Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Delicious Dinner

Yum! Made this at the last minute for dinner tonight. I halved the recipe (except for the cheese because I love cheese) and substituted tomato sauce for the whole tomatoes. I also used rotini instead of rigatoni because it's what I had. Despite not having time to allow it to simmer as long as the recipe indicated, it tasted delicious! I wish I would have had time to make the Garlic Cheese Bread to go with it. Maybe next time. Here's the recipe:

PW's Pasta alla Marlboro Man

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 generous teaspoon ground thyme
2 14-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 to 2 pounds rigatoni

Heat olive oil in large skillet or pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook a couple of minutes, until starting to turn translucent. Add garlic and stir, cooking 1 minute, making sure not to brown the garlic.

Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of excess fat.Add salt, pepper, and ground thyme. Stir to combine.

Dump in canned tomatoes with their juice. Stir, reduce heat to low, and cover pot. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times.Uncover the pot and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Cook rigatoni according to package directions—don’t overcook! Drain and place individual portions into bowls.

Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan into the sauce. Check and adjust seasonings. Ladle sauce over cooked pasta, sprinkle with more Parmesan, and serve.

*Recipe credit: Ree Drummond/The Pioneer Woman (I highly recommend you check out her recipe collection.)

Woody Woodpecker


  • Those of you that know me are probably tired of hearing about our new feathered friend we've dubbed "Woody." I, however, have not yet tired of discussing him. You see, if you don't already know, Woody has done quite a number on one of our very tall pine trees. When I first looked out the window last week and saw him there, I was excited to see such a (to me) unusually large bird that was quite obviously the inspiration for the good ol' Woody Woodpecker cartoon. A few hours later I discovered exactly what this exciting bird was capable of when I noticed a large pile of wood chips around the base of our tree. We currently have about 6 LARGE holes in our pine tree. When I say "large" I mean several inches in diameter and almost all the way through the thickness of the tree. Amazing, really. So, I decided to do a little research and this is what I found:
  • Pileated Woodpeckers are around the size of a black crow (around a foot; give or take) and is the third largest woodpecker in North America.
  • They primarily feed/roost in dead trees but loss of habitat is forcing some of them to make their homes in still living trees.
  • They are considered monogomous.
  • When declaring their territory, they drum (their bills) at about 14.5 - 16.8 beats per second. (HOLY COW! That's per SECOND!)

Not enough tid-bits for you? Visit my information source at Pileated Woodpecker Central.