InstantPot Taco Pasta

This is a nice recipe that I discovered online and made with only a few modifications. (Original Recipe Here:

  • 1 lb ground beef , 90% lean
  • 1 oz McCormick taco seasoning
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 oz dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, mexican blend or cheddar jack)
  • 1 dried red pepper, crumbled
  1. Set Instant Pot to saute. Add the ground beef and break up as it cooks. Once ground beef is browned, stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, beef broth and then pasta.
  2. Cover and seal lid. Change setting to manual and adjust time to 5 minutes.
  3. Once Instant Pot beeps to show it’s done, wait two minutes then quick release. Carefully remove cover and stir.
  4. Add cheese and stir in, cover but don’t seal. Allow a minute or two for cheese to start to melt.

When you serve it consider adding toppings such as sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or melted queso.


Nutritional Info below:

The serving size here is one rounded scoop of the InstantPot ladle.  There recipe yields ten scoops.  I ate 2 scoops for my dinner and with some chips on the side and toppings on the pasta was quite full.
IP Taco Pasta Nutrition


Scott’s Garbanzo Pasta

This is a Lenten/fasting pasta recipe which proved to be excellent!  Seasonings can be adjusted to taste.  I like heavy garlic and a decent amount of oils.


  • Olive Oil
  • 16 oz box penne pasta (or farfalle)
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 heaping tbs minced garlic
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Italian seasoning


  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.  About 7 minutes before pasta is ready, prepare garbanzos as instructed below.
  2. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium.  About five minutes before pasta finishes, add garbanzos to skillet.  Shake italian seasoning over garbanzos to taste.  Shake frequently.
  3. About 3 minutes before pasta is finished, stir in green onions and sautee with garbanzos
  4. About 2 minutes before pasta is finished, stir in garlic and sautee.
  5. Drain pasta when finished and stir into skillet.  Drizzle olive oil over pasta to coat.
  6. Remove from heat quickly and serve.

Penne Alla Norcina

Cristian and I went to Italy for his high school graduation trip.  Among the many great things we discovered was this dish.  We discovered it in Spoleto and I think he ordered it at every stop thereafter.  I’ll admit I ordered it a few times as well.  The flavors are simply unlike anything we have here in the U.S.  Now I think a large part of that is the use of Umbrian sausages.  Still, this recipe, made with a mild Italian sausage is a passable replica.  It’s delicious!

Makes 4 servings


  • 16 oz. Penne Pasta
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, sliced very thin (yellow onion will substitute)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 sweet pork sausages (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated black truffle or 2 tablespoons prepared truffle paste or sauce (truffle cream will substitute)
  • 2 cups grated pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Boil penne in salted water until a little firmer than al dente and drain.
  2. In a pan large enough to hold all of the cooked pasta, slowly cook the onion in the olive oil over low heat, stirring, for 15 minutes or until the onion is soft, translucent and slightly golden.
  3. Remove the meat from the sausage casings, crumble into small pieces, and add to onion and oil. Turn heat up slightly. Cook, stirring, until meat is almost completely cooked through.
  4. Add white wine, turn up heat to medium and cook until wine boils off.
  5. Add cream and turn heat up to medium-high. Cook down cream for a few minutes, until it starts to thicken. Add cooked penne and combine.
  6. Pour penne and sauce into a bowl. Add grated truffle and toss with 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese. Check and correct salt and pepper. Serve, providing additional grated pecorino cheese on the side.

Seafood Pesto Linguine

On a recent trip to Florida, one of the boys ordered Seafood Pesto Pasta at a seafood house and immediately asked me to cook it at home.  He forgot about this, but I didn’t, because anytime I have an excuse to serve the kids seafood, I will take it!  This recipe includes a pesto recipe, but a jar of store bought pesto will work fine.  The key to this recipe is the seafood sauce and how amazingly well it mixes with the pesto.

Prep: 25 min. Cook: 15 min.
Serves 8



  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp garlic cloves, divided

Pasta and Seafood

  • 16 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 pound fresh sea scallops


  1. Skip to step 3 if using store bought pesto.  If making own pesto, place 1/4 cup oil, basil, oregano, parsley and one garlic clove in a blender or food processor.
  2. Cover and process until smooth; set aside.
  3. Mince 2 tbsp  garlic.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, saute onions and minced garlic in butter and 1 tbsp olive oil until tender.
  6. Add the shrimp, broth, lemon juice and cayenne; saute for 2 minutes.
  7. Add scallops; saute for 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and scallops are firm and opaque.
  8. Drain pasta; toss with pesto.
  9. Top with undrained seafood mixture, stir in if desired.

Baked Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce

I created this recipe tonight and served it up.  It was extremely well received and the kids agreed it was worth making again.  This is extremely filling!  One big plus is that this can be prepared very quickly and requires no monitoring while it bakes.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves 4-6


8 medium boneless pork center loin chops (1/2-3/4″ thick)
1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)
Italian seasoning
1 can Goya Pigeon Peas, drained
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 slices mozarella or swiss cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese


  1. In a 9×13 baking pan, pour tomato sauce into bottom of pan and shake italian seasoning over surface.
  2. Place pork chops on sauce.
  3. Sprinkle peas evenly across pan.
  4. Place cheese over pork chops.
  5. Sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan cheese evenly over cheese.
  6. Bake for 1 hour at 330 degrees.

Serve over spaghetti.  It will be a little saucy so spoon some sauce over the chops and onto the pasta!


EZ Baked Ziti

This recipe makes a ton of food!  In a household with a 14 and 16 year old boy, not many dinners make it to the fridge to

Baked Ziti

take to work the next day.  This one often gets parceled out over the next week.  I am going to confess an amateur chef mistake I made the first time I ever made this dish.  I didn’t have any wine in the houst at the time, so I just omitted the wine called for in the recipe.  This led to what I can best describe as a crisp dry ziti — so by all means, if you sub out the wine, add in water or something biblical like that!


  • 16 oz box ziti
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 16 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 12 slices mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 16 oz jar spaghetti sauce (I use Classico four cheese)


  1. Cook ziti per package directions, drain and set aside
  2. Meanwhile, saute beef with onion and drain.
  3. Mix ziti into onion/beef mixture
  4. Preheat oven to 350°
  5. Beat egg and mix in oregano and garlic powder
  6. In separate bowl combine egg mixture with ricotta cheese, wine and sauce
  7. Combine meat/pasta mixture with sauce mixture in a baking pan; mix thoroughly
  8. Cover top of ziti mixture with sliced mozzarella
  9. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.

Garlic Shrimp and Scallops (Lent Compliant)

This was a first time recipe for me, but judging from the reaction, it will not be the last time.  This dish is best served over angelhair pasta.  This is very easy to make and I made only the tiniest adjustments from the Recipezaar original recipe!

Note:  Use only raw seafood for this recipe, not frozen, precooked.
Garlic Shrimp and Scallops
Total time: 30 min | 15 min prep



* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled,deveined
* 1/2 lb bay scallop
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 4 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
* 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
* 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (or several dashes of dried parsley)
* salt and pepper


1. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
2. Add the garlic and saute until it begins to brown.
3. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Add the pepper flakes to the skillet and increase the heat to medium high.
5. Add the garlic, shrimp, scallops, and paprika.
6. Saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
7. Add the chicken broth and cook for 1 minute.
8. Remove the shrimp and scallops with a slotted spoon, place on a platter; set aside and keep warm.
9. Add the lime juice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste to the pan and just heat through.
10. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and scallops and serve immediately.