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Recipes-Pasta Bake

Now that your kitchen is fully stocked with the cooking essentials (Psst…if you don’t know what I’m talking about read this post on stocking your kitchen), we should talk recipes.  One of the staples of my cooking repertoire is the pasta bake. It’s like a cross between a pasta dish, a twice-baked potato, and gumbo!! If you are looking at me like I’m crazy, I’ll explain.  The base of the dish is pasta and marinara sauce.  The comparison to a twice-baked potato comes from the fact that you cook all the ingredients then combine them and bake them to subtly meld the flavors.  Finally, I call it a pasta gumbo because like a good Cajun gumbo you take the base ingredients of pasta and marinara, then throw whatever else you have or want into it. 

I like this recipe because it’s easy, cheap, and still tasty re-heated.  You can have a meat extravaganza or make it vegetarian.  You can prepare it the night before and you don’t have to measure anything!  Basically, it’s the Swiss Army Knife of my recipe book.

The following recipe should be taken like the Pirate Code as it’s really a set of guidelines that you are free to modify to suit your particular tastes. Bon appétit!

Must have:

  1. Pasta such as ziti, penne, rotini, etc. Don’t use spaghetti or fetuccine. It’s a disaster in a pasta bake.
  2. Marinara  Sauce of your choice

Optional Choices:

  1. Meat of your choice
  2. Vegetables of your Choice (I really like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
  3. Onion
  4. Garlic
  5. Cheese
  6. Anything else you deem appropriate


  1. Boil water for pasta while chopping your vegetables. If you are using peppers or onions, you can slice, dice or julienne. Your choice.
  2. Cook your meat/sauté onions and garlic/steam vegetables while boiling pasta
  3. When done, dump everything into your mixing bowl and blend with the amount of pasta sauce you deem sufficient.
  4. Grease your casserole dish with oil or cooking spray. If you have neither, you don’t have to grease your casserole, just know cleaning will be a royal pain.
  5. Put in the oven on 350° for 30 minutes
  6. After 30 minutes pull out of the oven, top with cheese, put back in oven until cheese melts.
  7. Let cool for 15 minutes, then spoon and serve. Parmesan makes a great addition!

Not actually my pasta bake. I made one for photos for this post, but I was so hungry I forgot to take pictures when it came out of the oven!

For real cooking lessons watch this you tube video!


Do You Know Your Neighbor? “Will” Power

As part of our ongoing series, “Do You Know Your Neighbor”, we would like to highlight Will Nevin.  Will maintains the blog Duct Tape Wedding Ring that chronicles his journey to become half a man.

You may ask what it means to become half a man, and Will is all too happy to tell you how he went from 350 lbs to his goal wieght of 175 lbs.  That’s where the title “Will” Power comes from, because he accomplished his goals by making a commitment to healthy eating and exercise.  His blog now chronicles his commitment to maintaining that healthy weight and lifestyle.

Sounds pretty unbelievable, but this author who personally know Mr. Nevin can attest that his story is entirely true. Please head over to his blog and read his witty, frank, and often poignant accounts of what it is like to lose a massive amount of weight by making a drastic life change. He is an inspiration to anyone who sets a goal to accomplish something whether it is losing weight, training for a marathon, learning to dance, keeping a clean house, climbing Mount Everest, you name it!

Say hello to Will the next time you see him!

Re-letting Your Apartment

Sometimes an occasion arises where you need to move out of a rental property before the end of your lease term.  Unfortunately, we cannot let you cancel a legally binding contract, but we have procedures in place that let you re-let the property and turn over your lease to another tenant.

First, you need to decide when you will be leaving the apartment.  Once that decision has been determined, come to our office and fill out a re-let form.  A re-let form states your intention to vacate the apartment at a certain date and put your apartment back on the rental market.  The re-let form also lets you offer any incentive (like transferring your deposit ) that you think will make your apartment more marketable.  Putting your apartment up for re-let requires a $50.00 administrative fee so make sure to bring cash, check, or money order.

Once you have declared your intention to put your apartment back on the market, you have three options for finding a new tenant.

  1. You can find a tenant yourself.  If this is your preferred option, then you need to have the new tenant come in and go through the application process. If they are approved, we will draw up a lease and you are officially out of your obligation to us.
  2. You can let us find a tenant for you.  We will advertise and show your apartment, plus handle the administrative processes. If you choose this option, you will owe us a commission equal to one month’s rent.
  3. You can do both.  While we are showing your unit, you can also search for a potential tenant.  If you end up finding the new tenant, you will owe us a commission of half a month’s rent.  However, if we find the tenant, you are still responsible for a commission equal to a full month’s rent.

There are pros and cons to each method, and I encourage you to think them through fully before making your final decision. 

Most importantly, you are still responsible for your lease until a new tenant has signed a new lease and paid the new account balance.  We at the office will make every reasonable attempt to help you secure a new tenant, but sometimes depending on the time of year or location of the property, it takes time or doesn’t happen at all.  Just keep this fact in mind.

Hope this helped clear up one of our most frequently asked questions!