Roasted tomatoes, creamy melted feta and herbs combine with pasta for an easy family meal. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

My teenage granddaughters told me about this TikTok pasta bake recipe quite some time ago and I’ve just gotten around to trying it. I have to say, it’s simple and delicious, plus you can add your own flourishes to customize it to your taste.

This pasta is filling and close to perfect on its own, but if you want to serve it as a side with Italian sausages, pork tenderloin or roast chicken, go for it.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at

If you have fresh oregano and thyme on hand, use that. The addition of chopped mushrooms or cannellini beans would also be superb and make the dish heartier. The point is to make any of these recipes I present your very own.

For a side dish, this is the time of year I get tired of the standard tossed salad and like to mess around with crunchy, colorful ingredients that don’t get the same amount of air time as some.

Fennel, with its anise flavor, adds a whole new dimension to a salad, not to mention the fact that I adore how the addition of blood oranges or their juice makes everything taste more unique and fancier. I take advantage of using these seasonal treats in the kitchen whenever I can, but it’s OK to use navel oranges if you can’t find them.

Do you have any items left over from your holiday baking still lurking in the pantry? Whip up some buttery cookie dough and throw in whatever you’ve got! I have named the example I included here Cape Codders because of the addition of cranberries. I’d love to hear about the combinations you come up with, though.


I’d also like to know what you’re up to in your kitchen this time of year. If you have any tips or recipes you’d like to share with our readers, I’ll be sure to include them. Cooking at the Cove is for everyone!

Roasted Tomato & Feta Pasta Bake

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes
1 (8-ounce) block feta
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
10 ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta
Zest of 1 lemon
Fresh basil, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet or medium baking dish, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Toss to combine.

Place feta in center of tomato mixture and drizzle top with remaining olive oil. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until tomatoes are bursting and the feta is starting to turn golden on top.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.

Add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water and lemon zest to tomatoes and feta. Stir until completely combined. Garnish with basil. Yield: 4 servings


Fennel & Red Onion Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

4 cups mixed greens
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl then toss with dressing. Yield: 4 servings


Juice from 2 blood oranges (2-3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a glass measuring cup or small bowl.

Cape Codders

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Flaky sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until well-combined. Mix in dry ingredients until incorporated. Stir in chocolate, cranberries and nuts. Drop by the tablespoon 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Sprinkle very lightly with sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned and middles are set. Cool on a baking rack. Yield: 4 dozen

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