Monday, August 19, 2019

Crockpot Monday: Ziti

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This week's recipe is a bit of a "garbage plate" pasta. Why? Read on and find out!


1 pound of your favorite pasta
1 jar of marinara sauce
Any vegetables you have on hand.
Cheese odds and ends – This is a great time to use up all those half handfuls left in bags!


Rinse pasta in a colander (this adds a bit of moisture to your pasta). Add a handful of pasta and a bit of sauce to your crockpot. Toss on a bit of cheese. Keep layering ingredients until you run out.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Wordsmith Wednesday : Announcement

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I've been sitting on this for a little while now because I really wanted to share it with someone in person. Now that I've done that and have his blessing and encouragement, I'm super excited to be able to share the news with you!

Some of you may have heard rumors that I'll be splitting away from Alt World Studios. This is true, but I want to assure you it's not for any bad reason. It's because Nick is kicking me out of the nest for my own good. He's been my number one supporter for years and a lot of the steps that I've made are because he's challenged me to do them. This one included.

So, once The Tether: Nevermore is completed and out into the world (soon, I swear!), I will be publishing under Kat Scratch Press, my very own brand! I'm crazy excited and crazy nervous, but I think I'm ready. For my editing clients, if I can ever figure out how to change the company name on my PayPal account, you'll start seeing Kat Scratch Press right away instead of Geek-o-Rama.

What is Kat Scratch Press? Well, I guess I've already covered it. Outside of The Tether Saga and some possible side projects, it is the name that I will be publishing all of my future books under and it is also the name that I will be doing all editing under from now on.

I know that I already said it, but I am super excited about this. This is the next step in the evolution of me and it feels like a really big one. For what feels like forever, I didn't feel as if I could ever accomplish anything and here I am, ready to start this journey as a self-publisher. I want to thank all of you for sticking with me! I'd also like to thank Russell Nohelty for helping me come up with a name, Eric Cockrell for designing my logos, and Nick Davis for knowing what it is that I need usually far earlier than I know, but never pushing me faster than I can handle. It's really good to have someone in my world who cares enough to challenge me. He told me that I could write before anyone else and he continues to tell me whenever I need to hear it.

Before I sign off, I do have to show you one more thing....the logo that you'll be seeing on my books! Squeal!

Isn't that great? I am so in love with both of these logos. Eric took what was in my head, somehow knew what it was and created two wonderful designs. For those that don't know, I lost my cat of 10 years this past fall and I really wanted to represent him in my future because he was probably my number one supporter in his own way. So...a bit of secret info...that kitty in my logo is named Byron after my boy.

Now, I'm off to work on a client's book and I hope you're all off to have an amazing day!

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Crockpot Monday: Sundried Tomato Risotto

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We're back to side dishes, but the reality is that a lot of these can be a meal unto themselves, including this one!

Sundried Tomato Risotto:

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil
1.5 cups Arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (to add later)


Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Put the sundried tomatoes into the bottom of your slow cooker.

Add the rice and swirl it around in the oil, until the rice is well-coated. Add the chicken broth.

Cover and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours, or until the rice is tender. Remove the lid of your crockpot and stir in the Swiss cheese. Turn off the crockpot and let the risotto sit for 10 minutes with the lid off before serving.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

Crockpot Monday: Autumn Sausage Casserole

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Okay, I know that it's not Autumn yet, but a girl can dream, right?  Besides, this just looks yummy!

Autumn Sausage Casserole:

1 pound sausage
1 large, or 2 small apples, chopped (no need to peel)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
3 cups already cooked long-grain rice
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth


If you are using uncooked pork sausage, brown it on the stove top and drain it before adding it and the rest of your ingredients to your crockpot. Otherwise, dump all the ingredients into the crock, and stir well.

Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4.

Easy peasy! Enjoy!

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Crockpot Monday: Pizza Soup

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I love pizza. I could eat pizza nearly every night of the week, I think. Since my oven died though, I can't make it so this is a close second!

Pizza Soup:

1 jar (14 oz) of pizza sauce
3 empty jars full of water
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup baby tomatoes, cut in quarters (or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
2 already-cooked Italian sausages
1 cup sliced pepperoni, sliced in quarters
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1/2 Tablespoon dried)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 dried pasta
shredded mozzarella cheese (to add later)


Use a 5 or 6 quart crockpot for this recipe.

Wash and prepare veggies. Dump them into the crockpot. Cut up the sausage into small pieces and add. Cut up the pepperoni and add that along with the basil and oregano. Pour in the pizza sauce and follow with three empty jars of water.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Thirty minutes before serving, add the dry pasta, and turn to high.  Garnish/top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Crockpot Monday: Pasta Fagioli

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Are any of you big Olive Garden fans? I used to love it but the closest one is 45 minutes away and it just never seems worth the drive. I was always the salad type and not the soup. Maybe this recipe will change my mind!

Pasta Fagioli:

1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups beef broth
1 jar (26-ounce) pasta sauce
2 teaspoons oregano
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup dry pasta (to add later)


Use a 6 quart or larger crockpot, or cut the recipe in half. This makes a lot.

Brown the meat on the stovetop, and drain well. Let it cool a bit. Chop up the carrots, onion, and celery. Add it to the empty crockpot. Drain and rinse the beans, and add them. Add the whole cans of tomatoes, and the pasta sauce. Add the beef broth. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and hot sauce. Stir in your meat.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. When the vegetables are tender, stir in the 1/2 cup of dry pasta. Cover and cook for another hour on low, or until the pasta is tender.

Serve with a bit of parmesan cheese if you have it. 

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Crockpot Monday: Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup

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With any luck, we've all gotten this far without catching the dratted summer cold, but in case you or yours have, here's the perfect recipe!

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup:

1.5 cups already cooked chicken meat
6 cups water
1 or 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 cup broccoli florets
1 small onion, diced
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Handful of raw spaghetti noodles (to add later)
1 large handful raw spinach leaves (to add later)
Parmesan and Asiago cheese (optional garnish)


Pour 6 cups of water into your crockpot and add chicken. Add all vegetables except for the spinach leaves. Stir in the bouillon and vinegar. Salt to taste.

Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until sweet potatoes are tender and the onion is translucent.

15 minutes before serving, put in raw spaghetti noodles and a large handful of spinach. Cover and set the crockpot to high heat.

Garnish with parmesan and asiago cheeses, if desired. 

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