Pasta-Inception — Ravioli Lasagna

Pasta-Inception — Ravioli Lasagna

I spend a lot of my time in the car during the week (about 10 hours) and do some of my best thinking there. Most often I forget about my genius ideas as soon as the engine turns off, but this particular thought was so persistent there was no way I was forgetting.

Get this (and I know you already know what I’m going to say, but just go with me on this)…



With Ravioli…

Instead of noodles!

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I had a few moments of doubt before I started cooking as to whether I was legitimately a genius, or if I was delusional.

But as soon as I got to the second layer, I could tell that this was to be one of my most bestest creations.

Ravioli Lasagna
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Serves: 6
  • 2 jars of your favorite red pasta sauce
  • 25 oz (1 bag) of frozen ravioli with your desired filling (I did a layer of portabello mushroom and 5 cheese)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 15 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. In a medium skillet, saute the onion with the ground beef until browned and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add the ricotta, egg, and seasoning and mix until smooth and fully combined. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In the bottom of a large glass baking dish, spread several tablespoons of the pasta sauce to coat.
  5. Evenly place one layer of ravioli on top of the sauce in rows. Mine fit just about perfectly, hopefully yours will too.
  6. On top of the ravioli evenly dollop one half of the ricotta mixture.
  7. Then sprinkle half of the ground beef onion mixture evenly over the ricotta.
  8. Pour the rest of the first jar of sauce over the entire tray and spread until the ravioli are completely covered/submerged.
  9. On top of that add the second and last layer of ravioli and repeat steps 5 through 7.
  10. Cover the sauce evenly with the grated mozzarella.
  11. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  13. Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve warm.



Recipe Review: Pierogi Lasagna

The Food in my Beard has been one of my absolute favorite food bloggers for a very long time.

A lot of his stuff intimidates me, so usually I just ogle the pictures and get really hungry.

Image by The Food in my Beard

Image by The Food in my Beard

He made this Pierogi Lasagna last year that I just couldn’t pass up though. Potatoes, pasta, onions, cheese. There is literally nothing to not love in that lineup.

I threw one together this last week and it lived up to expectations; it was exactly like a large delicious creamy and cheesy potato filled dough pocket.

Image by The Food in my Beard

Image by The Food in my Beard

The only thing about Food in my Beard, is that his measurements are sometimes a little loose, so in the recipe below I’ll put my suggestions in parenthesis.

Recipe Review: Pierogi Lasagna
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Serves: 6
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 large potatoes (3 wasn't enough for me, try 4, or even 5 if smaller)
  • 1 tub of sour cream (sour cream comes in different sizes, I used about 16oz)
  • 1 pound of cheddar
  • 2 onions (2 was not enough, go with 3)
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 pound lasagna
  • a few slabs of bacon
  1. Chop the potatoes and place in large pot. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer stirring occasionally and being careful not to burn the milk on the bottom of the pan. Bring some pasta water to a boil and cook your noodles. Meanwhile, cook the bacon and remove from pan. Slow cook the onions in the bacon fat. When the potatoes are tender, mash them right in the milk. Kill the heat and add the sour cream. Stir in the cheese. Layer the potato sauce, noodles, onions, and scallions in a deep baking dish. Bake about 30-45 minutes at 400 until browned on top. Top with bacon and serve.

I will definitely make this again and in greater quantities.

5 Stars (5 / 5)
Pasta with Red Sauce

Pasta with Red Sauce

I don’t know about you, but certain meals can sound really boring and kind of old-hat, but when I try them again I realize how fantastic they are.


This happens to me all the time with your basic “pasta and red sauce” combo, which is terrible because it’s so easy to do on a busy night.

Even with how much I LOVE pasta, the thought of red sauce just doesn’t get me excited though.


But then I make myself a bowl – which is just. so. quick and easy – and I’m reminded just how delicious and worth it this dish is!


The best thing about pasta and red sauce is in how versatile it is. You could literally just change what kind of pasta you use, and it’s a whole new dish!

