quick and easy

Quick Taco Bake Pie

While it may appear that I have dropped off the face of the blogosphere, I promise I haven’t. Some things may have taken up a bit more of my time than I expected, in real life that happens. What I haven’t done is stop coming up with blog ideas and working on new recipes. Just trying to get my hot southern mess creativity on in general. I have been having debates about what I should blog about next. Do I go with something Easter-related or do I go in some other direction? In perfectly, hot southern mess fashion I chose to go the other direction with a deliciously easy recipe for Quick Taco Bake Pie. It’s perfect for Taco Tuesday or any day of the week.

Quick Taco Bake Pie | My Hot Southern Mess


Cheater Spicy Chicken Penne

A few years back, when my oldest and youngest still ran USATF track I was introduced to a pasta dish at a team dinner that I fell in love with, Spicy Chicken Rigatoni. I came up with my own version and my family loved it. Then when I gave gluten the boot I stopped making it. Truth is there really aren’t a ton of different gluten free pasta shapes. There is penne though and it is similar to rigatoni. Well, it is close enough for me. Spicy Chicken Penne is now something that has been added back into my families meal plans and is a meal my kids would eat weekly if I would let them.

Cheater Spicy Chicken Penne | My Hot Southern Mess


Easy Antipasto Pasta Salad and the Big Game!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TeamPizza #CB#CollectiveBias

It is that time of year again, time for the Big Game! Are you ready? We are getting ready here. For the first time ever football has been really big in our house. Up until a couple weeks ago my husband had been rooting for his grandpa’s favorite team. We’ve been married nearly seventeen years and my husband has never shown so much interest in football outside of the Big Game (and then we watched for the commercials and snacks). I had to ask him, “Who are you?” and “What did you do with my husband?” Seriously, I had no clue what is going on. Heck today my sixth grader came home asking me who I was rooting for in the Big Game. Ok, so we live in North Carolina, that may have something to do with it but all of this is rather surprising. Even when my oldest was playing football we didn’t have this much excitement. All I know is right now I have some family members that are excited for the Big Game and that means I need to make them some Big Game Day food. After all you can’t watch the Big Game without something to munch on.This year i’m thinking quick and easy is the way to go. My families favorite Red Baron Pizza, my  super Easy Antipasto Pasta Salad and for dessert a Key Lime Pie from Edwards Pies.

Easy Antipasto Pasta Salad | Country Girl Gourmet


Classic Chex Mix

On my next day of Homemade Christmas I have Classic Chex Mix

Classic Chex Mix | Country Girl Gourmet

Chex Mix was another treat that my grandma would send us at Christmas time. It is a treat that is easy to customize and everyone has their own favorite parts. My favorite is the classic that I grew up with. Chex, Pretzels and Peanuts… that is all I need. While I use to love those Rye chips in store-bought Chex Mix I have never added them to my own. The thing about Chex Mix is there is something for everybody in it. I use to be the person that ate all of the Wheat Chex. They were my favorite. If only they weren’t full of gluten now. I will miss eating them.

So, what is a gluten free girl to do when she “needs” her holiday Chex mix,she figures out how to make it gluten free! I started by cutting out the Wheat Chex. I just added equal parts of rice and corn Chex to make up the difference. Next I needed to find gluten free pretzels. This past year I have started cautiously trying out gluten free products. Pretzels were one of the foods I have tried. My favorite gluten free pretzels are made by Glutino.Well, Snyders of Hanover have some great flavored bits that would be good also. Walmart also makes their own line of pretzels that are so-so. Then I added the classic peanuts. All that was left was checking the ingredients of the seasoning mix. The only ingredient that threw up red flags for me was the Worcestershire sauce. Sometimes it is not gluten free because it is made with malt vinegar so you need to really read your labels. Then all that is left is to mix it up and cook it.  While I have used both the oven and microwave to make it, both methods being easy. The microwave method wins just because it is so quick!

I am happy to have this tradition back in our house. I just need to make sure I don’t eat my weight in Chex Mix, it is absolutely addictive!

Classic Chex Mix | Country Girl Gourmet

Check out my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas  for other great ideas!


Classic Chex Mix
  • 4½ cups Corn Chex® cereal
  • 4½ cups Rice Chex® cereal
  • 1 cup cocktail peanuts
  • 1 cup bite-size gluten free pretzels
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons seasoned salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  1. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, peanuts, and pretzels; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
  2. Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

 Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Johnsonville Amazing Muffin Cups

Easter is almost here! Although it is later this year how can it be that it is time for Easter already? I know many people who are having their oh crap moments and wondering what are they going to do for the day.  From putting together Easter baskets to planning Easter Brunch and dinner. This year I can say I am thankful for Johnsonville Sausage.  If you have read some of my other social media postings  then you may already know that my family loves Johnsonville Sausage. It is seriously some awesome sausage.  Well, I have discovered yet again another Johnsonville recipe that my family loves and it is perfect for Easter brunch! Johnsonville’s Amazing Muffin Cups are the perfect addition to any Easter brunch. They have a base of hash browns that are topped with sausage, cheese, red pepper, green onions and eggs. Sounds pretty good, huh?  Add some fresh fruit and you are all set to go with an amazing Easter brunch.

