“5-Ing” 5 Ingredient Crock Pot Chicken & Noodles! You Finally Found It!

Best Closer

This is probably one of the easiest dishes I have offered thus far at Once Upon a Spice, but it will not be ignored! I went against my normal ingredients and used canned, but organic soups and broths make this very friendly and you can use low sodium if you prefer as well.

The acorn squash is stuffed with butter, chopped pecans, dried cranberries and brown sugar—with a bit of salt & pepper. Please email me for the recipe, but it’s a quick microwave version that’s easy to decipher and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large or 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup

2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth

1 stick of butter

16 z dried egg noodles

Optional Add Ins: 1 cup chopped mushroom, 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 cup fresh chopped tarragon. What else do you like with your chicken & noodles? Add with the “dry” noodles!


Place everything but noodles in your crock pot. Cook on low 5-7 hours. Add dried egg noodles and cook on low another 45-60 minutes. You can also turn the unit off and let everything sit as the noodles cook and absorb the broth. The chicken will shred itself as you plate the dish. Top with fresh cracked pepper and parsley if you prefer. I guarantee if you like chicken and noodles, you will repeat this recipe time and again!

Trick or Treat! Decorate & Eat “No Carve Pumpkin Creations!”



Wrap glue saturated colored string. Buttons or a combination of glitters. photo source: 28 divine

babble-googly eyed

Googly Eyes! Paint colors or leave natural. Scatter & Glue different size eyes. Pin black strips of material or leather for spider webs. photo source: babble


Wrap & glue with cheese cloth, string, strings of beads. Glue leaves, plastic spiders etc. Painted or natural. photo source: hubpages


Honey Bear! Use various size pumpkins & gourds for eyes, nose, legs, ears & arms. Attach with small metal spikes and glue. photo source: bellasbargains

Pasta alla Carbonara Una Pentola: “One Pot” Revisited

Carb Close

We all know what pasta embodies, but have you ever wondered what “carbonara” means? Carbonaro means charcoal in Italian, but to this day, the connection to this savory, flavorsome dish remains uncertain. Some food historians believe this pasta may have been popular among charcoal makers working in the Apennine Mountains; or perhaps it is called carbonara simply because of the specks of black pepper it is seasoned with. I’ve turned this delectable northern Italian fare into an “Una Pentola” version for ease of preparation and have added some appealing new additions for an explosion of flavors!



8 ounces of dry spaghetti

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons, pine nuts; pignoli (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped capers (optional)

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel (optional)

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup white wine or water

2 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Freshly ground black pepper

1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add pancetta or bacon and pignoli; sauté for 3-4 minutes, until bacon is crisp, fat is rendered and pignoli are golden. Toss in garlic, sauté for less than 1 minute to soften. For more intense flavor, remove from heat and allow flavors to mingle as the ingredients slightly cool, about 10-15 minutes.

Add chicken broth, water and 1 teaspoon of salt to the mixture. Bring to a full boil and add uncooked pasta. Turn heat to low and simmer according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Simmer a few more minutes and add a little more water if you prefer your pasta less al dente. As the liquid reduces in the skillet, a small amount of sauce will form.

Beat eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stir well to prevent lumps. Remove pan from heat and pour egg/cheese mixture into pasta, tossing quickly until eggs thicken, but do not scramble. The heat of the pasta will cook the eggs while you stir. Thin out sauce with a bit of hot water or chicken broth until it reaches desired consistency. Add the capers, parsley and lemon zest (if using). Alter seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl or divide amongst 2 to 4 dishes. Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, if desired. Bellissima!




Guest Chef Wednesday! Rachel’s Traditional Maine Pumpkin Bread


This is Rachel’s classic moist pumpkin bread embellished with the traditional spices of the season: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. It improves with age, so plan to make it a day ahead if possible. Top with softened cream cheese spiked with maple syrup and orange zest! Heaven!

orange cream cheese


1 (15 z) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

2 sticks of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

3 cups white sugar

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat oven to 350* Grease and flour three 7×3” or 2 regular sized bread pans.

