Southwestern Ziti Casserole: Guest Post by From Cupcakes to Caviar

Hi folks. I have a very special treat for you today. My twin is guest posting here today. Okay, okay we’re not technically twins but we’re twins in spirit. That’s good enough for me. You all know Janet from her side-splitting blog From Cupcakes to Caviar. She is a laugh riot so I forgive her for drinking Coke. Janet is a hoot and a half and well gosh darn I’d venture to say she is even two hoots and a half.

Janet cooks delicious food and holds down the fort as a mom to 6 kids. She’s got 3 at home and 3 grown and gone. I have trouble balancing two kids so I admire Janet’s tenacity and talent. I love to pop her blog and see real food for real people. She cooks, bakes and keeps us all entertained with her humour. She is an amazing cook but more importantly she is an amazing woman. I adore her. Trust me if you’re not already reading her, and you should be, you are going to love her as much I do. Without further ado I hand the asylum over to Janet while I head off to munch on pistachios and drink a Pepsi, drink of champions or whatever.



Hi Everybody!

About a month ago, Kim, also known as my twin (I’m the cuter more intellectually inclined twin) because we are quite alike for two women who have never met (I’ll get to that later though), asked me to do a guest post for her. She said it would need to be ready by March 1st. I agreed happily. I was thrilled to do a post on the blog of one of my biggest fans… I mean, the blog of someone of whom I am a big fan.*grins*. Seriously though. I just love to Kim to death. We both love Turtle candy’s, we both adore Pistachios above all other nuts, we both ARE nuts and we both love Coke *waits for Kim to slug me*. We also both love writing, food, cooking, whining when no one else is looking, horsies and other animals and our fans. Kim, I don’t know about you, but every time I use the word “fans” I keep wondering when the paparazzi is gonna pop out and when I get that 50,000 square foot mansion and carte blanche at Sephora and Barnes & Noble. Hehe. What did either of us do to deserve such wonderful people reading what we write?

Moving on…boy, did I go off on a tangent. But if you read Kim’s blog, you’re used to that anyway.

She asked me to write, I of course said yes. Then I forgot. In my defense I remembered for a couple of weeks!!! Honest, I did! But then as everybody knows, Earth collided with Neptune, someone invented calorie and fat-free chocolate that actually makes you LOSE weight and never get wrinkled skin, then they found Elvis alive with Marilyn Monroe and JFK in a commune in Idaho, all of them living as nudist survivalists and my whole world got thrown off it’s axis. I mean really?? JFK and Elvis? I never even knew they liked each other!

So Kim wrote me today asking about the post. I proceeded to say some mild cuss words and “oh crap” a lot cause I say that frequently. It’s my all purpose cussing phrase. Then I tried to figure out what to make. I had planned on Ziti Casserole for my husband and boys tonight but that was boring (and I didn’t have any Italian sausage anyway). So I improvised. And you get to suffer through it enjoy the results. I made a Southwestern Ziti Casserole chock full of ground beef and Chorizo sausage and cheese (I love cheese like a fat boy loves Twinkies. Wait, love Twinkies. Back, fat boy!! Back I say! Mine!). It has a spicy tomatoey (yes, that is now a word) creamy sauce that is wonderful if I do say so myself. This is a fairly quick week night meal plus special enough for casual company. Don’t ewww, run off and kill me when you read this but it uses one bottle of jarred sauce. But not just any sauce… a new one I had wanted an excuse to try and am now glad I did. Try this casserole. I think you’ll like it too!

Southwestern Ziti Casserole
Recipe type: Pasta, Main Course
  • 1 1 lb box ziti, cooked, drained, set aside
  • 1½ lbs ground beef (preferably chuck)
  • ½ pound Mexican Chorizo sausage
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 jar Classico Brand Roasted Poblano Alfredo Sauce (can sub home made sauce or Alfredo sauce w/out the poblano but if so, add more chipotle and/or jalapeno)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup sliced green onions for garnish
  • Sour cream for garnish
  1. Break up the Chorizo sausage into a large pan (remove casings if necessary). Add the ground beef and saute them together over medium high heat until nicely browned.
  2. Drain the meat, reserving about 1 tablespoon of the drippings.
  3. In the same pan, add the chopped onions, green pepper, jalapenos and garlic. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onions and peppers are limp, about five minutes.
  4. Add the meat back into the pan along with the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, jar of Alfredo sauce and the ground chipotle. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your own time constraints.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Grease a 13x 9 inch pan (preferably a glass one... they don't leave off flavors like metal can with an acidic sauce)
  7. Take the pasta you had already cooked and drained and add it to the sauce. Stir well (but gently) to combine.
  8. Combine all the grated cheese. Add all of the cheese but 1½ cups to the pasta mixture. Stir well.
  9. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth down. Top with the remaining cheese.
  10. Put pan on on a cookie sheet (trust me on this... I could send you photos of my oven bottom as proof that you need to if you'd like :-P ) and bake casserole at 350 degrees until heated through, bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.
  11. Let rest for about ten minutes before cutting. Garnish with green onions and sour cream.


Kim, thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post for you. I had a blast, dear twin. I hope I wasn’t too embarrassing. Now, go get yourself some Turtles, a good book and a Coke and relax. This was hard work! Oh… wait, I’M gonna go do that. You go drink one of those dreadful Pepsi’s you prefer. Love ya, woman!!