What I like to do though, is saute my favorite veggies and meat and then mix it into the sauce.



My hope is that this will inspire to you to give a simple and boring sounding recipe another chance.

Pasta with Red Sauce
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Serves: 2-3
  • 4 ounces dry pasta
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Boil your pasta according to package directions. Or, you can boil it the right way, which is to cover the dry pasta in a pot with water plus a couple inches, bring to a boil and then boil until pasta is to your desired tenderness.
  2. Saute the diced onion (and any other vegetables you like) in a large skillet in a touch of butter or oil or whatever you have lying around.
  3. Once the onions are translucent add your ground beef (or sausage or chicken, etc) into the cook thoroughly.
  4. Once the meat is cooked through and browned, add the jar of sauce and stir to combine and warm up.
  5. Turn off the heat, and then add your cooked and drained pasta. Mix
  6. Serve into bowls, and grate a little cheese on top.


Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

It’s no secret how much I love pasta, or creamy things, or meat, or butter, or onions, and this dish just pulls everything together so nicely.



As we get deeper into Autumn and transition into Winter, I feel that pull more and more for those heavy foods that just warm you up; this dish is definitely one of those.

Beef Stroganoff
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Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6
  • 2 pounds of your favorite cut of beef (I like to go for something cheap, usually on sale, like a flank steak or chuck)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, ¼ inch half circle slices.
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 can (10 oz) beef stock
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 12 oz egg noodles (or your favorite pasta)
  1. Slice your beef (well trimmed of fat and gristle) against the grain about ¼ inch thick and 1½ inches long. I like to slice it at about a 75 degree angle to the cutting board to increase the tenderness of the beef. - If this feels too technical, the most important aspect is to get it no more than ½ inch in thickness as that will control the done-ness of the meat.
  2. Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat your butter and oil in a large skillet until melted.
  4. Add your steak in an even single layer (working in batches) and allow it to brown on both sides, about 1-2 minutes a side.
  5. Set aside the meat once it has all been browned.
  6. Add your onion to the pan stirring occasionally until tender, add your garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute longer.
  7. Sprinkle the flower into the pan and stir for about a minute then add the beef stock.
  8. Stir briefly to try to remove any flower lumps, then return the beef to the pan, cover with a lid, and cook at a low simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Once the meat is cooked through add your sour cream to the pan and stir until combined.
  10. Salt and pepper to your taste and serve over your favorite pasta, traditionally (and my personal favorite) this is served over egg noodles.
Usually this dish is served with mushrooms. I personally, am not a fan, but if you are you would add about 8oz of sliced mushrooms to the pan at the same time as the onions.

Not only is this great over different pastas, but I think it does something really special on mashed potatoes. You could even just eat this on its own!



I like to serve it with a crispy cheesy garlic bread.



Seriously, what’s not to love?

Tomato Cream Sauce with Vodka

Tomato Cream Sauce with Vodka

After rummaging through my cupboards for dinner inspiration (and failing), I turned to the Great Google God (GGG). I searched “tomatoes, vodka, heavy cream, onions” on a lark and ended up finding this offensively named recipe by Rachel Ray (seriously, horrible).


Yes, that is a hammer in the background. No, I don’t know why.

Despite finding such… icky inspiration, the fact that “vodka cream sauce” is a THING was actually new to me (Italian food was not a staple for me while growing up). So I Googled several recipes, tweaked a bunch, and ended up with a really lovely, brightly flavored dish.


The key here is to reduce the living daylights out of it. And keep on reducing. And reducing. And. Yeah.


