Mama Fox’s Awesome pasta

This is the pasta ‘sauce’ that came before the the Italian Chili. Calling it a sauce is a little misleading. It’s meant to be dry. You could use Italian sausage instead of the pork and all the spices, but I think this adds more flavor, and you can adjust the quantities to your own tastes.

1 lb ground pork
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/4 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp basil
2/3 tsp paprika
2/3 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp fennel seed
generous pinch of oregano
generous pinch of thyme
10 oz frozen spinach thawed
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 lb large pasta shells (or other hearty pasta)

Brown the pork and spices in a large frying pan.

Add the spinach and tomatoes and stir until well mixed.

Let simmer for a few minutes until evenly heated.

Add lemon juice, and both cheeses, stir until evenly mixed.

Turn heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes or longer.

Prepare pasta per packaging instructions.

Combine pasta and sauce.

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Mama Fox’s Award Winning Italian Chili

This started out as a filling for jumbo pasta shells, but then we had a chili cook-off competition at work and I really wanted to participate, but my tummy doesn’t care for traditional chili, so decided to alter the original recipe, and I came up with this. Surprisingly, I won the competition (out of 13 entries).

2 lbs ground pork
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1 large can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 large cans of tomato sauce
10 oz pkg frozen spinach
32 oz chicken stock
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Thick slices of French or Italian bread

Brown the ground pork in a frying pan. Add all of the spices before it’s done.  Feel free to adjust the spices to taste. This is not a particularly spicy hot dish. If you want it hotter, add more crushed red pepper flakes.

Place the browned pork & spices into a crockpot. Add all of the other ingredients except for the cheeses and bread. (You can add the spinach frozen; just make sure to stir it up after it thaws out) Cook on low for as long as possible (at least 4-6 hours).

Half an hour before serving, stir in the ricotta cheese and continue cooking.

Toast the bread and place it in the bottom of a bowl. Ladle chili into bowl, over toast. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

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I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen again

Wow, it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted anything here, but I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen again, and have come up with a couple of new recipes that I wanted to share.

The first one is a crock-pot potato soup recipe that turned out pretty spectacular, if I may say so myself. I’ve been trying for over a year to find a good recipe for potato soup that I could cook in the crock-pot, and use my hand blender my daughter got me for Christmas last year. I didn’t want to cut corners by using pre-packaged ingredients like frozen hash-browns or instant potato flakes.

I finally realized that I was a good cook, and I didn’t need someone else to tell me how to fix what I wanted, that I could come up with something myself, so here it is:

Mama’s Loaded Baked Potato Soup

8 medium russet potatoes, peeled & cubed
32 oz chicken stock
1 can Cream of Celery soup
6-8 slices of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
½ cup butter or margarine
½-cup flour
1-cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream & chives for garnish

Peel the potatoes and cut them up into ½-inch cubes. Pour chicken stock into crockpot. Place potatoes in the crockpot. Add soup, and stir.

Fry the bacon in a large frying pan until cooked. Remove and cool on paper towels.

Chop the onion and sauté in the left over bacon grease. While the onion is cooking, chop 6 slices of bacon into bits.

Put sautéed onions and bacon bits into the crockpot. Add the salt and pepper.

Cook on high for 5-6 hours

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Let cook for several minutes until it starts to brown. Add the cream and stir until thickened. Pour into the crockpot and stir into the potato mixture. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Continue cooking for 20-30 minutes.

If you have a hand blender, blend up the potatoes. Leave some of the potatoes chunky for texture.

Stir in the shredded cheese. Leave out a little for garnish. Let cook 10-20 more minutes, until cheese melts and is well combined.

Serve topped with crumbled bacon, sour cream, and chives.

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My Father at 100 by Ron Reagan

I don’t read non-fiction books very often but I’ve wanted to read Ron Reagan’s book about his father called “My Father at 100” ever since it was published nearly 2 years ago. It’s been on my Amazon wishlist since then, but I could never justify the cost. Today I found it on my library’s audio book website and decided to download it.

I’m so glad I did. It’s a wonderful story about a boy and his dad. There is very little political talk, but when there is, it’s very informative, and not at all ‘political’.

My recommendation is, no matter your political leanings, you should read this very touching story. It’s very honest. It’s obvious that Ron loves and respects his father very much, even if he didn’t always agree with him.

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US History book backs up my post about Trickle Down

In our house this year we’re trying something new regarding school. My youngest son is doing his junior year of high school online though a program called Connections Academy.

His textbooks are all online. Today, I was doing some reading to help him out with an assignment regarding the causes and effects of The Great Depression.

I’ve copied the section I read today that kind of made me squeal. It’s pretty much what I was trying to say a few weeks ago when I wrote about why trickle down economics doesn’t work, so I’m sharing.

Trickle Down doesn’t work

This excerpt comes from page 704 of the Pearson eText book Prentice Hall United States History.

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Grammy’s Pumpkin Pie

I don’t know how long this has been handed down, I’ve always just known it as Grammy’s recipe (my mom’s grandmother).  This recipe is a little different than most pumpkin pie recipes. It uses less pumpkin, so it’s not as strong. Also, the texture is a little different. My     mom says it’s more like a custard (I’m not sure what that means since I’m not a custard fan).  Anyway, here goes:

Pie in a cake pan.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
1 ½ cups evaporated milk (1 can)
1 ½ tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 425. Prepare a pie crust in at least a 9” pie pan.

Combine the beaten eggs, brown sugar and pumpkin in a medium sized bowl. Stir until smooth.

Add the salt, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, stir in well.

Stir in the milk.

Add the melted butter, and finish stirring.

Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Place in 425 degree oven for 30 minutes, then turn it down to 350 for another 25-30 minutes.

The pie is done when a knife comes out clean.


If you use a smaller pie pan, you will have a mess as it will spill over while it cooks.
I discovered this year that cake pans work really well in a pinch.
You can use an electric mixer or a whisk, doesn’t really matter which.
The original recipe calls for the butter to be ‘a piece about the size of a walnut’ but I have adjusted it over the years and found that a tablespoon and a half is about right.

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Here’s what I’ve done so far today:

Cooked the corn casserole. It’s in the fridge, just needs to be thrown in the oven/microwave to reheat.

Baked the apple pie. It’s in fridge, cooling.

Cooked and crumbled the bacon for the stuffing and green beans. They’re in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Finely chopped and sauted one onion for the green beans and carrot dishes. It’s in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Baked one pumpkin pie. It’s cooling on the counter before I wrap it up and put it in the fridge.

Baking the second pumpkin pie. It’ll be out of the oven in about 45 minutes.


Convinced the kid that his bicycle could fit in his room if he cleaned up and rearranged a bit. Now I not only have room for tomorrow, but I can put my tree up on Friday.

Things I still need to do tonight while I still have extra hands to help:

Dust downstairs

Sweep and vacuum downstairs

Move furniture around so there’s room to put the leaf in the table so we can all sit down to eat tomorrow. Well, four of us will be able to sit. Still not sure what to do for a fifth seat.

Put the leaf in the table.

BABY PROOF! The grand baby is crawling now.

Eat dinner. I’m frickin’ starving after all this.

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