To the rest of you lovely people out there, thanks so much for reading my rambling idiocy. I hope you maybe got a giggle or two at least. Now go get to cooking!


Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipe with us today twin. I would eat a whole dish of this all by myself. Of course I’d wash it down with a Pepsi. I am honoured and touched you agreed to guest today. And no worries on the forgetting. Life gets out of control and we all have to step back sometimes and realize what’s important. Kids and family first, blog second. I admire you for being such a great mom and doing right by your kids. You could never embarrass me. When we finally meet I say watch out world. We’ll be the two in some diner somewhere taking the lids off all the salt and sugar dispensers and carving bad words in the table. Cuz seriously sometimes it’s just good fun to act like your 5 years old and let loose. You all should try it sometime. 

Now head on over to Janet’s blog From Cupcakes to Caviar and follow her. Why? Cuz she’s awesome and I told you to, that’s why! You can also find her on FACEBOOK,  and TWITTER!

Mark your calendars for tomorrow Lunatic readers. Tomorrow is a very special day!!!

Toodles and smoochies! xx

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  1. says

    Wow, my two favorite funny blogging ladies together in one place! This was great…and delicious sounding. I’d love to be nearby when you two finally meet, one drinking Coke and the other drinking Pepsi. I’ll be drinking a cocktail…and laughing at your jokes :)

    • Kim Bee says

      Lol, it’ll be like one of those commercials on tv. I’ll give Janet a Pepsi and she’ll be all “this is the best Coke I’ve ever had”. Lol. Thanks for coming by. xx

  2. says

    I love it when the Earth collides with Neptune and two great bloggers get together. I am totally digging the SW vibe that ziti has. Fabulous post and a yummy recipe!

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw I almost got all teary. Isn’t it the coolest. I love a great pasta. Janet definitely delivered.

  3. says

    How great to see Janet guest posting here! I absolutely adore her and her blog. This post definitely made me smile. So great to get to know Janet a little better. Have a fab weekend you two! <3

  4. says

    Okay. You guys combined = need bigger asylum.
    This looks amazing. As in it should be on my dinner plate WHY IS IT NOT?!
    Ahem. Good job you two, you know I love you guys to death.

    • Kim Bee says

      Aw thanks Kiri. I think I can speak for twin and say we love you too. We’re going to need a whole new wing soon.

  5. says

    You two ARE twins! …and hilarious! This looks delicious! You’re both absolutely MADE of awesome! Hugs to both of you!

  6. says

    Twin personalities all on one site, glad to see it. Also, one brought along a tasty recipe which is an extra bonus. Chorizo and cheese-that’s all I need to know. Awesome tex mex flavors with a little pasta-well done.

  7. says

    Thank you to everybody for your sweet comments!!!

    I have to say though… you’re all wrong. I’M perfectly sane *cough cough*; it’s all Kim that’s got the craziness problems. I mean really… my blog is logical, straightforward, no silliness…
    ok, I’m stopping now. This is getting to hard to write with a straight face…

    Again; thanks to everyone for the comments. Y’all are wonderful!

    • Kim Bee says

      Lol Janet. I was just thinking how you were the normal twin. But then I couldn’t stop laughing so I knew that wasn’t quite right. Thank you so much for guesting for me and making this delicious meal. You rock my socks, right off!

    • Kim Bee says

      Oh what a great idea. We’ll add it to the potluck when we all move in at Lizzy’s on the blogger commune. You’re a genius.xx

  8. says

    Wonder twin powers activate! What a wonderful post and recipe. This is pure comfort food!! PS… I own the same plate Janet does… :) I bought mine from Kohls. :)

    • Kim Bee says

      All of a sudden I have this vision of me and Janet in Power Ranger outfits and I am not sure it’s a look either of us can pull off. Lol.
      Ah good tip on the plate. I need to win the lottery before I head through the states this month. I wish I had the moolah to shop. Way better shopping in the states than here in Canada.

      • says

        I would look sexy as all heck in a Power Rangers outfit thankyouverymuch. Did they have a Pink ranger? Cause I wanna be pink please… you can be yellow or something like that 😛

        And yep, the plate was from Kohls. I got it 75% off right after Christmas 😀

  9. says

    What a fabulous guestpost – I am trembling with hunger just as the picture!
    Great recipe 😀

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Peanut Butter M&M Cookie For One

  10. says

    Hey Janet and Kim! What a great post. I DO believe you were twins separated at birth! And Janet….what a great spicy twist on a classic casserole. It’s fun to kick it up a bit and do a little something different. Looks delish….and again….I love that plate! : )

    • Kim Bee says

      Lol, that’s funny. We could have our own made for tv movie. Crazy bloggers separated at birth, joined later in life over their love of all things bad for them.

  11. says

    I love this dish! I am a big fan of things that can be thrown together and then tossed in the oven for a while. Great guest post.

    Kim: I know I’ve said this before but I am LOVING the new site!

  12. says

    Oh, gosh, the commune is going to be full of laughter with you two! Good food, too…and I hope this casserole is up for dinner on Day 1! Great guest post :)

  13. says

    It does sound like your twins! Craving this ziti casserole, Janet. The family would love this and makes a lovely change to our pasta dishes – especially with the heat and chorizo in it. Well done for pinning her down, Kim!


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