There is a slight chill in the evening air, which means its time to begin mixing some soups, stews and chili into the weekly menu plan!  I have to say that they are probably my favorite part of fall cooking (after pies and anything apple or pumpkin of course).  I especially like those that store and reheat easily so that I can bring them into the office for lunch and even freeze some for lunches when we’re all home and snowbound due to a mid-winter storm (that really pained me to type).  I noticed while shopping that this week is heavy on chicken, which tends to be our most consumed protein.


Monday is often pasta night.  I have left over sausage in my freezer from the zucchini boats so I thought I would pull out an old favorite, Pasta al Modo Mio.  I first made this recipe with my friend Mike and my mother more than 20 years ago.  I think it was in one of those miniature cookbooks that would come attached to a product or tucked in a box of pasta.  The book is long gone, and I couldn’t find it on the internet, but it is preserved in my recipe binder, so lucky for you I can share the measurements since most of the time I just wing it since I’ve made it so often.

2/3 cup Romano Cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

1/3 lb Italian sausage (I use hot but sweet would work as well)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 Cup brandy

1/2 Cup white wine

3 Cups milk or cream (I actually use fat free 1/2 and 1/2)

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper

3 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves julienned

2 Tbsp parsley finely chopped

Combine cheeses in a bowl.

Break the sausage out of its casing and crumble into small pieces.  In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the sausage pieces.  Saute the sausage stirring quickly for 3 minutes until cooked through, but not dried out.

Put the sausage and the brandy in a saucepan, turn up the heat and cook, stirring until the brandy is almost evaporated.  Add the wine and continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by 2/3 its volume.

Add the milk/cream, 1/3 of the cheese mixture, the white and red pepper.  Bring the sauce to a boil, and allow to thicken until it coasts the back of a spoon.  Swirl in butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside and keep warm.

Sprinkle 1/2 the remaining cheese over hot cooked pasta, mixing well.

Stir the basil in to the sauce and pour over pasta.

Garnish with remaining cheese and parsley.



I had a request for enchiladas this week.  So I thought I would try this recipe that uses shredded rotisserie chicken from Every Day with Rachel Ray.  I’ve had it stuck into my recipe basket for quite awhile.  I often will pick up a rotisserie chicken when I do my weekly shopping to use in lunches and quesadillas for the kids when they need a quick bite before heading off to practice.  This looks like a good option.








I pinned this recipe a while back on Pinterest for jalapeño popper chicken.  I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time.  With an abundance of jalapeños in the garden, I figured there is no time like the present!






Potato Leek

My husband made his weekly run to the Ringwood Farmer’s Market and came home with some leeks.  One of our good friends Bobby up in Vermont sent us a bucket of home grown potatoes.  So naturally, I’m thinking potato leek soup!  I’ve made this one by Alton Brown in the past and it is certainly a keeper.  I’ve used the fat free half and half in this one too and it works rather well.  This will certainly be making an appearance again this week.




white chicken chili

I’m in the mood for chili, but not the traditional beef and tomato variety.  I like to start of the fall with something a little lighter but still warm and hearty like a white bean chicken chili.  I like this crock-pot recipe for a Friday night because once it is done, the kids can help themselves and then run off to their activities and its still warm and delicious for when my husband and I get home from work.


Have an incredible week!  Hope you’re enjoying the menu!