Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Pot Wonderfallllllllll!

It's a fantastic time of year for cooking hearty wholesome comfort foods. This is one of my favorites, that can be served two ways. It works as a sandwich or entree for dinner with pasta. If you've been looking for a go-to Sunday tailgating recipe, look no further, this one serves 6 hungry fans. This recipe has been adapted from several different sausage & peppers recipes. I have always used pork sausage, different peppers, and a variety of spices, and herbs which I had on hand. This is a keeper and never gets old. It is a one pot wonder in the fall & winter, could also be grilled in the summer time. It is full of flavor, and very filling for a change of seasons appetite. Let's EAT!


-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 pound sweet Italian sausage
-2 red bell peppers, sliced
-2 yellow/or green peppers, sliced
-2 yellow onions, sliced
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
-1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
-2 garlic cloves, chopped
-1 12 oz beer - I used Leinenkugles Sunset Wheat, but any you would enjoy drinking will do
-1 large can of Trader Joe's Marinara sauce
-6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Serving ideas - 1lb pasta cooked, your choice or 4 to 6 fresh Italian sandwich rolls


Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the beer, tomatoes, and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.

Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each, about 1-inch cubes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Serve in bowls with pasta. Or, if serving as a sandwich, split the rolls in half lengthwise.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Nothing says fall better than a hearty delicious soup! As the days grow a little cooler and nights get chilly this makes for a superb lunch or a great compliment to a sandwich at dinner. Split peas are full of vitamins such as A, C, B-6, folate, and niacin. The split pea is a member of the legume family and are a good source of cholesterol lowering fiber. The following recipe can be made w/ or without the ham. The ham adds a richness that lends to the soups sweet yet smoky flavor. So if your not a vegetarian keep the ham. This recipe serves 8, but can be doubled for an afternoon crowd of Eagles fans...Let's tailgate!

Green or Yellow Split Pea Soup (GOYA sells both colors)
1 16lb package of split peas
1 & 1/2 box- I use Trader Joe's quart size free range chicken stock
1/2 lb smoked ham diced
1 small red onion diced
2 medium carrots diced
2 stalks celery clean & diced
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 tbs EVOO
Cracked black pepper tt
Sea Salt tt

Directions - Sort and rinse peas. In large quart pot saute veggies in EVOO, until onions are translucent. Add ham until a slight browning occurs. Add beans and stir then add chicken stock. Stir all ingredients to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until peas are tender. Taste and add salt or pepper to taste, remove bay leaves. Blend entire soup with hand blender until your desire consistency, I like mine extra silky. Add more stock if needed as you blend. Top with croutons, or for the kiddos cheddar goldfish!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Appetizer in an Instant

This is a exciting time of year when friends and family gather together on the fly to enjoy the weather and spend time together. Here is a quick spur of the moment appetizer that will make your shindig looked planned and you can avoid spending the whole day inside cooking - EASY! THE CRUDITE PLATTER: FARMERS MARKETS have popped up everywhere so go explore. Try heirlooms, local and baby varieties of any vegetable. Make it interesting and try fresh green beans or zuccini, you may surprise yourself! It's all fresh this time of year, live in the moment. Standby dipper - this is from an older post... Garlic Yogurt Dip 1 cup Greek Yogurt 1 medium garlic clove minced Sea Salt tt Cracked Black Pepper tt ADDITIONAL DELIGHTS that will have your crowd noshing all day! 1-CURED MEATS - Dibruno brother's isn't in everyone's neighborhood but their ideas are, you can find a plethora of charcuterie items at any local grocery store. Pick up a summer sausage, or an already sliced package of proscuitto. Serve with a fresh baguette, or in a pinch crackers will do. 2-Cheeses - enough said, skys the limit here people! FYI- don't buy a wedge of creamy brie when I'm coming or I'll eat the whole thing - oink. 3-Nuts - TRADER JOE'S has a crazy selection of different mixes, and just stock pile bags, and use on salads or trail mix in the mean time. 4 - OLIVES - Try and grab jars when they go on sale, stock pile then put them out with this beautiful Tuscan spread you just created. Where's the white wine - I could be in heaven . . .LET'S APP

