh mushrooms, 1 large stick pepperoni (ML stick), garlic powder to taste, 1 1/2 t oregano, 4 cups cooked noodles (flat egg), 1 large can tomatoes (chopped), 1 small can tomato paste, 2 cans tomato soup, 1 bottle chilli sauce

Mix all together and place in casserole dish. Cover with grated mozza. Bake 350F/40-45 min.


Well…..I don’t like pepperoni. Brendan does.

I like all veggies. He doesn’t.

I didn’t have flat noodles. I had Penne. It worked. The next time I used fusili ( I still hadn’t purchased any egg noodles). I found I much preferred the fusili. The little ridges held onto the sauce and ingreds.

I’m also not a huge fan of melted cheese. Odd, I know. I can eat an entire block of cheese…but if you melt it I run for the hills.

There is only the 2 of us and even with the desire of lots of leftovers, I halved the recipe.

So what I did was:


Take a bowl. Mix all the sauce ingredients together (1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato soup, 1 can of tomato paste, 1/2 bottle of chili sauce, garlic powder, parsley, oregano, 1 clove chopped garlic, salt & pepper…and a sprinkle of chili flakes)



Fry up your onions, green pepper and mushrooms.



Add your precooked hamburger. Or other meat. Pepperoni (bleech), salami, bacon, whatever.



Add your precooked noodles.







I add Shakey cheese (Parm). You could top with mozza….if you want. Again, this is a hugely adaptable recipe. Keep the sauce the same…change out the pizza ‘toppings’. You’ll get a different flavor every time. I am just telling you what I like. And i’m almost always right. 😉






This dish is even better on day 2 or 3 or 4. I like to make a huge pot of it and then I take it to work as my lunch for a whole week.





A lot of times I make 2 separate batches. One tailored to my tastes and one for Bren. That way he isn’t throwing out all my delicious mushrooms…and i’m not pissed off cause I have to eat pepperoni.




love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

little LITTLE brown chicken

BAT salad

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, January 2015, Main Course, Pasta, Salads


Disclaimer: No actual bats were injured or ingested in the making of this dish.

BAT is an acronym. Erins English Lesson #124. An acronym, as defined by Webster, is an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. Usually these components are individual letters (as in NASA or laser) or parts of words or names (as in stupid combos of stars names like Brangelina). BAT stands for bacon, avocado and tomato. 3 of my favorite things in a pasta salad.

When I initially found the recipe it called for a ‘ranch dressing’ as the sauce on the salad. I tried it. I didn’t like it. At all. But that was to be expected since I don’t really like ranch. lol. So I made up my own the next time. I have tweaked it and tweaked it to come up with this….


1 box of small pasta (My fave is Ditali)

1 ripe avocado

diced tomato (I prefer to cut up grape or cherry tomatoes)

1 package of cooked bacon, chopped

2 stalks of green onion, chopped

salt & pepper


1/2 cup of mayonnaise (Hellmans)

1/2 cup of Miracle Whip

1 Tbsp of Jalapeno Lime Aioli (from Costco…this is not necessary but adds a little tang and a little heat and I love love love it on everything)

2 Tbsps (or more….) of dill pickle juice. I like the PC Hot & Zesty. You could also sub in any acid….lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar.

1 tsp dried dill

a generous amount of salt and pepper


Boil and drain your pasta as per package guidelines for al dente. With the Ditali its perfect at around 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Taste and adjust to your preferences. I like lots of pickle juice and lots of S&P. Some people like a thicker sauce (like me)…others prefer it thinner. If you are ‘one of those people’ then you can thin this sauce with a little milk whisked in.



Add your cooked and cooled noodles and chopped bacon (reserve a sprinkle to top salad), tomatoes and diced avocado.

(Trick….I find if you halve the avocado and remove the pit, all you need to do it score the flesh with a knife in a criss cross pattern and then scoop out with a spoon)

Stir together and adjust spices to your liking. I throw in some Crazy Janes Mixed Up Peppers (I NEED TO GET TO THE STATES>>>I’M ALMOST OUT!!!) and more salt…maybe a little more dill….a splash of celery salt. Whatever.

Toss in the green onion and give it a mix.

Sprinkle with remaining bacon and start shoveling it into your face.