In a large bowl, mix pumpkin puree, eggs, melted butter, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for about 50-60 minutes in preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and are deep rich golden brown. Drizzle top with a powder sugar glaze when it completely cools.


photo source: bobbatkins

Breakfast Pizza: Traditional & Paleo; 2 in 1 The Switchback Recipe Series!


Paleo is the ultimate “go to” way of eating these days. So, I’ve decided to convert as many of my recipes into Paleo versions as possible. However, lucky you! I will also add the traditional recipes as well for the “non-Paleo crowd. 2 in 1!

My promise to you: These Paleo recipes will not be slight of flavors, tastes or textures. Well, maybe a few texture differences here or there, but not by much. Yes, the ingredients may be somewhat different for the bases; like this breakfast pizza, but the flavor and appearance will mostly be the same. I’m enjoying this “Switchback” quite a bit and getting healthier by proxy in the interim :-)

**Suggestion: When printing simply delete the version you don’t want to print. Click on print, it will highlight yellow and select “delete.”  Voila!

Paleo Crust:

3 eggs

1 cup full-fat canned coconut, almond or whole milk

1/4 cup of coconut flour

1/3 cup of almond flour

2 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Traditional Crust: Buy a pound of dough from your local pizzeria!


Breakfast Pizza

4 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

1 large tomato sliced thin

2 cups spinach


1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Paleo Dough Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To form the pizza dough, lightly beat eggs and milk (of choice) in a bowl. Add in the flours, baking soda, seasonings, parsley, salt and pepper mix into a smooth batter.

Traditional Dough Directions: Roll dough into 10” round or rectangle leaving a heavy rim. Place on oiled pizza pan. Bake at 375* for 15 minutes. Remove and add toppings. Feel free to add cheese of choice!

Spread the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; Using a spatula to smooth into a circle or rectangle. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven. Carefully flip over.


photo source: orangemarmaladebooks

Traditional & Paleo:

While the crust is baking, cook bacon reserving the bacon drippings in the pan, set bacon aside to cool and crumble into pieces. Slightly wilt the spinach in the leftover bacon drippings, salt & pepper to taste.

Add toppings to the baked crust. Start with bacon, tomato, spinach, and scallions. Carefully crack eggs onto the crust. Sprinkle with parsley, additional Italian seasoning, salt & pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes or more, just until the egg whites have set. Slice and serve warm.

Halloween Trick or Treat Decorate & Eat #6 Creepy Containers!


Spookamole! Fill scooped out pumpkins and gourds with your favorite dips. photo source: mexico


Punch bowl! Line a large cleaned pumpkin with a bowl to fit just inside, add ladle and surround with cups & treats. photo source: halloweencostumeideas


Set table as desired, use a large outdoor urn filled with orange & black colored stones as a centerpiece. Fill with tree branches, crepe paper, handmade ornaments (or not). Line wall with orange paper lanterns or hang balloons from the ends of branches. photo source: intimateweddings


Freaky Fruit Bowl. Fill bowl with orange wedges, make a mouth of sliced apples flesh side up, eyes of blueberries and sliced apples skin side up as the stem. photo source: listotic


Trick or Treat Decorate & Eat! #7 “Finger Foods!

green fingers

“Witches Fingers” Dip pretzel rods with green tinted chocolate to cover 2/3rds, place slivered almonds for fingernails while chocolate is still soft. Carve out knuckles with a toothpick. photo source: gandcjohnson

Here are a few more ghoulish Halloween delights. I must admit, finding treats that were appetizing and somewhat appealing was a feat! So I chose fingers ;-)

Carrot fingers

“Carrot Fingers” Place mini carrots in your favorite dip. Attach sliced almonds to tops with cream cheese. photo source: chicanol

mummy finger

Roll biscuit dough into finger forms, carve out knuckles & fingertip with toothpick. Bake until golden. Attach sliced almonds with ketchup.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Cinnamon Infused Maple Syrup: Autumn on a Plate!