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dressing a salad is so crucial to the ingredients, it's almost as important as picking your wedding dress. Over the weekend I had the pleasure of celebrating a 30th birthday at Sand Castle Winerys showroom Taste. Wow! Would I love to own & run one of these. Not only were the wines delish, but we got the chance to taste over 30 different balsamic vinegars and EVOOs. I'd recommend any foodie to give it a try, the experience was really exciting & unique. Okay enough ramblings on... I could be classified as obsessed with figs, starting from about age 5 with the ever chewy and sweet FIG NEWTON! Well the obsession continued as I found a Fig Balsamic Vinegar at Taste. Worth the $15, I'll treat it like gold, hording ever tablespoon for special occasions. But tonight will be my test run: the menu~ grilled chicken and my summer spinach salad w/ dried cherries, scallion, sliced almonds & fresh zuccini. A dressing can make or break your meal, so Let's Eat! Figgy Balsmic Dressing - -1 jar Brasuiells all natural fig preserves -1/4 cup fig balsamic -2 stalks green onion snipped green only -Sea salt tt -Cracked black pepper tt -Garlic powder tt -1 small bunch basil leaves -about a 1/2 cup mild EVOO or a light blended oil **in food processor put all spices, herbs, preserves, and balsamic buzz with food processor. Add EVOO slowly to consistency that you like your dressing, mine is nape' (culinary school term) consistency;)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PF Changs started this addiction in my house. But truth be told my younger sister Hanna, was the first to make this at home. Loaded with protien, and a fun dinner to dine on, this is a good middle of the week go to for a little something different. Serve with some white rice, LET'S EAT ASIAN! INGREDIENTS: 2 heads of romaine lettuce leaves whole 1 pound ground chicken breast 1/2 large onion diced 1 bunch scallions snipped w/ scissors 1 green squash diced 1 8oz container of mushrooms diced 1/2 cup shredded carrots 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce 1/4 cup ketchup 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 can (8 ounce size) sliced water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil 1/2 cup chopped cashews 1/2 cup chopped peanuts ***nuts can be omitted for allergies, but the do provide extra protien, and a crunchy, roasted flavor to the dish. DIRECTIONS: Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole. Set aside to drain. Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat. Add onion, and rest of veggies with garlic, until all meat is browned and veggies are translucent. Then add soy sauce, ketchup, ginger, & vinegar. Add water chestnuts and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves on platter, serve with white sticky rice. Spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and eat like a taco. COOK'S NOTES: Asian chili pepper sauce can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Some brands contain garlic, which is fine. You can use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes instead.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Never been a fan until now... The word Cacciatore in Italian means hunter. The dish Chicken Cacciatore refers to the chicken being braised, or cooked with onions, tomato, herbs, and possibly some wine. Traditionally this dish was made with rabbit, but today I made it with boneless skinless chicken tenders. This is a great go to recipe for the crock pot. If you are short on time but still crave that flavor of someone slaving away all day in the kitchen, this dish is for your crew. Loads of flavor the chicken just shreds apart after 4 hours of cooking. Start it on low before you go to work and just put it on keep warm when you get home. Chicken Cacciatore- Serves 6
1 lb Fresh or Frozen chicken breast or tender
1/2 lg red onion diced
1 package of frozen mixed bell peppers
1 8oz fresh mushroom
1 28 oz can crushed tomato w/ basil
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp balsamic
2 cloves garlic
dried oregano sprinkle
dried rosemary sprinkle
dried garlic powder
dried onion powder
Red pepper flakes
Fresh Basil
3 bay leaf
Sea Salt tt
Cracked Black Pepper tt

Put all your spices in the bottom of the pot. Then add your frozen items, pouring the crushed tomatoes, broth, and balsamic on top. Stir in mushrooms stirring all ingredients together. Let the crockpot work it's magic, in 4-6 hours you will have a chicken stew to die for... Serve with pasta, or brown rice, a caesar salad, and garlic bread - LET'S EAT!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.” A summer dinner for kings is what we had after the brutal drive back from the jersey shore. My Dad and his friend Kevin Belcher went shark hunting and came home with tuna. My father was generous enough to let us take home 2 filets. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the beautiful reddish-violet fish. The famous Thoreau quote above reminded me of this dinner. Incredible cooking in any cuisine comes down to two cruicial elements: the ingredients, and the knowledge of how to prepare them. These guys were out baking in the sun all day hoping to snag a BIG fish on the line. One thing I am sure of is that they'd never realize how the days fishing trip would travel back to Pa and be one of the best grilled fish dinners I ever ate... Simple and pure, right outta the ocean, WHOLE FOODS eat your heart out, LET'S EAT! Grilled Tuna Steaks Ingredients: Juice 1/2 a large Lemon 2 shakes of Soy Juice of 1 whole lime Cracked Black Pepper Sesame Seeds sprinkle tt 1 tbsp Grapeseed Oil 2 fresh large Tuna steaks about 1 & 1/2 inch in thickness Preparation: 1. Marinate tuna steaks with 1 tablespoon of oil, citrus juices, soy and pepper - 10-15 minutes will do the trick. 2. Grill at a very hot temperature. Browned on both sides but still pink in the middle- this can be anywhere from 2 minutes each side (more rare) to 4 minutes each side, the thicker your steak the more rare it will be at 2 minutes - it will also continue to cook for another 30 second when you pull it off the grill so better to pull it early then over cook it. 3. Serve with a fresh steamed green beans, a summer salad and ENJOY!