It makes a great side dish…with just about anything, but beside or with chicken right in it?? Mmmm mmm.






It’s also super fab all by itself! 😉




I love this. I make it and eat it all of the time. Usually alone. It’s almost shameful.


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick

little LITTLE brown chicken



One Pot Pasta

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Main Course, Pasta, September 2014, Vegetarian


I came across this recipe on Pinterest one day and thought…’hmmm. Interesting’ but was doubtful it would turn out properly. I was kinda right. The taste was there but the pasta was mushy and that just turned me off, no matter HOW good it tasted. It was like Alphaghetti for grown ups.

This is the recipe EXACTLY as I had found it:

12 ounces linguine pasta
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 medium sweet onion, cut in 1/4 inch julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch (about 10 to 12 leaves) basil, diced
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add basil leaves and stir pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot evenly throughout the pasta as you are serving. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.


Now if you’ve been here before you KNOW I just have to change something…I changed a bit. I used different ingredients, but that is one of the beauties of this recipe. Add whatever you want. Whatever strikes your fancy that day or probably more accurate…whatever you have on hand in your fridge and pantry. More importantly I changed the directions.

The first time I made it I followed the directives to a ‘T’….and would have considered the recipe a failure. Who likes mushy, gummy, gluey pasta? Not me. After this bastardized attempt, complete success. I will make this again and again and again. Delicious and easy and cleanup was a snap.

MY ingredients list (but again, feel free to add and substitute):

1 450g pkg linguine noodles (You want to use a thick noodle like linguine or fettuccine
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid (I used Almers 540ml Roasted Garlic and Cracked Pepper)
1 medium sweet onion, cut in 1/4 inch julienne strips

4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
4 cups chicken broth (1 box…to keep it Vegetarian use the Veggie broth)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch (about 15 leaves) basil, diced
Parmesan cheese for garnish

1 Portobello mushroom (in chunks), 3 Button mushrooms (in chunks) and 5 Cremini mushrooms (in chunks)

3 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 pkg of baby spinach



I placed the chicken stock, oregano, red pepper flakes and canned tomatoes into a large stock pot and brought it to a boil.


Add in the onions, garlic, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes and half of the diced basil leaves. Brought it back up to a boil.


Add in your raw noodles (I broke the linguine in half so it fit easily into the pot). Reduce heat to med-high and continue to boil. Cover. Every 2 minutes for approx 10 minutes, remove the cover and stir.


Once the pasta is cooked, remove the lid and reduce heat to low until most of the liquid has evaporated. This should only take a couple of minutes. Stir in the spinach and the rest of the basil. Done.


Garnish and serve.


This reheats really really well also. I had it for lunch today. Not sure about how well it freezes but i’ll let you know. The main difference between the original recipe and my version is that you bring the liquid to a boil BEFORE adding the pasta. I like my pasta al dente (the way it should ALWAYS be) and if you add the raw noodles to cold liquid, they will always be mushy by the time they are cooked through. Always add raw noodles to a boiling liquid…Pasta 101.


Love, peace and chicken grease.

-A Cooped Up Chick

little LITTLE brown chicken



Baked Lemon Garlic chicken

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Chicken Dishes, July 2013, Main Course



Good Lord I hope I still have a reader or two out there.

I know I have been neglectful….again. For that I am sorry. I know ya’ll are procrastinators and forgetful and sometimes sufferers of mild bouts of depression like me. Or maybe I just ASSUME you are little mirrors of myself. Any-who….I have had quite a few set backs in my life lately that have caused me to hide away and nurse my wounds but I am coming out of it. Won’t bore you with anymore info (it bores ME) and i’ll just get to the blog post. My first one in months.


I had to come up with something on rather short notice last night for supper as I was supposed to work but woke up with my right eye swollen shut. I looked like the sleep fairy beat the shit out of me while I slept.

Just before heading out to the doctors (my mommy drove me…safety first!) I checked the freezer and had 2 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts right on top. Took them out and started a-thawing. Still wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but it’s chicken….i’ll come up with something.

