Orecchiette With Sausage & Mushroom
Budget Friendly, Menu Planning, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Orecchiette with Italian Sausage, Peppers and Mushrooms

I made this recipe up last night – and it was A-MAH-ZINGGGG! I had some various veggies, condiments, etc in the fridge and I just made a pile and started chopping.  I love the Orecchiette pasta because the little “ears” hold the goodies you mix with them.  It’s really  good with cheesy sauces also.

Orecchiette With Sausage & Mushroom


I had a variety of things available.  Pepperoncini is something we always have in the house, we eat them at the side of almost every meal.  Mushrooms I love, so does my daughter -Hubby and the boy, not so much – so I slice them large enough for everyone to see and pick out or savor as needed.  The tomato I had was kind of mealy – so I scooped out the middle and the seeds and just used the outside.  It was a good use for this fairly inferior winter fruit – it came in my vegetable basket so I felt compelled to use it somehow.  I never buy tomatoes in the winter if I can help it.

Like I said, this concoction is pretty easy to throw together, and can be very versatile – give it a try!

Orecchiette with Italian Sausage, Peppers and Mushrooms
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Orecchiette with Italian Sausage, Peppers and Mushrooms


  • 1 lb Chicken italian sausage, loose - removed from casings
  • 1 16-oz box of Orecchiette Pasta (or other small pasta you like)
  • 1 small shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic,minced fine
  • 5-10 medium pepperoncinis, sliced into rings - adjust depending upon your heat preference
  • 4-5 large Crimini mushrooms
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced fine
  • 1/2 Cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth


  1. Put a pot of water on for the pasta, Orecchiette are dense so they take a bit longer to book, like Farfalle, than a spaghetti-type pasta. When it comes to a boil, Salt & Drop the pasta in
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, brown the chicken Italian sausage in a skillet and break up in to small pieces, we like this REALLY small, but you break it up how you like. You could even leave the sausages whole and slice them if you like
  3. when the sausage is cooked through, remove and drain and throw the garlic and shallot into the plan and saute until just turning brown, add in the mushrooms and stir.
  4. When the mushrooms start to turn brown, salt a little and keep sauteing until the mushrooms are done.
  5. When the mushrooms are done, add in the pepperoncini and the sausage and stir together. Keep warm on low until the pasta is done.
  6. When the pasta is al dente, drain and return to the pasta pot on low heat, add in the sausage & veggie mixture and stir well.
  7. Add chicken broth and Parmesan cheese and stir until it comes together, it will sound "wet" - if it doesn't, add a bit more broth.
  8. Serve family style topped with a bit more cheese and parsley or basil if you have it
  9. Enjoy!

Easy Rice Pudding recipe
Budget Friendly, Day-2, Desserts, Recipes

Easy Rice Pudding Recipe

I can remember my mother making rice pudding when I was a little girl. Hers involved a bunch of time and a double boiler, and I’m entirely too impatient for that. I took a few recipes and married them together to make my own twist on rice pudding. This one follows my food rules and tastes amazing.  This is great comfort food, or an amazing dessert for entertaining.  Let me know what you think.

Easy Rice Pudding Recipe
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Easy Rice Pudding Recipe


  • 3 C white rice, cooked (I make extra whenever I make rice, just so I can make pudding)
  • 3 C milk (1% works here, so does soy or almond milk - you dont need whole milk for this)
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp good vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, divided


  1. In a medium sized saucepan with a lid, combine cooked rice, milk, white & brown sugar and butter.
  2. Cook at a low simmer for 20-25 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and 1 tsp of cinnamon mix well, but gently
  4. Pour into a serving dish that can go in the fridge and sprinkle the second teaspoon of cinnamon on top as a garnish.

Budget Friendly, For the Freezer, Recipes

Easy Pueblo Green Chile Recipe

I am a Green Chile connoisseur.  I’m picky about my green chile – it needs chunks of meat, not ground up mushy stuff – I’m talking chunks of browned off pork, pieces of chiles, tomatoes….the works….

I love making this with ingredients from my Bountiful Basket – this is a great fruit and veggie co-op that serves MANY states – check it out and see if it’s in your area.  I get about $60-$80 worth of vegetables every other week for about $18 give or take.  Sometimes I order extras!