Amazing Muffin Cups | Country Girl Gourmet


Amazing Muffin Cups

from Allrecipes.com


  • 12 links Johnsonville® Original breakfast sausage
  • 3 cups frozen country style shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • chopped fresh chives or green onion


  1. Prepare sausage according to package directions. cool slightly and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine hash browns, butter, salt and pepper; divide evenly into 12 greased muffin cups. Press mixture onto sides and bottom of muffin cups.
  3. Bake at 400F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, divide sausage pieces into muffin cups.
  4. In a bowl, combine eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with chives or onion. Return to oven, bake 13-15 minutes or until set. Serve.

Amazing Muffin Cups | Country Girl Gourmet

Rigatoni a la You

Rigatoni a la You by Country Girl Gourmet

So my family really likes Italian Sausage and are so happy that this month I am working with Johnsonville as an Allrecipes Allstar. Tonight I made another great dish, Rigatoni a la You. It was easy to make and only needed a handful of ingredients. Best yet my 4 kids devoured it all! I was hoping for leftovers but they left none. That meant I was eating Paleo with my husband tonight. I was a bit sad.

Getting started we have 6 ingredients… I forgot the sausage for the pic but I promise it is in this recipe!

IMG_0946See Sausage!

IMG_0952yes, yummy, yummy Italian sausage!

IMG_0955Cook Sausage per package directions.  At the same time in a large pot boil water and gook Rigatoni per package directions. Drain and set aside.


After your sausage is done cooking saute garlic until golden and then add peppers and saute for a couple minutes. When done add spaghetti sauce and warm thoroughly.


Take your cooked sausages and slice into sausage coins.
IMG_0976Try not to eat the sausage as your cutting coins and beware of sausage stealing family members.
Stir into the spaghetti sauce and then combine in a casserole with rigatoni.
If desired top with parsley and parmasaen cheese and Enjoy!

Rigatoni a la you by Country Girl Gourmet

Have you checked out Johnsonville Sausage yet? Check out their webpage HERE to find out all the great stuff they offer from their various products to sweepstakes going on right now!

Rigatoni a la You

from Allrecipes.com

  • 1 (19.76 ounce) package Johnsonville® Italian Mild Sausage Links
  • 1 (16 ounce) package rigatoni pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar your favorite pasta sauce


Cook sausage links according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook rigatoni according to package directions; drain and set aside. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Add garlic; saute for 30 seconds or until golden. Add red peppers; saute for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Cut sausage into 1/4-inch coin slices; add to skillet. Stir in pasta sauce; heat through. Add pasta; toss to combine. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately. Enjoy immensely. And welcome to Johnsonville(R).

Mind Blowing Johnsonville One Pan Italian

Who here loves Italian sausage? We do! I always have some in my freezer. My family loves it, heck they love sausages of all types not just Italian sausage. Breakfast links, biscuits and sausage gravy, kielbasa, bratwurst… they love it all.  I incorporate it into all sorts of our favorite dishes from jambalya, lasagna to spaghetti. Tonight I found a new go to spaghetti recipe. I was looking at the Johnsonville Sausage recipe collection on Allrecipes.com and told myself no way this recipe is too easy! First the recipe for Johnsonville’s One Pan Italian had less than 5 ingredients. Sausage, sauce, spaghetti and water all ingredients that can be adjusted to your own taste. I can cook the whole meal in one pan. No boiling water, no strainer, just one dish. Plus it is ready in less than 30 minutes! I am sold and I was ready to try this recipe out!

It started this easy. Less than 5 ingredients!

Johnsonville One Pan ItalianA pan, a box of spaghetti and a package of italian sausage. We like Hot italian sausage but the original recipe calls for mild sausage. I chose to skip a step instead of uncasing the sausages and used the ground .

Johnsonville One Pan Italian

Brown the sausage and then drain off the grease.

Johnsonville One Pan ItalianNext add 1 jar of sauce and 3 cups of water. I like to add water to the sauce jar to make sure I get all of the saucy goodness out.

Johnsonville One Pan ItalianBring the sausage/sauce mix to a boil  and break spaghetti (I used a full box) in half and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Most of the water will be absorbed as the noodles cook.

Johnsonville One Pan Italian

There you have it. Sprinkle some parm on top and serve.

Johnsonville One Pan Italian

My kid’s loved it so much they ate it all scraping the pan clean. Well they tried.

Johnsonville One Pan Italian

from Allrecipes.com

  • 1 (19.76 ounce) package Johnsonville® Italian Mild Sausage Links, casings removed                                                                                **note** any variety will work and ground sausage can be used instead of links*
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar your favorite pasta sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half                                                                                                                                                                        **note** I used full 14.5ounce box of spaghetti*                                                                                                                                                                            Directions
  1. In a large skillet, add sausage, breaking into bite-sized pieces. Cook over medium heat until browned and no longer pink; drain. Add pasta sauce and water; bring to a boil. Add spaghetti. Simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until spaghetti is tender, stirring often.

Johnsonville One Pan Italian