Upon returning home with eye drops for my eye fungus (??), some corn on the cob and a new bottle of nail polish, I got online and started looking for recipes. I knew I wanted to BBQ one and the other I wanted something lemony and garlicy and buttery. So that’s what I searched for. I love Google. chicken + lemon + garlic + butter. This was what I got :,1739,153181-226199,00.html


What you will need: (for one serving)

1 bone-in, skinless chicken breast (seasoned with salt and pepper)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp minced garlic

grated peel and juice of half of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp coarse salt

1/8 cup chicken stock/white wine

1 1/2 Tbsp butter

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

sprinkle of dried thyme


I realized after searching the pantry, twice, that I did not have any chicken stock. Oh well. I have white wine. I find they are pretty interchangeable.Like you didn’t know I was going to change SOMETHING. 😉




Preheat oven to 400.

Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and once it is hot add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant and softened. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Set aside. In a shallow, lightly buttered casserole dish, add seasoned chicken breast. Pour lemon garlic sauce over chicken and sprinkle with grated peel.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes (if you use boneless breasts bake for 15 minutes).

Remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes or until no longer pink when cut next to the bone (additional 15 for boneless) or when the internal temperature reaches 165.

Transfer to individual serving plates and keep warm. Pour baking liquid into skillet, add chicken broth (or wine) and bring to a boil. (I found the wine and cooking liquid wasn’t enough so I added about 1/8 cup of beef broth) Cook for approximately 4 minutes, until you see a visible reduction. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.


I wish I had have quadrupled this sauce and poured it over chicken and roasted potatoes. Or even reduce the baking time of the chicken by 10-15 minutes and pour 3/4 of the sauce over chicken and potatoes and roast them together for the last 15 minutes. Then pour the remaining reserved sauce just before serving. YUM!!!




This is super delicious and super easy. I love that you can add more sauce, less sauce, more butter, less lemon…whatever your preference.

I actually think that 2nd breast…that was supposed to be BBQ’d is going to get lemon roasted. 🙂



love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick




Loaded Potato Nachos

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, Main Course, March 2013


These were delicious. Confusing. But delicious.

Kind of a cross between nachos and a loaded baked potato. For those times when you just can’t decide.

The original poster just called them Potato Nachos and used already baked Baked potatoes but I started from raw (and renamed them to be more accurate to taste). I was afraid they would not be cooked all the way through so I parboiled them for about 8 minutes until they were fork tender.



Then I pretty much followed the recipe.


What you’ll need:


Potatoes (sliced as thin as you can)


Chili Powder

Nacho/loaded BP toppings.


Yeah. Pretty simple.

I used chopped jalapenos,



chopped tomatoes, sliced onions (that I warmed in a frying pan until tender but not “cooked”)



Add your potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with Olive Oil. Sprinkle with cumin and chili powder (to your personal tastes. For 3 medium sized potatoes I used 1/2tsp of each)



Now here is where you grill your potatoes. Not a necessary step if you don’t have an indoor grill pan but it adds a nice smokiness to the potatoes that I really enjoyed. I don’t have pics of this part as my grill pan was so hot I didn’t have time to grab the camera.

Arrange your potato slices on a cookie sheet with tin foil (just as you would do with Nacho chips)



Start adding your toppings. I added cooked bacon, the onions and some cheddar cheese



Add your chopped veggies and more cheese.



Bake at 400 for 6-10 minutes or until the cheese melts.



Remember my potatoes were ALMOST cooked. If you start with raw and don’t parboil or grill them then I would suggest cooking at 350 for 20-25 minutes withOUT the cheese (until potatoes are tender) and then add your cheese and broil for a minute or 2.


Top with sour cream, salsa, guacamole or whatever your heart desires.




love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick






Spaghetti with Garlic gravy and chicken something?

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Chicken Dishes, Main Course, March 2013


Look at me go!


So I was inspired to do some cooking and baking today so I figured I may as well keep on trucking and do some blogging. Hence this blog post. # 3 for today (so far). 😉


Plus tonights supper inspired me. It was amazing. Delish. Incredible. Now please don’t think I am bragging about my stupendous self…I did not create this dish. I simply found and followed a recipe. Um. Well. With a couple of tweaks. I can’t help myself. Seriously. Its a compulsion. And as we all know by now, I have issues. Don’t judge, we all have issues of some sort. And if you aren’t judging, thank you and c’mon….shake your meds with me. YAY!!!!

