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