Tomato Cream Sauce with Vodka
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Lighter than Alfredo, but more comforting than marinara, this vodka/cream/tomato sauce is a palate pleaser.
Recipe type: Pasta Sauce
Cuisine: Italian-ish
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons squeeze-bottle garlic
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons squeeze-bottle basil
  • 2 lbs thick pasta (penne, rotini, etc)
  1. Combine olive oil, butter, garlic, and onions in a large saucepan and cook until onions have softened (5-10 minutes).
  2. Add in vodka and simmer until reduced by half. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and honey.
  4. Reduce, reduce, reduce by simmering for about 20 minutes or until reduced by about ⅔. Stir often and do not allow to burn. This is a good time to start the pasta and make a side dish (we usually have garlic bread).
  5. Stir in cream and basil until sauce just begins to bubble, then remove from heat.
  6. Serve over pasta and enjoy!



Veggie Lo Mein

Veggie Lo Mein

This recipe is part of the “Chinese-Inspired” birthday party menu from Brie‘s birthday bash.

The great thing about veggie lo mein is that  you can toss in whatever vegetables you’d like.


For Brie’s birthday, I just microwaved a big steamer bag of mixed veggies from Safeway and tossed that into the noodles at the last second before serving. You can add shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms, snow peas – the more the better!


This recipe, as written, served a LOT of people. It scales down fairly easily if you need a smaller batch. It was adapted from HERE.

Veggie Lo Mein
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This yummy lo mein is filling and flavorful.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese Fusion
Serves: 14-20
  • 2 pounds uncooked spaghetti
  • 4 cups assorted steamed veggies
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 chopped onions
  • 8 Tablespoons squeeze bottle garlic
  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons squeeze bottle ginger
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large pan and add garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and chopped onions. Cook until onions are tender.
  3. Whisk together cornstarch, curry powder, chicken broth, hoisin, and honey until combined.
  4. Add sauce to pan and stir until thick and bubbly.
  5. Add cooked spaghetti, steamed veggies, and toss.
  6. Serve.
  7. Enjoy.
For extra heat, add Sriracha sauce.




Wanna check out the rest of the Chinese-inspired menu? Try one of these!


Goopy Carbonara

Goopy Carbonara



We (Brandie and I) first saw this recipe in The Sims 3, but it wasn’t until the Food Wishes version that we decided we needed to try it ourselves.

This has become a favorite of ours. Even when you don’t make it perfectly (like you will see happened this time) it still tastes great.

The idea is to use spaghetti water and egg to make a rich creamy sauce without any cream. We heated the egg a bit too fast and ended up with a more “eggy” mixture but it was still a tasty meal. We’ve made it correctly in the past, and it isn’t that hard, we just weren’t paying attention to the steps.


We had some asparagus from our fruit and veggie box so that was used as an addition. You can leave it out, or use any vegetable that would go well with eggs and bacon.



5.0 from 1 reviews
Goopy Carbonara
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Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2-3
  • 8 oz spaghetti (we use vermicelli)
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • black pepper (and lots of it)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • (optional) asparagus or other tasty veggie
  1. Start boiling water for the pasta so you can cook it when the time is right.
  2. Cut bacon into ¾ inch pieces and start cooking it.
  3. While the bacon cooks, beat the eggs with a good amount of black pepper and the grated cheese.
  4. Chop asparagus (or other veggie) if using.
  5. When bacon is cooked to your desired done-ness, add your (optional) veggie to sauté it. Because we made lots of thick bacon there was a lot of grease, so we drained it and only kept a bit of grease in the pan. Don't get rid of it all!
  6. When your veggies are ready, turn heat on your pan down to low and start the spaghetti. We like to break the vermicelli in half.
  7. Add a cup of the boiling spaghetti water to the pan. Our mistake was waiting till the spaghetti was done to put the water in with the bacon and asparagus, this made it too hot and cooked the eggs too fast.
  8. When the spaghetti is done to your desired tenderness, drain and mix it into the pan.
  9. Pour the egg mixture in, and stir continuously, if you end up with little egg "bits' instead of a creamy mixture, then next time make sure the pan is turned to low and the water was added early enough that it has had time to cool.
  10. Take the pan off heat as soon as you've mixed in the egg so that it doesn't over-cook.