I digress. Supper was super, duper yummy in my tummy. And fairly simple. Not as easy as opening a can of Alphaghetti but easier then Peking Duck. Also let me tell you, this was THE best pasta dish I have had in years. Probably in the past 15 years. In my home or in a restaurant.

I found the recipe on Pinterest (suprise!) and the picture looked so tasty I knew I had to try it at some point (see original blog post here: When I posted a picture on Facebook of it someone asked what it was and all I could remember was spaghetti in garlic gravy…and that it had chicken in it. Hence the title. 🙂 Oh and yes, I know i’m annoying, posting pics on Facebook about what i’m eating. 3/4 of my ‘friends’ don’t care but the rest like to come here for recipes so…HI GUYS!!


You can cook this! It just takes a little planning and a few steps. And a zester.


What you will need:


500 grams spaghetti pasta (cooked al dente)

1 pound chicken breast fillets (sliced into 1 inch chunks) I used less, only 2 breasts because it was just for me. And i’m cheap.


For the marinade:



1 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 2 fresh chopped)

1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, chopped (or 2 fresh chopped)

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ a lemon

2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp coarse salt (not table salt…i used the grinder)

½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper

2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil (to sauté the marinated chicken)


Put all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the cubed chicken.



I then transfer it to a Ziploc bag and refrigerate it. If making this right away then marinate a minimum of 20 minutes. If you have the foresight, try to marinate 3-4 hrs. Its soooooooo good! The original blogger suggests overnight. If you leave it overnight you will take the baggie out of the fridge and think you already cooked the chicken. The acid in the lemon actually starts to cook the meat. If you leave it overnight the chicken will start to get mushy and I got a problem with certain textures. Mushy chicken is one of them.

Wow. The spices on the chicken make it match my counter. Its like food ‘Where’s Waldo?’



For the garlic gravy you will need:



1/4 cup butter (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE)

2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil

4 large cloves garlic, finely minced (I cheated tonight because I thought I had fresh but didn’t so I used jarred)

2 Tbsps all-purpose flour

2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 Tbsp dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup parsley, chopped (to sprinkle on top finished dish)

½ cup grated parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on the finished dish)

a squeeze of lemon (about 1 1/2 tsps…the original recipe did not call for this but I felt it was sorely needed to cut some of the butter flavor. It needed acid)

2 cups whole cherry tomatoes ( I used grape tomatoes because they were the purpose for trying this recipe. I had these semi-wilted, sad looking grape tomatoes in my fridge and the darn things are so expensive by GOD I was using them)



Saute the marinated chicken in extra virgin olive oil until cooked (about 4-5 minutes) then set aside.



I found the chicken was uber juicy so once it was cooked through, I drained off the excess liquid and browned it a little. I then cut it into smaller pieces to spread it around. Even though it’s just me I don’t want all the meat in one bowlful and have none in the next.



I followed the original blogger to a T at this point:

“Place sauté pan over medium heat and add butter and olive oil.

–  Saute garlic until fragrant and soft.



–  Add the flour and cook for a minute.

–  Add chicken stock and simmer gravy until thickened then add the chopped basil.

–  Season with salt and pepper.”

It ended up looking like soup. Not nearly the thick “sauce” I had expected. It tasted delicious but looked a hot mess.



So I took another heaping tablespoon of flour and added it to some margarine I heated (about a tablespoon) on the stovetop.



Was a pretty loose roux but it should work.


After adding the roux it started to look better.



SO I added the chicken



And the cooked noodles



I also decided at this point it needed onions. Everything I cook has onions. I love onions.

Since the original recipe didn’t have onions I went for a mild one. Green onions. I always have green onions (did you know you can grown them on your window sill in a glass of water? Seriously.)



But it was still a little more saucy then I like (and this was even after taking out THIS much sauce for reheating purposes)



so I added more cooked noodles and the chopped grape tomatoes and the green onions.



This. Was. Amazing.

I’m going for seconds. Now.



I hope you enjoy.

love, peace & chicken grease,

– A Cooped Up Chick





EDIT: Ok. So now that i’ve had my second plate I will tell you WHY I like this recipe so much. By adding the noodles INTO the saute pan it TOTALLY coats each and every strand of Spaghettini so that even if you have a mouthful of ONLY noodles it still has oodles of flavor. Garlicky, buttery, lemony goodness. Go make this. Now. Or as soon as you can.