I have married and tweaked a few recipes to make one my own, and this is a much-requested recipe in my house…in fact there’s a batch bubbling on my stove right now.  This is a great recipe, and can be canned – if you use a pressure cooker and know what you’re doing.  You can definitely freeze it also – this would be a great huge batch project!

This stuff is great in a bowl with a spoon, on eggs or burritos, or in a great casserole that needs some good Green Chile to make it great.  You can also serve it on Indian Fry Bread – I really love having it this way, it’s a very nice way to get full without a lot of investment! Give it a try, and like all recipes, make your mark and tell me what you changed!

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Pan Fried Pork Chops
Budget Friendly, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Pan Fried Pork Chops – Fast & Yummy

I love pork chops.  On of my earliest remembrances of food include thin cut pork chops fried on the stove top by my mother for a fast week-night meal.  Thin cut, because they were cheap at the time, and 2 thin pork chops made a great meal for the two of us with a vegetable and a baked potato.  Very inexpensive and filling.  We were pretty poor when I was a kid, but we ate well, so it was really not that big of a deal in my distant memory.

Last night I had 5 pork chops, not a lot of time, and not a lot of energy to make something fabulous.  I got out the Crisco and a cast Iron skillet, and dinner was ready in less than 20 minutes.  I paired them with leftover potatoes and a green salad, super fast, really easy.

No – pan fried pork chops in Crisco are not healthy – but they are comforting, and honestly – I don’t EVER remember making chops this way for my family – not in the last 17 years – so once a decade is probably okay.

Lets talk about Crisco while we’re on the topic of unhealthy.  If you’re frying – do it right – use Crisco.   Minnie wasn’t joking in “The Help” when she said Crisco was amazing 🙂

So here’s my recipe for quick pan-fried pork chops.  They’re easy, really tasty, could be addicting, so use this recipe in moderation 🙂

Pan Fried Pork Chops
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Pan Fried Pork Chops


  • 4-5 3/4" or thinner pork chops
  • 1/4 Cup Crisco
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. In a deep cast-iron skillet on medium-high, melt the Crisco until a drop of water makes the oil pop
  2. salt & pepper your pork chops on one side and place seasoned side down in the Crisco
  3. salt & pepper the other side while it faces up
  4. Cook approximately 7-10 minutes on each side until they're golden brown and cooked through. Pork should be 160 deg on your meat thermometer.
  5. Pull out of the Crisco and drain on a paper towel before serving
  6. Enjoy. 🙂

Spiced Chai Tea Mix Recipe
Budget Friendly, Homemade Not Storebought, Recipes

Spiced Chai Tea Mix Recipe

My daughter and I fell in love with iced chai at a little coffee shop in Jackson Hole.  I cannot remember the name, but it was just opening, right off the town square, and the guys there were really nice and very happy to give advice on places to heat, etc.  Their recommendation of Snake River Brewing Co. for dinner was spot on.  If anyone knows the name, let me know and I’ll publish a link!

I tried a few different recipes but finally found one for a mix that tastes spot on.  Believe it or not, it tastes a lot like true chai, but is made with instant tea.  The ingredients are easily found, but not necessarily cheap.  The taste is great and the recipe makes a TON of chai.

Spiced Chai Tea Recipe

The recipe is really easy.  The original version i modified included the instructions to blend the dry mix in a blender to make it extra fine.  I don’t find this necessary, the mix is just fine the way it is.  Here’s my recipe, let me know what you think!

Spiced Chai Tea Mix Recipe
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Spiced Chai Tea Mix Recipe


  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup powdered coffee creamer
  • 1 cup French Vanilla powdered coffee creamer
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened instant tea
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg or about 20 grates of whole nutmeg


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or canister. Mix very well and store in a cool dry place.
  2. Put 3 Tbsp of mix into a cup of boiling water.
  3. If you'd like iced Chai, I recommend mixing in hot water, then shaking it over ice. The mix doesn't dissolve nicely in cold water.


Leftover Turkey Chili Recipe
Budget Friendly, Holidays, Odds & Ends, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Leftover Turkey Chili

I’m always on the lookout for leftover recipes.  This turkey chili recipe uses holiday leftovers, but you could easily use leftover chicken, like a rotisserie chicken.  It uses canned beans, you could use dried very easily and have no problem at all.  I recommend the white dried great northern beans.  They’re easy to deal with and don’t require overnight soaking.

I served mine with cornbread, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.  We like cheese in any sort of chili!

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