“Tis the season for everything pumpkin! This time of year we find it in everything from pies to soufflés. The blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice give these delectable pumpkin pancakes the perfect kiss of sweetness. The cinnamon infused maple syrup complements leaps with its warm, buttery, cinnamony goodness. In my opinion, the ideal fall breakfast.


photo source: munchinwithmunchkin


1 1/2 cups milk: whole (preferred) or 2%

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt


In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, butter and vinegar. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture just until combined—a few lumps are OK.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or sauté pan over medium heat. Pour or ladle batter onto griddle; using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Cinnamon Infused Syrup

This is a lovely, simple and scrumptious alternative to regular maple syrup. Serve warm over French toast, waffles, buttermilk pancakes or these beautiful fall-colored pancakes!


3 tablespoons butter, salted, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup (real only please)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground


In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in maple syrup and cinnamon. Warm to desired temperature and serve.

Microwave Instructions: In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter for 30 seconds until melted. Whisk in maple syrup and cinnamon. Microwave for an additional 20-30 seconds if desired until syrup reaches preferred temperature.

5 Spice Chicken, Vegetable & Egg Cauliflower Fried Rice

Best All

I’ve converted this simple chicken & vegetable egg fried rice to include all vegetables. Yes, no starch here! The new craze is cauliflower; an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6, choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, niacin, and magnesium. What an eyeful!

For this dish I’ve turned conventional rice into cauliflower rice. All it takes is a few pulses in the food processor or 2 minutes with a cheese grater—use the largest holes. While there is a slight difference in taste, I have to say; not by much. I barely missed the starchy white stuff. You can also add snow peas, corn, red onion and sliced ginger for a variety. Top with a few drops of Sriracha sauce, a side of Kimchi, sliced vegetables and fruit and you have a remarkable delicious dinner in about 15 minutes! 4 servings



2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

2-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cubed

1/2 head of cauliflower, grated

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large ripe tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup frozen thawed peas

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 C soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon five spice powder (optional)

Dash toasted sesame oil

Pinch freshly cracked white pepper

1 large spring onion (green), finely sliced



Heat a wok over a high heat and add 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil. Add eggs and scramble for a few minutes, then remove them from wok and set side. Wipe down wok.

Reheat wok and add remaining oil. Sauté chicken until golden and juices run clear remove from pan and set aside. Add peas, carrots, garlic, onions and tomatoes, stir-fry for a few more minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add cauliflower and sauté for 3 more minutes. Return eggs and cooked chicken to the wok, and season with soy & oyster sauces, sesame oil, five spice powder and white pepper, to taste. Add spring onions and mix well. Serve immediately.

Best Closer


Guest Chef Wednesday! Peg’s Amish White Bread: Uncomplicated, Multipurpose and Delicious!

053 amish white bread square

If you’ve ever been to Amish country, you will never forget the green rolling hills offered by the vast emerald landscaping there. One of my treats while growing up was a trip to the quaint little villages in Ohio inhabited mostly by the Amish. Even then, I was humbled by their hard work, simple ways and incredible food. Their baking was second to none and even a simple white bread would leave one dreaming for more days after their memorable visits. Here’s my friend Peg’s recipe for Amish White Bread; plain, uncomplicated, highly memorable and delicious!

Peg says, “I got this recipe from a friend whose grandmother was Dutch Amish. It is very easy, and doesn’t take long to make. This recipe will give you two loaves of plain, sweet white bread that are quick and easy to make.” Confirmed, Peg!



2 cups warm water 110*

2/3 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 cups bread flour



In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam. Mix salt and oil into yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Makes 2 loaves

**NOTE: Mixing and first rise can be done in a bread machine. Dough can easily be converted into rolls.


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